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 resident care facilities or assist with personal care of residents in community or personal homes.
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.
Length: Approximately 31--34 weeks/745 hours
Start:September intakes: September through May. February intakes: February through October.
Fees:Current Fee Schedule
Applications for the Health Care Assistant program will open October 1st each year to begin the program in 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.
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 MATH030 with a C or higher. Alternatively, if course requirements are over 10 years old or absent, Grade 10 Math equivalency may be demonstrated by completion of numeracy sections on the Canadian Adult Achievement Test (Number Operations and Problem Solving) with a minimum score of 10.9 on each section.
C. Grade 10 Science or Career and College Preparation SCIE030 with a C or higher. Alternatively, if course requirements are over 10 years old or absent, Grade 10 Science equivalency may be demonstrated by completion of the Science section of the Canadian Adult Achievement Test with a score of 10.9.
2. Applicants who have not been educated in an English-speaking environment (a country with English language systems/institutions) for a minimum of seven years or applicants who have not completed four consecutive years of education at the secondary or post-secondary levels must satisfy 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 MATH030 with a C or higher. Alternatively, completion of numeracy sections of the Canadian Adult Achievement Test (Number Operations and Problem Solving) with a minimum score of 10.9 on each section.
C. Career and College Preparation SCIE030 with a C or higher. Alternatively, completion of Science section of the Canadian Adult Achievement Test with a minimum score of 10.9 on each section.
1. After acceptance, students will be required to complete all of the following by the first day of class:
A. Current CPR (Basic Life Support) Level C with a Standard First Aid program (two days).
B. Medical form completed by a physician, indicating applicant has a satisfactory level of physical and emotional health to enable success in the program.
C. Tuberculosis test indicating the absence of active tuberculosis.
D. Submission of a completed NLC immunization form including: Hep B series; Diptheria/Tetanus; Polio; Measles, Mumps, Rubella; Varicella, seasonal influenza, and Pertussis.
E. B.C. FOODSAFE Level 1 Certificate.
F. Schedule B Criminal Record Check for working with "children and vulnerable adults." No student will be permitted to begin workplace practicum with children or vulnerable adults until the Criminal Record Check 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.
- 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.
- The application deadline for the September intake: August 1 and for the February intake: January 7.
- Partners: Northern Health and related facilities: e.g.,Dawson Creek Society for Community Living, Fort St. John Association for Community Living. .
- Students who do not have influenza immunizations may not be able to complete the clinical learning practice components of the program and MOST clinical learning sites require all workers, including learners, to have up-to-date immunizations.
- 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
- While an effort will be made to minimize travel during the practice-education components of the program (clinical and preceptorship courses), practice-education placements may be held at various regional locations beyond a student's home community. Accordingly, students should be prepared to travel for practice-education placements. Transportation and meal costs during practice-education experiences are the responsibility of the student.
- 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.
- Completion of high school Biology and Chemistry courses are recommended.
- The information on this program page is a summary of the official Program Completion Guide approved by NLC’s Education Council that is effective February 2021. (Download a PDF of the current Program Completion Guide)
APPLY NOW for the Health Care Assistant program
Do you need more information? Contact an admissions officer.