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Career Options After Earning a Developmental Services Worker Diploma

By: Lindsay McKay

Published On: January 10, 2022

Career Options After Earning a Developmental Services Worker Diploma

Graduates of Ashton College’s Developmental Services Worker Diploma Program will have a wide range of career opportunities in many different settings. Additionally, the field practicum will allow hands-on experience supporting individuals with disabilities in the community and will aid graduates in finding future employment and provide insight into what pathway they may want to pursue. 

Potential career settings can include: 

  • Child and youth programs 
  • Schools 
  • Rehabilitation centres 
  • Respite care 
  • Women’s shelters 
  • Private agencies 
  • Outreach programs 

Developmental Services Workers support people of all ages with disabilities, enhancing their presence and participation in community life. Some learning objectives of this program include: 

  • Understanding the needs and issues specific to the most prevalent disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, autism, psychiatric, conduct, behavioural, hearing and vision impairments and major physical disabilities  
  • Being able to ask critical questions to gain meaningful knowledge about how to support someone with a specific disability 
  • Carrying out research to gain further knowledge of your client and their specific disability while understanding that everyone is an individual and that research will only get you so far in understanding your client 
  • Developing awareness of how our own perceptions affect our understanding of disabilities 

Developmental Services Worker 

The job of Developmental Services Worker (DSW) includes helping people with disabilities be valued and contributing members of their community. Supporting and advocating for everyone's full inclusion will help your community thrive. A DSW is an agent of change who believes in the individualization, inclusion, and empowerment of their clients. Depending on where they are employed the scope of what they do differs, but they have the same aim to help those who are marginalized or excluded from society to integrate into their community. Whether that is at a micro-level of teaching their clients the necessary skills and methods to function in society and or at a macro-level in government agencies or the non-profit sector to push for inclusivity in communities. 

Personal Support Worker and Home Support Worker 

Personal Support Workers (PSW) and Home Support Workers (HSW) aid in the daily activities of their clients. They have similar duties, but the main difference is that HSWs do not perform lifts and transfers, bathing, grooming or any other duty that requires physical contact. Both PSWs and HSWs support their clients in meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, watchful companionship, medication reminders, and escorting them to medical appointments and social events. A Personal Support Worker program will provide learning and support strategies; health and wellness strategies; and the communication skills necessary to succeed in this path. 

Family Support Worker  

A Family Support Worker helps restore harmony by providing assistance to families in crisis. Their approach varies depending on the clients they serve. Workers in this field help clients develop a treatment plan; coordinate services provided by their institutions or other organizations; research the options available to their clients; assist them in filling out application forms; and monitor clients to ensure that their family gets the help they need. 

Inclusion Facilitator 

Inclusion Facilitators are involved in delivering instructional and social activities that enhance inclusive opportunities in their neighbourhood schools, recreation centres, outreach programs, and other community institutions for individuals with multiple complex needs. This is accomplished by working closely with school staff, families, related service providers, district student services and community agencies. 

Life Skills Instructor 

Life skills instructors provide one-on-one or small group instruction to increase life skills in people with unique challenges – such as cooking, basic hygiene, and money management. The goal is to help develop the skills to attain self-sufficiency and move forward. 

Time to Get Started 

No matter what career path you decide to take, building a strong foundation with a comprehensive career program and always looking to improve with ongoing professional development with continuing education courses is a must in everyone’s career journey. And, do not forget about the importance of personal development, especially in a human services role. Now get out there and be an agent of change! 



The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog. 


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