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Developmental Services Worker

DSWPSchool of Community Services

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Key Details

Program Start Dates

September 2024

January 2025

Please visit Ontario College Application Service to learn more about start dates

Program Delivery

Campus / Hyflex / Full-time


Ontario College Diploma

Program Duration

4 Semesters

Program Contacts

Tracy Love

Program Coordinator / Professor

Send email
705-566-8101 ext.6972
Elizabeth McPhee

Program Coordinator / Professor

Send email
705-566-8101 ext.6259
International Admissions
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Program Overview

Make a difference to those who live with disabilities. 

Embark on a rewarding career and make a difference in the lives of children and adults who live with physical, developmental, and intellectual disabilities or dual diagnoses by learning how to support their emotional, mental, physical, and social needs. 
You’ll gain a solid foundation of the stages of human development and the community supports available to those living with a disability. You’ll learn alternate modes of communication, including sign language, braille, and a picture exchange communication system. Using a person-centred approach and positive reinforcement to build relationships, you’ll help individuals with disabilities and their families live safe, respectful lives of quality and inclusion. 

Program Highlights

Program highlights

  • Choose to take this program on campus or virtually by joining classes online in real-time 
  • Community expert guest speakers 
  • Placements in semesters 2, 3, and 4 – the largest number of block placements of any Ontario college 
  • Fast-track option if you have previous experience in the field 


We understand that every student’s learning journey is unique. Our DSW program offers flexibility in learning options. Students can choose between attending scheduled in-person classes, participating in virtual classes in real-time, or watching recorded video lectures at their convenience. Our engaging on-campus learning activities are perfect for those who prefer in-person and hands-on learning. Our use of Cambrian’s Learning Management System and Zoom technology enhances flexibility by allowing students to complete course presentations, evaluations, tests, assignments, and projects online.


Admission requirements

For graduates of the new curriculum (OSS): Ontario Secondary School Diploma (30 credits) or equivalent or mature student status, including:

  • Any grade 12 English (C) or (U)

International Student Admissions

Are you an international student? Learn more about additional requirements.

Learn more

Additional admissions requirements

  • Ability to support individuals living life with disabilities in all aspects of daily living such as lifting and transfers.


  • Computer competency in relevant software
  • Any grade 11 mathematics (C), (U) or (M)
  • Any grade 11 biology (C) or (U) or grade 12 biology (U)

Academic Upgrading

Are you missing admission requirements? Strengthen your academic skills for free at your own pace through Academic Upgrading!

Program Delivery

Program delivery


Fall term start

SEMESTER 1:  Fall 2024
SEMESTER 2:  Winter 2025
SEMESTER 3:  Fall 2025
SEMESTER 4:   Winter 2026

Winter term start

SEMESTER 1:  Winter 2025
SEMESTER 2:  Spring 2025
SEMESTER 3:  Fall 2025
SEMESTER 4:   Winter 2026

Program of Study

Program of study for 2024-25 Academic Year 

Plan of Study Grid
Semester 1Credits
DSW 1026Field Seminar2
DSW 1027Self Care Skills2
DSW 1117Disabilities Strategies I3
DSW 1125Understanding Disabilities2
PSY 1135Issues in Developmental Psychology3
HSC 1136Basic Nursing Skills3
ENG 1002College Communications3
One General Education course. 13
Semester 2
DSW 1022Field Work IIA4
DSW 1210Community Employability Skills3
DSW 1221Person Centered Planning and Advocacy 3
DSW 1222Positive Behaviour Supports4
HSC 1236Basic Nursing Skills II3
ENG 1242Speaking/Writing Comm. Services I3
One General Education course. 13
Semester 3
DSW 1021Pharmacology for Developmental Services Worker2
DSW 1023Field Work IIB4
DSW 1217Disabilities Strategies II3
DSW 1225Crisis Management and Prevention3
DSW 1230Autism Spectrum Disorders3
DSW 2310Dual Diagnosis Assessment and Treatment3
DSW 2317Disability and Communication Systems3
One General Education course. 13
Semester 4
DSW 1028Fieldwork III14
 Total Credits82

For more information regarding General Education courses, click here.


Tuition Cost

Canadian Students

$3,996.30Estimated first year costView fee breakdown

International Students

$17,608.33Estimated first year costView fee breakdown

Important Notice

Fees presented are estimates based on projections for future academic year(s) of study. Actual fees charged may differ from what is published here. A full detailed listing of all fees is available in myCambrian and updated annually no later than May 1 for the following academic year. Students in Academic Upgrading are responsible for any fees listed on their invoice each term.

Tuition and ancillary fees

Please see our fees page for the breakdown of tuition and mandatory ancillary fees by program and semester for both domestic and international students.

Books and supplies

Books and supplies may be required at the course level over and above what is estimated above. Please consult your professor/instructor for further information.

College may be more affordable than you think!

Have you said, “school can wait another year”? Don’t sacrifice your future any longer – you can do it!

Whether it’s fear, financial reasons, or something else that is impacting your decision to start school, we’re here to listen to you and help in any way we can!

Work-integrated learning (WIL)

Take your education beyond the classroom!

Cambrian programs blend academic learning, hands-on training, and community involvement opportunities to help you achieve your ultimate goal – your dream career. You’ll have the opportunity to apply your knowledge to real-world scenarios within and outside of the classroom through work-integrated learning. Whether it be a capstone project, co-op, practicum, preceptorship component, or placement, you’ll benefit from a practical, job-related experience before you graduate.

Field of Study

School of Community Services

Discover the profound difference you can make in the lives of others when you follow the rewarding and noble path provided by Cambrian’s School of Community Services. Community Services programs prepare you to address social and community needs, support child and family welfare, navigate support systems and become a powerful force for positive change.

Learn more

Specific program pathways

Graduates of this program can further increase their skills and expand their options for employment by enrolling in:

College or university degree opportunities  

If you are a graduate of this program, you may continue your studies at a college or university and you may receive credit(s) for your prior college education. Refer to Cambrian’s college and university agreement details for further information. 

Career Outcomes

Employment opportunities

Graduates of the Developmental Services Worker program make a difference in the lives of individuals living life with physical disabilities, developmental and intellectual disabilities, dual diagnosis, and their families. As a skilled and caring Developmental Services Professional, you can support individuals to live, work, play, and participate in their communities as valued citizens. As a graduate of the Developmental Services Worker program, you can also make a difference in a variety of classrooms. You will acquire the knowledge and skills to work effectively as a support staff in elementary and secondary school classrooms, to assist teachers and other classroom staff in implementing academic studies and education plans. Your understanding of a diverse spectrum of disabilities, professional competencies, communication skills, person and student centered planning, positive behaviour supports, instructional strategies, and your passion to support others will empower you to build a rewarding career.

Graduates of the Developmental Services Worker program support children and adults living life with disabilities. This can lead to a range of positions, including:

  • Developmental Services Professional / Direct Support Professional
  • Educational Assistants
  • Supported Employment Professional
  • Independent Contracting Professional
  • Respite Professional
  • Community Participation / Day Support Professional
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Need a career coach?

Explore how this program can lead to a great career! Cambrian’s Career Coach platform is a user-friendly, online tool that provides up-to-date and comprehensive labour market data to help you explore career options, salary expectations for the Greater Sudbury region, and more!

See where you'll be learning!

Minimum technology requirements

Success in this program requires that you come equipped with some program-specific technology requirements.

Bring your own device (BYOD)

Cambrian College has implemented a BYOD principle to both enrich the student learning experience in and out of the classroom and to ensure flexibility!

Ready to take the first step?

Start gaining the highest level of skills at Cambrian now – and you’ll be ready to take advantage of the many career opportunities waiting for you just around the corner. The future is yours!

Have Questions?
We are here to help.

If you have any questions about programs, funding, OSAP, deadlines, student services, or anything else, reach out to our support team and we are happy to help!

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