Health Care Assistant Diploma

Abbotsford (604) 625-1150 / Send Inquiry

The Health Care Assistant Diploma program is designed to provide students with opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to function effectively as frontline caregivers. Upon completion of the program, students will have the necessary training to become respected members of a healthcare team in both community and facility settings.

This program is based on the philosophy of promotion and maintenance of health, safety, independence, comfort, and well-being of individuals and families. Under the direction and supervision of a health professional, Ashton College students will be trained to provide optimal person-centred care. The focus is on promoting and maintaining the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being of clients and residents.

BC HCA Program Recognition Guide

This program has been developed using the BC HCA Program provincial curriculum, as well as the HCA Program Recognition Guide in order to meet prescribed provincial education quality standards for Health Care Aide in Canada.

Overview Admission Requirements Program Formats and Duration Upcoming Dates Course Descriptions Fees

Health Care Assistants provide personal care assistance and services in a caring manner. They recognize and support the unique needs, abilities and backgrounds of their clients.

Career Occupation

Health Care Assistants are prepared to work in a variety of healthcare facilities and community agencies. They may take on the roles of Health Care Workers or Resident Care Attendants.

Their work will be mainly with the elderly but may also include working with children, young adults, and families. Employment may be found in practice settings, including:

  • Home support;
  • Assisted living;
  • Residential/complex care;
  • Special care units;
  • Other home and community care settings and acute care.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. A minimum of a high school diploma, 19 years or older at the start of the applicant’s program or course; and
  2. English Language Proficiency Requirements (please see Admissions Requirement for HCA).

Applicants should also provide the following additional documents:

  1. Successful completion of standard first aid, including CPR (level C) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED);
  2. WHMIS certification;
  3. Criminal Record check clearance from the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Criminal Records Review Office;
  4. Successful completion of Food Safe Level 1 within 3 years prior to placement commencement;
  5. TB skin test and/or chest x-ray to rule out active TB (dated within six (6) months of first placement); and
  6. Up-to-date immunizations in accordance with Practice Education Guidelines of BC:
    1. Tuberculosis;
    2. Tetanus/ Diphtheria Toxoid and Polio Vaccine;
    3. Measles Vaccine;
    4. Rubella Vaccine;
    5. Hepatitis B Vaccine;
    6. Hepatitis A;
    7. Varicella (Chickenpox).

For more details, please see our Admissions Policy (Policy 1001) or talk to one of our Admission Officers.


This program is delivered in-class from our Abbotsford campus.


750 hours (including 270 practice education hours).

  • Full-time: 30 hours of instruction per week, for a total of 25 weeks;
  • Part-time: 8 hours of instruction per week, for a total of 94 weeks.


January 7, 2019 – July 5, 2019

  • Classes are held Monday to Friday, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm.

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HCA 01: Health and Healing – Concepts for Practice (70 hours)

This course provides students with the theoretical framework needed to become a healthcare practitioner. Students will be introduced to the philosophical values and theoretical understandings that provide a foundation for competent practice as a Health Care Assistant (HCA).

The course focuses on the concepts of caring and person-centred care; basic human needs and human development; family, culture and diversity as they relate to health and healing. Students will also be introduced to a problem-solving model that will be critical to their practice.

HCA 02: Health Care Assistant – Introduction to Practice (30 hours)

This course provides an introduction to the role of the HCA within the British Columbia healthcare system. Students will be introduced to the structure of healthcare teams and the roles and functions of HCAs as part of those teams. Students will also have opportunities to develop the metacognitive skills required for competent practice and will be introduced to effective job-finding approaches.

HCA 03: Health 1 – Interpersonal Communications (50 hours)

This course focuses on the development of self-awareness, increased understanding of others, and development of effective interpersonal communication skills that can be used in a variety of caregiving contexts. Students will be encouraged to become more aware of the impact of their own communication choices and patterns. They will have the opportunity to develop and use communication techniques that demonstrate care and respect.

HCA 04: Health 2 – Lifestyle and Choices (30 hours)

This course introduces students to a holistic concept of health and different components of a healthy lifestyle. Students will be invited to reflect on their own experiences, working towards recognizing the challenges and the resources that can impact lifestyle choices. Students will be introduced to a model that can be applied in other courses to understand the multi-faceted aspects of health and healing.

HCA 05: Healing 1 – Caring for Individuals Experiencing Common Health Challenges (115 hours)

This course introduces students to the structure and the function of a human body and the normal bodily changes associated with ageing. Students will explore common challenges to health and healing in relation to each body system. Students will also be encouraged to explore person-centred practice as it relates to common health challenges, such as end-of-life care.

HCA 06: Healing 2 – Caring for Individuals Experiencing Cognitive or Mental Challenges (65 hours)

This course builds on the content from the other courses to assist students in the exploration of caregiving approaches that will allow them to work effectively with individuals experiencing cognitive or mental challenges. Emphasis is placed on recognizing behaviours and identifying person-centred intervention strategies.

HCA 07: Healing 3 – Personal Care and Assistance (120 hours)

This practical course offers students the opportunity to acquire personal care and assistance skills within the parameters of the HCA role. The course is comprised of both classroom study (40 hours) and supervised laboratory experience (80 hours), which helps the student integrate theory from other courses into the real-world practice. Students will further develop caregiving skills that maintain and promote comfort, safety and independence of individuals in community and facility contexts.

HCA 08: Practice Education Experience Multi-Level and/or Complex Care (210 hours)

This supervised practice experience provides students with an opportunity to apply their skills to individuals in a multi-level or complex care setting. A portion of this clinical experience is devoted to working with individuals with dementia. Opportunity will be provided for students to gain expertise and confidence in the role of a Health Care Assistant within a residential care facility.

HCA 09: Practice Education Experience Home Support/Assisted Living/Group Homes (60 hours)

This practice course provides students with an opportunity to work in a community setting. Opportunity will be provided for students to become more familiar with the role of the HCA within a Home Support Agency, Assisted Living Facility and/or a Group Home. Emphasis is placed on understanding the philosophy of a given community care setting and the importance of the clients’ choice and independence.

Tuition fees for this program are due and payable at least 30 days prior to the cohort start date. Students with guaranteed funding arrangements will be exempt from this requirement provided that they produce documentary proof at least 30 days prior to the cohort start date.

All formats of the program are eligible for Canada Student Loans, other forms of government funding, and bank financing. However, students are responsible for making their own funding arrangements and are advised to contact the relevant funder well in advance of the start date to make an application.

Application and tuition fees for this program are as follows:

  • Application fee: $200 (Domestic Students) or $300 (International Students)
  • Tuition fee (Domestic): $6,408
  • Tuition fee (International): $8,330

Note: Tuition fees do not include the cost of the required textbooks. The approximate textbook fee is $400.