University and College Programs
There are a number of different educational avenues that lead to a career in community mental health, some through university, others through college programs and still more through certification and upgrading.
The minimum requirement for becoming a registered dietician in Ontario is a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited university program in foods and nutrition and an internship.
For information about career options for Dietitians within community mental health, click here
Universities offering a degree in Dietitics
In Ontario, nursing has two main categories of care providers - Registered Nurses (RNs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs). Although all nursing students learn from the same body of nursing knowledge, RNs study it in greater depth and over a longer period of time and, accordingly, are able to provide care in more complex situations. RNs require a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and RPNs require a two-year diploma in practical nursing from a College of Applied Arts and Technology as a basic educational requirement. For more information about Registered Practical Nurses, click here
Nurse Practitioners are RNs in a new class - the Extended Class (EC) - to acknowledge their advanced knowledge and decision-making skills. Extended Class RNs [RN (EC)] have received specific education in the provision of primary care and are able to perform some of the diagnostic and treatment functions that were the exclusive domain of physicians.
Clinical Nurse Specialists are advanced practice nurses. They have a minimum of a Masters degree in nursing and provide direct care, consultation to other team members, and educational opportunities, including clinical supervision. They also are involved in research activities including conducting studies and disseminating information about best practices.
Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses are experienced nurses who have specialized in this area and written an additional national exam through the Canadian Nurses Association. They must maintain ongoing continuing education in the specialty or rewrite the exam every 5 years.
After graduation nursing students must write a national certification examination. Once they successfully complete this exam, they are registered by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO).
Centennial College also offers a Community and Mental Health Refresher program for Registered Nurses. The course is designed to prepare graduates for reintegrating into the workforce in the areas of mental health, crisis management and community nursing. It is also to assist with workers who have obtained their diploma from out-of-country and are missing essential components in the nursing program to meet the entry to practice competencies for Ontario registered nurses.
Nursing graduates have a wide range of career options within community mental health, for more information about career options, click here
Universities offering a Bachelor of Science degree for Registered Nurses in Ontario:
Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology which have offered a mental health certificate program for Registered Nurses include:
Occupational therapists are university-trained and complete a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised fieldwork experience (on-the-job training). The accreditation standards set by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) accepts the Bachelor degree in occupational therapy as the minimal educational requirement for entry-level education in Canada. CAOT also supports master's entry-level programs.
Occupational therapists have a wide range of career options within community mental health, for more information about career options, click here
Universities offering an accredited Ontario University Occupational Therapy Program:
In Ontario, a doctoral degree in psychology is required for the designation Psychologist and a master's degree in psychology is required for the designation Psychological Associate. A period of supervised practical experience and the successful completion of provincial written and/or oral examinations is usually required.
For information about career options within community mental health for Psychologists click here and for Psychological Associates, click here.
Universities offering a doctoral degree in psychology include:
Specialist physicians such as Psychiatrists require a university degree in medicine from an approved medical school and additional postgraduate residency training for three or more years depending upon the specialty.
For information about career options for Psychiatrists within community mental health, click here.
Ontario Medical schools which offer a Psychiatry program:
The Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) requires four years of university study. An additional year of graduate study is required for the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree. Those holding a non-social work undergraduate degree must complete two years of study for a Master of Social Work degree.
Post-graduate study leading to a Doctorate degree in social work is normally pursued by those who wish to teach at a university or who are involved in high-level research, social policy or large-scale administration.
For information about career options for Social Workers within community mental health, click here.
Universities offering a Bachelor of Social Work Program:
Some Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology offer two-year degree program focused on teaching the human care and counselling skills required to work with Aboriginal persons to promote community and individual health and well-being. Many of the programs combine addiction counselling with mental health training.
Laurentian University also offers a 4 year program in Native Human Services, leading to a Bachelor of Social Work Degree.
For information about careers within Aboriginal community mental health, click here.
Colleges offering Aboriginal Community Worker programs:
The Mental Health and Addiction Worker program is a two-year program designed to give students the training required to be counsellors in mental health and addictions services.
The Canadore college program has a strong partnership with the Nipissing Detoxification and Substance Abuse Programs sponsored by the North Bay General Hospital as well as collaborative linkages to mental health and addictions organizations throughout the province.
Mental Health & Addiction Worker Programs currently offered:
A two-year diploma in nursing is required to become a registered practical nurse. In general, registered practical nurses work with individual clients, provide education to groups in addition to provide support to family members. Often, registered practical nurses are used by community mental health organizations in positions where they can work with people through the healing process and provide hands on nursing care.
For information about career options for registered practical nurses within community mental health, click here.
Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology which have offered a mental health nursing specialty within their Registered Practical Nurse program include:
Personal Support Worker training is offered by Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, Registered Private Career Colleges, and Adult Education programs of some Boards of Education and not-for-profit organizations. All organizations providing this training base their programs on the document Personal Support Worker Training: Outcomes and Module Outlines published by the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA).
Personal Support Worker training is arranged in modules with two official exit points:
- 1. Personal Attendant - Completion of the first seven modules; responds to the needs of attendant care workers and the client/consumers they serve who wish to be active in directing their own care, and in training attendants to meet their individual needs; students who wish to confine their role to basic homemaking may also exit the program after the first seven modules.
- 2. Personal Support Worker - Completion of the entire program (14 modules); responds to the needs of workers who require the full range of training to work with clients who have a wide variety of individual needs and varying degrees of ability to direct their services.
Personal Support Workers are hired by community mental health organizations for a wide variety of positions, including Case Manager Housing Support Worker, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Worker, Crisis Counsellor and Peer Support Worker .
Colleges offering the Personal Support Worker program:
The goal of psychosocial rehabilitation is to teach skills and provide community supports so that individuals with a mental illness can function in social, vocational, educational and familial roles with the least amount of supervision from the psychosocial rehabilitation worker. Psychosocial rehabilitation programs provide students with the understanding and skills to use this approach in working with people with mental illness.
Psychosocial rehabilitation workers are employed in a variety of community settings and roles such as Case Manager, Housing Support Worker, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Worker.
Psychosocial Rehabilitation Worker programs are currently offered at:
The Social Services Worker program trains students to achieve highly developed relationship skills, through technical understanding of the rules governing their particular area, and heightened awareness of how society functions. It is expected that program graduates also possess a commitment to work for social justice.
Social Services Workers are hired by community mental health organizations for a variety of positions, including Case Manager, Housing Support Worker, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Worker, Crisis Counsellor and Peer Support Worker .
Social Services Worker Programs currently offered:
Scholarships and Bursaries
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available in Ontario to assist individuals pursuing College or University training for a career in community mental health. Some of these are available to all students in a health or social services related field and others specifically for those pursing a career in mental health services. It is advisable to contact the college or university program you are interested in about any possible scholarships and bursaries you may be eligible to apply for.
Below is a sample of some of the many related bursaries and scholarships currently being offered.
- Baxter Corporation Jean Goodwill Scholarship
Two scholarships of $2,500 each are awarded to Aboriginal students seeking a career in nursing or a graduate nurse already serving in isolated communities accepted in community health, outpost or midwifery nursing. For more information, contact the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada.
- Cynthia Bled Education Bursary Award (Algonquin College)
Bursaries awarded to students in the 3-year Child and Youth Worker Program and the 2-year Social Service Worker Program. Awards to be presented upon completion of 2nd term. Students must demonstrate they have overcome challenges, have good attendance, and practical skills in their field of study.
- École Polytechnique Memorial Awards in Memory of Dec 6 Massacre (George Brown College)
Award is 1 year tuition plus book allowance to max $300.00. Presented to a student in semester 3 who has a satisfactory academic standing, a demonstrable financial need for the award, and a demonstrated commitment to the field of helping assaulted women.
- Gail Henning Memorial Bursary (McMaster University)
Award is $2000 to a medical student in financial need who is completing electives in psychiatry with the intention to pursue a career in psychoanalysis.
- Gertrude E Scholfield Student Bursary Award (Fleming College)
Awarded is $1,500 to a full-time student registered in the Personal Support Worker Program at the Peterborough campus. Preference will be given to students active in the community and college.
- Jennifer Award (Registered Nurses' Foundation of Ontario)
Award of $4,000 is given to Baccalaureate nursing students who have demonstrated outstanding potential and contributions to the fields of child and family, oncological or mental health nursing. For more information, contact the Registered Nurses' Foundation of Ontario.
- Kathleen Howe Mitchell Scholarship (Registered Nurses Foundation of Ontario)
The award of $4,000 is to provide an opportunity for an Registered Nurse who wishes to pursue education related to the practice of nursing in psychiatric or gerontological nursing at the graduate level. For more information, contact the Registered Nurses' Foundation of Ontario.
- National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation
A nationally registered charity with a mandate to provide financial support to Aboriginal individuals who are pursuing education and professional development.
Eligibility criteria include studying a branch of the health sciences such as: nursing, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, lab technology, physiotherapy, dietetics, health administration, public health policy. For more information, contact the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation.