Developmental Services Worker

Algonquin College
2 years
Diploma / certificate
Algonquin College

About this program

Developmental Services Worker

The two-year Developmental Services Worker Ontario College Diploma program prepares you to support children, youth and adults with physical, mental and/or developmental disabilities, through their activities of daily living, behaviour support, personal care and special education. You assist these individuals as they improve their existing skills and acquire new ones for independence, citizenship and social living. As a student, you learn strategies for providing support in schools and community settings, in ways that are respectful of the dignity and individuality of each person you work with.

During your program of study you apply theory and skills in various field placements, with opportunities to work as an Educational Assistant and Community Support/Residential Counsellor. These placements allow you to explore concepts from a hands-on point of view. Field placements are crucial when entering human services and help prepare you for work in the field. Throughout the program, you complete a series of field placements, totalling more than 500 hours of work experience.

Admission requirements

This program is well-suited for students who:

  • Are passionate about supporting individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • Want to work in challenging environments which are physically demanding.
  • Have fine motor skills required for writing and administering medications.
  • Are advocates for social justice.
  • Show integrity, are honest and trustworthy.
  • Display a positive attitude.

College Eligibility

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. Applicants with an OSSD showing senior English and/or Mathematics courses at the Basic Level, or with Workplace or Open courses, will be tested to determine their eligibility for admission; OR
  • Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) certificate; OR
  • General Educational Development (GED) certificate; OR
  • Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and without a high school diploma at the start of the program). Eligibility may be determined by academic achievement testing for which a fee of $50 (subject to change) will be charged.

Program Eligibility

  • English, Grade 12 (ENG4C or equivalent) with a grade of 65% or higher.
  • Applicants with international transcripts must provide proof of the subject specific requirements noted above and may be required to provide proof of language proficiency. Domestic applicants with international transcripts must be evaluated through the International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS) or World Education Services (WES).
  • IELTS-International English Language Testing Service (Academic) Overall band of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each band. OR TOEFL-Internet-based (iBT)-overall 88, with a minimum of 22 in each component: Reading 22; Listening 22; Speaking 22; Writing 22.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the college website.

Does this course require proof of English proficiency?

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Program content

Level: 01

  • Communications I
  • Promoting Health and Wellness
  • Person Centered Approach
  • Essential Supports for Persons with Developmental Disabilities
  • Paraprofessionals in Education
  • Introduction to the Field of Developmental Services

Level: 02

  • Professional Communication for Developmental Services Workers
  • Community Field Placement
  • Current Topics in the Field of Developmental Services
  • Pharmacology I
  • Exploring Developmental Disabilities
  • Human Physiology and Health

Level: 03

  • Learning and Behaviour Support
  • Pharmacology II
  • Mental Health and Persons with Developmental Disabilities

Level: 04

  • Sexuality, Relationships and Persons with Disabilities
  • Families and Aging in Developmental Services

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the college website for more information.


For more information about tuition fees, please visit the college website. 


Credential: Ontario College Diploma

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Conduct oneself in an ethical, competent and accountable manner in all professional relationships.
  • Provide person-directed supports and services that respect and promote self-determination for people with developmental disabilities.
  • Provide for the safety of people with developmental disabilities, self and others in compliance with all applicable legislation, regulations and standards of practice.
  • Support health and well-being of people with developmental disabilities.
  • Employ and adapt formal and informal strategies to support the learning of people with developmental disabilities.
  • Provide leadership in the development of inclusive communities.
  • Develop professional and personal plans that enhance job performance and well-being.
  • Identify and apply discipline-specific practices that contribute to the local and global community through social responsibility, economic commitment and environmental stewardship.

Career paths

More than 90% of graduates from this program are employed within six months of graduating.

You may find work in a variety of roles after graduation, including:

  • educational assistant
  • developmental assistant
  • special needs worker
  • residential counsellor
  • employment specialist
  • life skills instructor
  • vocational instructor
  • family support worker
  • support network facilitator

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About this institute

Algonquin College

Consider Algonquin’s unique campuses Algonquin College, located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, offers an experience that includes personalized learning and industry-ready skills through field-work, work placement and co-op.  With more than 300 programs, including degrees and graduate certificates, we have the...

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Why study at Algonquin College

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Canada has been ranked the #1 study abroad country in the world for 2020! Known for its untouched natural beauty, friendly and welcoming locals, and a culture of tolerance and diversity, Canada is a clear choice for students looking to study abroad.

Contact info

Algonquin College

1385 Woodroffe Avenue
K2G 1V8 Ottawa Ontario

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