Development Services Worker

Program: DSWR
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Delivery: Full-time + Part-time
Work Integrated Learning: 3 Field Placements
Length: 4 Semesters
Duration: 2 Years
Effective: Fall 2017
Location: Orillia


The Developmental Services Worker program provides students with the knowledge and skills required to support people with developmental disabilities to participate in all aspects of life in their communities. Our program is anchored philosophically in person directed planning, and in promoting the development of natural supports and opportunities for inclusion.

Our program includes core/mandatory curriculum areas, general education, communication courses, and field placements. Core curriculum areas include intensive study in the following: supporting individuals and their families; accessibility, inclusion and participation; physical well being and administration of medication; skills of helping, as well as professional communication, values, ethics and principles.

Career Opportunities

Job placement has consistently been a strength of Georgian's program. The downsizing of institutions has led graduates to successful employment in community based agencies. In addition to growth trends in full-time contractual and self-employment, a variety of career opportunities exist including:

  • supported independent living counsellors,
  • specialized care providers,
  • residential counsellors,
  • job coaches,
  • educational assistants,
  • generic skills instructors,
  • employment instructors,
  • advocates,
  • mediators, and
  •  life skills instructors.

Program Learning Outcomes 

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • conduct oneself in an ethical, competent and accountable manner in all professional relationships;
  • provide person-directed supports and services that respect and promote self determination for people with developmental disabilities;
  • provide for the safety of people with developmental disabilities, self and others in compliance with all applicable legislation, regulations and standards or practice;
  • support health and well-being of people with developmental disabilities;
  • employ and adapt formal and informal strategies to support the learning of people with developmental disabilities;
  • provide leadership in the development of inclusive communities;
  • develop strategies and plans that lead to improved job performance and the maintenance of well-being;
  • employ environmentally sustainable practices within the profession;
  • apply basic entrepreneurial strategies to realize social, environmental and/or financial rewards.

The Program Progression

Fall Intake

  • Sem 1: Fall 2017
  • Sem 2: Winter 2018
  • Sem 3: Fall 2018
  • Sem 4: Winter 2019


A number of articulation agreements have been negotiated with universities and other institutions across Canada, North America and internationally. These agreements are assessed, revised and updated on a regular basis. Please contact the program co-ordinator for specific details if you are interested in pursuing such an option. Additional information can be found on our website at

Admission Requirements

OSSD or equivalent with

  • Grade 12 English (C or U)

Mature students, non-secondary school applicants (19 years or older), and home school applicants may also be considered for admission. Eligibility may be met by applicants who have taken equivalent courses, upgrading, completed their GED, and equivalency testing. For complete details refer to:

Applicants who have taken courses from a recognized and accredited post-secondary institution and/or have relevant life/learning experience may also be considered for admission; refer to the Credit Transfer Centre website for details:

Criminal Reference/Vulnerable Sector Check

Placement agencies require an up-to-date clear criminal reference check and vulnerable sector check prior to going out on placement. Students should obtain their criminal reference three months prior to placement; checks conducted earlier may not be considered current. As some jurisdictions require longer lead-time for processing, please check with the program coordinator to ensure you allow for sufficient turn-around time. It is the student's responsibility to provide the completed document prior to placement start.

NOTE: A record of criminal offences, for which a pardon has not been granted, may prevent students from completing their placements, thereby affecting their ability to graduate.

Additional Information

Applicants must have an up-to-date immunization record, Standard First Aid and CPR level C or HCP certification before proceeding on field placement. It is recommended that First Aid training is completed prior to program entry. It is strongly recommended that students accepted into the DSW program have volunteer or past work experience in the field of developmental disabilities.

Graduation Requirements

18 Mandatory Courses
2 Communications Courses
3 General Education Courses
3 Field Placements

Graduation Eligibility

To graduate from this program, the passing weighted average for promotion through each semester, from year to year, and to graduate is 60%. Additionally, a student must attain a minimum of 50% or a letter grade of P (Pass) or S (Satisfactory) in each course in each semester unless otherwise stated on the course outline.


Mandatory Courses
DEVS 1007Introduction to Developmental Disabilities
DEVS 1008Active Living
DEVS 1009Augmentative Communication
DEVS 1010Teaching Strategies
DEVS 1011Person Directed Planning
DEVS 1012Body Systems and Disorders
DEVS 1013Sexuality and Social Relationships
DEVS 1014Autism Spectrum Disorders
DEVS 2001Facilitative Techniques
DEVS 2015Supportive Counselling
DEVS 2016Dual Diagnosis
DEVS 2017Developmental Services: Issues and Trends
DEVS 2018Gerontology in Developmental Services
DEVS 2019Behavioral and Family Supports
HLTH 2000Health Skills
HLTH 2001Pharmacology
HLTH 2002Medication Administration
HUMN 1012Human Lifespan Development
Communications Courses
Select 2 courses from the communications list during registration.
General Education Courses
Select 3 courses from the general education list during registration.
Field Placements
DEVS 1015Field Placement: Educational Placement
DEVS 2020Day/Community Placement
DEVS 2021Residential Placement

Information contained in College documents respecting programs is correct at the time of publication. Academic content of programs and courses is revised on an ongoing basis to ensure relevance to changing educational objectives and employment market needs. The college reserves the right to add or delete programs, options, courses, timetables or campus locations subject to sufficient enrolment, and the availability of courses.