Health Care Assistant Program

Western Community College > Programs > Health Care > Health Care Assistant Program

Health Care Assistant 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. HCAs aid in the basic care of 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.

health care assistant cta

Program Start Dates

  • April 17, 2023 - Evening Mon-Fri 4:00-8:30 - Surrey/Abbotsford

Currently the Health Care Assistant program has 97% graduate employment rate, 270 hours of practicum placement, 6 month program, flexible schedule.

Job Opportunities

  • Hospital wards
  • Residential long-term care facilities
  • Extended care facilities
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Group homes
  • Home support agencies


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

Program Admission Requirements

Prior to acceptance:

a. Proof of Grade 12 graduation or mature student status (19 Years or older) AND
b. Candidates with following language benchmarks;

Applicants Whose First Language is English

Evidence of one of the following:

  1. Proof of completion of Grade 10 English; or
  2. College courses determined to be equivalent to completion of Grade 10 English (or higher) by post-secondary institutions. Applicants must produce transcripts as evidence of completion. A minimum of a C grade is acceptable.
  3. Canadian Adult Achievement Test (CAAT): Reading Comprehension 35/50 Spelling 23/32
  4. Language Placement Index (LPI): The three individual scores (Sentence Structure, English Usage, and Reading Comprehension) must total a minimum of 20, out of a maximum possible score of 40. Essay level of 4, with a minimum essay score of 24/40
  5. Accuplacer: Grade 10 level or higher Recommended Cut Scores*: Reading Comprehension 60, Sentences Skill 55, Write placer 4

*Educational institutions may conduct their own predictive validity studies to confirm appropriate cut scores

Applicants whose First Language is not English:

Evidence of one of the following:

  1. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) — test must be 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.
  2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic or General — test must be 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.
  3. Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLB PT) — test must be within the last one year: Listening 7, Speaking 7, Reading 6 and Writing 6.
  4. Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP-General):  test within the last two years listening 7, Speaking 7, Reading 6 and Writing 6
  5. Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) test within the last two years: Overall Score of 60, with no section less than 50.

In cases where applicants already hold Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) results (testing with the last 2 years), the following minimum scores will be accepted: Speaking 7, Listening 7, Reading 6, Writing 6. 

Additional Criteria – English Language Competency Requirements

To confirm the appropriate level of English proficiency, Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) Report Cards (also may be known as ESL Student Progress Reports) would need to specify that an applicant’s current language level (“CLB levels now”), as “Completing” CLB Speaking 7, Listening 7, Reading 7 and Writing 7 AND that the “Recommended Class Placement for Next Term/Course” as Speaking 8, Listening 8, Reading 8 and Writing 8.

It is important for educational institutions to have a process in place to confirm that the CLB PT has been conducted by a qualified assessor at a licensed site. Please find information about HCA English Language Proficiency Tests and Authorized Assessment Centre Locations at the following link:


To support educational institutions in ensuring applicants meet Registry English language competency requirements, the following criteria have been put into place:

  1. To achieve functional language proficiency and be termed as a speaker of English as a first language, one would require seven (7) years of education in a listed country with English language systems/institutions (see list provided below).  These years could be acquired in either a consecutive or non-consecutive manner.   If, however, these years were all consecutive and inclusive of only secondary or post-secondary education in an English-speaking environment, the number of years to be considered as a speaker of English as a first language could be achieved in a period of three (3) years.
  2. To ensure consistency and quality assurance in student program entry, institution-created tests are not acceptable for the assessment of applicants whose first language is not English at this time.[1]

The Registry has established the following list of countries as those with English language systems/institutions.

Countries with English language systems / institutions (where English is a primary, official language and the language used for education)

American Samoa Dominica Mauritius Uganda
Anguilla Falkland Islands Montserrat United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Antigua Fiji New Zealand United States of America (USA)
Australia Ghana Seychelles US Virgin Islands
Bahamas Grenada Singapore
Barbados Guam South Africa
Belize Guyana St. Kitts and Nevis
Bermuda Irish Republic St. Lucia
British Virgin Islands Jamaica St. Vincent
Cayman Island Kenya Trinidad and Tobago
Canada* Malta Turks and Caico Islands

*Applicants educated in Quebec at an institution where the language of instruction was not English, must meet the current English language proficiency requirements.

Notes for Admission:

The following are to be completed prior to the first practice education experience:

a) Proof of meeting current immunizations / vaccinations as per health care organization policies / guidelines (or signed vaccination exemption form, except TB)
b) Criminal record check from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General of Justice, including clearance to work with vulnerable adults
c) Standard First Aid
d) CPR Level “C” or “HCP”
e) Foodsafe Level 1
f) Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum (PVPC) E-Learning Modules

Program Duration

Full Time: 745 Hours/24 weeks
Part Time: 745 Hours/37 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
Total Duration : 745 hours

Fee Structure

1 Registration Fee $250 Domestic Students
2 Tuition Fee $5750
3 Books $175
4 Course Material $75
Total $6250
1 Tuition Fee $9000 International Students
2 Registration Fee $250
3 Book Fee $175
4 Other Material $75
Total $9500

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 Line of Credit
  • Scholarships

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


How do I become a health care assistant in BC?

To become a Health Care Assistant (HCA) in British Columbia, you typically need to complete a recognized HCA training program and obtain certification from the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry. The training program can vary in length but usually takes between 6-10 months.

What does a health care assistant do?

HCAs provide essential care and support to clients who need assistance with their activities of daily living, including personal hygiene, mobility, and feeding. They may also assist with medication administration and other healthcare-related tasks as delegated by a nurse or other healthcare professional. HCAs work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, and home care.

Can a HCA become a nurse?

Yes, it is possible for an HCA to become a nurse. However, the path to becoming a nurse typically involves further education and training, such as completing a nursing program and obtaining a nursing license. Some HCAs may choose to pursue a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN) after gaining experience in the healthcare field.

How long is the health care assistant program in BC?

The length of the HCA program can vary depending on the specific program and educational institution. However, most programs take between 6-10 months to complete and include both classroom and practical training.

Is the HCA job hard?

Working as an HCA can be physically and emotionally demanding, as the job involves providing care and support to clients who may have complex medical needs or disabilities. HCAs may also work in fast-paced, high-stress environments, such as hospitals or long-term care facilities. However, many HCAs find the job to be rewarding and fulfilling, as they are able to make a positive impact on the lives of their clients.

Can HCA work in hospitals?

Yes, HCAs can work in hospitals as well as in long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, and home care settings. However, the specific job duties and requirements can vary depending on the healthcare setting.

How do I become an HCA with no experience?

To become an HCA with no experience, you will need to complete an HCA training program that is recognized by the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry. These programs typically include both classroom and practical training, and can range in length from 6-10 months. After completing your training program, you will need to obtain certification from the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry and pass a criminal record check.

How much do health care assistants earn?

The salary for HCAs in BC can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and employer. According to the most recent data from WorkBC, the median hourly wage for HCAs in BC is $25.50. The hourly wage can range from $19 to $31 per hour or more, depending on the specific employer and location.

How do I pass an HCA interview?

To pass an HCA interview, it's important to prepare by researching the job duties and requirements, as well as the specific healthcare setting and employer. Be prepared to discuss your qualifications, experience, and skills related to the job. Practice answering common interview questions and be ready to give specific examples of how you have dealt with challenging situations in the past. It's also important to demonstrate your enthusiasm and passion for the role.

What qualifications do you need to be a healthcare assistant?

To become a healthcare assistant in BC, you typically need to complete an HCA training program that is recognized by the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry. After completing the training program, you will need to obtain certification from the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry and pass a criminal record check. Additionally, some employers may require previous experience or additional certifications or training.

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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.

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