Community Service and Addictions Worker Diploma

With the aging population, the tremendous advancements in technology, and our demand for the best quality of life, the healthcare industry is facing a growing shortage of well-trained personnel. Throughout the North American healthcare industry, there is an acute need to increase the size of the workforce and raise the skill level of that workforce.

Community Service and Addictions Worker Diploma AOLCC

A well-trained Community Service and Addictions Worker (CSW) is equipped with a flexible, adaptable career. Social and community service workers administer and implement a variety of social assistance programs and community services specializing in addictions. They assist clients to address personal and social problems. They are employed by social service and government agencies, mental health agencies, group homes, shelters, substance abuse centres, school boards, correctional facilities, and other establishments.

This program provides students with the basic knowledge, skills, and work experience needed to become permanently employable in a CSW and AW setting. Skill development is delivered in three areas:

  • Comprehensive community service worker knowledge, including psychology, sociology, family life, mental health, addictions, criminology, at-risk populations, case management, counseling, ethics, business communication, report writing, and government and social
  • Comprehensive addictions worker knowledge, which includes an overview of drugs (past and present) as they pertain to the Community Service and Social Worker
  • An exploration into the world of addictions. Topics include alcohol and familiar drugs, like tobacco and caffeine, as well as natural health products and over-the-counter drugs.
  • An exploration into the world of addiction treatment and prevention. Students learn about both the prevention and treatment of addictions, including organizations, like AA, which focus on
  • Full range of computer and office skills, including current software applications, keyboarding skills, and personal and professional development
  • On-site work experience through participation in a 160- hour placement at an approved CSW facility

Career Opportunities

Social and community service addictions workers administer and implement a variety of social assistance programs and community services specializing in addictions.  They assist clients to deal with personal and social problems. The growing need for assisting vulnerable members of society will maintain demand for these workers. Careers are available in many settings, including:

  • mental health agencies
  • non-profit organizations
  • rehabilitation centres
  • substance abuse centres
  • correctional facilities
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Program Outline

Addictions Worker Level 1 course introduces students to the world of addictions in Canadian society.  They begin with an overview of drugs and drug use in Canada today.  Topics include drugs as a social problem, toxicity, substance dependence, crime and violence as it pertains to drug use, and the pharmaceutical industry in Canada.  Students review how drugs work on the brain and human body, and learn about the chemical theories of behaviour. Students also are introduced to various non-substance addictions, including Impulse Control Addictions (kleptomania, pyromania, gambling) and Behavioural Addictions (food, sexual, pornography, using computers or the internet, playing video games, working, exercising, and shopping)

Addictions Worker Level 2 course continues the exploration into addictions, this time focusing on uppers and downers which are stimulants (like cocaine) and amphetamines (pain killers), depressants, and inhalants.  Students learn how psychotherapeutic drugs including antipsychotics and antidepressants are used in the treatment of mental illness.   Topics include alcohol and familiar drugs like tobacco and caffeine, as well as natural health products and over-the-counter drugs.

Addictions Worker Level 3 course moves into restricted drugs including opioids, hallucinogens, cannabis, and performance enhancing drugs.  Students learn about both the prevention and treatment of addictions, including organizations, like AA, which focus on rehabilitation.

Business Communication and Report Writing introduces students to the basics of report writing in a Community Service Worker environment. Students learn to write objectively, without using slang, jargon, or clichés. Reports include in-house reports like intake interview reports daily logs, case notes, progress notes, and incident reports. Multi-audience reports and short proposals are also taught and practiced. Students learn proper formatting and content for CSW letters, emails, brochures, and newsletters, in addition to presentation skills which they will need in the field.
Case Management, Counselling, and Ethics introduces students to the skills, process, and challenges involved with counselling clients. Students learn about ethics and values, and how self-awareness and good judgement is critical. Topics include developing and maintaining a counselling relationship, utilizing active listening and interviewing skills, and pursuing empathy when dealing with clients. Students learn how to deal with specifically difficult cases, like confrontational clients, those who may be dangerous, or clients who suffer with mental disorders, substance abuse, or HIV.
Criminology and At-Risk Populations introduces students to crime and criminology in Canada. Students explore different perspectives on crime. Topics for discussion include the various types of crime – violent, white collar, property, organized – as well as sociological theories regarding crime, and our responses to it. Students are also introduced to populations which are most at-risk in Canadian society, as these individuals are those often in need of Community Service Workers.
Life-Span Development introduces students all developmental stages of the human life-span. Students begin with the concepts of nature versus nurture and how each affect prenatal development. Topics move from infancy to adolescence, through adulthood and into late adulthood. Students learn about the problems associated with each stage of our life span.
Introduction to Mental Health and Addictions initiates students to the skills and principles of mental health assessment and care. Students learn about anxiety, mood disorders like depression, and the nature of loss and grief. Students explore personality disorders, physical problems with psychological sources, sexual disorders, dissociative disorders, and eating and sleeping disorders. Students also investigate chronic mental health illnesses like schizophrenia and other psychoses. Students discover that client manifestation of mental illness can vary from outward-focused emotions (e.g., violence), to inward-focused emotions (e.g., suicide), or frequently to substance abuse and addiction.
Psychology Fundamentals introduces students to numerous viewpoints, from Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, up to current perspectives on psychology. The fundamental structure of neurons and the brain’s physiology is introduced to provide a basis for comprehending how we sense the world around us. Students learn about pain management, sleep conditioning, and cognitive learning. Lecture topics include problem-solving, memory function, motivation, emotions and intellectual ability, and how these factors develop and influence our personalities.
Sociology and Family Life in Canada introduces students to sociological theories and development. Topics include culture, social structure, control and deviance, the global view of family, marriage, and divorce.  Students learn to understand social class in Canada, and global inequality, while exploring gender, age, race, and ethnicity.  Factors like health, medicine, and the environment are discussed as students ponder the nature of global social structure and change.
Government and Social Services introduces students to health of both the individual and the population of Canada. Students begin with The History of Health Care in Canada, including the Canada Health Act. They learn about the Federal and Provincial governments roles in healthcare funding. They explore the various practitioners, practices, regulations, and laws regarding healthcare, both now, and as it trends toward the future. This course also includes certificates of completion for Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and First Aid and CPR, Level C.
Clinical Placement, also referred to as Worksite Experience, Clinical Externship, or Practicum Placement, is a critical training component for students in any healthcare services program. This is the period of time when students are placed in a real workplace environment and given a chance to apply some of the skills learned during the program.

Windows 8.1 Level 1 course provides an overview and introduction to the Microsoft Windows 8.1 operating system (Professional Edition). Students will learn the basic concepts and most commonly used features and functions of Windows 8.1. They will learn the fundamentals of the Windows 8.1 operating system along with how to locate important system information, set up, manage, and remove user accounts, as well as how to navigate and view files on the computer using File Explorer.

The Introduction to Keyboarding course is designed for individuals who have no formal training in keyboarding. The objective is to teach students the skill of keyboarding – essential to the learning of other computer applications and workplace skills. The course begins with an overview of the basics of computer use. Students learn about the components of the computer and keyboard, as well as the seating, posture, and hand positioning necessary for efficient keyboarding.
The Keyboard Skill Building Level 1 course is designed for individuals who have basic keyboard proficiency, and wish to increase speed and dexterity. Each lesson increases key recognition and builds confidence using the keyboard, while improving speed and accuracy. Speed achieved depends on personal dexterity and time spent on practice lessons. Students who are not already familiar with the TypingTrainer software program are introduced to it. Typing Trainer helps students learn and improve skills using a variety of methods: graphical keyboard drills, speed drills, alphabet drills, word, phrase and sentence drills, and keyboarding Self-Tests. Upon completion of this course, students are expected to keyboard at minimum 25 words per minute.
The Microsoft Access Level 1 course teaches students the fundamentals of the Microsoft Access application. In this course, students examine database objects and learn to manage data in a database. They learn to sort and filter data, display and format data, and use simple queries to retrieve data. Students learn to create and modify databases and tables, and work with simple forms and reports.
In the Microsoft Excel Level 1 course, students learn to create and manage worksheets and workbook files; enter data and create basic formulas to perform calculations. They learn to edit and manipulate cell content, modify worksheet structure, view and format worksheets, and use Excel’s predefined functions. Students use the Find and Replace feature, use themes to format workbooks and practice preparing, previewing, and printing worksheets.
In the Microsoft Outlook Level 1 course, students will learn how to use both the e-mail program and the personal information manager components of Microsoft Outlook. The skills learned in this course will help students use Microsoft Outlook effectively both at work and in your personal life.
In Microsoft Word Level 1 course, students learn to create, navigate, and organize documents and use the help functions. They learn to edit and manipulate text, view and format documents, and use Word’s predefined functions. Students use the Find and Replace feature, use proofing and language tools, create, format and modify tables, work with hyperlinks and cross references, and learn how to preview and print a document.
Job Search and Résumé Writing provides students with both traditional and innovative job-search techniques and résumé writing skills required to gain employment in today’s competitive marketplace. The course combines theoretical, how-to information with hands-on practical applications. Students are required to draw on their own experiences to identify work preferences, accomplishments, technical and transferable skills, and to research, organize, and analyze information; and to apply their knowledge in a series of job search preparation and implementation tasks.
The course is designed to improve the student’s learning experience and prepare him or her for personal and professional growth and success. The focus is on increasing the student’s self-discipline and self-esteem. The positive concepts taught in this course are intended to unleash the student’s potential for growth and creativity, resulting in personal and professional development. Humor and practical examples are used to target the primary concerns of adult students.