Program Overview

The Developmental Services Worker (DSW) apprenticeship program allows you to pursue a formal credential on a part-time basis while continuing to work. Your learning will be dynamic with a focus on mental and physical health, interpersonal skills, teaching and positive behaviour supports. You’ll learn how to collaborate and build relationships with family members and to work with the diverse network of professionals who support people with developmental disabilities.

Program Details

Program Code

Your Learning Experience

The Developmental Services Worker (DSW) apprenticeship program allows you to continue being employed while going to school on a part-time basis. This DSW program is also offered through web-conferencing for distance learners.


Using a biopsychosocial approach to complex physical, intellectual, mental or developmental disabilities needs, you’ll become a highly skilled and reflective developmental support worker supporting people of all ages to live as independently as possible while promoting inclusive communities. You will have a positive and direct impact on people’s lives as well as personal and professional satisfaction.


This is an apprenticeship program. You cannot apply to this program through Applicants need a sponsor/employer. Your sponsor/employer must register you with:

Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD)
Apprenticeship/Client Services
72-1200 Commissioners Road East 
London, Ontario, N5Z 4R3 
MLTSD is responsible for scheduling your in-school training at Fanshawe College.


Learn More


Career Information

Graduates of Fanshawe’s Development Services Worker program will be employed within community-based agencies and the board of education to support persons with developmental disabilities by promoting life skills, education, employment, and leisure support. Graduates are also trained in counseling, advocacy, health, and pharmacology.

Did you know Fanshawe consistently ranks high in graduate employment rates among large colleges in Ontario? 

Here are some examples of career opportunities for graduates of Fanshawe’s Development Services Worker program:

Developmental Service Worker
Provide a high quality of service and support to people with developmental disabilities by striving to promote and facilitate community inclusion, meaningful participation, and full citizenship.

Educational Assistant

Assist teachers and resource staff in the planning, development, and implementation of students’ Individual Education Plans (I.E.P.) in school settings



Learning Outcomes


Academic School

Program Coordinator:

Holly Duff

International Admission Equivalencies
Admission equivalencies for Fanshawe depends on your country of study. Please enter your location to see the requirements for your country below.


Level 1
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
HLTH-1155Health & Wellness 13
This course introduces the student to the promotion of the health and well-being of people with a developmental disability through the study of healthy body systems, and basic health care promotion skills. Emphasis will be placed on the role of the DSW as a member of an inter-professional health care team.
BSCI-1109Person-Directed Plans3
This course examines the elements of person-directed planning, including the theories, values, legislation, processes, practices and tools that are used as a means of supporting people who have developmental disabilities. A variety of current person-directed planning tools will be discussed, applied, and evaluated, and comparisons will be made between person-directed planning approaches and other individual planning approaches. Students will synthesize and apply their knowledge of person-directed planning to support and empower people with disabilities to develop and achieve their dreams and goals, and to become valued citizens in their communities.
PHIL-1017Philosophy of Support2
This course assists students in developing a personal philosophy of support by examining their personal and professional values within the context of labelling theory, advocacy, empowerment, stereotypes, diversity, inclusion and boundaries.
DEVL-1056Professionalism 12
This course introduces Developmental Services Worker students to values, principles and skills essential to understanding their role as a Direct Support Professional. The student will be able to describe the professional values and ethics of the Developmental Services Worker profession and its application to the field. Students will also be introduced to the importance of evidence-based practice. Students will apply the principles and standards as they learn the process of developing their own personal and professional goals in the field of developmental services.
BSCI-1222Developmental Disabilities 13
This course provides a working knowledge of service systems for people with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario including history and its impact on current services. This course also examines marginalization and its impact on the provision of support.
BSCI-3042Developmental Disabilities 23
This course describes the etiology and characteristics of various developmental disabilities and syndromes including the implications for support. Students will learn about causes of common disabilities and methods of prenatal assessment and screening.
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