Jun 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Academic Calendar 
2024-2025 Academic Calendar

Learn More About Health Care Assistant Certificate

NIC’s Health Care Assistant Program prepares you with the knowledge, skills and principles to provide frontline personal care and service to individuals who require assistance with tasks of daily living in a variety of facility and community settings. Health Care Assistants are respected members of a health care team, and provide hands-on support with the direction and supervision of licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and other health professionals.  

As a student, you will participate in a range of classroom and learning center/lab activities and practice experiences. Working collaboratively with your peers and your instructor, you will develop essential critical thinking, problem solving, communication and physical care skills.

The program begins with a set of theory courses providing foundational knowledge for HCAs. There is a hands-on course to learn the physical skills of practical assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming mobility, elimination of urine and stool, eating and other daily life tasks.

Clinical practice experiences occur outside of the college setting. You will have two clinical courses in multi-level/complex care agencies, where you will work together with  your  instructor and  classmates and develop your skills in providing care and assistance to clients in a respectful, safe, competent and organized manner. You will also have a practice experience with the opportunity to support the health needs of a variety of clients in community care. You will work with a HCA in a community setting such as home support services, assisted living residences, group homes or adult day programs. 

Practice experiences may be scheduled during the day or evening and may include weekends and holidays.  The majority of practice placements are in centers close to NIC campus communities.  You must arrange your own transportation and assume related costs. 

Throughout the program you will be expected to demonstrate responsibility for your own learning, respect for others, and qualities that are required to be effective in the workplace, such as reliability and punctuality. 

The HCA Program follows the Provincial Curriculum HCA Curriculum.

Upon graduation, you will qualify for registration with BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry. You will be able to competently carry out the responsibilities of a health care assistant in a variety of settings such as home-based community care, residential/complex care and assisted living facilities, group homes, adult day programs, and acute care hospitals - a role that is in high demand across the health sector.

Practice Experience

Student practice experiences in health agencies are essential to the program.

You will be placed in complex care facilities that provide residential care and support for a primarily older adult population. In community settings you will provide services and supports to adults living in their own homes. The majority of practice placements are in centres close to NIC campus communities, however it may be necessary to participate in placements in other Vancouver Island communities. You must arrange your own transportation and assume related costs. You may be required to work a variety of shifts; four, six eight and/or 12 hours shifts, including days, evenings, nights, weekends and holidays.

Transfer Credit & Credit For Prior Learning

Your previous life, work, or study experience, unassociated with formal education, may qualify for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR). Your knowledge and skills will be evaluated to determine if you meet the objectives for selected courses up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the program. To qualify for PLAR, you must apply to the program, meet all the program requirements, and complete the PLAR before entering the program or one term before the scheduled course(s). The fee for each PLAR course is 75 per cent of the regular course fee. Refer to NIC policy #4-10: Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition.

When an applicant meets some, but not all, learning objectives in a course(s), the assessment process may result in an exemption from some portion of the course(s). You will be required to register in the course and pay full tuition but your workload would be reduced. Note that eligibility for this process will be granted on an individual basis by the department. You must apply one semester in advance of the course start date.

For information about which courses qualify for PLAR please contact the department chair in your program.

To Be Successful

  • Basic computer literacy and internet access are necessary. Visit NIC’s Learn Anywhere site for digital learning support resources. You must access all course resources online. Electronic documentation is also used in the practice setting. You are expected to have the ability to:
    • navigate the internet and access online resources
    • create word documents,
    • attach word documents to emails and submit assignments via email or  through the NIC learning management system.
    • Participate in videoconferences
  • A valid driver’s license and access to personal transport is strongly recommended for the Practice Experience courses, especially HCA-145, the Community Care Practice Experience Practicum, If you are not able to provide your own transport, you may have difficulty meeting the requirements of these clinical practice courses.
  • It is an expectation of the Health Care Assistant program that you demonstrate responsible, accountable behaviour in terms of maintaining a pattern of regular attendance and establishing effective working relationships with student colleagues and faculty. You are required to adhere to all college policies and regulations.