- In Class
- Home Study
PLAR applications accepted each term starting in Fall 2020
You will attend an information session to help select whether to PLAR by portfolio or course challenge
Portfolio PLAR may be completed in 4 months, course challenge PLAR may be completed in 8 months
Clinical and Practicum experiences must be completed and cannot be challenged
Tuition will vary as your learning plans will be individualized to you.
This program is not open to international applicants
Prior learning assessment offers recognition for prior learning and experience. You can obtain appropriate course credit through a formal evaluation process that recognizes the skills, competencies, and knowledge obtained through various forms of education, training, and life experience. The process involves course challenges, evaluations, and / or portfolio submissions in addition to clinical and preceptorship experiences.
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) checklist
Apply for the Health Care Aide PLAR Program in-person at the Registrar’s Office on the first floor of the South Campus.
Please bring the following:
- Proof of program entry requirements
- Proof of previous employment including job description.
- Proof of 600+ hours experience within the past three years as an HCA or equivalent
- Once you are accepted, you will meet with the Program Chair to determine which PLAR method is suitable.
- Complete the PLAR self-assessment checklist.
- Complete PLAR plan as developed for you.
Admission RequirementsAcademic 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.
- 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.
- You will have an opportunity to get an N95 mask fitting, at our downtown campus. You will be able to register for this course (SAFT9406 N95 Mask Fitting) through MyBVC (or your regional administrator) once your program begins. This is a requirement for clinical placements.
- You can ensure your CPR certification is up to date by taking FACP9101 Basic Life Support CPR (healthcare provider level) through Continuing Education. You can see the current schedule and register online by clicking here. This certificate is recommended, but not required for clinical placements.
- 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.
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/communicated in January 2020. 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.
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.
During this course, you will focus on the role and responsibilities of a health care aide working in a variety of employment settings. The focus of this course is to share information that will result in safe, ethical, and respectful care based on the needs of the client. Care that meets these standards is known as person-centred care.
This course focuses on the study of the systems that make up the human body and discusses the milestones of growth and development across the lifespan. It is an introduction to foundational knowledge of the most common of the chronic illnesses that a health care aide may encounter. The learner will describe ways to provide safe care based on evidence-informed practices according to the clients' diagnoses, needs, and care plans. The information learned in this course will provide you with care strategies to support the client, the client's family, and yourself through the process of a client's dying and death.
This course will focus on the role and responsibilities of the health care aide when communicating effectively as a member of the collaborative care team. Strong communication skills are an important part of being a successful health care aide. The health-care environment requires competent verbal, written, and electronic communication skills, which are part of digital literacy.
During this course, you will learn the basic care skills that will allow you to give safe and efficient care to your clients. Providing personal grooming and hygiene care to your clients is an intimate and highly personal experience. During the theory and lab elements of this course, you will learn to approach this care in a professional and compassionate manner.
During this clinical placement you will experience the role of the health care aide by working under the direction of a regulated health-care professional. You will have the opportunity to work in a continuing care setting such as home care, supportive living (designated supportive living or DSL), senior lodges, long term care, and group homes.
Pre-requisites: HCAD1401, HCAD1402, HCAD1403, and HCAD1404
This course builds on the foundational skills and concepts introduced in previous courses and also introduces new skills such as medication assistance. Learners will have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge to learn advanced skills such as active and passive range-of-motion exercises, ostomy care, respiratory care, catheter care, and tube feeds. In addition, accurate measurement of vital signs is demonstrated, practiced, and assessed.
Pre-requisites: HCAD1401, HCAD1402, HCAD1403, and HCAD1404
This course discusses care strategies for assisting diverse client groups such as clients with a mental health diagnosis and clients with developmental delays and physical disabilities.
Graduates who become employed in home care situations may have the opportunity to work with families to provide care for infants and children, as well as caring for clients living with life-limiting illness, and who could benefit from hospice, palliative, and end-of-life care. Information and skills to assist with these care assignments are provided in this course.
During the second clinical placement, you will experience the role of the health care aide by working under the direction of a regulated health-care professional. You will have the opportunity to work in a variety of health-care settings such as continuing care or acute care. You will integrate and implement the knowledge you have learned in all your courses 1-7 in the clinical setting. You will provide person-centred care and support for clients and their families; that care is safe, ethical, and respectful.
Pre-requisites: HCAD1406 and HCAD1407
This is the final clinical placement course where you will practise the role of the health care aide by working under the direction of a regulated health-care professional and buddied with an unregulated health-care professional. You will work in a variety of health-care settings such as continuing care or acute care. You will integrate and implement the knowledge you have learned throughout the health care aide program, which will guide you in providing person-centred care and support for clients and their families; that care is safe, ethical, and respectful.
In order to challenge the Health Care Aide (HCA) program, you must complete the Health Care Aide Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) program. Note: This is a good option for a learner who has completed a nursing program in another country, who wants to get a certificate so they can start working while they take steps towards completing their LPN/RN regisration in Canada.
The Health Care Aide (PLAR) program can take 4-8 months to complete depending on the PLAR plan developed for you. Once accepted into the program, all components of the program must be completed within 36 months.
This is highly individual and depends on education and work background, as well as study habits.
If you are accepted into the program, you will meet with the Program Chair and complete a self-assessment to determine which PLAR pathway is best for you. You will study independently using textbook resources, course descriptions, and resources available to you through Bow Valley College.
Depending on your PLAR pathway, you may challenge up to 6 or 7 courses through portfolios or assessments. Depending on the course, examinations could involve theory exams and lab assessments. The minimum passing grade for any challenge is 70% in order to obtain credit for any course.
If you are unsuccessful on a challenge exam, you will then have to take that course, either online or in class.
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.
Book lists and costs can be found on the Bow Valley College Bookstore web page.
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 our graduates are preferred when applying for HCA jobs because they are work-ready, and have met our high standards.
Health Care Aides are currently in high demand, especially in home care. For the employment outlook for this profession, visit the Alberta government’s Albert Occupational Profile (OCCinfo) page.
For the Health Care Aide PLAR program, you must apply in person at Bow Valley College.
Yes, upon successful completion of the Health Care Aide program, you will be required to write a provincial exam in order to obtain your certificate. Details on cost, times, and location will be provided within the program.