Community Support Worker Diploma (Live Online)

  • Format:

    Live Online

  • Duration:

    710 hours

  • Application Fee:

    $200 (Domestic)
    $300 (International)

  • Tuition Fee:

    $6,730 (Domestic)
    $8,412 (International)

Start Date

Live Online live-logo

Full Time: Dates to be announced.

Apply Now

Program Overview

The Community Support Worker Diploma program focuses on the skills necessary to assist clients with their physical, vocational, recreational, social, emotional and daily skill development. ​It is perfectly suited for anyone who wants to become a Personal Support Worker, Home Support Worker or Development Service Worker.

Community Support Worker​/Personal Support Worker students will learn how to ​provide personal support ​to clients ​enabling them to ​achieve the highest degree of independence and quality of life possible. ​Typically the Community Support Worker or Personal Support Worker will offer a variety of services depending upon the needs of the specific case.

Apart from learning about behaviour management and counselling, you will also receive training in crisis intervention, learning and support strategies, creating community inclusivity, health and wellness, communication skills and more. As a community support worker​/personal support worker, you ​may ​also ​be called upon to help support individuals with developmental disabilities, social and personal problems, and ensure their overall well-being.

The Community Support Worker Diploma helps students obtain the knowledge, skills and practical experiences necessary to start a career as a Community Support Worker​/Personal Support Worker. Throughout the program, students will:

  • Gain meaningful knowledge about how to support someone with specific ​needs disability
  • Acquire an in-depth understanding of specific disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, autism, psychiatric, behavioural, hearing and vision impairments and major physical disabilities
  • Recognize the importance of the individuality of a person
  • Gain an awareness of how our own perceptions affect our understanding of the needs of others
  • Learn communication skills required of a personal support worker

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Community Support Worker program will be able to obtain positions within the following fields:

  • Child and youth programs
  • Public schools
  • Rehabilitation/detoxification centres
  • Integrated child care
  • Respite care
  • After-school leisure and life skills programs
  • Supported work and employment programs
  • Residential group homes
  • Community living agencies
  • Outreach programs
  • Women’s shelters
  • Private in-home care agencies

Course Descriptions

CSW 100: Foundations of Technology (5 hours)

This course will introduce students to Microsoft Office applications most commonly used in document preparation and report writing. Students will also learn how to effectively implement Internet web searches.

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Navigate and use Microsoft Office applications to create and edit reports
  • Create and manage files and folders
  • Use web browsers to explore the Internet and perform effective searches

CSW 101: Professional Communications (30 hours)

This course will provide an overview of the fundamental elements of interpersonal communication, verbal and non-verbal behaviour, resolving interpersonal conflicts and report writing.

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Listen first and acknowledge what they hear before expressing their point of view
  • Be more aware of and honest about their communication intentions
  • Express themselves clearly and completely
  • Use specific action-oriented positive language
  • Have a mutual appreciation for the people they communicate with
  • Write clear reports based on what they have heard and/or read

CSW 102: The Roles and Responsibilities of the Community Support Worker (30 hours)

Students will gain an understanding of, and exposure to, a variety of potential work environments. Students will also learn their roles, responsibilities, professional code of conduct and ethics as a Community Support Worker.

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Broadly understand and appreciate the heritage of social work in Canada and the vision of social work as shaped by more than a century of experience
  • Explore and establish the importance of the ideology and values of social work that both shape and filter practice
  • Explore the professional nature of social work and to outline a variety of common roles that social workers perform
  • Describe social work practice in health and mental health in relation to developments in health and mental health policy
  • Show the connection between social work practice and social welfare policy
  • Describe the nature of the professional social work relationship, both voluntary and involuntary
  • Understand how culture provides a lens for social work practice
  • Describe and analyze the problem-solving process in social work and identify its contributions and limitations
  • Articulate a broad knowledge-based perspective in social work and explain its relation to focused assessment
  • Explain how the strengths approach is fundamental to social work practice
  • Summarize an Aboriginal approach to social work practice, with an emphasis on how such an approach can inform, enrich, and enhance generalist social work practice
  • Describe the structural approach and demonstrate how structural social work can effectively be used in everyday direct social work practice to affect social change

CSW 103: Life Span Stages and Development (60 hours)

Students will gain an understanding of life span development. Exploration of development will begin with infancy to early childhood, then from late adulthood to end of life. The emphasis will be on the strategies to support clients during their development.

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Summarize how the science of developmental psychology came into being
  • Explain the key contemporary theories and concepts that influence and guide our current understanding and study of developmental psychology
  • List and explain the research designs and methods used by developmentalists and describe the ethical standards researchers must follow when conducting research
  • Explain how human development is rooted in biological processes that have evolved to promote adaptation and survival
  • Explain how developmental change happens because of the interplay of internal drives and emotions with our early life experiences
  • Explain how human behaviour is seen as shaped by processes such as classical conditioning and operant conditioning
  • List and describe several problems in prenatal development
  • Trace the development of the brain and the nervous system during the first two years
  • Describe the many changes that occur in infant’s bodies, and how their health can be maintained
  • Describe the development of muscles, bones, lungs, and the heart, and their impact on motor skills during infancy
  • Identify the health issues of infants
  • Summarize the cognitive changes in preschoolers
  • Trace the changes in language development in young children
  • Distinguish the theories of social and personality development
  • Explain the theories of social and personality development in late adulthood
  • Examine the individual differences that impact successful aging

CSW 104: Introduction to Psychology (60 hours)

Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of psychology and human behaviour. This course is designed to give the student the factual foundation in techniques and the vocabulary of psychology and general understanding of human behaviour. Application of psychology in areas of learning, intelligence, motivation, emotion, personality, behavior disorders, mental health and therapy will be discussed.

Upon completion of this course the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Gain a general knowledge of the major subfields of psychology
  • Attain a working understanding of some of the major theories in psychology, and develop the ability for critical thinking

Students will also have the opportunity to gain small-group experience.

CSW 105: Introduction to Mental Health (90 hours)

In this course, students will receive an introductory overview of mental health service delivery in the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley and Canada’s Mental Health Act. Students will be introduced to the DSM-V, etiology, symptoms and treatments of various major mental illnesses and disorders, including schizophrenia and affective disorders.

Upon completion of this course the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Explain the mental health service delivery in BC
  • Discuss Canada’s Mental Health Act
  • Know how to read and understand the DSM-V
  • Explain the etiology, symptoms and treatment of various major mental illnesses and disorders
  • Discuss the role of psychiatric medications
  • Explain the role of community support workers in ongoing medication monitoring and support

CSW 106: Principles of Behaviour Management (90 hours)

This course will introduce the theory underlying behaviour techniques that comprise behaviour modification. Discussions on the day-to-day living with disabled persons, as well as its moral, ethical and legal aspects will be considered. 

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Describe the basic theory behind applied behaviour analysis
  • Discuss why there is concern about its use
  • Identify a target behaviour for modification
  • List and describe behavioural assessments, graphing and data analysis
  • Describe the options to increase or decrease the frequency of behavior
  • Explain how to establish discriminations
  • Explain how to teach generalization and set up maintenance schedules
  • Develop Individual Behaviour Support Plans

CSW 107: Alternative and Augmentative Communication (30 hours)

This course is designed to show how assistive technology can be used in schools and community settings to enhance the teaching and learning of people with disabilities. It addresses the challenge of how we can effectively use assistive technology in all kinds of settings to teach new skills to people.

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Explain what assistive technology is discuss how to use assistive technology to support writing.
  • Discuss how to use assistive technology to support reading
  • Explain universal design for learning and differentiated instruction
  • Apply visual supports to support behaviour
  • Show how to integrate augmentative communication in the classroom, home and community
  • Explain the decision-making process in selecting appropriate assistive technology tools

CSW 108: Developmental Disabilities and Dual Diagnosis (60 hours)

This course will provide students with a fundamental understanding of complex challenges that people with specialized needs face. Students will learn to apply evidence-based informed research to develop support strategies for individuals with disabilities, ensuring that they feel supported in the community. 

Upon completion of this course the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Define Autism Spectrum Disorder, characteristics and interventions
  • Define Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, characteristics and interventions
  • Discuss mental disorders in both clinical and research settings
  • Explain dual diagnosis and what it means to the client
  • Discuss different treatment options available

CSW 109: Fundamentals of Pharmacology and Medication Support (30 hours)

This course will present students with basic drug information, including pharmacological concepts. They will also learn their professional boundaries and legal obligations related to supporting and teaching clients to be independent with their medications. 

Upon completion of this course the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Explain the difference between legal and legally restricted drugs
  • Define enhancers and depressants
  • Define medicinal drugs
  • Discuss prevention and treatment issues
  • Discuss medication support, pros and cons, availability and limitations
  • Discuss how drugs have changed our view over the years

CSW 110: Supporting Independence of ADL’s (30 hours)

Students will learn to motivate, teach and support the independence of persons with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities with a variety of daily activities, including grooming, mobility, feeding, toileting and bathing. Things like infection control, body mechanics and standard precautions will be covered to protect students and the people they will be supporting. 

Upon completion of this course the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Define Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)
  • Discuss the importance of independence.
  • Apply support plans to assist clients to be more independent
  • Understand functional assessments and how to use them

CSW 111: Person-Centred Planning (30 hours)

This course will assist students in learning to recognize and appreciate the importance of each client’s personal choice and their unique individual support needs without compromising health and safety. The course concludes by illustrating various methods for teaching self-help, as well as domestic, community, vocational and leisure skills, utilizing functional curriculum and task analysis.

Upon completion of this course the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Define person centered planning
  • Explain the process in utilizing MAPS and PATH to support clients
  • Explain how to increase the presence of a person in their community
  • Discuss how to expand and deepen people’s friendships
  • Explain how to assist clients to have more control and choice
  • Explain how to develop their competencies and contributions of their unique gifts

CSW 112: Career Planning and Preparation (15 hours)

This course will provide students with the skills necessary to prepare for, seek and secure employment in their field of study.

Upon completion of this course the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Identify and select potential employment opportunities
  • Prepare a professional and effective cover letter and resume
  • Demonstrate role appropriate interview skills.
  • Self-reflect and identify continuous opportunities for growth and development

CSW 113: Field Practicum (150 hours)

Over six weeks, students will gain the practical experience necessary to work effectively in the community. Students will have an opportunity to work at a level comparable to that of employable community support workers. Evaluation assignments must be completed.

Upon completion of this course the successful student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • Be respectful of clients
  • Adhere to confidentiality
  • Assist clients to become more independent
  • Work within a multidisciplinary team to benefit clients

Admission Requirements

General Admission Requirements

All Applicants, unless seeking Mature Student status, must provide proof and satisfy the following criteria:

  • Successful completion of a high school diploma or Adult Graduation Diploma; AND Are or will reach the age of nineteen (19) years on or before the start of the Program; or If less than nineteen (19) years of age on or before the start of the desired Program, have parental or guardian consent.
  • To qualify as a Mature Student, an Applicant must satisfy the following criteria:
    • Be 21 years of age or older; AND
    • Have not completed a high school diploma or an Adult Graduation Diploma; or
    • Have not attended high school for at least four (4) years; and/or
    • Have not received recognition for prior post-secondary education and training.

Applicants who qualify as Mature Students may be admitted to a Program at the discretion of the Registrar. In lieu of graduation documentation, the Registrar may require Applicants to provide any or all of the following:

  • Transcripts of completed education (secondary school or coursework at other post-secondary institutions);
  • Professional reference(s) from current or former employer(s);
  • Statement of intent clearly outlining the Applicant’s career goals and reasons for believing they will succeed in the desired Program;
  • Personal profile; and/or
  • Other forms of documentation that would aid in an Applicant’s candidacy.

Mature Students must meet all program-specific and non-academic requirements and, if deemed necessary, may be required to complete a pre-admission placement examination to determine academic readiness.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

Applicants must meet the College’s English Language Proficiency Requirements in ONE of the following ways:

  • Achieving a grade of 70% or higher in Canadian provincial/territorial English 12 or English Literature 12, or an equivalent examination; or
  • Immediately prior to applying to the College, completing two or more consecutive years of full-time post-secondary education in English within Canada or a country listed below; or achieving the competency standard of one of the Tests of English Language Proficiency
Two years of completed post-secondary study in English are accepted from the following Countries:

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guam, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, New Zealand, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Tanzania, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Acceptable English Language Proficiency Tests and Scores:
  • Cambridge English Advanced (CAE): A minimum score of 58.
  • The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL): A minimum score of 60
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP): Academic Level of 4L and a CELPIP-General Level 7 in all components
  • Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB): A minimum score of 7
  • International English Language Testing (IELTS): Academic level with a minimum overall score of 6.0
  • International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP): Academic Level 3
  • Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency (MELAB): A minimum score of 76
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):
    • Internet-based test: Academic Level with a minimum score of 79-80 (19-20 on each band); or
    • Paper-based test: 550 score; 23 on each for Reading, Writing, and Listening
  • Duolingo: 110 (Temporary until December 2021)

Additional requirements

Applicants should also provide the following additional documents. These additional mandatory requirements apply prior to commencing practicums and not at the time of admission.

  1. Clear criminal records search for the vulnerable sector.
  2. TB test and/or X-ray and Certificate of Health.


Live Online

Full Time:

  • Dates to be announced
    • Students must devote at least 15 hours per week to attending webinars, seminars, and laboratories online
    • Webinars are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm PST
    • Seminars and laboratory times are decided at the start of the cohort


Tuition fees for this program are due and payable 2 weeks prior to the cohort start date. Students with guaranteed funding arrangements will be exempt from this requirement provided they produce proof of funding before the cohort start date.

All formats of the program are eligible for Canada Student Loans, other forms of government funding, and bank financing. However, students are responsible for making their own funding arrangements and are advised to contact the relevant funder well in advance of the start date to make an application.

Application and tuition fees for this program are as follows:

  • Application fee: $200 (Domestic Students) or $300 (International Students)
  • Tuition fee (Domestic): $6,730
  • Tuition fee (International): $8,412

Note: Tuition fees do not include the cost of the required textbooks. The approximate textbook fees are $1,135.

Technical Requirements

Live Online Students

Ashton College uses web conferencing tools to help instructors and students connect and collaborate live online. For the online classes, students need to have a fully functional computer system with a webcam, speakers and microphone or headset and headphones, along with a reliable high-speed internet connection. Though the classes can be accessed using smartphones and tablets, we recommend using a laptop or desktop computer for a better learning experience.

This program was reviewed and approved by the Registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

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