Community Support Worker Dartmouth Campus | Sydney Campus |

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Start a Rewarding Career with the Community Support Worker Program

Do you want to help individuals with varying levels of ability attain their full potential?

Do you want to work with individuals of all ages in a home or community setting?

Do you want to work in a career filled with opportunities?

Is providing dignity and respect for all people important to you?

If so, a career as a Community Support Worker is right for you.

Community Support/Service Workers, help support people with varying levels of physical and/or intellectual abilities or individuals with mental illness. Your primary role is to help these individuals attain their goals to help them live fulfilling lives. Each day and each client provides new opportunities and challenges. As a Community Support Worker you might:

  • Assist with personal care
  • Provide support for errands like grocery shopping, appointments, and more
  • Mentor clients in their vocational programs
  • Coach the skills needed for daily activities
  • Advocate for clients in a variety of settings

CSW’s work in a variety of home, adult vocational or community settings. Job opportunities can be found with agencies, organizations or the government or community day programs throughout Nova Scotia. This career offers flexibility as positions may be part-time or offer shift work.

The 35-week Community Support Worker program in Dartmouth and Sydney provides the knowledge and skills needed for this rewarding career. This program is taught over eight months and provides theory and hands-on practical learning. Our program will prepare you to work with clients with physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities or other special needs. Each course is designed to prepare students for their careers. Students will apply what they have learned through group projects, papers, and presentations as well as work in two work practicums to apply what they have learned in the classroom.

Students in this program will:

  • Learn practical skills related to reporting and workplace safety
  • Develop an understanding of relevant issues related to disability
  • Complete two work practicums
  • Be trained to work in home and community settings

Each Community Support Worker course is taught by instructors who have worked in the field. By using real-world examples, they are able to help students relate the theory material to their new careers. In addition to your diploma, students earn the following certificates:

  • First Aid & CPR Level C with AED
  • Food Handler Certificate
  • WHMIS and OHS

Total program length Sydney – 26 weeks theory (including practicum)

Total program length Dartmouth – 41 weeks (including practicum)

admission requirements

Learner Admission Requirements

  • Grade 12 certificate, a GED equivalent to grade 12 or Mature Learner

Mature Learners must:

  • Be a minimum of 21 years of age and have been out of school for at least one year
  • Demonstrate the necessary numeracy and literacy skills
  • A documented assessment process must be used, including a recognized assessment strategy – e.g., TABE Test or TOWES

Additional Requirements:

  • Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Check indicating no criminal conviction (current Canada-wide police check)
  • Proficient in the official language in which the Program is delivered (French or English);
    As required, a recognized testing tool will be used to gauge proficiency
  • Language proficiency level will meet or be equivalent to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 8

Student discloses the ability to meet requirements on admission:  

  • Travel to and from placements using transportation that is acceptable to the placement site
  • Perform basic computer literacy skills (basic word processing, checking and sending email, basic web browsing skills) before skills development placement
  • Perform job requirements (physical and other)

Program Outline


    ASIST is a two-day interactive workshop in suicide first-aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognize when someone may be at risk of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. ASIST Certificate.

  • Behavioural Programming

    Students will be introduced to the basic philosophy and concepts of person-centred planning. While the emphasis will be given to the practice of ABA with autistic children, the skills will be generalized for use with adults and in situations with children where behaviour modification would be appropriate.

  • Behavioural Supports

    This course provides an introduction to the basic philosophy and concepts of behavioural supports, as it relates to full citizenship and inclusion. Person-centred Planning relates to who makes up the team, setting priorities, setting goals, setting objectives, strategies, assigning roles, and monitoring and tracking hours. Students will recognize that behavioural supports come in many forms to address educational and social needs. Using the strategies for behavioural supports, we will focus on that which will make it easier for the person to achieve ongoing success and well-being on a sustainable basis.

  • Business Communications I - English Essentials

    This course will help the student develop the proper communication skills necessary to function in a professional business setting. There will be a review of grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation as they apply to business communication. Students will complete various exercises with the emphasis on improving basic skills in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and apply them to writing assignments and tasks.

  • Career Management

    Our Career Management course will introduce students to and teach them how to apply the most effective strategies to achieve employment in the career of their choice. Topics that are covered: effective job search strategies, cover letter and strategic resume writing, interview preparation and effective interviewing skills. Students will also be introduced to online training in Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) so that they will have a better understanding of their role as regards safety at the workplace.

  • Documenting and Reporting

    This module introduces the various forms of written communication required of Support Workers in care settings, and how Support Workers can approach care-related written communication appropriately and effectively. The learner will recognize the importance of documentation in the coordination and monitoring of care and will overview various forms of documentation. The learner also will develop written communication and documentation skills. Additionally, the learner will be introduced to the appropriate uses of technology by Support Workers both inside and outside care settings.

  • Fire Safety

    This course will prepare workers with the knowledge required to identify, assess, and manage fire risks in their workplace. Learners will develop a general awareness of fire safety, including fire prevention, detection, and suppression. The students will also foster an understanding of the types of fire extinguishers, and how and when to use them.

  • First Aid/CPR Level C + AED

    Learners who are successful in this course will be certified in Standard First Aid and Level C Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. Upon completion of this workshop, the participant will successfully complete the objectives outlined in the government-approved curriculum offered by St. John Ambulance.

  • Food Handler

    This course reviews the safe and hygienic handling of food and investigates best practices in maintaining a safe and secure environment in which to prepare food.

  • Health and Personal Care

    In this course, the learner will be introduced to the principles relating to personal care using a person-centred philosophy of care approach. The learner will practice, demonstrate, and become competent in the practical skills necessary to respectfully, safely and effectively provide personal care to individuals across the lifespan.

  • Health and Wellness for the Caregiver

    This course examines the importance of self-care in a helping profession with investigations into the causes of stress, burn-out, and compassion fatigue. Effective methods of creating supportive and efficiently functioning groups are also discussed.

  • Household Management, Nutrition, and Menu Preparation

    This module is designed to enable the learner to develop the skills required for the basic safety and cleanliness of the person’s care setting, whether a private residence or within another type of care setting, according to the scope of employment policies. It prepares the CSW to organize and complete daily care setting management tasks. The learner will also learn how to set priorities and develop time management skills. Focus on nutrition and the role of the Support Worker in meeting the dietary needs of individuals of all ages. The learner will understand the role of nutrition to health and well-being, will plan menus, and understand basic meal preparation practices.

  • Human Growth and Development - Birth to Adolescence

    Students will look at human development from the moment of conception, continuing through childhood, and finishing at the end of adolescence. The course will examine the changes that occur throughout these stages and how they impact our lives from a biological, environmental and social perspective. Students need to understand how the brain, the nerves, and the glands interact to control feelings, thoughts, and behaviour across the lifespan. This will allow students to better understand how impairment to these systems can affect persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

  • Human Growth and Development - Adulthood and Gerontology

    This course will provide students with the opportunity to examine issues related to adulthood and the gerontological years. Students will examine characteristics of aging unique to the disabled population. Strategies for supporting aged persons with disabilities will be explored, government plans for positive aging with disabilities will be reviewed, and dementia and palliative needs will be examined.

  • Human Growth and Development - Intellectual & Developmental Exceptionalities

    Students will be provided with an introduction to the field of exceptionalities. They will discuss issues and trends in the field, and problems associated with defining and identifying individuals with exceptionalities. Emphasis will be on understanding these disabilities as well as the issues faced by these individuals, as well as the developmental consequences of having a disability.

  • Interpersonal Communication

    This module will introduce the learner to effective interpersonal communication practices for Support Workers. The learner will become familiar with different types of professional relationships and the appropriate forms of interpersonal communication that occur in work/care settings. The learner will assess their strengths and areas for improvement in interpersonal communications generally. The learner also will understand and practice communication strategies and approaches that support a person-centred approach in various care settings.

  • Introduction to Support Work and Ethical Care

    This course is designed to introduce the student to a number of issues that are current in the field. Students will review their role as a support worker, the Canadian health care system, settings in which they will be working, and working as part of a team. Ethical care and compliance will be highlighted.

  • Medication Awareness

    This module allows the learner to cultivate an awareness of medications and gain an understanding of the role medications play in supporting clients’ needs. It provides an introduction to commonly used medications, as well as some basic principles of pharmacology.

  • Mental Health

    This module is designed to prepare the learner to recognize and support individuals living with mental illness as well as various types of abuse and neglect. It explores strategies to maintain mental health and social well-being. Community resources are also identified.

  • Microsoft Excel

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will have achieved a core level competency of the Microsoft Excel application. Topics include creating worksheets, formulas, functions, charts, formatting, analysis, templates, and working with multiple worksheets and workbooks.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint

    This 12-hour course is designed to introduce key concepts about creating, modifying, and enhancing a presentation using PowerPoint 2016. You will explore the PowerPoint environment and create a presentation. You will format text on slides to enhance clarity. To enhance the visual appeal, you will add graphical objects to a presentation and modify them. You will also add tables and charts to a presentation to present data in a structured form. You will then finalize a presentation and deliver it.

  • Microsoft Windows/Outlook

    This 20-hour course is designed to provide you with the skills needed to work in Windows OS and MS Outlook. You will learn to use the tools and options available in the MS Windows operating system, manage folders and files, and work with simple applications packaged with the operating system. The Outlook course will provide you with the skills to compose and send emails, schedule appointments and meetings, manage contact information, schedule tasks, create notes, customize the Outlook environment, calendar, and mail messages, and track, share, assign, and quickly locate and organize various Outlook items.

  • Microsoft Word

    As a student in this 40-hour course, you will learn the most important topics of Microsoft Office Word. No prior computer experience is assumed. You will delve into Microsoft Office Word to learn how to create, edit, and format documents and multiple-page reports. Once you have mastered this, you will learn to work with templates, themes, styles, and mail merge. Finally, you will learn advanced techniques, such as automating your work and using advanced online forms.

  • Naloxone Training

    This training provides students with information about opioids and how to assess a potential overdose and outlines best practices in life-saving naloxone intervention while keeping the safety of the rescuer in mind. Naloxone Certificate.

  • Practicum

    This 200-hour course is designed as a culmination of the program. Our Placement Department works with you to arrange a suitable placement with a local business, corporation, or a public or non-profit organization which conducts typical Canadian business practices in your field of study. In your Practicum term you could perform, or job shadow, or a combination of both, the skills and knowledge acquired in the modules within your program.

  • Practicum Seminar

    The instructor will provide specific guidelines so placement experiences are put into proper context. Requirements for placements will be reviewed, such as confidentiality, supervisor contacts, and evaluations. Students will actively participate in practicum seminars where they will share ideas and experiences with their peers through guided discussion and activities. Facilitated seminars allow students to exchange ideas for working with different groups and practice interpersonal skills to develop professional learning. Students will also have opportunity to develop and share resources to support their practicum placements.

  • Solution Focused Intervention and Program Planning - Includes NVCI

    This course will introduce students to the nature of conflict and the methods used to resolve conflict, with an emphasis on communication, collaborative problem solving, and mediation. NVCI Certificate.

job market

Graduates may obtain careers as life skills instructors, vocational instructors, program supervisors or managers, community support workers, community service workers, casual support workers, developmental service workers, developmental support workers or human services workers and more.

This program prepared me and gave me the confidence to enter the real business world. The close knit atmosphere CBBC has, made me very comfortable. Each and every staff member at CBBC was extraordinarily helpful on my journey in obtaining a full-time Administrative Assistant position in Cape Breton. Courtney MacPhail Administrative Assistant / Offshore Technical Services

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