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.
Students can begin their health career education at NLC by completing HCA program in 33-36 weeks. Upon completion of a minimum of 600 hours of work experience as a Heath Care Assistant, graduates can bridge into the Access to Practical Nursing Diploma program, where after an additional 16 months of study they will graduate with their Diploma in Practical Nursing.
Students in this 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.
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.
|Fort St John*
|Fort St John*
* The laboratory component of one course is delivered in Dawson Creek, therefore students must travel to the Dawson Creek campus:
745 hours; approximately 33 - 36 weeks long.
Estimated Program Fees
Program fee type: Vocational/Career Technical
Costs indicated are estimates for a full-time course load.
Book, instruments, supplies, uniforms/clothing and third-party fees are additional.
Fees (includes GST)
Fees (includes GST)
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The following admission requirements reflect provincial standards mandated by the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry.
Complete all requirements:
- Secondary school requirement
- Grade 10 completion, or equivalent, or mature student status.
- English requirement
- 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, one of the following:
- English 10 with a minimum grade of C, or equivalent
- ENGL 030 with a minimum grade of C, or equivalent
- If course requirements are over 10 years old or absent, complete:
- all language sections on the Canadian Adult Achievement Test (Vocabulary, Spelling, Reading Comprehension, Language) with a minimum score of 10.9 on each section
- the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) with a total score of at least 20 and an essay level of 4 (24/40).
- For all other applicants, 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 with minimum scores of Speaking and Listening 7 and Reading and Writing 6
- Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) within the last two years. Overall Score of 60 with no section less than 50.
- Math requirement
One of the following:
- Mathematics 10 with a minimum grade of C, or equivalent
- MATH 030 with a minimum grade of C, or equivalent
- If the course requirement is over ten years old or uncompleted, complete the CAAT exam numeracy section (Number Operations and Problem Solving) with a minimum score of 10.9
- Science requirement
One of the following:
- Science 10 with a minimum grade of C, or equivalent
- SCIE 030 with a minimum grade of C, or equivalent
- If the course requirements are over ten years old or uncompleted, complete the CAAT exam science section with a minimum score of 10.9
The following post-admission requirements must be submitted to Admissions prior to the first day of classes:
- Current CPR (Basic Life Support) certification1
- Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination2
- Negative TB test indicating the absence of active tuberculosis2
- N95 fit testing certification
- Clearance letter from the Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP), for a Schedule “B” Criminal Record Check (CRC), WORKS WITH children and vulnerable adults3
- First Aid certification4
- FoodSafe Level 1 certification, or equivalent
- Medical form5
1 as outlined in the Health Sciences Placement Network Practice Education Guidelines - Orientation - Students.
2 as outlined in the Health Sciences Placement Network Practice Education Guidelines - Communicable Disease Prevention. Please make an appointment with public health nurse immediately to complete the Immunization Checklist. The immunization process can take anywhere from one to three months, sometimes longer, so verifying immunization status is critical.
3 No student will be permitted to begin a workplace practicum until the CRC has been received by NLC. Failure to do so and may result in program withdrawal. Please see Criminal Records Checks for more information pertaining to Criminal Record Checks.
4 Standard first aid, emergency first aid, or occupational first aid
5 The Medical form must be completed by a physician, and indicate that the student has a satisfactory level of physical and emotional health to succeed in the program.
The program is eligible for Canada Student Loans. Visit Student Aid BC to apply for financial assistance online. Note that dual credit students are not eligible for Student Aid.
Students must provide their own supplies/equipment (appropriate attire and shoes). Students are required to have a computer (laptop or other mobile device) with minimum computer requirements. Appropriate attire and shoes are required for lab courses and for clinical and preceptorship experiences.; students must purchase standardized program uniforms from the NLC Bookstore.
Applicants wishing to transfer from another HCA program must NLC’s admission requirements. Applications for transfer credit will be reviewed on an individual basis. Transfer-based admission will be dependent on available space.
The program is affiliated with Northern Health and the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives.
- Clinical learning experiences may occur in a variety of settings and communities. 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.
|25% of total program hours must be completed at Northern Lights College
|Minimum Grade Requirements
- A minimum of 75% in all theory courses
- A minimum of B+ (80%) in the lab component of HCAT 124 is required for a pass
- PASS grade in practice-education courses (HCAT 126 and HCAT 127)
- Consistent attendance is mandatory.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Certificate in Health Care Assistant