Developmental Services Worker
100% graduate satisfaction. Small class sizes. Caring, knowledgeable faculty. Lots of hands-on learning. Active community partners/employers.

General information

Program code
4 Semesters (2 Years)
Ontario College Diploma
Work integrated learning
2 Field Placements
Academic area
Full-time + Part-time

Intake information

Start date Campus
Fall 2021 Orillia, Owen Sound

Program description

Students develop the knowledge and skills required to support people with developmental disabilities across the lifespan. Utilizing person directed planning, students advocate for self-determination in individuals with developmental disabilities, and facilitate the development of natural supports and opportunities for full community participation.

Areas of study includes intellectual, physical and mental disabilities, spectrum disorders, support options, health and well-being, social relationships, active lifestyles, community building, stages of human development, augmentative communication, pharmacology and medication administration, teaching and intervention strategies, support planning for individuals and their family, counselling, and professional development. Students consolidate this learning in fourteen weeks of supervised field placements.

Part-time delivery option

We also offer a part-time delivery format for this program.

Visit the Developmental Service Worker part-time program page for details and contact information.

Career opportunities

Diverse opportunities within the field of developmental services are available in educational, community living, and day services organizations. Job titles include community support worker, educational assistant, community living counsellor, vocational coach, senior’s program counsellor, developmental services advocate, supported independent living counsellor, home care provider, life skills instructor, specialized care provider, employment instructor, family support worker, recreation inclusion counsellor and developmental support professional.

Admission information

Admission requirements

OSSD or equivalent with

  • Grade 12 English (C or U)

Mature students, non-secondary school applicants (19 years or older), and home school applicants may also be considered for admission. Eligibility may be met by applicants who have taken equivalent courses, upgrading, completed their GED, and equivalency testing. For complete details refer to:


Applicants who have taken courses from a recognized and accredited post-secondary institution and/or have relevant life/learning experience may also be considered for admission; refer to the Credit Transfer Centre website for details:

Criminal Reference/Vulnerable Sector Check

Placement agencies require an up-to-date clear criminal reference check and vulnerable sector check prior to going out on placement. Students should obtain their criminal reference three months prior to placement; checks conducted earlier may not be considered current. As some jurisdictions require longer lead-time for processing, please check with the program coordinator to ensure you allow for sufficient turn-around time. It is the student's responsibility to provide the completed document prior to placement start.

NOTE: A record of criminal offences, for which a pardon has not been granted, may prevent students from completing their placements, thereby affecting their ability to graduate.

Admission details

Applicants must have an up-to-date immunization record, Standard First Aid and CPR level C or HCP certification before proceeding on field placement. It is recommended that First Aid training is completed prior to program entry.

Graduates of the Child and Youth Care, Early Childhood Education, Social Services Worker and Personal Support Worker programs may be eligible for Advanced Standing in the Developmental Services Worker program.


Program-specific Courses

  • DEVS 1009 - Augmentative Communication
    (Semester 1 / 28 hours)
  • DEVS 1010 - Teaching Strategies
    (Semester 1 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 1011 - Person Directed Planning
    (Semester 1 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 1019 - Introduction to Developmental Services
    (Semester 1 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 1020 - Community Building and Active Living
    (Semester 1 / 42 hours)
  • HUMN 1016 - Human Lifespan Development
    (Semester 1 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 1012 - Body Systems and Disorders
    (Semester 2 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 1013 - Social Relationships
    (Semester 2 / 28 hours)
  • DEVS 1021 - Developmental Disabilities
    (Semester 2 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 2001 - Intervention Strategies
    (Semester 2 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 2016 - Dual Diagnosis
    (Semester 2 / 42 hours)
  • HLTH 2000 - Health Skills
    (Semester 2 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 2015 - Supportive Counselling
    (Semester 3 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 2019 - Behavioral and Family Supports
    (Semester 3 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 2027 - Professional Practice and Field Preparation
    (Semester 3 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 2028 - Developmental Services: Issues and Trends
    (Semester 3 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 2029 - Gerontology in Developmental Services
    (Semester 3 / 28 hours)
  • DEVS 2032 - Spectrum Disorders
    (Semester 3 / 42 hours)
  • HLTH 2005 - Pharmacology and Medication Administration
    (Semester 3 / 42 hours)
  • DEVS 2030 - Field Placement A
    (Semester 4 / 280 hours)
  • DEVS 2031 - Field Placement B
    (Semester 4 / 280 hours)

Communications courses

  • Select 1 course from the communications list during registration.
    (Semester 1)
  • Select 1 course from the communications list during registration.
    (Semester 2)

General education courses

  • Select 1 course from the general education list during registration.
    (Semester 1)
  • Select 1 course from the general education list during registration.
    (Semester 2)
  • Select 1 course from the general education list during registration.
    (Semester 3)