Health Care Assistant

The Health Care Assistant Program delivered by Okanagan College has been granted a full, five-year recognition status by the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry in 2016. Graduates of the Health Care Assistant Program are eligible for registration with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry.

Health Care Assistant Program

Our Health Care Assistant Certificate program prepares both men and women for a health care career responsible for providing direct client care. This includes assisting clients with activities of daily living such as daily personal hygiene, nutrition and mobility.

While providing activities of daily living, the health care assistant promotes and maintains the health, safety, independence, comfort and well-being of the clients and their families. Working collaboratively with other members of the health care team, they assist clients to achieve their optimal level of functioning and wellness.

A graduate from the Health Care Assistant program will be competent and confident in performing skills in a variety of settings including acute care, health care facilities, private community agencies and individual homes.  While they primarily work with older individuals, this varies depending on the work setting.

Okanagan College’s HCA program is listed as a recognized program on the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry.

Intakes dates 

The Health Care Assistant program will start new intakes at the Kelowna, Penticton and Salmon Arm campuses in April 2020. Apply online or obtain an application form from any campus. 

Learn more at an upcoming info session

Kelowna campus Penticton campus 
Wednesday, Feb. 12 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m. 
Room E103, 1000 KLO Rd.  Room C03, Sunoka Building (PE), 583 Duncan Ave. West 

Program description

The curriculum for the Health Care Assistant program is 25 weeks in length and includes a combination of theory classes and clinical practicum designed to reflect the responsibility and requirements of the job.  The students are expected to actively engage in laboratory practice simulating caregiver/client situations which will prepare them for the consolidated 8 week clinical practicum covering areas of complex care, home support/assisted living and dementia care, and acute care.


There are a number of intakes with various start dates across Okanagan College campuses. Clinical practicum sites are located throughout the Okanagan Valley and students are responsible for their own transportation to the clinical sites.

Qualities of a certified health care assistant:

  • Likes people
  • Regards him/herself and others in a respectful manner
  • Appreciates others and values their diversity
  • Able to effectively communicate
  • Demonstrates self-awareness, flexibility, responsive to change.  Open to innovative ways and means of learning new knowledge, values and skills.
  • Is self motivated and assumes the responsibilities of the job
  • Effectively organizes, plans and implements care
  • Practices ethically, with honesty and integrity
 *Course Hour Breakdown 

Program Hours

Code/ Number

Course Name


Practice / Clinical

HCA 101

Interpersonal Communications



HCA 102

Health: Concepts for Practice



HCA 103

Personal Care and Assistance



HCA 104

Healing: Common Health Challenges



HCA 105

Home Support/Assisted Living



HCA 106

Cognitive/Mental Health Care



HCA 107

Clinical Practice






Combined Total


Admission requirements

For official admission requirements and other program information, please see the click here.

English language proficiency

All BC HCA program applicants are required to demonstrate English Language Proficiency.  Domestic and/or international applicants who are non-native English speakers (English is not your first language) may need to take a standardized proficiency assessment to confirm communicative competency in all four language skills areas (speaking, listening, reading and writing).  Please see program Calendar for more details.

Dual credit opportunity 

The HCA program is eligible for dual credit, which is an opportunity for high school students to start college programs while still in high school. Students receive credit toward their high school diploma, while also earning post-secondary credits. Dual credit students are also supported by their home school district, which pays the program tuition for the student. 

Each school district has a different application process for dual credit. High school students and parents are strongly encouraged to talk to a career counsellor at their school district to find out details about the dual credit program and specific application requirements. 

How to apply

Apply online or obtain an application form from any campus. 

For more information on this program, financial assistance or student services like housing, call toll free: 1-877-755-2266