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Developmental Services Worker

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Program Code: 01101 Credential: Diploma Program Length: 4 semesters
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Program Overview

Humber’s Developmental Services Worker (DSW) diploma program teaches you skills to effectively promote the physical, mental and emotional health of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Our faculty team consists of developmental services professionals who are active in the field, and our small class sizes allow for individualized attention. Our curriculum is designed with input from developmental services field experts, ensuring courses are current and relevant.

Your studies begin by an introduction to the developmental services sector and an overview of the types of developmental disabilities and the range of available community support services for this population. Next, you will learn about positive behaviour supports and intervention techniques, person-centered planning, dual diagnosis, health and wellness, basic pharmacology, supporting people with autism and other complex needs, augmentative forms of communication, and effective responses to people who have been abused. Finally, you will develop skills in building interpersonal relationships and counselling.

You will also build your expertise in our counselling labs which provide an ideal setting to develop competencies for working with individuals with limited verbal skills.

The Developmental Services Worker program is also offered part time.

Courses Program Standards Part Time Stream
Curriculum Quick-Look Availability Scheduler
Compulsory Courses 2022 2023
DSW 111: Intervention Techniques 1  
DSW 112: Introduction to Developmental Disabilities 1  
DSW 113: Community Orientation  
DSW 140: Interpersonal Communication  
DSW 153: Educational Strategies  
GNED 101: An Introduction to Arts and Sciences  
PSYC 210: Psychology: Developmental  
WRIT 100: College Reading and Writing Skills  
DSW 150: Field Experience and Seminar 1  
DSW 152: Person-Centred Planning  
DSW 154: Responding to Abuse  
DSW 157: Health and Wellness 1  
DSW 158: Introduction to Developmental Disabilities 2  
DSW 159: Abnormal Psychology/Dual Diagnosis  
DSW 163: Professionalism in Developmental Services  
DSW 201: Human Sexuality  
DSW 217: Autism and Other Complex Needs  
DSW 218: Sign Language and Augmentative Communication  
DSW 219: Community Building  
DSW 220: Basic Pharmacology 1  
DSW 221: Intervention Techniques 2  
DSW 224: Interpersonal Relationships and Problem Solving  
WRIT 200: Workplace Writing Skills  
DSW 250: Field Experience and Seminar 2  
DSW 251: Health and Wellness 2  
DSW 253: Basic Pharmacology 2  
Take 1 of the following electives 2022 2023
ANTH 202: Physical Anthropology  
ANTH 205: Cultural Anthropology  
ARTS 138: Understanding Movies: An Introduction to Film Studies  
ARTS 229: Musical Pioneers  
ARTS 246: Art and Artists: Money, Madness and Masterpieces  
CULT 120: Indigenous Perspectives on Music, Film and Media  
CULT 206: Canadian Society and Culture  
CULT 211: Conspiracy Theories and Critical Thinking  
CULT 220: News: Constructed and Consumed  
CULT 228: Popular Culture: Shaping How We Live  
CULT 229: Understanding Diversity: The World in Canada  
CULT 239: Digital Culture  
CULT 242: Culture, Technology and Identity  
CULT 243: Crossing Borders: Migration and Culture  
CULT 245: The Body: Beauty, Sex and Consumerism  
CULT 248: Women and Popular Culture  
ECON 150: Real Life Economics  
ECON 204: People, Money and Markets  
ECON 206: The History of Money  
ENGL 239: Dark Days Ahead  
GEOG 212: Political Geography  
HIST 217: History of War  
HIST 240: Law and Society  
HUMA 137: Art Matters: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Art  
HUMA 226: The Arts and the 21st Century Imagination: Longing for Paradise  
HUMA 230: Women and Religious Traditions  
HUMA 235: World Religions: Western and Eastern Traditions  
HUMA 240: Rethinking Animals  
HUMA 242: Vampires in Film and Literature  
HUMA 245: The Islamic World: An Introduction  
HUMA 250: God, Science and Religion  
HUMA 255: Death and the Afterlife: Global Perspectives  
HUMA 260: The World of Myths and Legends  
IKN 100: Original People: Culture, Knowledge and Worldview  
IKN 101: Indigenous Cultural Values: Behaviour and Identity  
IKN 200: Indigenous Family and Community  
IKN 201: Encounter, Change, Resistance and Renewal  
MILE 210: Italy: Art and Architecture  
MILE 215: Great Cities: USA  
MILE 220: Vietnam Study Abroad: Hanoi & Ho Chi Min City  
PHIL 120: Philosophy: A History of Ideas  
PHIL 150: The Love of Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy  
PHIL 217: Ethical Issues  
PHIL 222: Justice: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law  
PHIL 225: Philosophy of Love and Sex  
PHIL 226: World Philosophy  
PHIL 227: Business Ethics  
PHIL 228: Success: Philosophical Perspectives  
PHIL 229: Violence, Order and Justice: An Introduction to Political Philosophy  
PHIL 230: Environmental Ethics  
PHIL 235: Technology, Values, and Science  
PHIL 250: Science Fiction and Philosophy  
POLS 150: Introduction to Politics  
POLS 206: Morality, Democracy and Politics  
POLS 219: Globalization  
POLS 220: Politics in an Apocalyptic World: Zombies, Aliens, and Killer Viruses  
POLS 223: War and Terrorism  
POLS 224: Justice, Equality and Rights  
POLS 225: Environmental Policy and Economics  
PSYC 110: Groups, Teams and Their Dynamics  
PSYC 150: Psychology: Introduction  
PSYC 210: Psychology: Developmental  
PSYC 224: Psychology: Social  
PSYC 230: Psychology: Abnormal  
PSYC 245: Personality and its Assessment: Who am I? (And how do I know?)  
SCIE 150: The Science of Everything  
SCIE 209: Water: A Life or Death Issue  
SCIE 213: Astronomy: The Evolving Universe  
SCIE 216: Origins of Life  
SCIE 218: Science Behind the Headlines  
SCIE 219: Dangerous Earth  
SCIE 221: The Environment  
SCIE 222: Big History: A Biography of the Universe  
SCIE 223: Astrobiology: Life in the Universe  
SCIE 224: Discovering Dinosaurs  
SCIE 250: The Science of Superheroes  
SOCE 006: Canadian Society and Culture  
SOCI 150: Sociology: Introduction  
SOCI 207: Social Entrepreneurship: Profit, People and the Planet  
SOCI 211: Sociology of the Everyday Life  
SOCI 218: Population and Social Change  
SOCI 219: Sport and Society  
SOCI 226: Health and Society  
SOCI 227: Environmental Citizenship  
SOCI 232: Gender, Power and Society  
SOCI 233: Sociology of Cultural Difference  
SOCI 234: Society and Conflict  
SOCI 236: Issues in Crime  
SOCI 237: The Sociology of Fashion  
SOCI 238: Sociology of Food  
SOCI 239: Citizenship, Immigration and Democracy  
SOCI 240: Sociology of the Family  
SOCI 246: Sociology of Emotions  
SOCI 247: Leadership  
SOCI 249: Imagining the City  
SOCI 257: Canada Today  
SOCI 277: Sexual Diversity: Contemporary Social Issues  

Upon successful completion of the program, a graduate will:

  1. Conduct oneself in an ethical, competent and accountable manner in all professional relationships.
  2. Provide person-directed supports and services that respect and promote self-determination for people with developmental disabilities.
  3. Provide for the safety of people with developmental disabilities, self and others in compliance with all applicable legislation, regulations and standards of practice.
  4. Support health and well-being of people with developmental disabilities.
  5. Employ and adapt formal and informal strategies to support the learning of people with developmental disabilities.
  6. Provide leadership in the development of inclusive communities.
  7. Develop professional and personal plans that enhance job performance and well-being.


Work Placement

Our program offers a rich diversity of innovative and traditional opportunities to connect with the field. You will complete 600 hours of experiential education with established community partners over the duration of the program.

Students will engage in the first 200 hours of Field Experience, 2 days per week, over 14 weeks in Semester 2. In semester 4, students will engage in 400 hours of Field Experience four days per week for 14 weeks. Opportunities are arranged with the help of a dedicated field advisor and are typically unpaid. As part of Field Experience, students will attend seminar classes and complete coursework.

Take a Tour of Our Sim Labs

student standing in the court of justice

Student dusting bottle for fingerprints

Student using the driving simulator

Students in the Therapeutic Play Lab

Advisory Committee

This program’s advisory committee is comprised of people with extensive experience in the developmental services work profession, representing a variety of settings where developmental services workers are employed. Many are also members of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities (OADD).

Community Partnerships

Some of our community partners include:

  • Addus
  • Brampton Caledon Community Living
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Community Living
  • Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board
  • Peel and Halton Acquired Brain Injury Services

Your Career

Your career will allow you to help people with disabilities live, work and participate in their communities. You will use your skills to support people with intellectual disabilities, autism, physical challenges or other needs.

You can find work assisting people in a variety of roles including:

  • classroom assistant in a daycare centre
  • community support worker
  • educational/teaching assistant in a school
  • family support worker
  • residential case worker
  • seniors' case worker

Professional Accreditations & Recognition

Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities (OADD)

Graduates may apply to become members of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities (OADD) and its Developmental Services Special Interest Group (DSSIG).

Additional requirements may apply.

Note: The requirements for the additional credential(s) are determined by the granting body, which is independent from the College. Students are encouraged to obtain the specific requirements directly from the granting body before enrolling.

Related Programs

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Developmental Services Worker - Accelerated

Credential: Diploma
Length: 3 semesters

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Children, Youth, Families Programs

Program Availability

Start dates between Sept 2022 - Aug 2023
September 2022 Lakeshore Open
Start dates between Sept 2022 - Aug 2023
September 2022 Lakeshore Closed

Social & Community - Human Services

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Watch the video to hear what our graduates have to say about the Developmental Services Worker program and how the program prepared them for a rewarding career in the Human Services sector.


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Faculty of Social & Community Services News

Upcoming Principal’s Office Events Spring 2021

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Wed, March 31, 2021

The Principal's Office and partners are hosting many events for Spring 2021 geared towards staff, student and community health and well-being.

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Program News

Set Up For Success: My Experience in the DSW Program

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Advancement and Alumni

Thu, December 10, 2020

As a proud graduate of the Developmental Service Worker (DSW) program in 2019, I have had many opportunities knocking at my door.

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DSW: We Inspire Week

DSW: We Inspire Week

Program Highlights

Thu, December 10, 2020

We are proud to announce that the Faculty Social and Community Services’ Developmental Service Worker Program has once again recognized the WE Inspire Week for the DSW profession across the province.

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Every attempt is made to ensure that information contained on this website is current and accurate. Humber reserves the right to correct any error or omission, modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable or campus location at any time without prior notice or liability to users or any other Person.

On October 21, 2019, the Provincial Government of Ontario announced the renaming of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). Both names may appear on this website.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet all the requirements below in order to meet minimum program eligibility. Meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee an offer of admission. Admission decisions will be available via MyHumber, or by email and mail. Admission decisions will not be released by phone.

Admission selection is based on the following 3 requirements:

  • Academic

    To be eligible for admission, you must possess the following:

    • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent including these required courses:
      • Grade 12 English (ENG4C or ENG4U or equivalent)
      • Three Grade 11 or Grade 12 C, M or U courses in addition to those listed above



    Mature Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or other postsecondary school, and will be 19 or older as of the first day of classes. Humber will invite you for testing to demonstrate that you meet all listed course requirements.


    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or attended postsecondary studies, and will be 21 or older as of the first day of classes. Mature applicants for degree programs will be required to meet course requirements at the U/M level or equivalent.

    College Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility.


    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants must have an overall minimum grade point average (GPA) of 65 per cent in the program. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

    University Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility.


    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

  • English Language Proficiency

    All applicants whose first language is not English must meet Humber’s English Language Proficiency Policy.

  • International Credit Evaluation

    Canadian citizens or permanent residents with international education are required to provide a WES or ICAS evaluation.


Admission equivalencies for Humber depend on your country of study. Please enter your location or choose detect my location to see the requirements for your country below.

Post-Admission Requirements

Once you have been accepted, and have confirmed your offer, you may need to complete a further set of requirements related to your program (Post-Admission Requirements).

Placement Requirements

The following will be required when applying to prospective placements during the program:

  • Medical Certificate of Health
  • Valid Standard First Aid with CPR-C and Automated External Defibrillator (AED)(C)
  • Employers who provide field placement opportunities require students to undergo a vulnerable sector check. It is important for potential students to understand that the requirements noted above are beyond the control of Humber and may prevent students from completing the full program, including the field placement component, and/or securing employment. Applicants are advised to check the requirements for specific positions in which they are interested before enrolling in this program.

Note: A vulnerable sector check will be requested during your program of study. In respect to the 90-day limit on the validity of vulnerable sector checks and the type of checks required by various agencies, please do not attain a vulnerable sector check prior to being accepted to the program. Faculty will support students upon arrival to the program to ensure they apply for the correct type of police documentation at the appropriate time.


The 2022-2023 fee for two semesters is:

  • domestic: $3,759.88
  • international: $16,394.00

Fees are subject to change.

Fees by Semester

Domestic Fees International Fees

Additional Costs

$800 – textbooks (over four semesters); costs vary for transportation for field placement, field trips and crisis intervention training.


Humber Scholarships

Find out more about scholarships and bursaries that you may be eligible for, visit Student Scholarships. International students can visit International Student Scholarships.

Humber Bursaries

Bursaries are available for Certificate, Diploma and Degree programs primarily based on financial need, visit Humber Bursaries.

External Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Find out more information about external scholarships and bursaries, visit External Awards.

Indigenous Student Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Humber offers a variety of bursaries and scholarships for Indigenous students, visit Indigenous Student Awards.

Explore Opportunities through Humber Pathways

Humber Pathways include:

  • Opportunities to build on your college education and complete your diploma or degree at Humber.
  • Degree and graduate study opportunities at other institutions in Ontario, Canada and abroad.
View Transfer Out Opportunities from this program  

Contact Us

Admissions Questions

Domestic Students  

Phone: 416-675-5000

International Students  

Contact the International Centre

Want More Info?

Sign-up for more info on Humber, including programs, special events and more!

Contact Information

Andrea Rutherford, program co-ordinator
416.675.6622 ext. 3311

How to Apply

Applications to Humber are made through Be sure to submit your application by the equal consideration deadline of February 1. You may apply after February 1, however, post-February 1 applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the availability of the space in the program. To check program availability refer to the Campus/Availability listing on Humber's program pages or

Admissions Road Map

Apply through Ontario Colleges


If you’re an international student, you can apply directly to Humber via our International Centre.

Apply through the International Centre

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