Health Care Assistant Upgrade

Certificate Program

Total Program Hours:
255 Hours
Full-Time Program Length:
12 Weeks
Includes holidays and professional days.
Delivery Methods:
  • In-Class Instruction
  • Combined Delivery (Both In-Class and Distance)
Program content is subject to change.

This program prepares individuals with previous health care assistant education and experience for practice in BC. It is designed to address individual needs as identified through the NCAS (Nursing Community Assessment Service) HCA Competency Assessment. It enables individuals to review and enhance previously acquired knowledge and upgrade their skills to meet practice requirements so that they may become registered as HCAs in BC with BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry.

The work done by HCAs is based on a set of fundamental values, beliefs and ethical principles that are consistently reflected in all aspects of their work with clients, families, team members and others. Amongst these core values, beliefs and principles, which serve as foundations of HCA practice, are those related to:

  • Human Beings
  • Older Adults
  • Health and Healing
  • Healthcare
  • Caring and Caregiving
  • The Family in Health and Healing
  • Understanding Culture and Diversity

Learning Objectives

The nine program learning outcomes that the students must meet for successful completion of this program are:

  • 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
  • Communicates clearly, accurately, and in sensitive ways with clients 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

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 and Community Health Worker Registry to demonstrate their competence and credentials to work for publicly funded employers in BC.

Grant and Scholarship Opportunities

Save on tuition with a variety of scholarship and grant options. Up to $4000 in scholarships and grants are available to recent high school graduates, Sprott Shaw alumni, military veterans, and more! Click here to browse our full list of grants and scholarships.

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. 

Success Stories

  • “I want to say that my instructors, both classroom and clinical, were such special people and they have impacted my life forever.” – Jessica B.
  • “Upon graduation, I received 7 employer call-backs requesting job interviews.” – Richard B.
  • “If it wasn’t for the school and my instructor’s support, I probably would have given up with all the setbacks that I had. I am so glad I didn’t because now I have my diploma and a career that I love.” – Vicky T.

Admission Requirements:
Prior to Acceptance:

In addition to meeting the Minimum English Competency Requirements for BC Health Care Assistant Programs, the following program admission requirements apply:

  •  English 10 or equivalent with a grade of C (for students whose first language is English) or Sprott Shaw College Communication for Healthcare Course with a grade of 76%
  • Standardized English language test score (for students whose first language is not English)
  • For further information on English requirements, see your Career Advisor
  • 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)
  • A referral from the BC Care Aide Registry will not be required from program applicants who already hold current HCA registration in BC.  For those who do not hold a current HCA registration in BC, a referral from the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry will be required.

Note: Students who are required to have practice education must also submit the following pre-reqs upon registration:

  • CPR-C and First Aid or Emergency First Aid.
  • Complete a Health Declaration Form (or Physician’s Waiver) (within 3 months of start date of program).
  • Clear TB skin test / clear chest x-ray if required (within 3 months) of start date of program.
  • Provide evidence of up-to-date immunizations (Measles, Mumps, Rubella,  Polio, Chicken Pox, Tetanus, Diphtheria,  Pertussis).
  • Hepatitis B Immunization OR have Family Physician order Titer Test to see if all immunizations have been done.
  • Provide evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Flu Immunization (required at the time of practicum during flu season).
Certificate  Requirements:
  • 90% passing mark for successful completion of all modules.
  • Upon successful completion of this program, students are eligible to receive an HCA Upgrade Program Certificate. If only a component of the program is completed, a transcript specifying completion component(s) will be issued but not a full certificate. As evidence that HCA education referral requirements have been completed, successful candidates will supply their Transcript and/or Program Certificate as evidence for registration with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker.
  • HCAU100 through HCAU204 are Online Review Modules. Each module requires a Final Assessment Result of 90%. Individuals will work at their own pace within the 2 month requirements. Any unsuccessful attempt at any level may require a re-sit or retest.
  • HCAU300 requires on-site attendance and is graded as  Complete/Incomplete.  HCAU400 is a monitored practicum which is graded as Complete/Incomplete.
  • Students can expect to complete 1 – 4 hours of homework per day.
  • Supervised clinical training may include any shifts other than day shift (i.e. evenings – 3pm to 11pm or nights – 11pm to 7am and possible weekends).
  • 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 are responsible for their own transportation to and from practice experience sites.

* Health Care Assistant Upgrade 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 12 week Certificate program requires the student to complete the following courses.

  • Characteristics of caring person-centred
  • Basic human needs
  • Human development
  • Family in health and healing
  • Multiculturalism and diversity
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Protection and Safety in health and healing

  • Introduction to interpersonal communication
  • Knowledge to self
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Responding to others
  • Violence prevention / Abuse awareness
  • Conflict management and resolution

  • Understanding health
  • Components of health
  • Psychological / emotional (feeling) components of health
  • Cognitive (thinking) components of health
  • Social (interactive) components of health
  • Spiritual components of health
  • Lifestyle change

  • Workplace settings and contexts
  • Team work in health care settings
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Professional approaches to practice
  • Self-reflective practice
  • Employability

  • Medical terminology
  • Structure and function of the human body
  • Nutrition and healing
  • End-of-life care
  • Challenges to health and healing, including:
  • Common challenges
  • Board effects on the individual and family of health challenges
  • Common disorders related to each body system
  • Chronic illness
  • Applying critical thinking and problem-solving when caring for individuals experiencing common health challenges in various health care settings

  • Cognitive challenges in older adulthood
  • Elder Abuse
  • Mental health challenges
  • Stigma associated with mental health challenges
  • Caring for the person and family
  • Suicide risks and prevention

  • Infection prevention
  • Measuring vital signs
  • Health and cold applications
  • Assisting with oxygen needs
  • Assisting with medications
  • Assistance with administering medications
  • Wound care

  • Problem Solving when carrying out caregiving procedures
  • Asepsis and prevention of infection
  • Promoting comfort and rest
  • Promoting person hygiene
  • Moving, positioning and transferring a client
  • Bed making
  • Promoting exercise and activity
  • Promoting healthy nutrition and fluid intake
  • Promoting urinary and bowel elimination
  • Home management
  • Assisting with medications

  • Lab skills booklet
  • Lab review
  • Client care scenarios
  • Open lab practice
  • Final skills testing

  • Orientation at the start of the placement
  • 40-hour practicum placement

  • This introductory course provides learners with a variety of student centric learning strategies and techniques.
  • Students will learn goal setting, planning and time management, problem solving, writing skills, computer skills, and the effective use of information technologies.

Contact an Admissions Advisor for More Information Today!

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Our advisors are happy to answer any questions.

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