Health Career

Health Career

Adult Academic and Career Preparation Skills Assessments are offered at all Okanagan College Campuses.

We will help you develop the reading,
writing and math skills you need to succeed.

Quick Facts:

Currently there is a shortage of Practical Nurses and Home Support Resident Care Attendants in B.C. and the rest of Canada. Job growth in the health care sector is expected to increase in the next 20 years. This employment sector has the highest rate of job growth in the country.

Career Opportunities

RN Nursing
Okanagan College, in partnership with UBC Okanagan, offers Years 1 and 2 of the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Okanagan College students who successfully complete all courses in Years 1 and 2 will be granted admission to the BSN program at UBC Okanagan and are guaranteed course transfer credits and admission to complete the final two years of the program.

Licensed Practical Nurses. . .
. . . are employed in hospitals, residential and assisted living facilities, community nursing and rehabilitation services, clinics and physician offices. Using a holistic health model, they join other regulated health care providers in giving basic care such as assessment of health problems, monitoring vital signs, distributing medications, wound care and helping with bathing, dressing and personal hygiene. Licensed Practical Nurses are part of the health care team, evaluating a patient’s or resident’s care needs, developing plans of care, taking leadership roles in respect to their professional scope of practice and competencies and reporting concerns to the appropriate professional. They are responsible and accountable for their own practice and need strong critical thinking skills and a sound theoretical base.

Certified Dental Assistants. . .
. . . are employed in general practice, specialty practice, dental supply companies and Interior Health. Certified Dental Assistant skills include assisting dentists with intra-oral procedures, educating patients about dental health, performing preventative procedures such as polishing teeth, applying fluoride, application of fissure sealants, exposing and processing radiographs, as well as many other delegated services. The Certified Dental Assistant is a vital member of the dental team performing services under the supervision of a dentist. Responsibilities are varied to help increase the dentist’s service to the patients. Other duties may include office clerical duties such as scheduling patients’ appointments, collecting patient and insurance accounts, and maintaining patient records.

Early Childhood Educators. . .
. . . are employed in a variety of early learning environments. These include preschools, daycares, out-of-school care facilities and family resources centres. They are responsible for developing play-based programs that meet all of the developmental needs of children. This includes planning for strong self-esteem, socialization, problem-solving, literacy, active physical development and all the life skills necessary for ongoing success. Educators are trained in the communication skills necessary to develop respectful, supportive partnerships with team, families and all others linked to children.

Health Care Assistants. . .
. . . promote and maintain the health, safety, independence, comfort and well-being of clients and their families. They assist clients with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming, personal hygiene, nutrition, and mobility. They work collaboratively with other members of the health care team in a variety of settings such as residential care facilities, home support, private community agencies and individual homes. While they primarily work with older individuals, this will vary depending on the work setting. The hands-on nature of this work provides many opportunities to establish meaningful relationships with clients and their families.

Human Service Workers
Graduates of the Diploma will be prepared to work with individuals who are vulnerable or disadvantaged. They will provide support to people experiencing challenges such as mental health issues, addictions, homelessness, abuse, poverty, disabilities, and unemployment.
Students learn theoretical knowledge, practice skills, and professional values that are designed to enhance their effectiveness as human service workers. Specifically, skills and theoretical concepts will include emotional support, positive behavioural change, group theory and facilitation, interpersonal relationships, systems theory and community building.

Therapist Assistants. . .
. . . work as assistants in the three disciplines of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Recreation Therapy. They work with people of all ages who may have conditions such as stroke, dementia, mental health issues, arthritis, brain and other injuries, and in different settings such as hospitals, multi-level care facilities, child development centres, community and private practice.
  • Occupational Therapist Assistants use activities and treatments as prescribed by an occupational therapist, help clients to develop motor, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial skills to live as independently as possible. Work duties include maintenance of equipment, adapting and fabricating items and other tasks.
  • Physiotherapist Assistants help in the delivery of a physiotherapy program as prescribed by a physiotherapist to improve clients’ range of motion, strength, balance and mobility. Work duties include maintenance of equipment and supplies.
  • Recreation Therapist Assistants use therapeutic recreation under the direction of a recreation therapist to bring about social, cognitive, emotional and physical changes. Work duties include using leisure activities to contribute to a person’s quality of life through improved health and well-being.

Start Your Career

Practical Nursing

70-week diploma
English 012 (minimum grade 70%), Biology 012 (minimum grade 67%) and Mathematics 011 (minimum grade 60%) or Introductory Algebra 011 or Math 84/85 (minimum grade 70%).
A minimum grade of 70% in Pre-Practical Nursing Anatomy and Physiology (PNUR 113) course. Please note that Biology 12 is a prerequisite for PNUR 113.
This is a high-demand program and grades in the above courses will be used to determine admission.
High School graduation is not required if you are 19 years of age or over and have been out of secondary school for one year.

Certified Dental Assistant

10-month certificate
English 012 (minimum 60% grade). and Biology 012; Minimum grade of 60% in one of Chemistry 011, Chemistry 012, Physics 011, or Physics 012.
This is a high-demand program. See for more information.
High School graduation is not required if you are 19 years of age or over and have been out of secondary school for one year.

Early Childhood Education

16-month diploma
English 012 (minimum 67% grade).
High School graduation is not required if you are 19 years of age or over.
The early Childhood Education Diploma is currently undergoing revision. This may impact the configuration of the September 2014 program

Health Care Assistant

(formerly HS/RCA)
Six-month certificate
English 080 (minimum 60% grade).
Grade 11 Science or Science 070 or Science 080 recommended.
High School graduation is not required if you are 19 years of age or over and have been out of secondary school for one year.

Human Service Work

Two-year diploma
English 012 (minimum 60% grade), High School graduation is not required if you are 19 years of age or over and have been out of secondary school for one year.
Fit with and readiness for the HSW field is critical for students to be successful in the HSW program.
Please see to complete self-assessment questionnaires

Therapist Assistant

Two-year diploma
English 012 (minimum grade 60%), Chemistry 011, and at least one of Biology 012, Biology 122 or Biology 124.
High School graduation is not required if you are 19 years of age or over and have been out of secondary school for one year.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Years 1 and 2
English 012 (minimum grade 70%), Biology 011, 012, Mathematics 011, Chemistry 011, Chemistry 012 recommended and one other approved Grade 12 course.
For more program information see

Start Your Career *All these programs have some non-academic requirements such as first aid and a criminal record check. See the online calendar at for more information.

Health Career

Contact Us

Nancy Noble-Hearle:
Steve Smith:
Natasha Hansen:
Salmon Arm
Tracgty Riley:
Sarra Dupuis: