Health Care Assistant

Diploma Program

Total Program Hours:
790 Hours
Full-Time Program Length:
29 Weeks
Includes holidays and professional days.
Delivery Methods:
  • In-Class Instruction
  • Combined Delivery (Both In-Class and Distance)
Program content is subject to change.
Our Health Care Assistant program includes hands-on acute, hospice, and palliative care training and certification

Health care assistants are valued and important members of the healthcare team who promote and maintain the health, safety, independence, comfort, and well-being of patients.

The Health Care Assistant (HCA) diploma program equips students with the hands-on skills and knowledge to function effectively as front-line caregivers in community and facility settings. Under the direction and supervision of a health care professional, graduates will be able to provide person-centred care that promotes and maintains the physical, emotional, spiritual, cognitive, and social well-being of patients.

Throughout the program, students will receive the following forms of training:

  • Basic and advanced hospice and palliative care training and certification
  • Acute care skills training and certification
  • Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NVCI) training and certification
  • Introduction to Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI-MDS 2.0) Observation Tool training and certification
  • Standard First Aid with CPR-C/AED training and certification
  • FoodSafe training and certification 
  • WHMIS training and certification
  • Student Practice Education Core Orientation (SPECO) training

Why Study at Sprott Shaw?

  • All-inclusive program costs where what you see is what you pay. Our costs include registration fees, assessment fees, tuition, textbooks, supplies, course materials, uniforms, certificates, graduation fees, clinical and practicum fees, and much more
  • Career and professional development success courses to help create a career development marketing plan, learn the cardinal rules of professionalism, and identify the target markets and employment resources for the healthcare industry 
  • Preparation and orientation courses to teach you how to find credible research, write papers, create proper citation formats including APA, and study effectively for exams
  • Certificates including Standard First Aid with CPR-C/AED, FoodSafe, WHMIS, and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention
  • Access to dedicated Employment Services Specialists (ESS) who can help you with resume and cover letter writing, interview skills, and the overall job search after graduation
  • Monthly intake system so you can start your education when you want to without the wait
  • Clinical and practicum opportunities with health authorities across BC including Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health Authority, Island Health, Northern Health, and Interior Health Authority
  • Grant and scholarship opportunities are available to help you save on tuition. Up to $4000 in scholarships and grants are open to recent high school graduates, Sprott Shaw alumni, military veterans, and more! Click here to browse our full list of grants and scholarships.

Learning Objectives

  • Provides person-centred care and assistance that recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each individual client
  • Uses an informed problem-solving approach to provide care and assistance that promotes the physical, psychological, social, cognitive and/or spiritual well-being of clients and families
  • Provides care and assistance for clients experiencing complex health challenges
  • Provides care and assistance for clients experiencing cognitive and/or mental health challenges
  • Interacts with other members of the healthcare team in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals
  • Communicate clearly and accurately in sensitive situations with patients and families within a variety of community and facility contexts
  • Provides personal care and assistance in a safe, competent and organized manner
  • Recognizes and responds to own self-development, learning and health-enhancement needs
  • Performs the care provider role in a reflective, responsible, accountable and professional/ethical manner

Introduction to Acute Care Skills

In our “Introduction to Acute Care Skills” course, our curriculum includes all of the basic introductory acute care and medication administration assistance concepts included in the HCA BC provincial curriculum. After successful completion of our Health Care Assistant diploma program, you will also receive completion certificates for “Introduction to Acute Care Skills” and “Medication Administration Assistance.”

BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry

The BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry reviews and recognizes Health Care Assistant programs in BC to ensure that they are: following the provincial curriculum, implementing a common set of training standards, and graduating competent front-line health care providers. Confirming that health care assistants meet registration requirements is integral to the Registry’s mandate of patient protection and improved standards of care.

Graduates of the HCA program delivered by Sprott Shaw College are eligible for registration with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry to demonstrate their competence and credentials to work for publicly funded employers in BC.

Success Stories

  • “The course hours worked well for me as a parent and my instructors were amazing and passionate about providing holistic individualized care and creating a healthy work environment.” – Amy J.
  • “I loved every moment of my time with Sprott Shaw! Everyone who works on the campus is just amazing.” – Lindsey S.
  • “I have always had a passion for helping others as well as for working in the medical field. The HCA program gave me the opportunity to grow my skills and take on a more hands-on role in helping people.” – Kelsey W.

Where Are Sprott Shaw Graduates Working? 

Our Health Care, Nursing and Dental graduates can be found working throughout the province. In addition to health authorities across BC, our Practical Nursing and Health Care Assistant graduates are working at recognized hospitals like Vancouver General Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Chilliwack General Hospital, Kelowna General Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, and more. 

Our Dental Assistant graduates can be found working at a variety of dental clinics throughout the province such as Family Care Dental Clinic, Heavenly Dental, NOVO Dental Centre, and more. Our Pharmacy Assistants can be found working in Walmart Pharmacies, Rexall Pharmacies, and numerous other independent pharmacies throughout BC. 

Click below to learn more about where our graduates are currently working. Please note that these lists do not cover every single business that has hired a Sprott Shaw graduate, but they do provide a good representation of the sort of industries that Sprott Shaw graduates are working in. 

Related Programs

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Our advisors are happy to answer any questions.

Career Opportunities

Acute/Complex Care Facility
Adult Day Care
Assisted Living
Care Aide
Home Support Agencies
Long Term Care
Private Homes
Residential Support Worker
Self-Employment as a HCA
Special Care Units
Admission Requirements:
  • Grade 12 / GED or mature student status (all transcripts must be ‘true certified copies’ or originals)
  • Complete admissions interview
  • Excellent communication skills (composition)
  • SSC Health Declaration form (or Physician’s Waiver) (must be done no more than three months before program start date)
  • Submit a criminal record check from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, including clearance to work with vulnerable adults (Schedule B must be done no more than three months before program start date)
  • For international students, a Police Certificate from their country of origin (must be done no more than 1 year before program start date
  • Provide evidence of clear TB testing (must be done no more than one month before the start of the program or no more than six months prior to the start of clinical/practicum)
  • Provide evidence of up-to-date Immunizations: Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Polio, Chicken Pox, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Pertussis
  • Provide evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination
  • Influenza vaccinations, and others as required by clinical sites
  • Must adhere to the requirements of the BC Practice Education Guidelines
  • For more information on English Language requirements and equivalencies please click here
Proof of meeting English Language Competency Requirements:
  • English 10 or equivalent with a grade of ‘C’ or English for Healthcare with a grade of 76% (for applicants whose first language is English)
  • Standardized English language test score (for applicants whose first language is not English)
  • For further information on English requirements, see your Career Advisor
Diploma Requirements:

70% average upon successful completion of all courses. CPR, First Aid, RAI, SPECO, Crisis Prevention, WHMIS and FoodSafe Level 1 (or an appropriate equivalent as listed on the BCCDC website) will be completed during the program.

Additional Notes:

Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from clinical training sites.

Clinical Training for HCA 401 may be conducted as a clinical or practicum placement.

All clinical or practicum placements are conducted in shifts of a minimum of 7 hours per day up to 12 hours per day for a total of 270 hours.

Clinical placement sites are subject to availability (may be in various areas).

Clinical sites may require more current and/or additional CRC (for instance: RCMP) and TB testing (to be done at student’s expense).

Students can expect to complete 1 – 4 hours of homework per day.


* Health Care Assistant was reviewed and approved by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.

Contact an Admissions Advisor for More Information Today!

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Our advisors are happy to answer any questions.

Courses List

This 29 week Diploma program requires the student to complete the following courses.

  • Concepts of caring and person-centered care
  • Basic human needs and human development
  • Standard precautions, safety, WHMIS

  • Concepts of caring and person-centred care
  • Professional communication
  • Speaking and writing professionally
  • Conflict management
  • Family culture and diversity
  • Dealing with others
  • Building personal strengths

  • Holistic components of health and healing (Health Wheel)
  • Basic nutrition and FoodSafe
  • Home management
  • Self-care and health promotion

  • Health care system in BC and Canada
  • The health care team
  • Job readiness
  • Application of Professionalism
  • Do Bugs Need Drugs
  • Workplace culture

  • Normal ageing changes
  • Common health challenges
  • Practical skills used to manage

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Normal ageing changes
  • Common health challenges
  • Practical skills used to manage common health challenges

  • Healing 2 - Cognitive Challenges
  • Physical, psychological and behavioural changes
  • Promotion of independence and quality of life
  • Confusion, delirium and dementia
  • Me & U-First Alzheimer Society
  • Home Instead eLearning Series
  • Standard First Aid with CPR - C and AED

  • Healing 3 - Introduction to Acute Care Skills
  • Intro to the acute care environment
  • Role of the HCA in acute care
  • Medication Administration Assistance
  • Wound care, IV, O2, Assisting with Medications
  • Post-operative care, diabetes care
  • Vital signs
  • Assist with physical examinations

  • Healing 4 - Hospice/Palliative Care
  • Communication skills used in caring for the dying and their family
  • Understanding hospice and palliative care
  • Personal awareness, self-reflection and self-care
  • Practical skills to help manage common challenges in end-of-life care
  • Food Safe

  • Healing 5 - Mental Health Challenges
  • Members of the health care team involved in mental health
  • Common mental health issues - depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders
  • Communication, treatment and preventative strategies
  • Abuse awareness
  • Promoting client well-being Developmental disabilities
  • NVCI - Non-violence Crisis Intervention

  • 2-week clinical experience

  • 2-week clinical experience

  • 2-week clinical experience

  • 2-week clinical or practicum experience

• Computer basics/file management
• Goal setting, note taking, problem solving, team work
• Overview of policies & procedures
• Demonstrate ability to use MS Word and MS PowerPoint

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Our advisors are happy to answer any questions.

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