Developmental Services Worker 100% graduate satisfaction. Small class sizes. Caring, knowledgeable faculty. Lots of hands-on learning. Active community partners/employers.

General information

Program code
4 Semesters (2 Years)
Ontario College Diploma
Work integrated learning
2 Field Placements
Academic area
Full-time + Part-time

Intake information

Start date Campus
Fall 2019 Orillia

Program description

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:

Admission information

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.

Admission details

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.


Mandatory courses

  • DEVS 1009 - Augmentative Communication (Semester 1 / 28 hours)
  • DEVS 1010 - Teaching Strategies (Semester 1 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 1011 - Person Directed Planning (ODE) (Semester 1 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 1019 - Introduction to Developmental Services (Semester 1 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 1020 - Community Building and Active Living (Semester 1 / 42 hours)
  • HUMN 1016 - Human Lifespan Development (Semester 1 / 42 hours)

Communications courses

  • Select 1 course from the communications list during registration. (Semester 1)
  • Select 1 course from the communications list during registration. (Semester 2)

General education courses

  • Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. (Semester 1)
  • DEVS 1012 - Body Systems and Disorders (Semester 1)
  • DEVS 1013 - Social Relationships (Semester 1)
  • DEVS 1021 - Developmental Disabilities (Semester 1)
  • DEVS 2001 - Intervention Strategies (Semester 1)
  • DEVS 2016 - Dual Diagnosis (Semester 1)
  • HLTH 2000 - Health Skills (Semester 1)
  • Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. (Semester 2)
  • DEVS 2015 - Supportive Counselling (Semester 2)
  • DEVS 2019 - Behavioral and Family Supports (Semester 2)
  • DEVS 2027 - Professional Practice and Field Preparation (Semester 2)
  • DEVS 2028 - Developmental Services: Issues and Trends (Semester 2)
  • DEVS 2029 - Gerontology in Developmental Services (Semester 2)
  • DEVS 2032 - Spectrum Disorders (Semester 2)
  • HLTH 2005 - Pharmacology and Medication Administration (Semester 2)
  • Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. (Semester 3)

  • DEVS 2030 - Field Placement A (Semester 4)
  • DEVS 2031 - Field Placement B (Semester 4)