Health Care Assisting

Currently, Douglas College is only accepting applications for the Health Care Assisting portion of the Health Care Support Work program via the BC Health Career Access program.  For those interested in Health Care Assisting please submit your expression of interest at  

Update for entrance to Fall 2022, Winter 2023, and Summer 2023

Please note that a temporary variance has been approved to allow use of English 10 with a C (or equivalent) to meet the program admission requirements for entry to the HCA program in Fall 2022, Winter 2023, and Summer 2023.

Learning Format
Admission Type
Limited Enrolment


Gain the knowledge and skills necessary to provide holistic care to people with diverse health needs with the Certificate in Health Care Assisting. You’ll learn how to assist people with grooming, support them in taking part in social and recreational activities, and help them maintain mobility. The general focus of this program is caring for clients with physical care needs and/or dementia. You'll also get multiple supervised practice experiences in health care settings.

Further education

With an additional semester of study you can earn a Certificate in Community Mental Health Work, which when combined with the Health Care Assisting Certificate, equips you with both physical and mental-health-care skills.

Become certified in health care

After you receive your credential, you can register with the B.C. Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry, which makes you eligible to work at publicly funded health care settings across the province.

Job opportunities

Surveys show that 97 percent of our Health Care Assisting graduates are working in the field after graduation. (Source: B.C. Student Outcomes).

NOTE: International students are not currently eligible for this program. For more information, contact Douglas College International.


NOTE: A temporary variance has been approved to allow use of English 10 with a C (or equivalent) to meet the program admission requirements. 

Program Requirements

Curriculum Framework

Graduation Requirements:

  • Successful completion of 34.50 credits
  • 50% of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College 

Course Requirements:

Course Number Course Title Credits

Semester I


HCSW 1101

Concepts for Practice


HCSW 1102

Lifestyle and Introduction to Practice


HCSW 1103

Interpersonal Communication


HCSW 1104

Health Challenges 1


HCSW 1105

Applied Practice Experiences 1


Semester II


HCSW 1106

Health Challenges 2


HCSW 1107

Cognitive and Mental Health Challenges


HCSW 1108

Applied Practice Experiences 2


HCSW 1109

Applied Practice Experiences 3


Total Credits



Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements listed below:

Native English speakers (applies to individuals who have a minimum of 7 years of education in an English-speaking environment*)

Non-native English speakers


English 11 or equivalent


Standardized English Language proficiency test score

1. Evidence of one of the following:

     -Proof of completion of Grade 11 English with a minimum grade of "C"; OR

         Grade 11 level or higher
         Reading Comprehension: 65
         Writing placer: 4

2.  Completion of Douglas College Self- Declaration Form

Evidence of one of the following test scores:

 1.  The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): test must be within the last two years- minimum score of 80

 2.  International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Academic or General- test must be within the last two years- minimum overall score of 6 with no band lower than 6

 3.  Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLBPT): test must be taken within the past six months: Minimum test scores: Listening 8, Speaking 8, Reading 7 and Writing 7

 4.  Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL): test must be within the last two years- minimum overall score of 60

*Countries with English language systems/ intuitions(Where English is a primary, official language and the language used for education)

American Samoa
British Virgin Islands Cayman Island

Falkland Islands
Irish Republic

New Zealand
South Africa
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caico Islands

United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
United States of America (USA)
US Virgin Islands

*Applicants educated in Quebec at an institution where the language of instruction was not English, must meet the current English Language proficiency requirements.

Upon Offer: 

  • A Criminal Record Check from the Ministry of Justice, including clearance to work with vulnerable adults will be required.  This must be done through Douglas College.  Specific Instructions will be provided by the program Admissions Officer.
  • Complete an Informed Medical Suitability Declaration (to be completed on Douglas College Form) and a physician's note may be required.
  • Submit a current record of immunity or immunization for Hepatitis B.
  • Submit proof of negative TB skin test or chest X-ray, taken within 4 months prior to starting the program and classes. This may need to be repeated if student was tested more than six months prior to the first clinical experience, or as required by Health Regions. 

*Updated immunizations for measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, varicella and rubella are strongly recommended.  Recommendations will change based on Health Region requirements.

Standard First Aid and CPR Level C

  • Certificate is required prior to the first clinical placement.

Non-Violence Crisis Intervention (NVCI):

  • NVCI is required prior to the first clinical placement.  NVCI course may be arranged through the HCSW program during program orientation.  


  • We strongly recommend you attend an information session.
  • A personal interview with the Program Coordinator may be requested.


You can get an average cost for your program - tuition and student fees, books, uniforms, lab fees etc - on the Program Cost page. 

Only programs approved for student loan funding are listed on the Program Cost page. For all other programs, refer to the Tuition Fee page.

Career Pathways

Health care assistants work in homes, care facilities, assisted living facilities and a variety of settings.

Career opportunities include:

  • Activity Aide/Recreation Therapy Aide
  • Attendant for Persons with Disability
  • Family Caregiver
  • Health Care Assistant/Aide
  • Home Support Worker
  • Housekeeping Aide
  • Nurses Aides/Orderlies, Patient Service Associate
  • Patient Care Aide
  • Personal Home Care Aide
  • Senior Care Assistant

Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this program and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the program, consider the previous version as the applicable version.


English Proficiency Requirements

For entry to Fall 2022, Winter 2023, and Summer 2023, Education Council has approved a temporary variance has been approved to allow use of English 10 with a C (or equivalent) to meet the program admission requirements for entry to the HCA program in Fall 2022, Winter 2023, and Summer 2023.

More Information

Personal traits which help a student succeed in this program include:
Sensitivity to the needs of others
Ability to problem-solve effectively in a limited time span
Ability to manage time effectively and handle responsibility
Ability to perform basic home management and cooking skills
Ability to speak confidently with people of all ages
Ability to develop self-awareness
Ability to be self-directed in their own learning
Ability to be flexible

Special academic requirements

These requirements apply to all program options. See individual program options for additional program requirements.
  • Standard First Aid and CPR Level C certificate is required prior to first clinical placement.

Health Region On-line Orientation (Student Practice Education Core Orientation) completion is required prior to first clinical placement.  Information will be provided during program orientation.

NOTE: A driver’s license allowing unaccompanied vehicle operation and access to a vehicle are strongly recommended to insure the required one-week clinical placement in Home Support.

Tuition deposit

When offered a full-time seat in this program a non-refundable, non-transferable $350 tuition deposit is required.