Start Dates

Program Delivery

  • In Class
  • Blended

All labs are held at Calgary Main Campus.

Program Description

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.

Clinical experience

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.

Graduation requirements

To obtain your Government of Alberta Health Care Aide Provincial Curriculum 2019 Certificate, you will need to successfully complete the program, enroll in the Alberta Health Care Aide Directory, and pass the Alberta Health Care Aide Provincial Examination.

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.

Course Listings Request More Information
Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

Admission Requirements

Academic requirements
  • Credit in English 20-1 or equivalent


  • Satisfactory results on the Bow Valley College Admissions Test 

English language proficiency requirements

See English language proficiency requirements for details.

Pre-clinical requirements
  • 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.

Additional recommendations
  • 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.

Course Listings Request More Information
Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

International Learner Applicants

International Education
North Campus – Third Floor

Program FAQs

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.

Related Programs

Health Care Aide Certificate

The Health Care Aide program will provide you with the opportunity to gain knowledge and hands-on skills to provide person-centered care within a health care team.

  • If you are currently studying in a post-secondary program at BVC, please register for your courses via mybvc to ensure your enrolments and fees are processed appropriately.
  • Cart total based on domestic tuition rates. For information about International Tuition rates please see Fee Information
  • If you anticipate applying for a student loan, your payment will be refunded to you based on your loan award once your funding has been received by BVC.

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