Health Care Aide

(Government of Alberta Provincial Curriculum)
Certificate Program - 32 Weeks

Program Highlights

The Health Care Aide program will prepare the student to become a vital member of the healthcare team. The Health Care Aide (HCA) assists professional nurses in performing activities of daily living including long-term care, home care, and assisted living. The Health Care Aide program utilizes the materials of the Government of Alberta Provincial Curriculum that includes both theory and practical experience.

Students gain a fundamental understanding of anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and development across the lifespan. They also learn about interpersonal communications, behavior management, chronic conditions, death and dying, and health and wellness.

Career Opportunities

HCAs work under the direct or indirect supervision of a regulated health professional, such as a nurse, in a variety of settings including:

  • home care
  • assisted living facilities
  • long-term care

Who Should Apply?

Health Care Aides enjoy working with patients/clients who need extra care and attention. They are flexible in terms of timing and responsibilities and must have excellent communication skills in order to develop effective relationships with patients and co-workers. They are prepared to work evenings, nights, and weekends, and additional hours. If this sounds like you, Health Care Aide could be the program for you!

For further information about our Health Care Aide program please contact an Admissions Advisor.

Practicum Requirements

Prior to the practicum, these requirements will be needed.  Extra fees may be associated with these:

  • First Aid/CPR
  • Criminal record check
  • Immunizations

Mask-fitting may be required depending on the practicum site.

Graduation Requirements

HCA students must achieve a minimum final grade of 70% in each course and pass the provincial HCA Examination to graduate from the HCA Program and receive the Government of Alberta HCA Provincial Curriculum Certificate.

Extra fees are associated with writing the Provincial Exam not covered by the tuition.

Admissions Requirements

The following requirements must be met to be eligible for entry into a licensed HCA program.

Academic English Language Arts (ELA)

  • Grade 11, 20-2 level course, with a minimum score of 60% achieved or Canadian jurisdiction equivalent; OR
  • English 20-1 with a minimum of 60% achieved or Canadian jurisdiction equivalent; OR
  • English 30-1 or 30-2 with a minimum of 55% or Canadian jurisdiction equivalent; OR
  • Deemed equivalent by the completion of ACCUPLACER (assessment placement test)
  • Note: Students who have not completed the ELA, 20-2 level requirement, and achieved the minimum grade are subject to completing the ACCUPLACER assessment test. This can include students out of province, out of the country, or mature students that have been out of school for a significant length of time.

English Language Proficiency (ELP)

  • Candidates, where English is a Second Language (ESL), must meet the English Language Proficiency requirement in addition to the Academic English requirement. Equivalencies are as follows:
  • Required Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of a minimum of 7 in each of the 4 language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and not an average of 7; OR
  • By completing high school in Canada. Studies must have been in English at an approved Canadian high school (grades 9, 10, 11, 12) with at least three consecutive years of full-time academic study; OR
  • By completing a recognized post-secondary degree or diploma program in Canada. The program must have involved at least two full years of full-time, consecutive academic study in English.

Approved English Language Proficiency Tests

Tests benchmarked at a CLB 7 for all 4 language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Official results must be submitted directly to the PSI.

  1. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic: 6 (no section score below 5.5);
  2. Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Testing (TOEFL iBT): 71;
  3. Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General: 7 (with no section score below 6); and
  4. Canadian Language Benchmarks/Milestones Test (7 in each strand, not an average of 7).

    Notes
    Test Currency: The results must have been obtained within two years of the start date of the program.Test Validity: IELTS (Academic) and TOEFL results are valid for two years from the day of testing. Results that expire prior to the Start Date of the program will not be accepted.

Digital Literacy

Students must possess knowledge of computer/technology tools to be successful in the program. Candidates must:

  • Be able to communicate, research and understand information
  • Know how to use a computer to surf the web, email
  • Be able to critically evaluate and understand how technology can affect one’s behavior
  • Be able to create, produce content and effectively communicate using email, media, internet

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

A post-secondary institution will implement and make available PLAR for the entire HCA Program based upon the identified learning outcomes for each course.

  • A post-secondary institution will use the Government of Alberta standardized PLAR process.
  • An instructor teaching the Government of Alberta HCA Provincial Curriculum must conduct all PLAR assessments.
  • The post-secondary institution will support HCA Program candidates deciding whether to proceed with the PLAR process.
  • HCA Program candidates failing a PLAR attempt must take the failed course through regular course delivery.
  • Post-secondary institutions will set and follow policies to identify the number of courses an HCA student may receive credit for through the PLAR process.

Credit Transfer

  • All post-secondary institutions offering the Government of Alberta HCA Provincial Curriculum will allow transfer credit on a course by course basis from other post-secondary institutions offering the Government of Alberta HCA Provincial Curriculum.
  • Up to 50 percent of course credits or hours can be transferred from one HCA Program to another.

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Program Notes

Tuition fees include all materials and student manuals. Financial assistance may be available to qualified students.

* Not all programs are offered at each location.

Anticipated Salary

$26,313 – $47,861

Information from PayScale Canada

Topics of Study

Course 1: HCA Role and Responsibility

During this course, you will focus on the role and responsibilities of a health care aide working in a variety of employment settings. The focus of this course is to share information that will result in safe, ethical, and respectful care based on the needs of the client. The care that meets these standards is known as person-centred care.

Course 2: Human Body, Health, and Chronic illness

This course focuses on the study of the systems that make up the human body and discusses the milestones of growth and development across the lifespan. It is an introduction to foundational knowledge of the most common of the chronic illnesses that a health care aide may encounter. The learner will describe ways to provide safe care based on evidence-informed practices according to the clients’ diagnoses, needs, and care plans. The information learned in this course will provide you with care strategies to support the client, the client’s family, and yourself through the process of a client’s dying and death.

Course 3: Communication and Documentation in the Health-Care Environment

This course will focus on the role and responsibilities of the health care aide when communicating effectively as a member of the collaborative care team. Strong communication skills are an important part of being a successful health care aide. The health-care environment requires competent verbal, written, and electronic communication skills, which are part of digital literacy.

Course 4: Providing Person-Centred Care and Comfort

During this course, you will learn the basic care skills that will allow you to give safe and efficient care to your clients. Providing personal grooming and hygiene care to your clients is an intimate and highly personal experience. During the theory and lab elements of this course, you will learn to approach this care in a professional and compassionate manner.

Course 5: Clinical Placement Experience I (2 weeks with instructor)

Health Care Aides (HCA) are a practice-based role, therefore, clinical education and practice are an essential part of the HCA program. The purpose of the health care aide clinical placement courses is to provide this practical, hands-on portion of the program. They will allow you to apply the theoretical knowledge you have gained in your other courses to the practice setting.

Course 6: Meeting Complex Care Needs

This course builds on the foundational skills and concepts introduced in previous courses and also introduces new skills such as medication assistance. Learners will have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge to learn advanced skills such as active and passive range-of-motion exercises, ostomy care, respiratory care, catheter care, and tube feeds. In addition, accurate measurement of vital signs is demonstrated, practiced, and assessed.

Course 7: Special Activities for Clients with Various Health Conditions

This course discusses care strategies for assisting diverse client groups such as clients with a mental health diagnosis and clients with developmental delays and physical disabilities.

Course 8: Clinical Placement Experience II (four weeks with instructor)

During the second clinical placement, you will experience the role of the health care aide by working under the direction of a regulated health-care professional. You will have the opportunity to work in a variety of health-care settings such as continuing care or acute care.

Course 9: Consolidated Clinical Placement Experience (two weeks with HCA Buddy)

This is the final clinical placement course where you will practice the role of the health care aide by working under the direction of a regulated health-care professional and buddied with an unregulated health-care professional. You will work in a variety of health-care settings such as continuing care or acute care.

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