Program Overview

Personal Support Workers have heart, compassion and a drive to help those most in need. It takes time and dedication to learn the highly specialized set of technical and interpersonal skills necessary to provide compassionate care. We understand you’re busy. That’s why, if you’re looking to fast-track your career while balancing other commitments, we offer a weekend study option. In only 45 weeks of in-class and weekend sessions, you’ll have the skills and knowledge needed to begin your career.

Program Details

Program Code
Ontario College Certificate
45 weeks
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2024 September
London Campus Weekend
2025 January
St. Thomas - Weekend
2023 September
London Campus Weekend
2024 January
St. Thomas - Weekend
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2023 September
London Campus Weekend
2024 September
London Campus Weekend

Your Learning Experience

Personal Support Worker is a three-level program leading to an Ontario College Certificate. As entry-level unregulated workers, graduates have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to provide personal care and home management services to clients in both community and institutional settings.


You’ll begin the program by creating a strong understanding of the fundamentals of personal support. You’ll learn about health and wellness, the human body and how it functions, along with examining mental health issues and life transition theories.


In addition to classroom instruction, you'll also complete placements in long-term care facilities as well as a community placement, where you'll get valuable experience providing care to clients. This means that you’ll begin your career with a highly developed set of experiences to draw on as you enter the workforce. This program also utilizes simulation learning. Learn more about our simulation labs.


When you graduate, you'll be ready to work with clients with clearly identified needs, helping to make them comfortable and keeping them safe. You’ll provide personal care for clients in retirement homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals and in the home. 


Personal Support Workers work with clients who are stable and who have clearly identified needs that are not expected to change significantly. They work under the supervision of care/service teams (which include nurses and other regulated or non-regulated care providers) as well as under the direction of the client.


This program is offered at more than one campus for your convenience. Learn more about the programs and services of Fanshawe’s campuses in London and St. Thomas.


Career Information

Graduates of Fanshawe’s Personal Support Worker program demonstrate empathy, flexibility, patience, honesty and an ability to provide encouragement to those in need. They make a difference in the lives of people who are ill, elderly or need help with daily tasks. Graduates are employed in long term care facilities, retirement homes, hospitals, and community agencies.


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 Personal Support Worker program:

Personal Support Worker
Work in a private home or hospital setting providing personal care, laundering of clothing and feeding clients.

Home At Last Attendant
Responsible for meeting clients at the hospital, assisting them in discharge procedures and helping them home.


Part of a team focused on enhancing the lives of aging adults in need throughout the community.



Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

  1. work within the personal support worker role in various care settings in accordance with all applicable legislation, standards, employer job descriptions, policies, procedures and guidelines.
  2. practice professionally, and be accountable for one's own actions by applying problem-solving, self-awareness, time management and critical thinking to the provision of care as a personal support worker, whether working independently or as a member of a team.
  3. practice as an engaged member of the interprofessional team to maintain collaborative working relationships for the provision of supportive, safe, responsive and competent client-centred care within care settings.
  4. provide person-centred care, based on ethical principles, sensitive to diverse personal and family values, beliefs, cultural practices and other needs, which follows the plan of care.
  5. establish and maintain therapeutic relationships with clients and their families using effective communication skills to build a genuine, trusting, and respectful partnership, in accordance with professional boundaries, employer policies, confidentiality, and privacy legislation.
  6. identify relevant client information within the roles and responsibilities of the personal support worker using observation, critical thinking, and effective communication skills to report and document findings.
  7. create, promote and maintain a safe and comfortable environment for clients, their families, self and others by implementing current infection prevention and control measures, emergency and first aid procedures, and best practices in pandemic planning that are in keeping with the plan of care, all applicable legislation, and employer policies and procedures.
  8. assist clients across the lifespan with activities of daily living by applying fundamental knowledge of growth and development, psychological concepts, common alterations in functioning, health promotion, disease prevention, rehabilitation and restorative care, and holistic health care.
  9. assist the client with medication following the client's plan of care, and if a delegated act, under the supervision of a regulated health professional or done by exception under the most accountable person and in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer policies.
  10. assist with household management services and instrumental activities of daily living in accordance with the plan of care and considering the preferences, comfort, safety and autonomy of clients, families and significant others.
  11. assist and support clients who are caregivers, considering individual and family choices, professional boundaries and the direction of the plan of care.
  12. identify, respond to and report potential, alleged, suspected or witnessed situations of abuse, and/or neglect, as required by all applicable legislation, including the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 and the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, and as required within the employers' job description for the personal support workers.
  13. assist with the provision of holistic health care and advocacy for culturally safe and spiritually sensitive palliative and end-of-life care to clients and to their families and significant others from diagnosis through to death and bereavement, and in accordance with clients’ choices and the plan of care.
  14. provide client-centered and client-directed care to individuals experiencing various mental health illness and challenges, cognitive and intellectual impairments, and/or responsive behaviours by using supportive approaches and evidence-based practices to promote positive and safe behaviours in clients*.


Academic School

Professor and Program Coordinator:

Alicia Davies, RN, MScN
Marilyn Ott


Admission Requirements

OSSD with courses from the College (C), University (U),
University/College (M), or Open (O) stream
Academic and Career Entrance Certificate (ACE)
Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate (GED)
Mature applicant with appropriate preparation
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

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English by one of the following methods:

  • A Grade 12 College Stream or University Stream English credit from an Ontario Secondary School, or equivalent, depending on the program's Admission Requirements 
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test with a minimum score of 79 for the Internet-based test (iBT), with test results within the last two years
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test with an overall score of 6.0 with no score less than 5.5 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years. SDS Program Requirements. 
  • Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test with an overall score of 60 with no score less than 50 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a minimum score of 53, with test results within the last two years
  • A Cambridge English Test (FCE/CAE/CPE) with an overall score on the Cambridge English Scale of 169 with no language skill less than 162, with test results within the last two years
  • Fanshawe College ESL4/GAP5 students: Minimum grade of 80% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 8, 75% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 9, or 70% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 10
Recommended Academic Preparation

Recommended Academic Preparation

  • Any Grade 12 English (C), (U), or (O)
  • Grade 11 or Grade 12 Biology (C) or (U)
  • Grade 11 Health Care (C) OR Grade 12 Human Development Throughout the Lifespan (M)
Recommended Personal Preparation

Recommended Personal Preparation

  • Knowledge of and interest in working with seniors and families
  • Development of personal responsibility and emotional maturity by participating in social organizations interested in helping people
  • Ability to co-operate with others in the delivery of health care
  • Ability to effectively communicate in conversational English in order to safely take directions from members of the health care team
Advanced Standing

Advanced Standing

  • Applicants currently employed as a Home Support Worker or Health Care Aide may be eligible for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) and receive credit for part of the course work.
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

The following items are applicable to the program and are time sensitive. Please refer to for important information about preparing for placement by the due date.

  • Possession of a Standard First Aid course certificate (either St. John Ambulance or Canadian Red Cross or equivalent) and a Basic Rescuer course certificate - Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers (HCP) in accordance with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Canadian Guidelines for CPR
  • Evidence of Good Health (including immunizations)
  • Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC), including a check of the Pardoned Sexual Offenders Database
  • Placement Agreement


Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
HLTH-1092Foundations of Personal Support2
In this course, the student is introduced to the role of the Ontario Personal Support Worker (PSW) and the scope of practice for the PSW within the health care system. Through class discussion, seminars, lectures, the student will explore confidentiality and privacy, client rights and boundaries, ethical issues, professional behavior, and legislation involving the health care system.
HLTH-1093Health & Wellness5
Students will be introduced to core concepts and skills: providing compassionate care to all; growth and development throughout the life span; food safety, meal planning and feeding; assisting with mobility, positioning, lifts and transfers; ensuring safety in both homes and institutions; personal hygiene and grooming; infection control; caring for mothers, infants, children and the elderly; abuse; and documentation. The individual's rights to safety, dignity, respect, privacy and confidentiality will be emphasized.
HLTH-1094Self & Others for PSW3
In this course, the student will examine self, personal beliefs and values as well as explore the concept of the helping relationship and interpersonal relationships with others. Knowledge, skills and attitudes for career and college success will also be developed.
HLTH-1095Human Body Structure & Function3
This course is designed to introduce the beginning personal support worker to the structure and basic function of the human body. Discussion will center on the normal and will include age related changes that occur across the lifespan. Medical terminology will be used throughout the course enabling the student to begin to develop a basic scientific vocabulary that will grow over time.
HLTH-1096PSW Laboratory Practice1
This course is designed to introduce the basic skills involved with activities of daily living (ADLs). When taken concurrently with Clinical Practice I, the student has opportunities to practice in both clinical and laboratory settings. Throughout this course, emphasis is placed on respecting the client's need for privacy, confidentiality, as well as for dignity, preferences, safety and respect.
HLTH-1098Life Transitions2
This course is focused on selected life transitions or passages from one way of living to another. These life transitions include illness, rehabilitation, admission to a long-term care setting, and death and dying. Supportive personal care for special needs children and individuals with developmental disabilities is also included. The role of the personal support worker in household management is explored. Health promotion, a value that upholds clients' and families' rights to make choices and have a sense of control about their health situation and lifestyle, is emphasized throughout the course.
HLTH-1099Ongoing Health Challenges2
In this course, students study how to care for clients with a variety of health challenges. The impact of specific chronic illnesses and / or disabilities throughout the lifespan is discussed, as well as ways PSWs can support individuals and their families with these chronic health challenges. In addition, assisting with medication administration is introduced. The individual's rights to safety, dignity, respect, privacy, and confidentiality are emphasized throughout this course.
HLTH-1100Mental Health & Cognitive Impairment2
In this course, students will be introduced to those illnesses referred to as, 'Mental Illness, Mental Health Disorders, Emotional Illness and Psychiatric Disorders,' with a special emphasis on Cognitive Disorders. Mental health disorders can affect all aspects of a person's life: the physical, emotional, spiritual, social and intellectual.This course will examine mental illness and cognitive impairment with an emphasis on appreciating the lived experience of the client, and what it means to the person who is living with a mental illness, and how to care for people experiencing mental disorders, cognitive impairment, or dementia.
HLTH-3047PSW Laboratory Practice 21
This lab practice course is designed to build on the skills learned in HLTH-1096 PSW Laboratory Practice. In this course, the student integrates learned theory and skills while participating in a hands-on learning environment within a simulated practice setting. This type of experiential and active learning simulates the reality of a clinical long-term care and community setting while providing a risk-free learning environment for students to demonstrate critical thinking and judgment skills without fear of harming the client.
HLTH-1252PSW Clinical Preparation2
This course prepares students for the PSW Clinical Professional Practice course in a risk-free learning environment by introducing them to concepts such as confidentiality, safety, organizational skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, advocacy, and communication. Through the use of simulations, standardized patients, classroom discussion, and hands-on lab practice, students will have an opportunity to learn how to use critical thinking and judgment skills without fear of harming an actual client.
HLTH-3054PSW Clinical Professional Practice6
This practical course enable students to apply all of the skills and concepts learned in the PSW Clinical Preparation course, the classroom and laboratory by providing care for residents in a long-term care setting. In this course, students are first introduced to the role and responsibilities of the PSW while providing basic care and appropriate communication to clients and the health care team, and through practice, they eventually are expected to synthesize learned knowledge and continue to provide safe, competent care for an increasing number of clients. During this course, students will be introduced to the afternoon/evening shift at their clinical agencies, in order to understand of the challenges that face clients throughout the day and evening periods. The student must satisfactorily display competence in all five domains in order to progress into the PSW Consolidation Professional Practice course.
HLTH-3055PSW Consolidation Professional Practice3.75
This consolidation practicum will enable the student to work both independently and as part of the team while enhancing their problem-solving and critical thinking within a PSW's scope of practice. The student will be expected to demonstrate all acquired skills in a consistent and competent manner as well as confidentiality, safety, organization, communication, and documentation while caring for a variety of clients in a long-term care setting during days, evenings and midnight shifts. Students must display reliability and accountability at all times throughout this course by following the policies, rules and regulations of both Fanshawe College and the host agency.
HLTH-3056PSW Prof Practice Community Setting6
This practicum course enables the student to work both independently and as part of the team in the care of individuals and families at various stages of the life cycle in a community setting, while refining their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. The student, acting within the role of a PSW, will be expected to demonstrate all acquired skills in a consistent and competent manner as well as confidentiality, safety, organization, communication, and documentation while caring for a variety of clients. Students must display reliability and accountability at all times throughout this course, by following the policies, rules and regulations of both Fanshawe College and the host agency. Shift work may be expected during this practicum.
COMM-1133Professional Communications for PSW3
This course develops written and oral communication skills for students in the personal support worker field. Students demonstrate the ability to write multiple examples of workplace materials. The principles of effective writing - organization, grammar, style, clarity, and tone - are reinforced throughout the course. The focus is on research writing, career development including building a portfolio, professionalism in the students' field, and communication strategies to deal effectively with different demographics. In preparing promotional materials to market themselves in the PSW field, researching and documenting current issues, and delivering short presentations to their peer groups, students gain skills in effective workplace communication.
View all courses

Tuition Summary


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

St. Thomas

Canadian 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.