The Health Care Assistant (HCA) program 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. Under the direction and supervision of a health professional, graduates provide person-centred care aimed at promoting and maintaining the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being of clients. Upon completion of the program, graduates are prepared to work in a variety of practice settings including home support, assisted living, residential/complex care, special care units, other home and community care settings, and acute care.
Health care assistants work in a variety of practice settings including home support, assisted living, residential/complex care, special care units, other home and community care settings, and acute care.
Location: Regular intakes are based on the Dawson Creek Campus. Some distance delivery is typically available to students on the Fort St. John Campus, but travel to Dawson Creek on designated days is a requirement. Clinical learning experiences may occur in a variety of settings, including Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Chetwynd, and perhaps Fort Nelson. Efforts will be made to place students in convenient clinical locations, but all students should be prepared for in-region travel. Transportation, meals, and accommodation are the responsibility of the student. After a clinical or preceptorship site is assigned by the Program Chair and instructor, no changes are permitted.
Length: Approximately 31-34 weeks/745 hours
Start: September intakes: September through May. February intakes: February through October.
Fees: Current Fee Schedule
Prospective learners will need to complete a College “Application for Admission” Form. Admission forms can be obtained from the Northern Lights College (NLC) Student Services or downloaded in PDF format from nlc.bc.ca/application.pdf.
The following admission requirements reflect provincial standards mandated by the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry:
1. Applicants who have been educated in an English-speaking environment (a country with English language systems/institutions) for a minimum of seven years or applicants who have been educated in an English-speaking environment for four consecutive years at the secondary or post-secondary level must submit secondary and/or post-secondary transcripts indicating successful completion of Grade 10 (or equivalent) including:
A. Grade 10 English or Career and College Preparation ENGL030 with a C or higher. Alternatively, if course requirements are over 10 years old or absent, Grade 10 English equivalency may be demonstrated by completion of all language sections on the Canadian Adult Achievement Test (Vocabulary, Spelling, Reading Comprehension, Language) with a minimum score of 10.9 on each section; or by completion of the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) with a total score of at least 20 and an essay level of 4 (24/40).
B. Grade 10 Math or Career and College Preparation MATH 030 with a C or higher. If the course requirements are over ten years old or uncompleted, students can demonstrate the Math 10 equivalency by achieving a minimum score of 10.9 on the numeracy section of the CAAT Exam (Number Operations and Problem Solving).
C. Grade 10 Science or Career and College Preparation SCIE030 with a C or higher. If the course requirements are over ten years old or uncompleted, students can demonstrate the Science 10 equivalency by achieving a minimum score of 10.9 on the science section of the CAAT Exam.
2. The program is open to applicants who have not been educated in an English-speaking environment for a minimum of seven years (a country with English language systems/institutions) or have not completed four consecutive years of education at the secondary or post-secondary levels. However, to be eligible, applicants need to meet the following criteria:
A. English Proficiency may be demonstrated by any one of the following:
- Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLB PT) within the previous six months with minimum scores of Listening 7, Speaking 7, Reading 6, and Writing 6.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 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 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 English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General within the last two years. 7 or better in Speaking and Listening, and 6 or better in Reading and Writing.
- Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) within the last two years. Overall Score of 60 with no section less than 50.
B. Career and College Preparation MATH 030 with a C or higher. Alternatively, completion of the numeracy section of the CAAT Exam (Number and Problem Solving) with a minimum score of 10.9 on the section..
C. Career and College Preparation SCIE 030 with a C or higher. Alternatively, completion of the Science section of the CAAT Exam with a minimum score of 10.9 on the section.
After acceptance into the program, students will be required to complete and show proof of succesful completion of all of the following by the first day of class. All certifications must remain valid throughout program:
1. Current CPR (Basic Life Support) certification as outlined in the Practice Education Guidelines - Orientation - Students (https://hspcanada.net/docs/pegs/1-6%20Orientation%20-%20Students.pdf).
2. First Aid certificate (standard first aid, emergency first aid, or occupational first aid)
3. Foodsafe Level 1 certificate (or a course deemed equivalent)
4. Medical form completed by a physician, indicating that the student has a satisfactory level of physical and emotional health to succeed in the program.
5. Submission of a completed NLC Immunization Requirement form which includes immunizations as outlined in the HSPnet Practice Education Guidelines - Communicable Disease Prevention (https://hspcanada.net/docs/pegs/1-3%20Communicable%20Disease%20Prevention.pdf). Please make an appointment with a public health nurse immediately because the immunization process can take anywhere from one to three months.
6. Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination as referenced in the HSPnet Practice Education Guidelines - Communicable Disease Prevention (https://hspcanada.net/docs/pegs/1-3%20Communicable%20Disease%20Prevention.pdf)
7. Negative TB test indicating the absence of active tuberculosis.
8. N95 fit testing for proper respiratory mask fitting.
9. Schedule B Criminal Record Check (CRC) for working with "children and vulnerable adults." No student will be permitted to begin workplace practicum with children or vulnerable adults until the CRC has been received and reviewed by NLC. 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 apply for the CRC immediately as the application process may take anywhere from three to six weeks.
1. Students in NLC's HCA program have an average of 28 hours of classes, laboratories, and other learning activities per week. A comparable number of individual study hours is required. Further, in clinical learning situations, students will be in close contact with individuals who have a variety of health issues. For these reasons, students should be at a satisfactory level of physical and emotional health to ensure success in the program.
2. Applicants wishing to transfer from another HCA Program must provide evidence that the above admission requirements have been met. Applications for transfer credit will be reviewed on an individual basis. Transfer-based admission will be dependent on available space.
3. Students who do not meet program progression criteria and reapply for admission in a subsequent intake must satisfy the following two items:
a. Demonstrate that all current admission criteria have been met.
b. Provide evidence of completing any upgrading or re-entry requirements.
4. Attendance Requirements:
a. Consistent attendance is mandatory.
b. Absence for more than six (6) hours of theory classes per course will seriously jeopardize a student's ability to meet course objectives and may result in automatic course failure.
c. A student who is absent from a scheduled lab must complete a make-up assignment as determined by the instructor. Absence of more than six (6) hours of scheduled lab hours per course will seriously impair a student's ability to meet course objectives and may result in automatic course failure.
d. A student who is absent from a scheduled shift comprising a clinical, practicum, or preceptorship will not be provided with supplemental clinical experience. Students absent for more than 15% of each experience will be required to withdraw from the program.
5. Daily Hours:
a. Classroom seminars and/or laboratory learning sessions may be scheduled until 2200 hours on some days.
b. Clinical learning experiences may involve some evening experiences lasting until 2300 hours
- 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.
- Applications for the Health Care Assistant program will open October 1st each year to begin the program the following September. Applications will also open March 1st each year to begin the program the following February. The selection of qualified applicants will be made on a first-come, first-qualified basis until the designated number of seats are full.
- Partners: Northern Health and related facilities: e.g.,Dawson Creek Society for Community Living, Fort St. John Association for Community Living. .
- A substantial amount of course and program resource materials is provided solely in electronic form. Minimum computer requirements are published on NLC's website. See https://www.nlc.bc.ca/Services/Information-Technology/minPC
- Appropriate attire and shoes are necessary for lab courses and for clinical and preceptorship experiences. Students must purchase standardized program uniforms from the NLC Bookstore.
- The information on this program page is a summary of the official Program Completion Guide approved by NLC’s Education Council
APPLY NOW for the Health Care Assistant program
Do you need more information? Contact an admissions officer.