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Personal Support Worker

Occupational Profile

What is a Personal Support Worker (PSW)?
A PSW is a caregiver who assists people with daily personal care needs as they deal with the effects of aging, injury or illness. A PSW works under the direction of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Registered Practical Nurse (RPN).

It is important to differentiate between PSWs in health care facilities and home care. Positions in home care such as health care aides, home support workers, personal care workers and attendants (see "Similar titles") are mostly unregulated.

In the course of remaking the health care system in Canada, Personal Support Workers are reported to be in growing demand.

Similar titles
PSW is often used together with HCA or interchangeably. HCA is an acronym for Health Care Aide. According to the (NOC) National Occupational Classification, some additional titles for similar positions are:

All these job titles may have the same or similar job requirements. In fact, many job postings for these positions have vague job descriptions, particularly when it comes to home support.

Major duties
In most job postings you will find all or some of the following job duties:

Duties and skills to support clients at their homes or residences may include assistance with shopping, light cleaning, meal preparation and laundry.

Qualifications and requirements

Who are the employers?
Typical areas of job opportunities:

You can also become self-employed or get a private contract with a health care agency.

The wage gap between those employed in home and community care, and those employed in facility care is significant. Generally, job postings show the compensation range in homes at $8 to $12 per hour. In facility care, the reviewed job postings showed a range of $10 to $16 per hour, or $22,000 to $26,000 annually. Most positions are part-time and do not provide benefit packages.

Where to find job postings?
Job Bank
Try searching by keywords in the Job Title box:
- support
- care

Workopolis’ health care positions.

HealtheCareers Network
North America’s job board for health care professionals.

Community Care Access Centre Centre
Explore employment opportunities of specific Communities Care Access Centres in your area.

Community Health Centre Locator
Check out Community Health Centres in your area.

Home care jobs ‐ either live-in or live-out.

Professional associations
Professional associations are often a good source for information about specific occupations they represent. Visit the Web site of The National Association of Certified Personal Support Workers (NACPSW) to find out more about this area of work.

You may also find informative the websites of the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) and the Ontario Home Care Association (OHCA) They post the latest news in the field.

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