In order to qualify for ADWA certification, you must have
- Worked in the disability services sector for at least 1750 hours—including practicum and paid work—by the time you have completed other certification requirements. (You may apply before that.)
- Had a positive reference submitted from someone identified by your employer as being in a supervisor role.
- Had a positive reference submitted by someone to whom you have provided services or their guardian or designate, indicating how your support as a disability worker has been helpful. (This reference cannot be from a family member with a disability.)
- Provided evidence that you meet all of the core competency standards.
- Paid the certification application fee (waived for members of our pilot group).
Candidates ideally will have been supervised by the same individual for at least 6 months in order to have observed the candidate demonstrating a variety of skills, knowledge and abilities.
Pathway to Certification
1. Complete Application Form (link to Application page)
2. ADWA confirms supervisor with employer
3. ADWA sends preparation manuals to candidate and designated supervisor who is supporting the candidate
4. Evidence is gathered for upload and review, e.g.,
- Proctored exam(s) – scenario, knowledge questions, language skills, ethical decision-making
- Service user reference
- Supervisor checklist (reference)
- Professional development plan (e.g., goals and plan from recent performance appraisal)
- Transcript of graded coursework (if any)
- Other documents candidate sees as relevant
- Observation by ADWA expert evaluator
5. Evidence is reviewed by ADWA’s expert evaluators
6. Candidate is provided with feedback to help fill gaps in evidence (if any)
7. Certified Community Disability Worker (CCDW) status is awarded to those meeting the standards.
Candidates normally have 6 months from application to evidence evaluation to complete the certification process. Extensions may be give under certain circumstances.