Frequently Asked Questions About Health Care Assistants


female nurse standing in front of reception

Today, the healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing fields across Canada. In British Columbia specifically, Health Care Assistants (HCAs) are among the top 10 occupations that are in high demand, including across the Greater Vancouver area, the Interior Health region, and Vancouver Island.

If you care about making a difference in the lives of other people and have a passion for health, a career as a Health Care Assistant may be the right path for you!

Intrigued and want to learn more about Health Care Assistants? Keep on reading below to learn more about the career and find out the answers to some commonly asked questions.

What Is a Health Care Assistant?

In Canada, Health Care Assistants are front-line healthcare providers who work in areas like hospitals, group homes, home support, long-term care facilities, and much more. One of their fundamental goals on the job is to maintain and improve the health, comfort, safety, well-being, and independence of their patients seeking medical care. Overall, they support patients and cater to their unique needs alongside a team of healthcare providers.  

What Does a Health Care Assistant Do?

The responsibilities and duties of a Health Care Assistant may vary from location to location, but some of the overarching roles include:

Laid Down Young Female Patient Talking To Male Nurse In Emergency Room
  • Providing care and assistance to patients
  • Feeding or helping feed patients
  • Recognizing and respecting patients’ particular needs
  • Recording and reporting patients’ fluid intake and output
  • Using a problem-solving approach to provide care and assistance with patients’ physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and cognitive well-being
  • Observing and monitoring patients’ status and documenting patient care on charts
  • Communicating with patients and their families in a clear, accurate, and sensitive manner

Is There a Demand for Health Care Assistants?

Absolutely! Today and in the future, there will be a high demand for Health Care Assistants. According to WorkBC, there will be over 19,000 expected job openings over the next 10 years in BC alone and over 50% of it is due to economic growth. In fact, it’s forecasted that the average employment growth rate will increase by 2.6% between 2023 and 2028. This is because British Columbia’s population is growing – and as the population matures, they will need more healthcare services to cater to their needs.

If you’re looking specifically for career opportunities in the Interior Health region, please click this link.

How Do You Train to Become a Health Care Assistant?

As Health Care Assistants are provincially regulated jobs, all individuals who are interested in pursuing this career need to be registered with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry. By implementing the Registry, the Ministry of Health can establish and improve standards of care as well as serve and protect vulnerable patients, residents, and clients receiving care from Health Care Assistants.

To be eligible to apply for the Registry, you need to be: a graduate of a recognized Health Care Assistant program in BC or Canada; or a Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, or Registered Psychiatric Nurse who is licensed to practice in Canada; or enrolled in a nursing program in Canada; or an internationally educated healthcare professional (IEHCP).

Sprott Shaw’s Health Care Assistant program is one of the recognized programs on the Registry. Our Health Care Assistant is offered at many of our campuses across BC including Abbotsford, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Kamloops, New Westminster, Nanaimo, Vancouver, Surrey, Penticton, and more.

Are There Career Advancement Opportunities as a Health Care Assistant?

One of the many benefits of becoming a Health Care Assistant is that there is no ceiling to stop you from growing and progressing your career. In fact, becoming a Health Care Assistant can serve as the first step towards a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or even a Registered Nurse (RN).

With experience as a Health Care Assistant and more education, you can specialize in particular departments like oncology, emergency care, critical care, geriatrics, pediatrics, psychiatric care, palliative care, occupational health, rehabilitation, and more. Our Practical Nursing Access program can help you get there in less time by factoring in your current experience and knowledge as a Health Care Assistant.

Interested in learning more or still have some unanswered questions about Health Care Assistants? Contact one of our helpful advisors to learn more!

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