In the Health Care Assisting (HCA) Certificate Program, students learn to provide holistic care to promote physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being for people with diverse but relatively stable health needs. Students gain knowledge and skills in providing person-focused care, such as assisting with grooming, supporting participation in social/recreational activities, and helping maintain mobility. The general focus of this program is caring for clients with physical care needs and/or dementia.
International students are not currently eligible for this program. For more information, contact Douglas College International
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.
- Non-Violence Crisis Intervention (NVCI) is required prior to first clinical placement. The NVCI course may be arranged through the HCSW program during program orientation. Each student is responsible for any cost incurred for these courses.
- 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.
career transfer pathways
Health Care Assistant (HCA) Certificate Program graduates provide holistic care for clients with physical care needs and/or dementia. Health care assistants work in homes, care facilities, assisted living facilities and a variety of settings.
With an additional semester of study, HCA Certificate graduates can earn a Community Mental Health Worker Certificate. These two credentials combine to form the Health Care Support Worker Certificate and equip graduates with both physical and mental health care skills.
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
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)
British Virgin Islands Cayman Island
St. Kitts and Nevis
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.
- 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.
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.
When offered a full-time seat in this program a non-refundable, non-transferable $350 tuition deposit is required.