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Health Care Assistant Certificate

The Health Care Assistant 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.

Program requirements

Admission requirements

  • Successful completion of Grade 10 or equivalent
  • Two of: Composition 10, Creative Writing 10, Literary Studies 10, New Media 10, Spoken Language 10, EFP Writing 10, EFP Literary Studies 10, EFP New Media 10, EFP Spoken Language 10 or equivalent
    Graduates prior to 2020: English 10 is considered an equivalent requirement for admission.
  • 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

Admission recommendations

  • Completion of Grade 11 or equivalent
  • One of: Composition 11, Creative Writing 11, Literary Studies 11, New Media 11, Spoken Language 11, EFP Literary Studies and Writing 11, EFP Literary Studies and New Media 11, EFP Literary Studies and Spoken Language 11 or equivalent
    Graduates prior to 2020: English 11 is considered an equivalent requirement for admission.
  • Volunteering experience in a residential care facility, especially with seniors
  • Discussion with a home support worker

Additional requirements

Upon formal program admission and prior to enrolment in any lab or practicum courses:

  • Completed and signed Consent to a Criminal Record Check form
  • Completed and signed Health Status Declaration form
  • Standard First Aid certificate
  • CPR Level C (or equivalent) or CPR-HCP certificate issued within the last two years
  • Up-to-date immunization record
  • Food Safe Level 1 certificate
  • Current Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) certificate
  • 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.

Residency requirements

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

Certificate requirements

33 credits total, with a grade of 70% or higher in each course required for this credential, as follows:

Core knowledge requirements (20 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 1351, Healing 2: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Cognitive or Mental Challenges (3)
Practice and practicum requirements (13 credits)
  • HLTH 1155, Personal Care and Assistance (Skills Practicum) (3)
  • HLTH 1301, Practice Experience in Multi-Level or Complex Care (7)
  • HLTH 1251, Practice Experience in Home Support and/or Group Settings (3)

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 and Community Health Worker Registry and the 2015 BC provincial curriculum guidelines.

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 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 both HLTH 1155 and 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. Practicum placements cannot be guaranteed in your home region.

Punctual attendance and active participation are required.

Student responsibility

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). Otherwise, you may find either that course credits cannot be applied to your program or you must pay a transcript reassessment fee.

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