How to Choose a Good Community Support Worker Course: Tips & Advice

Image: Volunteering and hands-on training are core components of a quality CSW course

Planning to become a community support worker (CSW)? You're on track to a rewarding career with many different job options.

Community services is a challenging, diverse, and quickly growing field. CSWs work in front-line roles, supporting vulnerable populations and helping people lead healthier more independent lives.

So how do  you get started?

Your first step is find a quality community support worker course. There are quite a few colleges across Manitoba that offer this program. How do you know which one to choose?

While you should certainly take the time to do your own research, there are a few key factors that every good community support worker course should offer.

In this post, we outline all the features you should look for when researching CSW training options.

After reading, you will be much better prepared to find a great program to launch your career.

 

your CSW Course should include an internship

Any community support worker course you choose should definitely include an internship. A work placement is key because it gives you real experience out in the community.

It's also an opportunity to explore different areas of community work. Are you interested in working with women, youth, homeless populations, or people suffering from addiction?

A good college will try to place you with an organization that specializes in the area you're interested in.

This is an excellent way to explore the field and make some industry connections, before you've even graduated.

In fact, some of our graduates end up getting hired straight out of their internship. No school can guarantee you'll be hired, but the internship will definitely open some doors.

 

Does the CSW course feature hands-on training?

In addition to an internship, your community support worker course should offer plenty of hands-on training.

Examples include:

☑️ Case studies for analysis and assessment skills

☑️ Community service projects and presentations

☑️ Mock interviewing and counselling sessions

☑️ Volunteering in the community

 

When you're comparing schools, ask Admissions about hands-on projects and activities. Make sure the CSW course offers more than just classroom theory.

 

Check the graduate employment rate

Graduate employment rate means the percentage of students who actually get hired after completing the community support worker program.

This number gives you a good idea of how effective the training is. It also tells you whether local employers trust the college and feel comfortable hiring its graduates.

What number should you look for?

An employment rate of 85% and above is good. Obviously, the higher the better!

 

career services for CSW students

Many colleges claim to offer excellent career services. But what does that really mean?

When comparing CSW colleges, it's important to dig deeper and ask each school what level of job-search support they offer.

Examples of career services include:

☑️ Assistance to write a professional resume and cover

☑️ Mock job interviews to hone your self-presentation skills

☑️ Referrals to industry partners who hire the school's CSW graduates

☑️ Coaching on how to find CSW jobs online

☑️ Lifetime career assistance 

 

Flexible CSW training options

Is the option to study online important to you? Not all CSW colleges offer online versions of this program. 

When you're comparing courses, take a look at how flexible the training is.

At Herzing, for example, we recently launched a completely online CSW course. We also have a hybrid program, where students can do a blend of on-campus and online learning.

We started offering these options because so many of our students preferred to study online. If you're working while studying and/or caring for a family, having an online study option can make all the difference.

Just make sure the online CSW course doesn't sacrifice on curriculum, hands-on learning, or internship.

 

Helpful, knowledgeable admissions team

At some point, you'll need to contact each college you're considering and speak with an Admissions representative.

This interaction will tell you a lot about the school and whether it's the right fit for you.

Here are a few things to notice:

☑️ Can the Admissions person answer all your questions about the CSW course?

☑️ Are they helpful and friendly?

☑️ Do they ask about your career goals, interests, strengths and weaknesses?

☑️ Do they offer several ways to talk, such as by phone, videoconference, or in person (to suit your needs or preferences)?

☑️ Do you feel pushed to enrol before you're ready?

☑️ Do you get straightforward information about tuition fees, financial aid, and application requirements?

 

Admissions reps are the face of the school. If you have a bad experience at this stage, chances are you'll want to look elsewhere.

 

Your summary checklist

We've covered some of the core features of a good community support worker course. But there are a few more things you can keep in mind while making your final decision.

Here's a summary checklist of all the important points to consider when you're researching programs and speaking with Admissions.

☑️ Internship

☑️ Hands-on training (ask for examples)

☑️ Graduate employment rate

☑️ Experienced instructors (do they have a strong background in social services?)

☑️ In-depth career support services

☑️ Flexible training options (if this matters to you)

☑️ Knowledgeable, non-pushy admissions reps

☑️ Positive reviews of the CSW course

☑️ Positive reviews of the college

 

Still have questions?

If you still have questions about CSW training or careers, we welcome you to speak with a Herzing College Admissions Advisor.

Even if you don't choose Herzing, we can provide helpful information and point you in the right direction.

Get started by exploring our Community Support Worker course. Click below to learn about the field, see a course list, and get the latest graduate employment rates.

Advisors are available for online chat if you need further information or assistance.

Explore the Community Support Worker Program