Health Care Assistant Certificate
The Health Care Assistant courses meet the requirements for registration with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry and follow the 2015 BC provincial HCA curriculum guidelines.
The Health Care Assistant (HCA) Certificate program prepares you to work in both residential care and community settings. It is based on core values and beliefs that are foundational to HCA practice:
- The respect and value of all human beings
- An appreciation for independence within complex health challenges
- A holistic definition of health
- The right to comprehensive health care
- The provision of care as a genuine concern for another person
- 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 initial courses build from your 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). You demonstrate your understanding of course content initially in laboratory practice and later in both residential care and community-based settings.
In addition to the self-paced theory courses, there are three practice-based courses, available to HCA program students only: HLTH 1155, Personal Care and Assistance - Skills Practicum; HLTH 1251, Practice Experience in Home Support and/or Group Settings; and HLTH 1301, Practice Experience in Multi-Level or Complex Care.
What Can You Do With This Credential?
This program prepares you to work in both residential care and community settings.
If you plan to complete this or another credential through Open Learning, please fill in a Program Admission form and email, fax, or mail it to OL Admissions, along with your application form.
- Successful completion of Grade 10, including Grade 10 English or equivalent
- 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
- A basic ability to use a computer and the Internet
- Completion of Grade 11, including Grade 11 English or equivalent
- Volunteering experience in a residential care facility, especially with seniors
- Discussion with a home support worker
Upon formal program admission and prior to enrolment in any lab or practicum courses:
- A completed and signed Request for Criminal Record Check form
- A completed and signed Health Status Declaration form
- A Standard First Aid certificate
- A CPR Level C (or equivalent) or CPR-HCP certificate issued within the last two years
- An up-to-date immunization record
- A Food Safe Level 1 certificate
- A current Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) certificate
- A Health Sciences Placement Network (HSPnet) form
It is important that as a prospective HCA you 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.
32 credits total, with a grade of 70% or higher in each course required for this credential, as follows:
Core Knowledge Requirements (23 credits)
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 (2)
HLTH 1153, Personal Care and Assistance: Theory (3)
HLTH 1201, Healing 1: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Common Health Challenges (4)
HLTH 1251, Practice Experience in Home Support and/or Group Settings (3)
HLTH 1351, Healing 2: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Cognitive or Mental Challenges (3)
Practice and Practicum Requirements (10 credits)
HLTH 1155, Personal Care and Assistance - Skills Practicum (3)
HLTH 1301, Practice Experience in Multi-Level or Complex Care (7)
HLTH 1155 consists of 75 hours of practice (in the lab and practice setting) over two weeks, so as to meet the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry and the 2015 BC provincial curriculum guidelines.
HLTH 1301, Practice Experience in Multi-Level or Complex Care 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 BC educational institutions that offer recognized HCA programs.
You must have successfully completed all core knowledge (theory) courses and met all admission requirements before you can register for any practicum courses.
Practicum courses are held in BC and are available to BC residents only. If you want to complete this program but reside outside BC, you may participate on the condition that you can make appropriate practicum arrangements near you. However, you must take HLTH 1155 in Kamloops and may also need to complete HLTH 1301 in Kamloops in an instructor-led group, if you have no experience or volunteer work in a residential care facility.
Practicum courses may be limited by geographic location, time of year, space and enrolment. Practium placements cannot be guaranteed in your home region.
Punctual attendance and active participation are required.
You are responsible for all costs associated with practicum courses and activities.
Consult with your Program Advisor to ensure that the courses you select can be applied toward the program requirements of your chosen credential.
Also, before you register in a course not listed on the OL website, you must apply for a Letter of Permission (LOP).
If you proceed otherwise, you may find either that course credits cannot be applied to your program or you must pay a transcript reassessment fee.
Please see Tuition and Fees for details.