The NACC Personal Support Worker (PSW) program is based upon the Ontario Personal Support Worker Training Standard released in October 2014. The NACC program content, standards and guidelines, combined with the clinical component of the program, ensure that the graduates have the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful as a Personal Support Worker. It is a single training program that sets a common standard for Regulated Career Colleges, Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology and Boards of Education.

The PSW program prepares graduates to provide supportive care to individuals across their lifespan by assisting them with their activities of daily living, including clients experiencing cognitive impairment, physical disability, and mental health challenges.

The NACC program was developed and maintained by a committee consisting of consultants, program design experts, subject-matter experts from both the Regulated College sector, and employer groups.

Graduates may find employment in a variety of care settings including:

  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home care services giving care to clients living in their own homes in the community
  • Supportive housing settings including senior’s apartments and retirement homes
  • Group homes
  • Hospitals
  • Adult day programs
  • Educational facilities

The range of services provided by PSWs depend upon the individual needs of each person they support and may include personal care such as dressing, personal hygiene, mobility and other routine activities of living in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act, home management such as shopping, light house cleaning and meal preparation, family responsibilities such as routine care giving to children and assisting with social and recreational activities.

As front line workers, PSWs must develop a broad range of abilities beyond dexterity skills. They must provide not only for the comfort, safety and well-being of their clients, but also demonstrate sensitivity and respect for those in their care. The attitude, abilities and approach of the PSW are critical to the well-being and health of the people they support.

The PSW will develop a skill / knowledge level that includes basic care and social service training. The scope of responsibilities for a PSW is as follows:

  • Co-operates with all members of the health team
  • Promotes safety and works in a safe manner
  • Assists with walking, movement and positioning
  • Assists with mechanical and physical lifts and/or transfers
  • Assists with personal care, personal hygiene, dressing, including laundry related tasks
  • Assists with meal preparation, grocery shopping, feeding, dietary planning, food handling
  • Answers call bells
  • Checks and records vital signs
  • Teaches life skills
  • Assists with range of motion exercise and other rehabilitative measures
  • Practices universal precautions and maintains a clean working environment
  • Provides emotional and social support services to care-receivers and their families
  • Is aware of common allergies and related first aid measures
  • Works as a supportive care worker for palliative care and hospice patients
  • Observes and reports clinical and treatment findings, behavioural changes and changes in ongoing conditions.
  • Maintains records, documents procedures

The NACC Personal Support Worker program provides quality education and training for aspiring PSWs. The NACC PSW Program Modules:

  • PSW Foundations
  • Safety and Mobility
  • Body Systems
  • Assisting with Personal Hygiene
  • Abuse and Neglect
  • Household Management, Nutrition, and Hydration
  • Care Planning/Restorative Care/Electronic Documentation/Working in the Community
  • Assisting the Family, Growth and Development
  • Assisting the Dying Person
  • Assisting with Medications
  • Cognitive and Mental Health Issues and Brain Injuries
  • Health Conditions
  • Clinical Placement (Community)
  • Clinical Placement (Facility)

Why You Should Hire a NACC PSW Graduate

Benefits to potential employers hiring graduates of the NACC Personal Support Worker Program include:

  • Assurance that graduates have been trained to meet established learning outcomes and program standards
  • Assurance that the graduate has the knowledge required to do the job as verified by third party testing
  • Assurance that the skills required to do the job have been verified in clinical settings prior to graduation

Entrance Requirements:

Click here to view the NACC Personal Support Worker Admission Requirements.
Program Length:

  • In-school Theory & Practice 390 hours
  • Clinical Placement – Community 110 hours (Skills Passbook completed)
  • Clinical Placement– Facility 200 hours (Skills Passbook completed)

Total Program hours: 700 hours

Instructor Requirements:

  • Every school campus MUST have on staff an RN with current CNO registration and NO practice restrictions, who is responsible for the active and ethical delivery of every PSW Program taught at the school campus, and who MUST teach a MINIMUM of 210 hours, or 30% (theory and/or practical) of AT LEAST one (1) PSW Program annually
  • Primary Instructor must be a Registered Nurse (RN) or Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) with current registration and no practice restrictions with College of Nurses of Ontario
  • A minimum of two (2) years current, relevant work experience in a Canadian clinical environment, preferably in a long-term care/community/chronic care setting
  • Required criteria as outlined in the Regulations to Private Career Colleges Act, 2005


  • Mosby’s Canadian Textbook for the Support Worker, Sorrentino, Remmert, Wilk and Newmaster, 4thCanadian Edition, ISBN 978-1-77172-043-4 (Elsevier)
  • Integrating a Palliative Approach: Essentials for Personal Support Workers:  Text & Workbook Package – Katherine Murray, 2014, (Life and Death Matters)
  • Medication Problem A.C.T.I.O.N. Plan: A Resource Guide for Home Support Workers, Canadian Pharmacists Association
  • NACC Skills Passbook

NACC Final Theory Examination:

The NACC final examination is a self-scheduled, on-line examination that evaluates the theory component of the training and determines whether the candidate has the required level of knowledge to do the job safely and effectively. The external setting for the exam and marking provide unbiased and consistent evaluation of adherence to NACC PSW standard.

All students write the NACC final theory examination at the end of the placement.  Maximum of 3 writings. This is a quality assurance mechanism for the college, the student and NACC.

Successful students are awarded a numbered certificate and correspondingly-numbered pin identifying the graduate as having successfully passed the theory portion of the PSW program.

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