Academic Calendar 2022-23 
    Apr 24, 2024  
Academic Calendar 2022-23 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Health Care Assistant (Certificate)

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Total Credits: 31.5
Credential: Certificate in Health Care Assistant
Program Code: HCA.CERT
CIP: 51.3902


The Health Care Assistant program follows the provincially developed curriculum and is designed to provide students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to function effectively as front-line care-givers, and respected members of the healthcare team, in community and facility settings. Under the direction and supervision of a health professional, graduates provide person-centered care aimed at promoting and maintaining the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being of clients/residents.

Career Opportunities

Upon completion of the program, graduates are prepared to work in any level of continuing care, including: home support, adult day care, assisted living, and complex care (including special care units).


One of:

And all of:

  • Attendance at a Health Care Assistant program Information Session is required to ensure applicants have a strong understanding of the expectations of the Health Care Assistant (HCA) program and the role of the HCA in the work environment. An online Information Session module is available for anyone unable to attend in person.

English Language Competency Requirements

  • BC HCA program applicants are required to demonstrate English language proficiency. Domestic and/or international applicants whose first language is not English will need to take a standardized proficiency assessment to confirm communicative competency in all four language skills areas (speaking, listening, reading and writing).
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of one of the following standardized English language proficiency test scores from an authorized assessment centre:​
    • Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLB PT) (test must be within the last year):
      • Listening 7
      • Speaking 7
      • Reading 6
      • Writing 6

Note: A CLB Report Card from a LINC Program may also be accepted.

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Academic or General (test must be within the last two years):
    • overall score of 6
    • minimum of 6 in Speaking and Listening
    • no score lower than 5.5 in Reading and Writing
  • Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) (test must be within the last two years):
    • overall score of 60
    • no section less than 50
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (test must be within the last two years) IBT only:
    • an overall score of 76
    • no score lower than 20 in Speaking and Listening
    • no score lower than 18 in Reading and Writing

English Proficiency Self-Declaration

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Provide person-centred care and assistance that recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each individual resident or client.
  • Use an informed problem-solving approach to provide care and assistance that promotes the physical, psychological, social, cognitive and spiritual well-being of clients/residents and families.
  • Provide care and assistance for clients/residents experiencing complex health challenges.
  • Provide care and assistance for clients/residents experiencing cognitive and/or mental health challenges.
  • Interact with other members of the healthcare team in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.
  • Communicate clearly, accurately and in sensitive ways with clients/residents and families within a variety of community and facility contexts.
  • Provide personal care and assistance in a safe, competent and organized manner.
  • Recognize and respond to own self-development, learning and health enhancement needs.
  • Perform the care provider role in a reflective, responsible, accountable and professional manner.


Program Participation Requirements

  • A TB skin test is compulsory. TB testing must be done within three months of program start and students must provide documentation of this prior to the start of the first practicum or experience with public clients. Students are responsible for the cost of this test. An additional TB skin test is required after each possible exposure to TB and/or travel within an area that there is a known prevalence of TB.
  • Students are highly recommended to maintain current immunizations as per the Practice Education Guidelines of B.C. Recommended immunizations are found on the Health Sciences Placement Network of Canada website by searching for immunization guidelines. Failure to comply with immunization guidelines could result in the health care organization or the College barring the individual from the clinical/practicum setting until proof of immunity is provided and/or until a communicable disease outbreak is declared over. This could impact a student’s ability to successfully complete the clinical/practicum placement course and/or a clinical/practicum.
  • Criminal Record Check is required.
  • FOODSAFE and Standard First Aid with CPR Level “C” are required prior to the first clinical placement. Students will be responsible for the cost of these certifications.

Program Completion Requirements

Students must achieve a minimum of 70% (“B-“) in all academic courses and successfully complete the practicums and clinical placements to graduate with a Certificate in Health Care Assistant

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