Health Care Assistant-ESL

Western Community College > Programs > Health Care > Health Care Assistant-ESL

Program Overview

The HCA Program is designed for students who want to be certified to work as a Health Care Assistant (HCA).  Health Care Assistants are the frontline care providers in a variety of institutional and community settings.  Health Care Assistants aid in the basic care of the patients, under the direction of nurses, hospital staff, and physicians.  They provide professional care and supervision in protective and supportive health care environments, for clients/residents who have complex health challenges.  Through this course, students will gain skills and experience, first working in the classroom and lab, and then through practicum.  A portion of the ESL component will be taught to the students before they enter the Health Care portion of the program.  This program is specially designed for intermediate users of the English language, who need to improve their communication skills before they enter into the workforce.   This will enable the student to successfully communicate with their clients.

health care assistant cta
Contact our admissions team today or request information on upcoming program start dates.

The HCA-ESL program is designed for individuals who want to become a Health Care Assistant but do not speak English as their first language. This program is affordable, includes 270 hours of practicum and 300 hours of English instruction. Enroll today!

Job Opportunities

Graduates of the program can work in the following facilities:

  • Home Support
  • Long Term Care Facilities
  • Extended Care Facilities
  • Respite Care and
  • Home Support


Earn up to $25.00* per hour as a Health Care Assistant
All wages taken from the Canada Job Bank

Program Admission Requirements

Proof of Grade 10 graduation, or mature student status, and English Language Proficiency.

To be accepted into a recognized BC HCA program, applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English. Students must be able to communicate effectively in English, in order to be successful in their studies, and to be capable of providing safe and competent care to patients/clients/residents in the work environment.

Teamwork and communication failures are a primary cause of patient safety incidents in healthcare; the ability to communicate effectively is one of the fundamental safety competencies identified by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI).

All BC HCA program applicants are required to demonstrate English language proficiency.   Domestic and/or international applicants whose first language is not English, will need to take a standardized proficiency assessment to confirm communicative competency in all four language skills areas (speaking, listening, reading and writing).

HCA ESL Program Entry

For institutions offering a combined ESL HCA program (a minimum of 12 weeks/300 hours of additional program time for English language skills instruction), Applicants whose first language is not English will require evidence of one of the following test scores when applying for program entry: 

  1. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) — test must be within the last two years. IBT only:  Overall score of 56 with no score lower than 15 in Speaking and Listening and no score lower than 13 in Reading and Writing.
  2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic or General — test must be within the last two years: Overall score of 5.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in Speaking and Listening and no score lower than 5.0 in Reading and Writing.
  3. Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLB PT) — test must be within the last year: Listening 6, Speaking 6, Reading 5 and Writing 5. Note: a CLB Report Card from a LINC Program may also be accepted.
  4. Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) Academic or General: Academic: Aggregate score of 3H or better, with 3H or better in Speaking and Listening and 3L or better in Reading and Writing.  General: CELPIP 6 or better in Speaking and Listening and CELPIP 5 or better in Reading and Writing
  5. Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL).

Overall Score of 50, with no section less than 40.

Prior to the first practice educational experience, you will need (1)proof of meeting current immunizations/vaccinations as per health care organization policies/guidelines (or signed vaccination exemption form, except TB),  (2) Criminal record check from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General of Justice, including clearance to work with vulnerable adults. (3) Standard First Aid, CPR Level ‘C’ or HCP  (4)  Food safe Level 1 (5) WHMIS

**numbers 3, 4 & 5 courses are offered through the college to the students at no additional cost to them

For your convenience, we have added the link for the English requirements;


Program Duration

1045 hours / 53 weeks

Course Outline

Course Number Course Name Hours
HCA 100 Health and Healing: Concepts for Practice 70 hours
HCA 200 Interpersonal Communications 50 hours
HCA 300 Health 2: Lifestyle and Choices 30 hours
HCA 400 Health Care Assistant: Introduction to Practice 30 hours
HCA 500 Healing 1: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Common Health Challenges 115 hours
HCA 600 Healing 2: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Cognitive or Mental Challenges 60 hours
HCA 700 Healing 3: Personal Care and Assistance 120 hours
HCA 800 Practice Experience in Multi-Level and/or Complex Care 210 hours
HCA 900 Practice Experience in Home Support and/or Assisted Living 60 hours
HCA 1000 ESL 300 hours
Total Duration : 1045 hours

Fee Structure

1 Registration Fee $ 250 Domestic Students
2 Tuition Fee $ 7250
3 Books $ 175
4 Course Material $ 75
Total $ 7750
1 Registration Fee $ 250 International Students
2 Tuition Fee $ 12750
3 Books $ 175
4 Course Material $ 75
Total $13,250

This program has been approved by the registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

Financial Assistance

Western Community College offers a variety of financial aid opportunities to ease students’ stress and allow them to focus on their studies. If you need extra support, we have flexible funding to accommodate all our students, no matter their financial situation.

  • BC Student Loan
  • In-house Financing
  • Student Lime of Credit
  • Scholarships

Our dedicated Financial Aid Officers will help you every step of the way.

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Why Study at Western Community College

  • Installment-based, low tuition fee.
  • 100% Practicum Placement
  • Weekday, weekend, and evening classes optionally available
  • Part-time or full-time class schedule
  • Free CLB preparation classes * Conditions Apply
  • Graduate employment rate: 97%

Admissions Contact Information

Mon – Sunday 9:00A.M. – 5:00P.M.

Surrey, BC

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Surrey, BC V3W 3N4

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Abbotsford, BC

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