Health Care Assistant

Health Care Assistant

Program Overview

Be equipped to provide skilled, compassionate health care.


Health care assistants have the privilege of serving on the front lines of health care. Every day, their clinical skills, personal assistance, and caring manner makes it possible for individuals and their families to enjoy greater health, safety, independence, dignity, and comfort.

With today's aging population, health care assistants are in high demand. Work BC estimates that there will be over 19,000 job openings for HCAs across the province by 2028. Columbia's Health Care Assistant program will equip you to meet that demand. Not only will you receive training that meets the highest standards in health care, you'll do so within a Christ-centered community that inspires you to see your work as a calling: to compassionate, life-affirming care.

Career opportunities:

Health Care Assistants work in hospitals, complex care facilities, Assisted Living, group home settings and in private homes. They can work as residential care aides, home health aides, and client care assistants.

Health Care Assistant Program Details


Program Quick Facts



Program Format

Program Dates & Format

January 2022 Intake: January 4th (40 weeks)
Evening: Monday to Friday, 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Class Format: HCA Courses are delivered in a face-to-face, in-person format.

Practicum shifts are typically Monday to Friday, daytime or evening shifts.



Approximate Tuition & Fees

~ $8,650 (including textbooks & uniform). More Info about Costs.


Program Location



Classes: Columbia Bible College Campus
Labs: Menno Place Campus



Join a View Day!

Hear from Trish Giesbrecht, Program Director, and Tina Richardson, Director of Admissions. You'll learn key info about program content, career outcomes, scheduling, financial aid opportunities, and how to know whether this is the best fit for you.

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Program Recognition




Program Courses — 845 hours, 19 credits total


HCAS 101 Health and Healing: Concepts for Practice (70 hours)

This course provides students with the opportunity to develop a theoretical framework for practice. Students will be introduced to the philosophical values and theoretical understandings that provide a foundation for competent practice as an HCA. The course focuses on concepts of caring and person-centred care; basic human needs and human development; family, culture, and diversity as they relate to health and healing. Students will also be introduced to a problem-solving model that will be critical to their practice.

HCAS 102 Health 1: Interpersonal Communications (50 hours)

This course focuses on the development of self-awareness, increased understanding of others, and development of effective interpersonal communication skills that can be used in a variety of caregiving contexts. Students will be encouraged to become more aware of the impact of their own communication choices and patterns. They will have opportunities to develop and use communication techniques that demonstrate personal awareness, respect, and active listening skills.

HCAS 103 Health 2: Lifestyle and Choices (30 hours)

This course introduces students to a holistic concept of health and the components of a health-enhancing lifestyle. Students will be invited to reflect on their own experience of health, recognizing challenges and resources that can impact lifestyle choices. Students will be introduced to a model that can be applied in other courses to understand the multi-faceted aspects of health and healing.

HCAS 104 Health Care Assistant: Introduction to Practice (30 hours)

This course provides an introduction to the role of the HCA within the British Columbia health care system. Students will be introduced to the health care team and the roles and functions of HCAs within the team in residential, community, and acute care settings. Students will also have opportunities to develop self-reflective skills required for competent practice and will be introduced to effective job-finding approaches.

HCAS 105 Healing 1: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Common Health Challenges (115 hours)

This course introduces students to the normal structure and function of the human body and normal bodily changes associated with aging. Students will explore common challenges to health and healing in relation to each body system. Students will also be encouraged to explore person-centered practice as it relates to the common challenges to health. While learning about specific health challenges, the role of the HCA and how it may change in the acute care setting (depending on client acuity and intensity) is addressed.

HCAS 106: Healing 2: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Cognitive or Mental Health Challenges (60 hours)

This course builds on content from other courses to assist students to explore concepts and care-giving approaches that will allow them to work effectively with individuals experiencing cognitive or mental challenges. The emphasis is on supporting clients with dementia, recognizing responsive behaviors and identifying person-centred intervention strategies.

HCAS 107 Healing 3: Personal Care and Assistance (120 hours)

This practical course offers students the opportunity to acquire personal care and assistance skills within the parameters of the HCA role. The course is comprised of class and supervised laboratory experiences which assist the student with integrating theory from other courses in the program. The focus is on developing care-giving skills that maintain and promote the comfort, safety and independence of individuals in community and facility contexts.

HCAS 108 Practice Experience in Multi-Level or Complex Care (210 hours)

This is the first of two work experience components of the Health Care Assistant program. This supervised practice experience provides students with an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills from all other courses in the program with individuals in a multi-level or complex care setting. A portion of this clinical experience will be devoted to working with individuals with dementia. Opportunity will be provided for students to gain expertise and confidence with the role of the HCA within a residential care facility.

HCAS 109 Practice Experience in Home Support, Assisted Living, or Group Home Settings (60 hours)

This practice course provides students with an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills from all other courses with individuals and families in a community setting. Opportunity will be provided for students to become more familiar with the role of the HCA within a home support agency, assisted living facility, and/or a group home, and to gain abilities that will prepare graduates for employment in these settings. It is important that students understand the philosophy of community care settings and its emphasis on client choice and independence.

IDIS 124 Foundations of Christian Vocation (100 hours)

This course is designed to introduce students to a Christian understanding of vocation. Key themes will include a biblical understanding of human identity and purpose, a theology of calling and work, and the relationship between God’s work and human labour. Students will engage in case studies and reflective work that will enable them to integrate Christian values within the workplace.



Additional Training & Certificates


The following training and certifications are covered within the above courses and included within the program costs. All of these cerfications have been chosen for their value to today's health care employers.

  • Violence Prevention for Provincial Health Care Workers
  • Assisting with Medications
  • FoodSafe Level 1
  • WHMIS 2015
  • Standard Practice Education Core Orientation



Health Care Program Director



Trish Giesbrecht


Patricia (Trish) Giesbrecht has 14 years experience working in seniors’ care, in both a front-line and leadership capacity. She is passionate about improving’ quality of work life for staff and residents’ quality of life, which she views as interconnected. Trish has a BA in Leadership from TWU and is a Licensed Practical Nurse. She has been a valued member of the nursing leadership team at Menno Place since 2009, where she works with both union and contracted staff. Her most recent role focused on the quality improvement projects in her role as Manager of Care and Quality Improvement lead at Menno Place. Trish was responsible for managing teams, instructing and mentoring employees and promoting a high level of care quality to residents. She oversaw and managed 200 clinical and support staff in patient care activities while maintaining a high level of staff morale and professionalism. Recently Trish has become more involved with adult education, and is completing her PIDP (Provincial Instructional Diploma Program) at Vancouver Community College. She has found a new passion through the opportunity to play a central role in the development of the Health Care Assistant program with Columbia Bible College.




HCA Program Costs - Fall 2021



Typical Costs for a Commuter Student    
HCA Program Tuition (19 credits)   $8000
Commuter Student Fees (Recreation, Technology, Graduation)    $216
Commuter Parking Fee (optional)   $160
Textbooks, Uniform, Supplies    ~$375
Application Fee (waived if you attend View Event/Info Session)   $50
 Approximate Total   $8641 
    plus living expenses and/or residence fees 




BC Health care assistants recruitment incentive


The BC Ministry of Health is offering a recruitment incentive of $5,000! All students completing Health Care Assistant (HCA) Programs who choose to take employment in the long-term care or assisted living sector and commit to a 12-month return-of-service are eligible.


Learn More




Health Care Assistant


HCA Admission Requirements



To be admitted to Columbia's Health Care Assistant program, prospective students must meet all of the pre-requisites listed below, meet their financial obligations with the college, and acknowledge their understanding of the college’s policies and procedures provided in the student handbook, prior to starting classes :


  • Meet the general requirements for admission to Columbia Bible College
  • Proof of meeting English Language Competency Requirements
  • Complete thirty hours of volunteer work in a related field. Evidence of completion of 30 volunteer hours or work in a related area is preferred, or evidence of experience of caregiving for vulnerable person(s) through a reference letter. In the event the applicant does not have access to volunteer opportunities, work or personal experience they can submit an essay demonstrating an understanding of the role of an HCA. The essay should be a maximum of 750 words or 2 pages in length and should outline an understanding of the role of a care aide. It is recommended to include a minimum of three interviews with seniors and health care professions currently working in seniors care (interviews with HCAs, Recreation or Nurses preferred). Please send your volunteer supervisor this link and ask them to complete the confirmation form: (Communitas, Abbotsford Hospice, Menno Place, Fraser Health and Tabor Village will welcome new volunteers.) If you work in a related field, you may instead ask your employment supervisor to write a letter of reference. 


Upon conditional acceptance into the program:

  • A Criminal Record Check from the Ministry of Justice, including clearance to work with vulnerable adults. This must be done through the College. Specific Instructions will be provided by the program Admissions Office.
  • Submit a current record of immunity or immunization. Updated immunizations for COVID-19, diptheria/tetanus/pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chicken pox), hepatitis B, and influenza (annually) are strongly recommended and may be required for practicum placements. (Missing immunizations can be obtained at Fraser Public Health)
  • Proof of a negative TB test is required within 6 months prior to the first clinical placement
  • Complete a First Aid & Basic Life Support Course.
    • Either Standard First Aid - with BLS (HCP) or Standard First Aid - CPR-C-AED.
    • Speak with your advisor if you're having difficulty booking in light of COVID-19.












HCA Industry-standard curriculum

BC-Approved Curriculum

Columbia’s HCA program follows the BC Health Care Assistant Provincial Curriculum and is recognized by the BC Care Aide & Community Health Care Worker Registry. Classes, labs, and practicum experiences combine to equip students to function effectively as hands-on caregivers and respected members of an organization’s health care team. Graduates will be ready to provide excellent person-centered care that promotes the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social wellbeing of clients. Graduates of the HCA program delivered by Columbia Bible College are eligible for registration with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry. 


Local Partnerships

Strong Local Partnerships

HCA students at Columbia will benefit from the enthusiastic support of Abbotsford care organizations, including Menno Place, Tabor Village, and Baptist Housing. Hands-on skills training will take place in a dedicated lab at Menno Place, and students will be able to pursue their practicum training at one or more of these facilities.


Christian Faith Perspective

Christian Perspective on Care

How can I connect my Christian faith to my work as a health care assistant? A unique feature of Columbia’s HCA program is that it provided a Christ-centered educational community as well as intentional guidance on how to integrate faith within a health-care setting. All students take Foundations of Christian Vocation, which focuses on calling, work, and purpose. HCA instructors will make space to examine health care issues from a Christian point of view, and class schedules are designed to allow students to participate in chapel services with the Columbia community.




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This program has been approved by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.