By Susan Cassel
In 2008 the Government of Ontario took initiative towards the a real problem in the province. With the aging of baby boomers, the province is in need of more personal support workers. To address this the government announced an increase in funding of $107 million over the next three years. This money will be used to increase wages for those currently working in the field and also to help create an additional 2500 positions.
Increased funding and the creation of a few thousand positions. Sounds great, doesn t it? So how do I sign up? Will I require a few years of schooling and a certificate/diploma to gain employment?
As with pretty much an job, qualifications will differ. But to be honest, with the deficit of workers to positions, this is one of the few careers where the job searcher is in the drivers seat.
Many potential employers are trying to combat this deficit of workers by offering on the job paid training. It is possible to bypass entering a school (and taking a course) and gain employment tomorrow if you is able to find an employer that is willing to train new employees. On the job training will take a few weeks. You will have to obtain your CPR, in most cases pass a police check, and learn and adhere to the rules and regulations of the specific workplace.
Of course I m not trying to keep anyone from pursing an education. While it isn t absolutely necessary there are some tangible benefits to having a certificate or diploma.
Let s begin with the obvious. A personal support worker with a piece of paper will be more attractive to prospective employers, which should realistically translate into one s resume getting put to the top of the pile.
Depending on where you take your course, courses can be completed in as little as eight months and for only around $2000. College courses (non-accelerated) last two years and cost around $7000 but are seen in higher regard by employers.
Secondly a graduate typically begins at a higher wage. They will also have a greater chance at gaining wage increases in the future. I know of some employers that will pay an additional $1.50 an hour for PSW s with a certificate. Over the course of a forty hour week this adds up to $60 and over the course of a year, assuming fifty weeks of work, this adds up to an additional $3000 per year. It doesn t take a mathematician to see that this can quickly add up over the course of a decade or two.
While these are the two main advantages of gaining certification one can also count on an increased credit score (for college completion), networking , alumni advantages which can include conferences, library access, etc.
In life we all have to make trade-offs. Consider your current position when judging whether or not obtaining schooling is for you. Time and money, along with family responsibilities are a few examples of the things you should consider before making a decision.
But frankly the job market is good for those with or without certification. If you re looking for employment in this tough job market that also has strong career potential consider becoming a personal support worker.
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