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Disability Support Worker

Certificate
Disability Support Worker

Program Overview

Do you like working with people? Do you believe everyone has the right to live life to the fullest? Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Disability Support Worker program offers the training you need to be a community service worker, supportive living worker, educational assistant or life enrichment worker.

Disability support workers are entrusted with the basic personal care of participants of all ages in residential and vocational settings. You’ll need strong communication skills, a common-sense approach to problem solving, an intuitive understanding of human behaviour and a steady personality.

Disability Support Worker is a one-year certificate program offered at Saskatchewan Polytechnic Saskatoon campus . It is also offered through distance and/or continuing education. Learn from experienced instructors how to provide compassionate, respectful care for individuals with challenging needs and disabling conditions. You’ll develop knowledge and practical skills in:

  • basic care skills
  • behavioural support and crisis prevention
  • disability support services
  • exceptionalities and human growth & development
  • interpersonal, professional and employability skills
  • person-centred planning
  • quality of life enhancements

Enhancing Lives

As a disability support worker, you’ll be working with people of all ages and varying levels of ability. The program not only provides the practical skills you’ll need, it also provides a broad knowledge base. You’ll have the tools you need to enhance individual lives, while also build a rewarding career for yourself.

Practical Experience

Practical experience is an essential part of your program. You’ll get direct experience helping individuals in two practicums with residential, vocational centre-based or community-based agencies. In caring, secure and stimulating environments, you’ll develop your skills in providing basic care, planning programs and implementing activities.

Career and Salary Information

Your Career

When you graduate, you’ll be qualified to work as a disability support worker, supportive living worker, educational assistant, vocational training worker or community residential worker. Work environments include health care and long-term care facilities, educational institutions, group homes and more.  Look for job opportunities with community-based agencies, school systems and government agencies.

For more information, contact the Student Employment Services at a campus nearest you.

Potential Careers

Sample Job TitleNOC Classification1Earning Potential2
Disability Support WorkerCommunity and Social Service Workers (4212)$28,800 - $69,200

Length and Start Date

Start Date(s): September

Length: 36 weeks

Locations

  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic Saskatoon campus
  • Distance Learning options available

Admissions

Admission Requirements

Note

  • Admitted students will be required to provide evidence of a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search prior to entering required coursework and practicum with children, youth and adults. At the discretion of the agency, a student may be declined access to a practicum placement based on the contents of the Criminal Record Check, personal interview and/or medical assessment. A student must complete the practicum placements to graduate from the program. The cost of the Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search is the student's responsibility.
  • Proof of current Standard First Aid and CPR 'C' or equivalent may be required prior to entry into a practicum.

Special Admission

Applicants who do not possess the academic qualifications for a program may be admitted if evidence of probable success can be established through a special admission assessment. Interested individuals should still apply. Applicants are automatically considered for special admission. However, some specific admission requirements may still need to be met. Refer to the ACCUPLACER© cut scores for this program below, and review additional details concerning Special Admission.

ACCUPLACER©

  • 50 Arithmetic
  • 75 Reading
  • 75 Sentence
  • 4 WritePlacer

Admission Method

First Qualified/First Admitted

The First Qualified/First Admitted (FQFA) process is used for the majority of Saskatchewan Polytechnic programs. When we determine that you meet the program's admission requirements, you will be offered admission based on the date you fully qualify for the program. The earlier you provide the appropriate documents and information that qualify you for admission to the next intake, the earlier you might begin your studies. Your application, once qualified, is always considered for the next intake. 

Applicants to programs with multiple intakes in an academic year remain in the application pool until the last intake for that academic year has begun. Programs using the FQFA process receive applications year round and maintain an application pool for each academic year. Qualified applicants who are not offered a seat must reapply for the next academic year. 

Sponsored programs or programs targeted to specific groups do not accept applications year round or maintain an application pool.

See Admission Processes for more information about this method of admission.

Tuition and Fees

Estimates are based on current rates and are subject to change. Amounts for a program may vary by campus. Totals shown here include all mandatory fees as well as books and supplies. For a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program, click here to access the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus Tuition and Fee Schedules.

 

$6,200

International Students

Saskatoon

Year 1 (37 weeks) - $13,600 tuition only (estimated)

Courses

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Semester 1

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
COMM 291
Interpersonal Communications
2
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You will develop employability skills through the study of interpersonal communications theory and applications in the workplace. Learning outcomes include the importance of self-awareness and self-esteem, perception problems, verbal and nonverbal messages, listening skills, creating positive communication climates and resolving interpersonal conflict.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 30.0
Equivalent Course(s): BCOM 103, COMM 112, COMM 135, COMM 155, COMM 160, COMM 381, HUMR 182, HUMR 186, JOBS 190, NEPS 114, NURS 114, NURS 163
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Televised/SCN, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group, Work Based Delivery
HLTH 184
Health Promotion
2
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You will learn lifestyle practices, occupational safety protocols, and standard precautions that promote health and wellness of persons with disabilities and disability support workers.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 30.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
ORTN 382
Orientation to Practicum
4
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You will be introduced to the workplace and occupational role settings involved in working with persons with disabilities.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 60.0
Corequisites(s): COMM 291, HLTH 184
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Clinical/Practicum-Individual, Clinical/Practicum
PERS 180
Basic Care Skills
3
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You will learn and demonstrate the attitudes and skills of providing personal and physical daily care for individuals with disabilities. You will learn the essential role of dignity in person-centred planning and care. You will study skills needed for assisting in monitoring, feeding, toileting, grooming, lifting and transferring. You will learn the skills needed to support optimal levels of independence.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Equivalent Course(s): HLTH 186, SPCR 182
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Lab, Print Distance Group
PLAN 182
Person-centred Planning
3
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You will be introduced to person-centred planning in the context of program planning and implementation. You will study and practice the skills needed for accurate report writing and documentation.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 40.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
SEM 184
Disability Support Worker Integration Seminar 1
1
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You will discuss practicum placement experiences to identify professional practice as it applies to services for individuals with disabilities with an emphasis on respectful interaction and confidentiality. You will have an opportunity to reflect on professional practice and discuss the application of theory and knowledge on practice. You will develop a professional portfolio outlining career goals and developing knowledge and skills.
Credit Units: 1
Course Hours: 15.0
Equivalent Course(s): PRAC 382
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
SFTY 184
Crisis Prevention
1
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You will learn strategies for crisis prevention and be introduced to the model of Crisis Intervention. You will explore the role of self awareness, triggers and response patterns in conflict situations. You will learn techniques and skills to resolve conflicts without the use of force. You will demonstrate the skills of crisis intervention by doing a five minute role play. The role and purpose of crisis debriefing will be discussed and reviewed.
Credit Units: 1
Course Hours: 20.0
Equivalent Course(s): SFTY 194
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
SPSY 185
Introduction to Disability Support Services
3
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You will study the philosophy, perceptions, values and political forces that have shaped services for people with disabilities. You will examine the services available for persons with disabilities. You will study the evolution and outcomes of person-centred approaches.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
SPSY 186
Understanding Exceptionalities 1
3
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You will be introduced to the range of exceptionalities that persons with disabilities may experience across the lifespan. You will explore the role of the disability support worker who supports persons with exceptionalities. You will study principles and practices that underlie the care and education of people with exceptionalities, family interactions, learning disabilities, emotional/behaviour disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities and communication disorders.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Equivalent Course(s): SPSY 281
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
SPSY 287
Professional Role
2
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You will study the professional role and expectations of disability support workers. You will examine scope of practice, ethics, accountability, supported decision making, and teamwork in the occupational role. You will be introduced to legislation that governs employer/employee relationships. You will study cultural diversity and the importance of cultural sensitivity in the workplace.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 30.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group

Semester 2

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
PRAC 382
Practicum 1
8
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You will apply knowledge and principles learned in the program. You will develop the skills needed to work as a front line employee in a residential, centre-based or community-based agency which provides services to individuals with disabilities.
Credit Units: 8
Course Hours: 120.0
Prerequisites(s): ORTN 382, PERS 180, SEM 184
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Clinical/Practicum-Individual, Clinical/Practicum

Semester 3

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
EMPL 180
Employability Skills
3
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You will receive instruction and practice in written communication skills needed for the workplace. You will develop effective job search strategies. Emphasis will be placed on communicating a professional image.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 40.0
Equivalent Course(s): COM 103, COM 105, COMM 292
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Lab, Print Distance Group
HLTH 182
Quality of Life Enhancements
3
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You will explore community based and person-centered planning and decision making based on the full participation of persons with disabilities. You will explore spiritual, family, relationship, leisure, vocational and residential quality of life enhancements.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 40.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
HUMD 188
Human Growth and Development
4
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You will learn the physical, sensory, perceptual, cognitive, social, and personality stages of human growth and development from conception to death.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 60.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
HUMD 191
Sexuality and Disabilities
2
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You will study sexual biology, sexual attitudes and sexual behaviours as they relate to persons with disabilities. You will study the role of the disability support worker in promoting person-centred decision making and sexual well-being. You will learn the essential role of dignity in person-centred decision making, and abuse prevention and intervention in your professional role.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 30.0
Equivalent Course(s): HUMD 186
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
HUMS 180
Comprehensive Behavioural Support
3
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You will study the implementation process of various approaches and strategies used to support positive behaviours. The concept of behaviour as a communication tool will be explored.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 40.0
Equivalent Course(s):
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
SEM 284
Disability Support Worker Integration Seminar 2
1
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You will reflect on practicum experiences and apply theories, knowledge, and skills to practicum placements. You will discuss current issues as well as ethical and professional conduct in relation to practicum experience. You will develop a professional portfolio integrating professional experiences and personal career goals.
Credit Units: 1
Course Hours: 15.0
Prerequisites(s): PRAC 382
Equivalent Course(s): PRAC 383
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group
SPSY 291
Understanding Exceptionalities 2
3
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You will continue the exploration started in Understanding Exceptionalities 1, SPSY 186. You will study severe and multiple disabilities, sensory disabilities, physical disabilities and other health disorders, challenges with concurrent health issues and the role of the disability support worker. Your focus will be on the developmental consequences of having a disability and intervention strategies used with individuals with disabilities.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): SPSY 186
Equivalent Course(s): SPSY 282
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Online, Print Distance Individual, Lecture/Theory, Print Distance Group

Semester 4

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
PRAC 383
Practicum 2
10
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Building on the experience you gained in your first practicum, you will develop greater independence and expand the skill set needed to work as a front-line employee in a residential, centre-based, or community-based agency providing services to individuals with disabilities.
Credit Units: 10
Course Hours: 150.0
Prerequisites(s): COMM 291, EMPL 180, SFTY 184, HLTH 182, HLTH 184, HUMD 188, HUMD 191, HUMS 180, PLAN 182, SEM 284, SPSY 291, SPSY 185, SPSY 287
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Clinical/Practicum-Individual, Clinical/Practicum
Note: Students must be admitted to the program before taking the practicums.

PLAR & Transfer Credit

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recognizes that adults learn in many different ways and through many different means. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills through life and work experience or non-formal training. A detailed Candidate Guide, which includes a self-audit for all PLAR-ready courses, has been developed for this program. This information guides a candidate through all steps in the PLAR process.


Transfer Credit

Many Saskatchewan Polytechnic students benefit from transferring credit. You may be eligible to transfer credit from or to another college or university. To learn more, visit our transfer credit web page.

 

Student Awards

Thanks to the generosity of donors and alumni, Saskatchewan Polytechnic gives away more than $2 million in student awards during the academic year.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers student awards for every certificate and diploma program at every campus. You don't have to be a brainiac to receive a student award. Not all student awards are based on marks - some are based on financial need or things like community or volunteer involvement.

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