What Does a Developmental Services Worker Do?

Developmental Services Workers (DSW'S) ( 620D) supports people who have a developmental disability. They enhance their capacity to function in all aspects of community living and support the full inclusion of Ontarians with disabilities in all aspects of society.

Job -Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • Promotes the development of life skills including but not limited to, personal care, housekeeping, social skills as well as job readiness and parenting skills, if applicable
  • Models and promotes a healthy lifestyle while maintaining a safe environment
  • Manages and administers medication according to physician's order; monitors and records individual reaction to medication
  • Applies crisis intervention strategies calmly and effectively and is able to respond quickly to situations
  • Participates in the development and implementation of individually directed plans and goals
  • Supports individuals to develop and maintain relationships with a variety of people
  • Facilitates family and community relationship building
  • Develops self awareness and maintains professionalism at all times

Additional information on training standards for this particular trades in the Service sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/TS_DevelopmentalServicesWorker620D_EN.pdf

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

Training is divided between both on-the-job and in-class learning portions. Apprentices spend about 90% of their training in the field with the remaining 10% classroom based learning. This apprenticeship is composed of 3720 hours of on-the-job training, as well as 780 hours of in-school training. Apprentices learn directly from fully qualified practitioners on a one-to-one basis. This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the (OCTAA) Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

DSW apprentices should complete their high school diploma, or equivalent, with emphasis on senior level English and Communications courses as well as a co-op placement within a social services organization.

To find out more information about the DSW college diploma or career options supporting people with intellectual disabilities, take a look at the following links:

Community Living Ontario

Canadian Association for Community Living

Ontario Mental Health Foundation

What’s Your Future as a Developmental Services Worker?

Developmental Services Workers are employed in a variety of settings supporting a wide range of individuals with varying needs. The most common workplaces are schools, social assistance providers, nursing homes and residential care facilities. Many DSW'S work in residential settings and might live on-site with clients or work in a hospice or drop-in setting.

Wage Rate

  • Apprentices generally earn less than fully qualified Support Workers
  • Wages increase as your ability and productivity increase
  • Fully qualified Developmental Services Workers earn on average from $12.20 to $19.40/ hour depending on the type of employer they work for


Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Developmental Services Worker for You?

Are you willing and able to complete a clean police reference check?

Yes      No

Do you have the maturity and desire to engage in deep relationship-building with those who have developmental disabilities?

Yes      No

Do you have the flexibility to work a variety of shifts including days, nights, weekends, and shift work?

Yes      No

Are you a compassionate and conscientious person concerned about the needs of others?

Yes      No

Do the words reliable and consistent describe your typical work habits?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy working in a team based environment with families, clients and other support workers?

Yes      No

Are you confident in your ability to handle high stress situations, think quickly on your feet and exercise good judgment?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Developmental Services Worker may be for You!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Child & Youth Worker
  • Educational Assistant
  • Early Childhood Educator
  • Personal Support Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Psychologist


Wildcard SSL Certificates