NACC Caregivers/Personal Support Workers

The NACC/PSW is a professional association representing Certified Caregivers/PSWs. Nationally and internationally, our organization provides a strong, unified voice that promotes and influences workplace training, as well as healthy community and institutional public policy.

The National Association of Certified Caregivers and Personal Support Workers is an association for Caregivers/Personal Support Workers in the workplace, and provides training and educational program standards of the equivalent of 1000 hours through home study, and learning while working on the job. The National Association guidelines for these workers were developed by Gail A. Acton, and provide content, standards and guidelines that combine clinical and self-study, and ensure that the Caregivers have knowledge and the skills necessary to be successful as a Certified Caregiver/Personal Support Worker in Front Line Care, in both the community and institutional settings.

The Caregiver/Personal Support Worker (CPSW) program prepares Front Line Unregulated Workers to provide supportive care to individuals across their lifespan by assisting them with their activities of daily living, including clients experiencing cognitive impairment, physical disability, and mental health challenges.

Graduates may find employment in a variety of care settings including:

  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home care services having concern for clients living in their own homes in the community
  • Supportive housing settings including senior’s apartments and retirement homes
  • Group homes
  • Hospitals
  • Adult day programs
  • Educational facilities

The range of services provided by Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers depend upon the individual needs of each person they support, and may include personal care, such as dressing, personal hygiene, mobility and other routine activities of living in accordance with Seniors Living-In-Place. These include home management, such as shopping, light house cleaning and meal preparation, family responsibilities, such as routine care giving to children, and assisting with social and recreational activities.

As front line workers, Certified Caregiver/Personal Support Workers must develop a broad range of abilities beyond dexterity skills. They must provide not only for the comfort, safety and well-being of their clients, but also demonstrate sensitivity and respect for those in their care. The attitude, abilities and approach of the CPSW are critical to the well-being and health of the people they support.

The CPSW will develop a skill/knowledge level that includes nursing and home care, and social work service training. The scope of responsibilities for a Certified Caregiver/Personal Support Worker is as follows:

  • Co-operates with all of the health and family members
  • Promotes safety and works in a safe manner
  • Assists with walking, movement and positioning
  • Assists with mechanical and physical lifts and/or transfers
  • Assists with personal care, personal hygiene, dressing, including laundry related tasks
  • Assists with meal preparation, grocery shopping, feeding, dietary planning, food handling
  • Answers call bells
  • Checks and records vital signs
  • Teaches life skills
  • Assists with range of motion exercises and other rehabilitative measures
  • Practices universal precautions and maintains a clean working environment
  • Provides emotional and social support services to care-receivers and their families
  • Is aware of common allergies and related first aid measures
  • Works as a supportive care worker for palliative care and hospice patients
  • Observes and reports clinical and treatment findings, behavioural changes and changes in ongoing conditions.
  • Maintains records, documents procedures

The NACC/PSW program provides quality education and training for aspiring CPSWs. The NACC/PSW Program Modules subject list is as follows:

  • Human Resource Training
  • Life Skills Training
  • Workplace Training
  • Ageing Education; a multidisciplinary approach for a multicultural population
  • Safety and Mobility
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Assisting with Personal Hygiene
  • Abuse and Neglect
  • Household Management, Nutrition, and Hydration
  • Care Planning/Restorative Care/Electronic Documentation/Working in the Community
  • Assisting the Family, Growth and Development
  • Assisting the Dying Person
  • Assisting with Medications
  • Cognitive and Mental Health Issues and Brain Injuries
  • Health Conditions
  • Volunteer Internships and placements
  • Self-employment and business start-up training

Benefits to potential employers and or individuals wanting to hire a Certified Caregiver/PSW that are graduates of the NACC/PSW US Program include:

  • Assurance that the CPSW has been trained to meet established learning outcomes and program standards.
  • Confidence that the CPSW has the knowledge required to do the job as verified by third party testing.
  • Affirmation that the skills required to do the job have been verified in workplace settings through the Skills Passbook.

Entrance Requirements:

  • Grade 12 or equivalent admission requirement,
  • English, reading and comprehension requirement,
  • Clear police records check and Vulnerable Sector Check, Standard First Aid and Basic Rescuer CPR prior to starting the Clinical Placement.

Program Length:

  • Home Study Equivalent to 800 classroom hours
  • Placement 300 hours
    • (Skills Passbook completed)

Total Program hours: 1000 hours


Instructor Requirements:

  • Certified Caregiver/Personal Support Worker
  • A minimum of two (2) years current, relevant work experience


NACC/PSW Final Theory Examination:

The NACC/PSW final examination is a self-scheduled, on-line examination that evaluates the theory component of the training and determines whether the candidate has the required level of knowledge to do the job safely and effectively. The external setting for the exam and marking provide unbiased and consistent evaluation of adherence to the NACC/PSW standards.

The Exam Services provide one year membership into the NACC/PSW. Certification requires ongoing training of 40 hours each year, after the first year of graduation, and paid membership fees to retain certification.


There is a 400 question final exam prior learning assessment and review of work experience and work skills passport. A numbered certification, and wallet sized card for identification, will be awarded upon successful completion of the final exam and other stated requirements.

For CPSWs deciding on a business operation, there is assistance in building business plans, registration of businesses and career planning, resume adjustments, and counselling.