- In Class
Tuition & Fees
International: CAD $7,346
All labs are held at Calgary Main Campus.
Courses are offered every two months (i.e. January, March, May, etc.).
It is recommended you take two or three courses per four-month semester, which would allow you to complete the program in 18 months (4 terms plus 2 months).
We are no longer accepting applications for the August 2019 intake.
We are no longer accepting applications for the January 2020 intake.
This self-paced program focuses on helping you develop the core skills needed to care for clients in the health care field. Topics include personal care, assisting with mobility and feeding needs, communication, assisting with medication delivery, and clinical skills. Upon completion, you will earn a Bow Valley College/Government of Alberta Health Care Aide Certificate.
This program combines on-campus lab study, online theory components, and five weeks of full-time clinical practicum in continuing care, acute care, and community/home care settings.
Depending on the number of courses you take at one time, you will need to attend on-campus labs up to five or six times per month. It is recommended you take two or three courses per four-month semester, which allows for you to complete the program in 18 months.
You will be required to travel to various locations in order to complete your clinical and practicum placements. Every effort is made to accommodate learners in clinical placements within the time frame of the program, however, in rare instances, there may be a delay in program completion until a clinical placement can be arranged.
Tuition and financial aid
Refer to the Program Tuition Fee Chart for an estimate of the cost of completing a Bow Valley College career program. When creating a budget, consider the costs of tuition, learner fees, textbooks, learning materials, and police information check fees. Contact the Financial Aid team for advice on financing a Bow Valley College education.
Starting with new students in January 2020, admission requirements will be increasing. Please see the ‘Important Note’ below for more information.
- Credit in either English 10-1 or 10-2 or equivalent
- Successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED) test, which consists of five tests, with a standard score of 450 in Language Arts: Reading and Writing
- Satisfactory results on the Bow Valley College Admissions Test
English language proficiency requirements
See English language proficiency requirements for details.
- A current Police Information Check (PIC) with Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) must be submitted prior to practicum placements. The existence of a criminal record may postpone or prevent clinical, practicum, or field work placements and, subsequently, successful completion of the program.
- Immunization requirements must be met in order to participate in practicum placements. Details will be provided after being accepted into the program. Up-to-date immunizations are valid for the duration of the program.
- Basic Life Support CPR is recommended and often required by employers.
- Applicants must be able to work shifts and weekends, be on their feet for extended periods of time, use their knees, back, and arms to move clients who have minimal body strength and function effectively in stressful situations.
You can transfer to the Bow Valley College – Recreation Therapy Aide Certificate Program.
The Health Care Aide Certificate (HCA) Program is a provincial curriculum. The curriculum is being updated and will impact all program delivery formats. The program is currently offered in a full and part time delivery format as well as PLAR; all program offerings will be impacted.
- Why is the HCA Curriculum being updated?
The HCA Curriculum must be updated to align with the new Alberta Health Care Aide Competency Profile, 2018 and to remain current with health care trends and standards.
- How long is the new HCA Curriculum?
The new HCA Curriculum or program will be 2 terms or 8 months in length if taken full time. It will be longer when taken part-time.
- What are the new program entrance requirements?
The new entry requirement will be a minimum of 60% in English Language Arts 20-2 (or equivalent).
- When will these changes take effect?
The new HCA Curriculum will be implemented in January 2020. All learners starting in January 2020 and later will need to meet the new entrance requirements. More information will be communicated as it becomes available.
- How will this impact current HCA learners?
All current learners, or learners taking the HCA program in 2019, will have to complete their program by June 30, 2020.
Required coursesIncludes theory, lab, and clinical courses. Courses are offered every two months (i.e. January, March, May. etc.).
This course will focus on safety - safety of the client, the health care worker and the work environment in a variety of employment settings. The course provides information that will result in safe care, based on the needs of the client.
In this course, the twelve systems that make up the human body will be studied and the milestones of growth and development across a lifetime will be discussed. The concepts of healthy aging and maintaining independence will also be addressed. Learners will gain knowledge about the most common chronic conditions the Health Care Aide may encounter and how to provide safe care based on best practices according the client's diagnosis, needs, and care plan.
This course will focus on the roles and responsibilities of a health care aide working in a variety of employment settings, as well as professional communication with other team members, clients and client families. The health care environment requires competent verbal, written and electronic skills. Strategies for overcoming communication barriers caused by disease and aging will be discussed. In addition, the course will provide problem solving strategies and tools to handle conflict.
This course encompasses the skills needed to assist clients with daily grooming, hygiene, bathing, elimination, bed making, and nutritional needs. Learners in this course will learn to support clients to maintain independence and to meet their care needs according to individual care plans. This course is designed to develop confidence and competence while providing basic client care.
Pre- or Co-Requisites: HCAD1101, HCAD1102 and HCAD1103 (B- in each).
This course includes comprehensive materials to prepare the learner to assist with medication delivery within the scope of practice of the Health Care Aide.
Pre-requisites: HCAD1104 (B-)
The skills introduced in this course are sometimes referred to as advanced skills for Health Care Aides. The opportunity to learn the skills for supporting care activities, such as ostomy care, respiratory care, catheter care, tube feeds, and vital signs are taught in this course.
Health Care Aides may have the opportunity to work with families to provide care for infants and children. Information and skills to assist with these care assignments are included in this course, as are care strategies for assisting other diverse client groups, such as clients with a mental health diagnosis, developmental delays, and physical disabilities. Course information will provide the learner with care strategies to support the client, the client's family, and self through the process of a client's dying and death.
Pre-requisites: HCAD1104 (B-)
This course provides opportunity for the learner to incorporate and demonstrate previously acquired skills in a hands-on setting. For two weeks in an extended care setting, a facilitator supervises and guides the learner in the application of skills and knowledge.
Prerequisites: HCAD1201, HCAD1202 and HCAD1203 (B- in each)
This course provides a three-week opportunity for the learner to adapt learned skills to an acute home/community setting under the direct supervision of a preceptor.
This delivery format of the Health Care Aide program has a blended delivery structure. The blended delivery option allows you to complete the theory components of the courses online and the lab components on campus. Almost every course includes a lab component. The final 5 weeks of the program are a full-time clinical experience.
All components of the program must be completed within 18 months. Learners in this program have a maximum of 4 months to complete each course, however, can register for new courses every 2 months. It is recommended that learners take 2 courses at a time. The more courses a learner takes at one time, the sooner the program can be completed.
Learners will need to attend labs on campus approximately 5 times a month, depending on their course load. The clinical component is full-time for 5 weeks (3 weeks of instructor-led clinical, plus 2 weeks of preceptored experience).
The program requires discipline and initiative, and the ability to learn independently. This is a good option for learners looking for more flexibility in their program. Time commitment varies greatly depending on course load and individual study habits. Learners are encouraged to start with 2 courses per semester – increasing the course load only if the learner can successfully handle 2 courses.
Labs are on campus and learners will likely need to be in Calgary for the 5 weeks of clinical. If you live near Calgary, this program may work for you, however, if you are more than 2 hours away, we recommend looking into alternative options in closer cities.
It would be very difficult for learners living in another province to complete Bow Valley College’s Health Care Aide program. Learners will need to be in Calgary for labs and clinical. It will be expensive and difficult to commute. In addition, each province has different hiring requirements and an Alberta Health Care Aide certificate may not be recognized by another province.
The College must maintain a certain instructor-to-learner ratio for the placements and preceptorships (for example, 1 instructor per 8 learners). Placements are set up based on availability and learners must be flexible regarding the location and scheduling of the clinical placement. Learners are expected to treat the clinical like a job. Bow Valley College arranges these placements, and learners may be required to travel to various locations in Southern Alberta.
Graduates of a provincially-recognized health care aide program may qualify for advanced credit in the Practical Nurse Diploma program. To be considered for prior learning assessment and recognition, learners must have completed the Health Care Aide Certificate program and must have completed 1,900 hours of work experience as a recognized health care aide. Graduates of the Health Care Aide Certificate program may be eligible to receive credit for two nursing courses.
For more information, visit the Transfer Credit page.
Book lists and costs can be found on the Bow Valley College Bookstore website
The Bow Valley College Health Care Aide program follows the Alberta Health curriculum. Bow Valley College has an excellent reputation with the provincial government and employers, and our graduates are preferred when applying for HCA because they are work-ready, and have met our high standards.
Health care aides are currently in high demand. For the employment outlook for this profession, visit the Alberta government’s Alberta Occupational Profile (OCCinfo) page.
For information on general application and admissions processes, visit the Career Programs application page or contact the Prospective Student Centre at 403-410-1402.
Health Care Aide Certificate
Our Health Care Aide program will provide you with the opportunity to learn knowledge and hands-on skills to assist people to care for themselves and maintain independence.