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Health Care Assistant

Overview 

Train to become a frontline care provider and valuable member of a health care team.

The Health Care Assistant program provides opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to provide professional care to the elderly and those facing other health or illness challenges. This 29 week, full-time program combines theory, lab study and practice experience. 

Health Care Assistants receive direction and supervision from other health professionals such as Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses.  Student practice experiences are an integral part of the program. Clinical practice experiences occur outside of the college setting. While the majority of practice placements are in centres close to NWCC campus communities, it may be necessary to utilize agencies in other Northwest communities.  Students must arrange their own transportation to and from practice experience sites and assume related costs. Students may be required to work a variety of shifts (e.g. four-, six-, eight- and/or 12-hour shifts, including days, evenings, nights, and weekends.)

Successful graduates will earn a HEALTH CARE ASSISTANT CERTIFICATE and are eligible for registration with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry.

Program Outline 

The Health Care Assistant program requires students to achieve 70% (B-) or higher in every theory course and CR (credit) grade in HCAS 107 and practical experience courses to continue in the program and receive their credential. 

Students interested in applying should read the Health Care Assistant Program Student Handbook.

Career Opportunities 

Graduates are qualified to work as frontline care providers in a variety of settings including: client's home, adult day care, assisted living, and complex care facilities.  

Learners should be aware that some employers require Grade 12 or equivalent for hire. 

Admission Requirements 

Prior to applying, please review the Health Care Assistant Program Expectations [PDF].

Important Documents;

Apply for Admission

1. Grade 12 graduation or 19 years of age or Grade 13 high school student obtaining duel credit.

2. English 11 or equivalent.  If English is not your first language and you think you may encounter difficulties in your course work or in the clinical area (i.e. difficulties with communication in English, being assertive and confident in dealing with clinical situations relating to English language and/or your cultural background), you should make your course instructor aware of these possible difficulties and a Learning Assistance Specialist will be able to assist you.

3. A complete English Competency Self-Declaration Form [PDF] confirming less than seven years of education in an English-speaking environment and/or less than four years consecutive years of education in an English-speaking environment at the secondary or post-secondary level will require one of the following standardized English language proficiency tests as set by the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry:

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Test must be within the last two years, IBT only—overall score of 76 with no score lower than 20 in speaking and listening and no score lower than 18 in Reading and Writing
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Academic or general: test must be within the last two years: overall score of 6 with a minimum of 6 in Speaking and Listening and no score lower than 5.5 in Reading and Writing.
  • Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLB PT): test must be within the last six months: Listening 7, Speaking 7, Reading 6 and Writing 6. Note: A CLB Report Card from a LINC Program may also be accepted.
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP): Academic or General: Aggregate score of 4l or better, with 4l or better in Speaking and Listening and 3H or better in Reading and Writing.  General CELPIP 7 or better in Speaking and Listening and CELPIP 6 in Reading and Writing.
  • Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL): overall score of 60, with no section less than 50. Scores valid for one year

4. FOODSAFE and WHMIS:  All students must present evidence of current FOODSAFE level 1 and WHMIS certification prior to entering classes.  

5. CPR Level C (or HCP) and Standard First Aid: Applicants must provide evidence of successful completion of a Standard First Aid/ St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid that includes Basic Life Support, Level C course no more than 12 months before admission.

6. Criminal Record Check: BC Ministry of Justice type B must be successfully completed and submitted to the NWCC admissions department prior to the start of classes. Instructions and forms are provided with you admissions package. Failure to provide a clearance letter by the deadline noted in your admissions package will result in a cancellation of the applicant’s admission application.

Please note: Any changes to your criminal record status or events occurring that will impact your criminal record must be reported in writing to the program Dean. Some events may impact your ability to attend clinical or practicum settings. The implications of failing to report changes, as a student, can result in program failure.

7. TB Test: Applicants must provide evidence of a negative tuberculin test, taken so more than six months before the date of the application (or evidence of appropriate follow-up if the test was positive). Immunizations: Nurses and health Professionals are at high risk for exposure to certain blood and airborne diseases, for which prophylactic immunization protection and/or testing is recommended. Testing for TB enables students to know their exposure status and provides baseline knowledge for treatment options if they are later exposed and become seropositive for tuberculin antibodies.

8. Current Immunizations / Vaccinations:  Applicants are asked to provide evidence of meeting current immunizations and vaccinations as per health authority policies / guidelines.

Please note: Northern Health Authority’s policy may prohibit you from working during an influenza epidemic if you have not been vaccinated against influenza (“the flu”). As well, if there is a certain outbreak of certain infectious diseases, you may be required to present documentation of your immunization status to a clinical agency before allowing to be present. If you have not been immunized, you may be prevented from entering clinical in case of an outbreak.

*Copies may not be made of documents once they are inside student files, therefore, please  ensure you have a copy of all records before turning them in.

Dates and Locations 

Intake:  January 

Campus locations:  This full-time, 29 week program is delivered on-campus at the Terrace campus.

Theory and lab study with some courses offered remotely through video-conferencing at the Prince Rupert and Smithers campus locations.

The program is offered subject to public demand and sponsor funding. Contact an Educational Advisor for more information on intake dates and locations. 

Program Fees 
FEES Full-time Domestic (29 Weeks) Full-time International
Tuition: $1,871.95 $8,620.11
*Student Union Fees: $81.72 $81.72
Mandatory Fees: $583.48 $633.48
Health Insurance: N/A $230.00
 Total Tuition: $2,537.15 $9,565.31
Additional Costs:    
**Books: $455.00 $455.00
**Supplies/Clothing: $500.00 $500.00
**Fieldwork/Practicum: $200.00 $200.00
Total Program Cost:
Tuition plus additional costs
$3,692.15 $10,720.31

Fees are effective as of August 2, 2017
*These fees are term based and may vary due to the length of the program.
**Please note that these are approximate costs and may vary depending location of practicum.