Academic Calendar 2023-2024 
    Sep 29, 2023  
Academic Calendar 2023-2024

Health Care Assistant - ESL (Certificate)

Visit Program Webpage

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


The Health Care Assistant - ESL (HCA-ESL) Program is designed to provide English as a Second Language 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.

Students will study the HCA program content with instructors from the School of Health and Human Services, study English language skills with an ESL instructor and have class, lab and clinical placement experience throughout the program.

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).


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) (testing within the last year):
    • Listening 6
    • Speaking 6
    • Reading 5
    • Writing 5

      Note: A CLB Report Card from a LINC Program may also be accepted. To confirm the appropriate level of English proficiency, Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) Report Cards (also may be known as ESL Student Progress Reports) would need to specify that an applicant’s current language level (“CLB levels now”), as “Completing” CLB Speaking 6, Listening 6, Reading 6 and Writing 6 AND that the “Recommended Class Placement for Next Term / Course” as Speaking 7, Listening 7, Reading 7 and Writing 7.
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Academic or General (testing within the last two years):
    • overall score of 5.5
    • minimum of 5.5 in Speaking and Listening
    • no score lower than 5 in Reading and Writing
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (testing within the last two years):
    • IBT with an overall score of 56
  • no score lower than 15 in Speaking and Listening
  • no score lower than 13 in Reading and Writing

English Proficiency Self-Declaration:

Informational Interview:

  • Attend an informational interview with the Health Care Assistant - English Language Development instructor to confirm program expectations, and discuss oral communication skills.

Information Session:

  • 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Criminal Record Check is required.
  • The Provincial Practice Education Guidelines require students to complete the BC Provincial Violence Prevention Training prior to clinical/practicum placements. This training will occur during the program. Students will be notified in sufficient time for the training to occur and this training will be provided by a third party. Students will be responsible for any associated costs. Failure to comply with this training could result in the health care organization, community partner or the college barring the individual from the clinical/practicum setting until required training is completed. This could impact a student’s ability to successfully complete the clinical/practicum placement. Violence prevention training from other provinces does not transfer in and meet the requirements.

Program Completion Requirements

  • Students must achieve a minimum of 70% (“B-“) in all academic courses; successfully complete the practicums and clinical placements; and are expected to complete ELD 056  to graduate with a Certificate in Health Care Assistant.