Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Health Care Assistant Certificate


Effective September 2016, all of TRU-OL's Health Care Assistant courses will follow the 2015 BC Provincial Health Care Assistant curriculum.

This program, with the exception of its practicum components, is available to applicants residing inside or outside of Canada.

Program Description

The Health Care Assistant (HCA) Certificate program prepares individuals to work in both residential care and community settings. It is based on core values and beliefs that are foundational to Health Care Assistant practice: the respect and value of all human beings; appreciation for independence within complex health challenges; holistic definition of health; the right to comprehensive health care; provision of care as a genuine concern for another person; and family as the foundation of society.

The curriculum is organized around the concepts of caring, safety, critical thinking and a professional approach to practice. The courses build from the individual's self-reflection on interpersonal communication skills and lifestyle influences on health and wellness. Subsequent courses incorporate anatomy, physiology and common health challenges (including cognitive challenges). Students demonstrate their understanding of course content initially in laboratory practice and later in both residential care and community-based settings.

Theory courses in this program are delivered in a self-paced, continuous enrolment format. In addition, there are three practicum courses offered three times a year (April, August and December) at TRU's Kamloops campus over a five-day period: HLTH 1155, Personal Care and Assistance (Skills Practicum); HLTH 1251, Home Support and Assisted Living (Practice); and HLTH 1301, Practice Experience in Multi-Level or Complex Care.

The HCA certificate program meets the requirements for registration with the BC Care Aid Registry.

What Can You Do With This Credential?

This program prepares you to work in both residential care and community settings.

Program Requirements

Students who plan to complete a credential through TRU-OL must complete and submit a Program Admission form.

Admission Requirements

Prior to being admitted to the program, applicants must meet the following admission requirements:

  • Grade 10 required; Grade 11 strongly recommended
  • Grade 10 English or equivalent required; Grade 11 English or equivalent strongly recommended
  • English Language Competency for non-native speakers of English as per the BC Care Aide Registry Requirements
  • Ability to use a computer and the Internet at a basic skill level
Admission Recommendations
  • Volunteering experience in a residential care facility, especially with seniors, is strongly recommended
  • Discussion with a home support worker
Additional Requirements

Following formal program admission and prior to enrolment in any lab or practicum courses, the following requirements must be met:

  • A Criminal Record Check (PDF, 456 KB)
  • A signed Health Status Declaration (PDF, 500 KB)
  • Standard First Aid
  • CPR Level C (or equivalent) or CPR-HCP Certificate within the last two years
  • An up-to-date immunization record (required for practice course)
  • Food Safe Certificate Level 1
  • WHMIS Certificate
  • HSPnet Form

The prospective HCA student should be in good health with no back problems. It is important that the prospective HCA demonstrate a caring and interested attitude toward older adults and physically challenged persons and be willing to work with these clients and their families to encourage independence. Flexibility and maturity are desirable characteristics of an HCA.

Residency Requirements

A minimum of 6 TRU credits (distance or on-campus); specifically, HLTH 1155 and HLTH 1301.

Core Course Requirements (26 credits)

A grade of 70% or higher in each of the following courses:

HLTH 1051, Health 1: Interpersonal Communications (3)
HLTH 1001, Health 2: Lifestyle and Choices (2)
HLTH 1011, Health and Healing: Concepts for Practice (3)
HLTH 1101, Health Care Assistant: Introduction to Practice (3)
HLTH 1153, Personal Care and Assistance (Lab Theory) (3)
HLTH 1155, Personal Care and Assistance (Lab Practice) (1)
HLTH 1201, Healing 1: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Common Health Challenges (4)
HLTH 1251, Practice Experience in Home Support and/or Assisted Living (2)
HLTH 1301, Practice Experience in Multi-Level or Complex Care (7)
HLTH 1351, Healing 2: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Cognitive or Mental Challenges (2)
HLTH 1301 may be completed in one of two ways:
1. Join a TRU Campus HCA cohort offered in Kamloops, Williams Lake and region (availability dependent upon vacant seats in the face to face program). Courses typically start in January and May, but can occur at other times throughout the year.
2. Join a BC Public Post-Secondary Institution HCA equivalent practice course (located throughout BC and as space permits). View a list of approved educational institutions in BC that offer recognized HCA programs.


Students may enrol in theory courses only and will not be formally admitted to the program until all admission requirements are met. Once they have met these requirements, they may enrol in practicum courses.

Practicum courses are held in BC and are available only to students residing in BC. Applicants residing outside BC who want to complete the program may participate at sites in BC if appropriate arrangements can be made. Punctual attendance and active participation are required.

Students are responsible for all costs associated with practicum courses and activities.

HLTH 1155 must be taken in Kamloops prior to other practicum courses and activities. Beginning December 2016, HLTH 1155 will change to a total of 75 hours of practice in the lab and practice setting over two weeks. The change has been made to meet the BC Care Aide and Community Worker Registry 2015 BC Provincial Curriculum.

Practicum courses may be limited by geographic location, time of year, space and enrolment. Practica placements cannot be guaranteed in the student's home region. Applicants may be required to complete HLTH 1301 in Kamloops in an instructor-led group, if the applicant has no experience or volunteer work in a residential care facility. For additional information, please contact OL Admissions at

Consult with a Program Advisor to ensure that the courses you select are appropriate for your program of study and educational goals. Otherwise, you may find that a course does not meet the program's requirements and may not be used toward its credential.


Email to speak with us about this program or to request more information about Open Learning and its courses and programs.