2 Years - 4 Semesters
Ontario College Diploma
Campus: Sault Ste. Marie
Start Dates: Sep 2024
Program Code: 3070


The Personal and Developmental Support Services program at Sault College will prepare you for the various challenges and experiences that are part of the expanding health care and community settings.

The faculty and staff at Sault College are ready to assist you in preparation to become a successful graduate in these dynamic environments. The Personal and Developmental Support Services program is based upon various components: the person, health, caring, holistic wellness, respect, inclusivity, and support work. These components will prepare you for the role of assisting clients and families to achieve and maintain an optimal quality of life. To reflect these beliefs, Sault College has developed a holistic and evidence-based program that incorporates the required knowledge, theory, values, and hands on skills to be successful within the various settings in healthcare and the community.

When you have completed the Personal and Developmental Support Services program at Sault College, you will be able to work with clients across the lifespan in settings such as long term care facilities, hospitals, private agencies, retirement homes, home care settings, boards of education (special needs children), palliative care settings, senior citizen recreation centres, respite settings, and group homes. This program will provide you with a lifelong and rewarding career. Some students choose to use it as a foundation to further their learning.

Requirements & Program Information

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), or equivalent, with Grade 12 English, or mature student status. Missing any requirements? Get them for free from Academic Upgrading.

Applicants, whose first language is not English, must provide proof of English proficiency. Sault College accepts the TOEFL, or IELTS, or equivalent test to satisfy our English admission requirements. International applicants must have an IELTS Score of 6.0 with no band lower than 5.5.

Educational Paths

The Personal and Development Support Services (PDSS) two-year diploma program shares a common first year with the Personal Support Worker (PSW) one-year certificate program, with the addition of a program-imbedded General Education course. Students may ladder from PSW into the second year of PDSS with the addition of HDG122 - Personal and Academic Success Strategies.


Clinical/Lab and Field Placement Requirements

Throughout the program, you will gain valuable experience in your practicum placements. You will be working with clients and families in a variety of settings and circumstances. Further, you will have many opportunities to make a positive difference in their lives.

To be able to attend these practicum experiences, you`ll need to complete the requirements listed below and bring in documents to support completion prior to starting your practicum placement. This is necessary to have in place before practicum starts as planning begins several weeks in advance. Having your requirements completed ensures that you are able to gain the experience needed to meet the course outcomes successfully.

  1. Standard 1st Aid Certificate (current within 3 years) – no online courses permitted
  2. CPR (Health Care Provider or Basic Life Support Level with AED) Certificate (yearly recertification required) – no online courses permitted
  3. WHMIS Certificate (current within one year)
  4. N95 Mask Fit Testing Card (renew every 2 years). Successful mask fit testing requires a clean shaven face (minimal facial hair) to administer the test (recommended: students can/should attempt to be fitted for two sizes if possible)
  5. Immunization & Health Record (see required immunizations below)
  • A complete College Health Form along with official immunization documentation must be submitted to the College Health Centre. Contact your health care provider, medical clinic or in Sault Ste. Marie and District, Algoma Public Health if you need to update your immunization record.

Documentation of the following is required:

  • proof of a 2-step Mantoux test for tuberculosis. For a known positive test, you must be assessed by a physician and receive medical documentation to have access to placement (a chest x-ray is required). If a 2-step was completed over a year ago; a 1 step TB test is required.
  • proof of measles, mumps and rubella immunization
  • proof of tetanus/diphtheria immunization
  • proof of chicken pox immunization
  • Influenza immunization each October/November of the program. The flu vaccine is not mandatory however in the event that a student refuses the vaccine, the student must follow placement agency policies. This may mean removal from clinical placement for the duration of an influenza outbreak. Students can contact their coordinator if they have any questions.
  • NOTE: Hepatitis B vaccination is not mandatory but strongly recommended.

Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC) – Level 3 Criminal Record Check

  • This document is mandatory for agencies to grant access to vulnerable persons. You will be given detailed information about obtaining a current Criminal Record Check during the first month of classes or when clinical placements are confirmed. (Note: If a criminal record exists or charges are pending, you are required to disclose this information to the Chair of the Health Programs before the start of your program.)
  • The Police Vulnerable Sector Check is a yearly requirement that must be updated annually.

All costs associated with these requirements are the responsibility of the student.

You will also sign a Statement of Confidentiality Form.

Notice to International Students:

  • The necessary immunizations for your program can be obtained from your home country and you will need to submit those immunization records along with the College Health Form to the Sault College Health Centre.
  • All other requirements (Standard First Aid, CPR, WHMIS, N95 Mask Fit, Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Search) must be obtained and completed after your arrival in Ontario.
  • As per Canadian Immigration policy, all International students completing a program with a practicum (field/clinical placement) component must obtain a Coop/Work Permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada stating that they are permitted to attend practicum as an integral part of their studies. International students will not be able to attend placement without submitting this permit for verification.


College Contact for Clinical Requirements: Jennifer.Williamson@saultcollege.ca 

Career Path

Graduates can find employment in long term care facilities, hospitals, private agencies, retirement homes, home care settings, boards of education (special needs children), palliative care settings, senior citizen recreation centres, respite settings, and group homes.

Fees & Costs


These fees are for the 2024-2025 academic year (year 1 of study), and are subject to change. Please visit your Student Portal to view your Schedule of Fees.


For more information, contact the Program Coordinator, Susan Armstrong at 705-759-2554 ext. 2760 or via email at Susan.Armstrong@saultcollege.ca. 

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