Program Overview

The Developmental Service Worker (Fast Track) is 12-month program for students interested in having a direct impact on the lives of people with developmental disabilities. You will become a highly skilled practitioner able to deliver person-directed support through courses that promote mental and physical health, develop interpersonal and interprofessional skills and foster independence and positive behaviour supports. New graduates are employed as direct support professionals or educational assistants.

Program Details

Program Code
Ontario College Diploma
50 weeks
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2025 May
2024 May
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2025 May
2024 May

Your Learning Experience

Do you believe having a positive and direct impact on the lives of people with developmental disabilities is a career worth pursuing? Are you looking for personal and professional satisfaction on a daily basis? If so, Fanshawe's Developmental Services Worker (DSW) Fast Track program will guide you toward your goals in just 12 months.

Using a biopsychosocial approach to complex needs, you'll become a highly skilled and reflective practitioner supporting people of all ages to live as independently as possible, while promoting inclusive communities. Your courses 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. And with over 700 hours of field experience with community agencies and school partners, you’ll gain the first-hand experience and confidence necessary for success. You'll also have the opportunity to transfer credits for further education at universities such as Ryerson, Windsor, Calgary and Western.

Fanshawe DSW program graduates are in high demand. The majority of grads - if not all - find fulfilling employment within six months as direct support professionals, case managers/service coordinators or as educational assistants at a school board.


Career Information

Developmental Services Worker (Fast Track)

Graduates of Fanshawe's Developmental Services Worker (Fast Track) program may find employment opportunities in working with people with developmental disabilities in a variety of settings such as in their homes, day programs providing employment and/or leisure support, working on a clinical or case coordination teams, or in schools as educational assistants, and camps. New graduates are employed as direct support professionals or educational assistants.


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

Here are some examples of career opportunities for graduates of Fanshawe’s Developmental Services Worker (Fast Track) program:

  • Developmental Services Worker
    Support people in all stages of life who have a developmental disability. 
  • Educational Assistant
    Act as support staff in elementary and secondary school classrooms. 
  • Direct Support Professional
    Help people become integrated and engaged in their community or the least restrictive environment.


Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

1. conduct oneself in an ethical*, competent* and accountable* manner in all professional relationships.

2. provide person-directed supports and services that respect and promote self-determination for people with developmental disabilities

3. provide for the safety of people with developmental disabilities, self and others in compliance with all applicable legislation, regulations and standards of practice*.

4. support health and well-being of people with developmental disabilities.

5. employ and adapt formal and informal strategies to support the learning of people with developmental disabilities.

6. provide leadership in the development of inclusive communities*

7. develop professional and personal plans that enhance job performance and well-being.


Academic School

Program Coordinator:

Karen Klee


Admission Requirements


- An Ontario College Diploma in Community Studies

- A University Degree in Psychology, Sociology or a related Social Sciences area

- A combination of relevant education and work experience in a related field as judged by the College to be equivalent to the above

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.
English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

Test Score
IELTS Academic Overall score of 6.0 with no score less than 5.5 in any of the four bands
CAEL Overall score of 60 with no score less than 50 in any of the four bands. score of 80 in listening
PTE Academic 53
Cambridge English Overall score of 169 with no language skill less than 162
ESL4/GAP5 Minimum grade of 80% in Level 8, 75% in Level 9, or 70% in Level 10
Duolingo Overall score of 105, with no score lower than 95


Learn More about English Language Requirements

Applicant Selection Criteria

Applicant Selection Criteria

Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the available spaces in the program, the Applicant Selection Criteria will be:

  1. Preference for Permanent Residents of Ontario
  2. Receipt of Application by February 1st (After this date, Fanshawe College will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full)
  3. Achievement in the Admission Requirements
Post-Admission Requirements

Post-Admission Requirements

See Post-Admission Requirements


Level 2
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:

Group 1
BSCI-1207Developmental 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.
PHIL-1016Philosophy 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.
HLTH-1197Health & 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 promotion skills. Emphasis will be placed on the role of the DSW as a member of an inter-professional health care team.
BSCI-1211Developmental 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.
HLTH-1198Health & Wellness 23
This course continues to explore the health and well-being of people with developmental disabilities through the study of common health conditions and diseases along with basic health care skills. Course content will be integrated with the role of the DSW as a member of an inter-professional health care team.
BSCI-1010Developmental Psychology3
This course examines the field of Developmental Psychology in the context of physical, cognitive, language, social & personality development throughout the human lifespan. The major theoretical models and research related to human development will be presented. Comparisons will be made between typical and atypical development throughout the lifespan. Application of theory and knowledge to persons with developmental disabilities will illustrate the various forms of support that Developmental Services Workers can provide in order to promote development throughout the lifespan.
BSCI-1275Positive Behaviour Interventions 12
The Developmental Services Worker student will be provided an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of positive behavioural intervention theories used within an ethical framework to support people living with developmental disabilities. The student will design and construct antecedent intervention tools and demonstrate skills in crisis de-escalation, prevention, and management to address complex and challenging behaviours while developing related skills in recording and documentation of these practices.
BSCI-1274Teaching & Learning in Dev Services 12
This course introduces DSW students to learning and teaching theories and principles as a means of supporting people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and other diverse learning needs. Students will develop an understanding of biopsychosocial and environmental factors that impact learning, and begin to apply their knowledge using person-centered, positive teaching techniques.
DEVL-3015Professionalism 23
Students will demonstrate interpersonal skills appropriate to the role of a Developmental Services Worker with consideration for people with developmental disabilities, their families, and the developmental services sector through electronic and written formats. Students will be introduced to the topic of abuse, reporting responsibilities, and other professional standard documentation practices. Behavioural based interview skills will be introduced. Students will develop an awareness of field options and develop professionalism skills to prepare/participate in the field.
View all courses

Tuition Summary


Canadian Costs
Total Cost of Program
International Costs
Total Cost of Program

*Total program costs are approximate, subject to change and do not include the health and dental plan fee, bus pass fee or program general expenses.