First and foremost, WELCOME to PSWHQ!
If you are a Personal Support Worker or considering becoming one, this page is for you.
On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about becoming a PSW, succeeding as a PSW, and continuing your education to advance your knowledge.
This is one place where you can always come to and look for many things that you will need in your journey as a Personal Support Worker.
If you’re just getting started in your journey as a PSW, welcome, you have taken a huge leap.
Most importantly, your services will be of immense help to the most vulnerable members of our society.
So, thank you!
I truly hope this page will lead you to all the answers you are looking for.
If you still didn’t find what you were looking for, email me at [email protected] and I will more than happy to seek an answer for you.
This is an evolving page and new resources are always being added here. es. We recommend bookmarking it for your reference and convenience.
The First Step: Stay Informed
We send out important information to all the subscribers of PSWHQ.
If you’d like to join PSWHQ, you can do so by filling out the form below.
Why You Should Become a PSW?
There are approximately 100,000 PSWs in Ontario.
Each individual PSW made a great choice in joining this wonderful profession and we can not thank you enough.
Historically, Personal Support Workers have not been given the recognition that they deserve, however things are changing.
Governments are finally realizing the important role PSWs play in our healthcare delivery system. In fact, PSWs are the largest providers of caregivers in the community settings.
With Government recognition, this profession is up for many changes and we really hope this profession grows to become a leading professional choice for many.
Click on the link below to learn more about the top reasons to become a PSW.
Duties of a Personal Support Worker
Personal Support Workers work in a wide variety of settings.
The duties you perform as a PSW depend on many factors such as the type of organization and the requirements of the client you are working with.
In general, Personal Support Workers provide services to people who require help with their daily needs, with the ultimate goal of improving their quality of life.
Click on the link below to learn more about what you can expect to do as a PSW.
Salary of a Personal Support Worker
To be honest, historically speaking, PSWs have not been well paid.
However, over the past several years, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, PSWs pay is starting to improve.
There have been many government initiatives to improve the pay of PSWs, especially of those working in community settings.
PSWs work in a wide variety of settings.
PSW pay is typically the highest in hospitals followed by the publically funded long-term care sector.
Some of the PSWs earn more than $25 per hour.
You can learn more about PSW pay by clicking on the link below.
PSW Related Job Titles
In 1997 the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) replaced a number of related job categories such as care aide, home support worker, attendant care worker, and respite worker with the term PSW.
However, since the profession is not regulated, there is no standard title used for occupations similar to that of a Personal Support Worker.
There are a number of job titles used by employers that essentially are similar to a PSW.
Moreover, all the jobs listed under titles other than PSW, do list having a PSW certificate as one of the requirements.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a job as a PSW, it is important for you to explore all the jobs listed under different job titles.
Click on the link below to explore various job titles you may come across.
PSW Course Options
Personal Support Worker certificate programs started to be introduced in Ontario at the end of the 1990s.
In order to become employed, most employers require you to have a PSW certificate or diploma.
Today, PSW programs are offered in three types of educational institutions:
In addition, there are many online options to obtain a PSW certificate.
Recently, many free PSW programs have been introduced. There is no tuition fee associated with these programs.
There are many other government-funded programs that you can take.
You can view all your options to take a PSW program by visiting the link below.
Once you have completed your PSW study program, there are many options for you to start working.
You can seek employment in hospitals, long-term care homes, community settings, or offer your services for private care.
The options are endless.
If you are in the Greater Toronto Area, there are many hospitals that hire PSWs in this region.
We also have dedicated jobs sections where you can view the latest job postings and many other resources for your job search.
Click on the link below to access our PSW jobs section.
This is one piece of document that you absolutely need if you are looking for a job.
More importantly, it should be well written since it will be your first point of contact with the potential employer.
Please note that there is no “one size fits all” résumé for every Personal Support Worker.
You’re welcome to use the PSW résumé template from the download link above, however, use it with caution.
You see your résumé is as unique as you are.
It is your marketing document that should be designed to get an interview.
A generalized résumé will not be able to project you as the right candidate.
Remember, you’ll not be there when your employer is reading your résumé.
There is no opportunity to supplement, support, justify or defend its contents.
Therefore, your résumé must be strategic.
It should focus on the requirements of your target employer and presents your education, skills, accomplishments, and experiences as such.
One well-written, strategic and targeted résumé and cover letter are worth hundred’s of résumés aimlessly sent out.
You can also click on the link below to view a sample PSW
PSW Cover Letter
A cover letter is used to effectively market your unique value to the potential employer.
It is meant to support your résumé by offering:
- an introduction,
- a sales pitch, and
- a proposal for further action.
The cover letter becomes even more essential if there are any challenges that are stopping you from getting hired.
One such challenge is limited PSW experience or employment gap.
A well-written cover letter can be used to mitigate this challenge by offering an adequate explanation.
The cover letter is the very first thing that your employer will see – and first impressions count!
We have a comprehensive guide for you to help craft a perfect cover letter.
Click on the link below to view learn more about the PSW cover letter.
PSW Job Interview Questions and Sample Answers
When it comes to Personal Support Worker interviews, or in fact any type of job interview, there is this quote by John Wayne that always holds true:
Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.
During your PSW interview, you’re in the hot seat!
When you’re being bombarded with questions, how do you respond with an answer that has “you’re hired” all over?
Well, PSW interview answers that will get you the job are:
- Short, and
If your answer fits the above criteria, you’ll end up on top.
If you’re preparing for your next PSW interview with all sincerity, here’s some help.
We have put together a comprehensive online guide with PSW interview questions and sample answers that are specific, short, and supportive.
Following are some questions that are most likely to be asked during a Personal Support Worker Job interview.
1. How to care for a Palliative patient?
2. A co-worker is arguing with you in the hallway. How will you handle this situation?
3. If a resident falls, what will be your actions?
4. Name any five resident rights and explain them?
5. Any other continuing education you have done related to PSW?
6. Any experience with an aggressive resident and how did you handle the situation?
7. How many PSW’s are there during the transfer of a resident using a Hoyer/mechanical lift?
If you wish to read an appropriate answer to these questions and many more, please click on the link below.
Preparing for Your PSW Job Interview
While practicing potential job interview questions is important, there are many other things that you must keep in mind when preparing for a PSW job interview.
There are job interview best practices that you can follow before, during and after your interview.
Click on the link below to learn more on how you can prepare yourself for the big day.
Reference Request Email
Having good references is very crucial and can make a difference in you getting a job or not.
There are two things that you want to make sure you follow.
Do not give anyone’s name as your reference.
The person who is going to be your reference should be able to give you a good reference.
This is really important.
Secondly, make sure the person you’re giving out as your reference, has permitted you to do so.
He/she should know ahead of time that they may be contacted.
Here’s how you can send them an email requesting to be your reference:
Subject line: Reference request – (Your name)
I am actively looking for a PSW position and was wondering if you could provide a reference for me?
If you were able to attest to my qualifications and the skills I attained while working at XYZ Hospital, I would sincerely appreciate it.
A positive reference from you would greatly enhance my job search prospects.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is any information I can provide regarding my experience to assist you in giving me a reference. I can be reached at (your email) or (your phone number).
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank you Note/Email
Thank you notes are something that many employers value a lot.
Sending one gives you another opportunity to impress upon the person who interviewed you or whoever is in charge of hiring.
Be extra careful when writing a thank you note and make sure it does not have any spelling or grammar mistakes and is worded properly.
Also, make sure it is short and to the point.
Thank you notes are best sent via email however sending by postal mail is also an option.
If you choose to send it by postal mail, make sure you have the proper address of the person you are sending it to.
Here’s a sample thank you note that you can use.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about the position of Personal Support Worker.
After the interview, I am even more convinced that I will be able to provide you with the level of work that you are looking for.
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me.
If you have had the opportunity to ask questions at the end of your interview, you might have asked if you can call back if you have not heard from them.
If they said that they preferred that you did not call them, then you should not do this.
If they said it was okay to do so, and then give them a call about a week after the interview.
Remember to keep your conversation short and to the point.
Here’s a sample that you are welcome to use:
Employer: Good morning, ABC Hospital
You: Hello. Could I speak to (the name of the person who interviewed you)?
Employer: Yes, one moment, please.
Mr. or Ms. Interviewer: Good afternoon. How can I help you?
You: Hello Mr. or Ms. Interviewer This is (your name). We had an interview last week on (the date of your interview) for the position of Personal Support Worker and I’m just following up to see if the position has been filled.
Mr. or Ms. Interviewer: (they will give you an answer)
you: OK. Thank you for your time. Good-bye.
One phone call is acceptable.
Do not call too many times and annoy your employer.
Not mandatory, but having a background check, such as a vulnerable sector check, in your portfolio goes to show how sincere you are looking for the job.
This also gives your employer extra confidence, especially if you plan to work in a private setting.
Keep in mind that most employers would want a recent check, usually, that is not more than 6 months old.
You can get yours done online through mybackcheck.
Click on the link below to obtain one.
Free Online Training With the University of Toronto
Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto has developed a new online course designed to address quality improvement theory, principles, and best practices for Personal Support Workers.
It is a unique quality of care improvement training program that you must take.
Once you complete the training, you will be provided a certificate of completion from the University of Toronto.
Click on the link below to take this free training now.
Free Online Dementia Care Training
CRADLE is a new online dementia care training program that you can take as a Personal Support Worker.
CRADLE stands for the Canadian Remote Assess for Dementia Learning Experiences.
It is an online course specifically for Personal Support Workers to enhance their skills and knowledge for supporting seniors with dementia.
This training is funded by the future skills center of the Government of Canada and is delivered by Conestoga College.
Once you complete the training, you will be provided a certificate from Conestoga College.
Click on the link below to complete your training now.
Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario also offers many free and paid dementia care training programs.
The programs are offered throughout the year and most of them are online.
You can click on the link below to access training programs offered by the
Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario.
PSW to Nursing Bridging Programs
If you’re a PSW and would like to enhance your career to become a nurse, there are many options to do so.
Becoming a nurse provides you with a wider scope of practice and autonomy.
There are many colleges that offer PSW to practical nursing bridging programs.
Click on the link below to learn more about becoming a nurse.