- January 10, 2022
This program is not open for international learners.
This Alberta government-funded pathway program is for learners with a desire to work in the health care field. The program is one year long and includes one term of language training and two terms in the Health Care Aide Program. Upon successful completion of this program, you will receive a Health Care Aide Certificate and be ready to work in the health care field.
This pathway program has two components: Language Training and the Health Care Aide Certificate. The first component of the program includes 400 hours of instruction in one 16-week term. In this term, you will either take an ELL course to develop your English proficiency (Stream 1) or an English 20-2 equivalency course to develop your academic skills (Stream 2) and qualify for the Health Care Aide program. At the end of the first term, you will take an assessment to demonstrate your language proficiency and academic readiness to begin classes in the Health Care Aide component of the program.
The Health Care Aide (HECA) Certificate component of the pathway program follows the Government of Alberta Health Care Aide Provincial Curriculum 2019. It is also full time and is two terms (32 weeks) in length. You will learn the core skills needed to care for individuals with various health care needs. Topics include personal care, assisting with mobility and nutrition, communication, assisting with medication delivery, and clinical skills.
This pathway program is fully funded by the Government of Alberta through Learner Income Support (formerly known as Alberta Works). Tuition, textbooks, and other material cost will be fully funded by the Government of Alberta through Learner Income Support. Students must be eligible for Learner Income Support to take this program. We recommend that you check your eligibility for Learner income Support before submitting an application to this program.
Interested learners may qualify for this program either through two different streams: meeting the English Language Arts requirements OR meeting the English Language Proficiency requirements.
Stream 1 – Applying with English Language Arts
If you have completed English Language Arts or the equivalency (such as an academic literature course out of country) but need to improve your English Language Proficiency, you may qualify for this pathway stream:
- English Language Arts 20-2 (60%) or equivalent
- Satisfactory results on the Bow Valley College Admissions Test
See English language proficiency requirements for more details for this stream.
Stream 2 – Applying with English Language Proficiency
If you have the required English Language Proficiency but need to complete your English Language Arts 20-2 course, you may qualify for this pathway stream.
See English language proficiency requirements for details for this stream.
- 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 ( 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.
Learners also must possess digital literacy knowledge to be successful in the program. Candidates must possess knowledge of computer/technology tools to be successful in the program. Candidates must:
- Be able to communicate, research and understand information
- Know how to use computer to surf web, email
- Be able to critically evaluate and understand how technology can affect one’s behavior
- Be able to create, produce content and effectively communicate using email, media, internet
Full course outlines are available here.
Curriculum subject to change.
Health Care Aide Academic Courses Term 2
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.
Health Care Aide Clinical Courses Term 2
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
Health Care Aide Academic Courses Term 3
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.
Health Care Aide Clinical Courses Term 3
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.
Classes are generally scheduled between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Learners can expect to spend an additional two hours per day working on homework. Attendance at the Calgary campus is crucial, since the program emphasizes hands-on skills training in the lab. We do not recommend working full-time while you are completing this program.
Learners who fail a course must retake that course. Courses require a grade of 70% to pass, and clinical courses are graded a pass or fail. Different courses have a variety of assessments. There are no rewrites on exams.
Bow Valley College must maintain a certain instructor-to-learner ratio for the placements and preceptorships (for example, one instructor per eight learners). The college arranges these placements, and learners may be required to travel to various locations in Southern Alberta. 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 experience like employment in the health care workforce.
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 1,000 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.
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 health care aide jobs in the Calgary area 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.
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.
Our English Language Learning programs focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Learn about Canadian culture and take part in activities that help you live and work in Canada.