Start Dates

  • September 03, 2024


Program Delivery

  • In Class
  • Combined Online
Tuition & Fees

Domestic: CAD $5,229
Estimated Book Costs: CAD $550


Program Description

Build a rewarding career where you'll help children and adults live to their potential. This program will prepare you to support the well-being of people with disabilities. Take an active role in creating inclusive and diverse communities. 

The demand for a well-educated workforce in this field is growing. Schools, companies, and communities are becoming more inclusive in their programs and services. They are looking for you as a valuable team player. 

Graduates may study for an extra two terms and earn a Disability Studies Diploma.

Experience innovative classroom learning strategies and practical opportunities. The program is running face to face and online. Classes are generally scheduled between 8 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday.  

Before applying for the online program, note that we do not offer all courses online every term. This means your program could last longer than 8 months. 

Learners living outside of Alberta should contact the Program Chair at communitystudies@bowvalleycollege.ca. It is important to discuss insurance regulations on practicum.

Regional learners

Learners living in the area surrounding Calgary can take the program through the online offerings. Contact Regional or view our locations to contact your nearest campus. Practicum courses include on-site activity at an agency in the region. 

Additional information

The links below are examples of where you might work as a certificate or diploma graduate in Disability Studies.

Calgary SCOPE Society

The Calgary SCOPE Society is a non-profit agency improving lives for persons with developmental disabilities in Calgary and area for over 30 years! SCOPE works with children, adults, seniors and families as respected, contributing members of Calgary’s communities.

Heartland Agency

Heartland Agency and Educational Services is a non-profit organization providing care and education to children including special education.

New Age Services

New Age Services is a member of the Alberta Council of Disability Services.


Pacekids empowers children with diverse needs and their families through excellence in therapy, education, and play.


Early childhood programs, schools, and community services helping every child reach their potential

Renfrew Education Services 

Renfrew Educational Services is a leader in program development for children with special needs.

There are also positions for education assistants in classrooms for children with a disability.

Springboard Centre for Adults with Disabilities

Springboard Centre assists adults with developmental disabilities to achieve meaning in their lives.


To develop and provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to attain a personal level of achievement and excellence in life!

Admission Requirements

Academic requirements
  • Credit in English 30-1 or 65% in English 30-2 or equivalent


  • Successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED) test with a standard score of 520 in Language Arts: Reading and Writing


  • Satisfactory results on the Bow Valley College Admissions Test

English language proficiency requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English should see the English language proficiency requirements page for details.

Pre-practicum requirement

The Disability Studies program includes practicum placements in agencies where employers require a Police Information Check with a Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS). Results of this check may restrict opportunities for placement in a practicum. The Police Information Check must be obtained before the start of the practicum and may need to be renewed more than once while enrolled in a program. 


Transfer opportunities are available to a variety of institutions. Transfer credits are reviewed and accepted on an individual basis by the institution to which you apply. See our most current transfer agreements here

Related Links

Course Listings Request More Information Applying FAQ
Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

Regional Applicants


Airdrie Campus
Cochrane Campus
Okotoks Campus

Employment Rate


Training Related Employment Rate


Based on 2019-2020 domestic and international students who self-reported finding employment or training-related employment within 6-12 months after graduating.

Course Listing

Full course outlines are available here.

Curriculum subject to change.

Term 1

Required CoursesCredit

This first-year composition course introduces learners to academic writing and critical thinking. They read and analyze sociopolitical, cultural, and gender issues in texts with an emphasis on experiences of people whose voices were historically silenced, particularly those of Indigenous communities in Canada. Learners develop strategies to communicate their own ideas and integrate them with those of others by quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing source material. Learners present their written assignments professionally according to APA formatting guidelines.

Disability Studies is a study of the social, cultural, historical, and philosophical perspectives of disability. It is grounded by the belief that the creation of knowledge about disability should be WITH/BY disabled people themselves. This course will provide learners with the historical background of disability and the contexts and paradigms it currently uses today. This course requires a C to be considered a pass.

Planning involves being able to envision a positive and valued future for and with the person and their network of allies. This course evaluates current planning strategies with emphasis on the philosophical principles and values inherent in those strategies. Learners practice writing clear implementation plans incorporating elements of inclusion, empowerment, and individualization.

This course develops knowledge of the history, philosophy, legislation, values, trends and issues related to exceptional learners. It explores student inclusion and provides a wide overview of exceptionalities ranging from mild to severe and child to adulthood. Access and retrieval of information on exceptionalities is emphasized.

Through practice and reflection, learners nuture personal and professional relationships using interpersonal communication skills. With a focus on other-oriented communication, learners demonstrate how inequities and power dynamics influence relationships.

Term 2

Required CoursesCredit

This course introduces the historical and contemporary models of services and supports for those who face barriers in employment. Learners examine practices to engage people in the discovery of personal and professional potential through employment and community contribution. Emphasis falls on the importance of creating and sustaining valued roles for people with disabilities in society.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of human growth and development and typical behavioural responses throughout the lifespan. You will analyze human development across four domains: physical, cognitive, social, and emotional. Emphasis is placed upon the stages of development and their linkage to common events occurring during these stages.

This course introduces the concept of human behaviour as communication. Learners examine positive behavioural strategies supporting individuals at home, school, work, and community.

This practicum gives learners the opportunity to begin integrating theory and practice in the provision of support services to people with disabilities. Learners are placed in community and agency settings and supervised by agency staff. Weekly seminars provide opportunity for reflection and the integration of theory and practice.

Pre- or co-requisite: 9 credits of DCSC/DCSD program.
Pre-requisite: DAST1101

This course introduces the general principles and key strategies to promote mental health and wellness. Learners examine the co-existence of developmental disabilities and mental health. Focus falls on the critical importance of day-to-day supports for mental health and wellness.

Optional International PracticumCredit

Program FAQs

Yes, there is a 135-hour practicum in this certificate. There are a wide range of choices of setting, from early intervention, autism services, schools, and adult community-based services. The College places learners based on their interests and skills.

Yes. There is a face-to-face delivery and an online delivery. Many online learners complete their certificate part-time.

The program starts in September. It has fall, winter, and optional spring courses.

There is a high employment demand for individuals working in the field of disability. You may work in a daycare, a school, or an adult service. Some positions are Monday to Friday, daytime, but others involve weekend and shift work.

The Disability Workers Association is working to have its members accredited by the Government of Alberta.

Salaries vary, with workers in daycares and schools paid less than workers in adult services. It currently ranges from $16 an hour to $25 an hour.

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