Academic Calendar 2024-25 
    Jun 15, 2024  
Academic Calendar 2024-25

Health Care Assistant (Certificate)

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Total Credits: 33
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.

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, complex care (including special care units) and acute care.



Evidence of all of the following must be provided prior to acceptance:

1. HCA Program Entry - English Language Competency Requirements      

To be accepted into a recognized BC HCA program, applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English**. Students must be able to communicate effectively in English to be successful in their studies and capable of providing safe and competent care to patients/clients/residents in the work environment during practice education components. Domestic and/or international applicants who do not have three years of full-time instruction in English will require a standardized proficiency assessment to confirm competency in all four language skills areas (speaking, listening, reading and writing).

For applicants with three years of full-time instruction in English, one of: 

For applicants with less than three years of full-time instruction in English, one of:

Standardized English language proficiency test score​

  • 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 Language Instruction for Newcomers (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

**Applicants must provide a transcript(s) or a BC personal education record as evidence to confirm completion of a minimum of three years of full-time instruction in English. To meet this threshold, the Registry looks to confirm that applicants have studied over a period of three years and completed a minimum of two semesters of studies within each year. In addition, it is expected that the student will be taking full time studies (30 credits per academic year to a minimum of 18 credits per academic year [60% courseload]). In this way, it is typically a minimum of six semesters with total credits between 54 - 90 credits, completed over the three-year timeframe.

2.     Attendance at a Health Care Assistant program Information Session

This 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.

When you apply, you will need to submit proof that you meet the program admission requirements listed above. Where a letter grade is specified, you must have proof of that grade or higher.

3. For International students: a clear police certificate from country of origin must also be included as a program entry requirement


Approved English-Speaking Countries

The following countries are considered by the Registry as those where English is the primary and official language, and the language used for education. Where approved countries offer education in languages other than English, transcripts must demonstrate that English was the language of instruction.

American Samoa Ghana Saint Lucia
Anguilla Gibraltar Saint Kitts and Nevis
Antigua and Barbuda Granada Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Bahamas Guam Seychelles
Barbados Guyana Sierra Leone
Belize Ireland Singapore
Bermuda Jamaica South Africa
Botswana Kenya Tanzania
British Virgin Islands Lesotho Trinidad and Tobago
Canada Liberia Turks and Caicos Island
Cayman Islands Malta Uganda
Dominica Mauritius United Kingdom
Falkland Islands Monserrat United States
Fiji New Zealand United States Virgin Islands
Gambia Nigeria Zambia
Australia Saint Helena Zimbabwe

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, the learner will be able to 

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


Program Participation Requirements

The following are required prior to the first clinical experience:

  • FOODSAFE Level 1 (or course deemed equivalent) and Standard First Aid with CPR Level “C” or Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification. Students will be responsible for the cost of these certifications.
  • Completion of the Student Practice Education Core Orientation (SPECO) (available on the LearningHub), which must include the following:
    • A signed checklist SPECO Checklist.pdf (
    • Proof of meeting current immunizations / vaccinations as per health care organization policies / guidelines, or signed vaccination exemption form (except TB)
    • Criminal record check from the Criminal Records Review Program (must be done through Camosun College), including clearance to work with vulnerable adults
    • Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum E-Learning Modules
    • WHMIS - Provincial Course
  • Completion of the Health Care Assistant Practice in BC E-Learning Modules (LearningHub)
  • Completion of the Recognizing and Responding to Adult Abuse course (LearningHub)
  • A TB skin test or chest X-ray 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.
  • 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 and successfully complete the practicums and clinical placements to graduate with a Certificate in Health Care Assistant