Career Profile: Developmental Services...

Career Profile: Developmental Services Worker (French version available)

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

What the Job Is 

Everyone needs help at some point, including people with various kinds of developmental disabilities. They might have difficulty keeping up at work, school, or other aspects of life. The best people to help with these types of issues are developmental services workers. This field involves working with people who have differing levels of ability to try to help them achieve the best life possible. If you like to help people, this career might be a good choice for you.

Physical, mental, or intellectual disabilities can make life difficult. These are very different types of disability, but they can all be part of a developmental services worker’s job. The worker might help someone with a physical disability buy groceries or find ways to open doors and climb stairs. They might assist someone with intellectual or mental disabilities find work or a good place to live. Depending on what people need, many different tasks can be part of a development services worker’s job.

Education and Skills Needed

Learning to work in this field can give the necessary background for jobs as personal support workers, registered practical nurses, registered nurses, and personal care workers. Normally, people in this field have at least a high school education, and often a post-secondary degree or diploma from a college or university. In high school, courses in English are useful for reading complicated documents, and anything related to psychology or social studies can be helpful in learning about people.

Because workers in this job often work with vulnerable people, being prepared for emergencies is important. Knowing CPR and First Aid is necessary for most jobs in this field. Being able to give medication or shots can be very useful. If someone has severe allergies, for example, being able to give an injection could save the person’s life. Besides having the technical knowledge to deal with these situations, people in this field need to be calm and to be able to deal with crises effectively.

How to Develop Necessary Skills 

One way to develop the right qualities for the job is to volunteer in a hospital, group home, or other setting where it is possible to learn while gaining practical experience. Schools might set up opportunities for high school students to go help, or they might have information on community organizations that make these kinds of connections. Going to volunteer alone can be overwhelming but joining with a friend or two can make the volunteer work much easier.

Work Environment and Salary 

Working in development services can be stressful and sometimes physically demanding, but many people can spend their entire career in this work. Salaries start at about $34,000 per year and can rise to more than $45,000 per year. 

Most jobs for development services workers are in health care or social assistance services, including individual and family services, nursing, and residential care facilities. Some people can also work in public administration, deciding on policies, budgets, and other matters that affect the care of people who need these services.   

If you are a helpful person who likes to make people’s lives better, the job of developmental services worker could be a good fit. Why not explore the idea further?



Job Bank. “Development Services Worker in Ontario.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/outlook-occupation/5069/ON;jsessionid=8D50683C21C67D74E00A9A6B04B6070B.jobsearch76.

McKay, Lindsay. “Career Options After Earning a Developmental Services Worker Diploma.” https://www.ashtoncollege.ca/career-options-after-earning-a-developmental-services-worker-diploma/.

Ontario Colleges. “Developmental Services Worker / Special Needs.” https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en/programs/education-community-and-social-services/developmental-services-worker-special-needs.

Payscale Canada. “Average Developmental Service Worker Hourly Pay in Canada.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Developmental_Service_Worker/Hourly_Rate.

Talent.com. “Developmental Service Worker average salary in Canada, 2022.” https://ca.talent.com/salary?job=developmental+service+worker.

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