The need for professional Education Assistants (EA) in British Columbia schools continues to increase, in order to provide support to children and youth with diverse abilities in all classroom settings. Education Assistants have proven to be effective in working with the individualized education delivery models now being employed in the schools. Under the supervision of classroom teachers, Education Assistants carry out a wide range of functions, including providing support to a particular student or to the class as a whole.
The program has been developed with the following guiding principles:
(1) A child-centred philosophy should enhance program content. Thus, all courses in the Education Assistant program have been designed to contribute to an Education Assistant's ability to enhance the child's involvement in the educational environment.
(2) Education Assistants require training and education that provides theory, develops competency in required skills, and promotes professional development.
Education Assistants may be employed to provide support to children with varying levels of special needs or they may provide general support to classroom teachers in the delivery of educational programs to a number of children or the entire class.
Northern Lights College offers a 12 month Certificate* or two-year Diploma program. This program may be completed on a part- or full-time basis. Students may complete the program within their own community through online delivery. Face-to-face offerings are available within the NLC region (contingent on student enrollment or special project offering).
*When completed full time in three full semesters (Fall, Winter, Fall)
Qualified Education Assistants are employed in public, private and independent schools around the province. Graduates of the Northern Lights College Education Assistant program may seek a variety of positions in elementary and secondary education settings including Special Needs Support Worker, Personal Care Attendant, and Playground and/or School Supervision Monitor. Education Assistants may be employed to provide support to children with varying levels of special needs or they may provide general support to Classroom Teachers in the delivery of educational programs to a number of children or the entire class.
Students are encouraged to research employment prospects for Education Assistants in their community and local School Districts prior to applying to the program.
Location: The entire program is regularly offered through a blended model of online delivery, including asynchronous and synchronous modes of delivery.
Students complete practica within their own communities provided options exist for acceptable placements. Students unable to locate suitable practicum placements in their own community may need to relocate to another community for one or more of the practicum courses.
Face-to-face offerings may be available within the Northern Lights College region depending on student interest and project funding.
Length: 16 months full-time or part-time studies over two or more years.
585 theory course hours + 260 practica hours = 845 total hours
Full-time: September to complete within 16 months.
Part-time: September, January, or May/July.
Fees: Current Fee Schedule
All applicants will need to complete and submit:
1. Northern Lights College application specifying entrance to the Education Assistant Certificate program and applicable application fee.
2. A comprehensive letter stating the applicant's background, interest, and goals for taking the Education Assistant Certificate.
3. Two current letters of reference written and dated within the last year. One must be from a recent employer and one must be a personal reference from a non-family member, preferably attesting to the applicant's suitability for working with children and youth.
4. A current certificate of good health from the applicant's doctor (form included in application package on website)
5. Proof of high school completion or equivalent. Mature students lacking high school completion may be considered for admission.
6a. Successful completion of English Studies 12, English First Peoples 12, or equivalent with a grade of C (60%) or better.
6b. Completion of the NLC Writing Assessment. Performance on the NLC Writing Assessment is used to make recommendations about appropriate course placement.
7. Official, sealed transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions attended.
1. Secondary School Dual Credit Students will also need to submit:
a. A dual credit application completed at local secondary school.
b. Documented evidence of successful Grade 11 completion.
2. A Criminal Record Check is not a program admission requirement. However, students are required to authorize a Schedule B Ministry of Justice Criminal Record Check (working with children) before participating in any practical work or practicum involving children. Under no circumstances will a student be permitted to begin working with children until a Schedule B CRC clearance letter has been reviewed by NLC. Convictions for certain offences may disqualify students from working with children and, therefore, from program completion. Students will be provided with more information about the Schedule B CRC process at program orientations. Schedule B CRC searches may take from 3 to 6 weeks, so students are urged to attend to this matter at least 6 weeks before their program start date. Further, students are obligated to report any criminal convictions that occur after they authorize a Schedule B CRC but are still enrolled in the program. Failure to do so may result in immediate dismissal from the program.
- The program is eligible for Canada Student Loans. Visit StudentAid BC to apply for financial assistance online. Note that dual credit students are not eligible for Student Aid.
- Each student is required to authorize a Ministry of Justice Criminal Record Check before participating in any courses involving access to children or vulnerable adults.
Under no circumstances will students be permitted to complete any practical work in a child care or school setting until NLC has received a clear Schedule B criminal record check with the Ministry of Justice.
Students are obligated to report any Schedule B criminal convictions that occur after they authorize a Criminal Record Check but are still enrolled in the program. Failure to do so may result in immediate dismissal from the program.
- Please see the NLC Criminal Records Check page for completion instructions and more information pertaining to Criminal Record Checks.
- Students complete practica within their own communities provided the options exist for acceptable placements. Students unable to locate suitable practicum placements in their own communities may need to relocate to another community for one or more of the practica.
- Please note the following application deadlines: May 1 for Fall (September) start; October 1 for Winter (January) start; and February 1 for Spring (April) start.
- The information on this program page is a summary of the official Program Completion Guide approved by NLC’s Education Council. Download a PDF of the Program Completion Guide.
- Northern Lights College has partnered with Collège Éducacentre for delivery of the Education Assistant Certificate in French. For information on delivery of the program in French, please contact Emilie Dehoubert, French Student Advisor
604-708-5100 poste 1404
Do you need more information?
ECEC/EA Office: firstname.lastname@example.org