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Health care is becoming more and more attractive as a job sector. The average wage in the sector is gradually growing, and the demand for it remains stable as the population unconditionally ages.
A lot of young people take a long time to get into a health care sector because they choose to pursue pursuing a medical/health degree. What many people don’t realize is that there are other and, most importantly, shorter pathways to realizing one’s passion for helping people with complex health care needs. One of such pathways is to become a health care assistant. This article will describe the most important features of this profession and advise you on how to enter it.
Health Care Assistant (HCA) is the primary point of support for individuals with complex care needs. It is a person that works under a supervision of a nurse or a doctor in different types of environments, including private homes, hospitals, long-term care facilities, etc. Among other things, an HCA takes measurements, actively observes their patient’s condition and informs a supervisor about any changes, helps their patient with daily routines and activities, and prepares equipment for various medical procedures. Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising that HCA jobs in BC and other provinces might vary slightly depending on where an HCA spends most of their time. Depending on the environment and primary responsibilities, this job can also be referred to as Patient Services Associate, Health Care Aide, Residential Care Aide, Hospital Attendant, Community Health Worker, Support Worker, etc.
There are many reasons to pursue a career of an HCA, both practical and personal. HCAs are one of the key players in a healthcare system. Often, they become much closer with patients than nurses and doctors.
The biggest reward of this profession is noticing your personal contribution to your patient’s well-being at the end of every single day. So, if you get personal satisfaction from helping others in their moment of need and forming a special bond with people, this job is right for you.
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, health care assistants are practically immune from unemployment. The annual health care assistant salary in BC ranges within $28,641 and $46,716. Last but not least, the process of getting into the profession is relatively quick and stress-free. However, there are certain nuances that must be considered by all potential candidates….
HCA is a provincially regulated occupation, which means that every province in Canada has a controlling mechanism over it. In British Columbia, the governance of the HCA profession is realized through BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry.
All HCAs’ eligibility for employment is determined by whether or not they are registered with the regulatory body. However, the process of getting registered always depends on one’s academic and professional status:
You will start with submitting all necessary information about your education, including a Certificate, Diploma or Degree, and an Official Transcript. An important step of the process is to get your education evaluated by a credential evaluation body. One of the institutions that perform international credential evaluation is an International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) operated by BCIT. The report you receive from an evaluation body must be submitted with your application to the Registry.
If English is not your first language, you will need to take an acceptable English Language Proficiency test and provide the Registry with your results. Upon the review of your application, the Registry might request some additional documents.
The next step for foreign Health Care professionals is a competency-based assessment conducted by the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS). The assessment consists of three parts:
You cannot pass or fail the assessment because the main purpose of it is to identify the most and least problematic areas of your knowledge and skills.
As one of the final steps of the process, the Registry will review the report provided by NCAS and decide whether you must take additional training courses for healthcare assistants prior to registration (e.g. the HCA Introduction to Practice course). Otherwise, you become directly eligible for registration as a Health Care Assistant.