Health Care Aide Program FAQs

Find answers below to common questions about our health care aide certification program.

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Find answers to common questions about the health care aid program in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta at MaKami College. Click on each question below to get more information about the health care aide program at MaKami College, how to become a health care aide, and more.

Health Care Aide Program Overview

A Health Care Aide Certification is the official industry standard to show the student has completed in-class and clinical placement and demonstrated top skills to work in home care and clinical health care settings.

The rising demand for health care aide professionals in Alberta is one of the outcomes of our aging population. Health care aides are unregulated health care workers who provide personal support and basic health services directly to Albertans, primarily in the continuing care sector but also in the acute care facilities. HCAs are the largest occupational group in the continuing care sector.

There is a Provincial HCA Exam that you need to successfully pass, once you have completed all your theory, lab and clinical placement components.

Yes, by completing the Health Care Aide Course at MaKami College and passing the provincial exam, you will be an industry-certified professional in Alberta.

Our MaKami College Health Care Aide Program will make you a certified professional that is recognized Alberta-wide.

Home health care allows you to work in clinical settings and non-clinical settings whereas home care only allows you to work in non-clinical settings. This health care aide program trains and qualifies you for both types of work.

As with any program, keeping up with your lessons is important. At MaKami, students get plenty of support from knowledgeable staff, free extra resources, one-on-one attention within our student success centre to ensure that there is complete support from day 1 of the course.

With the continued rapid spread of the Covid-19, MaKami’s clinical placement partners are creating new policies to ensure the safety of their staff and students while they care for the most vulnerable in our communities. One of the new policies that is beginning more common is the use of N95 masks while caring for clients. In response, MaKami is now arranging N95 Respiratory Masks Fit Testing prior to students going out on clinical placements. Learn more about mask fit testing.

Yes it is! MaKami is recognized by the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Advanced Education as we are a public post-secondary institution and listed on the Government of Canada’s list of Designated Learning Institutions. We are also in good standing with NHP CanadaCRMTA, and the Canadian Sports Massage Therapists Association.

Our Health Care Aide certificate program follows the 2019 Government of Alberta Provincial Curriculum and is regulated by Alberta Health.

Availability & Accessibility

All MaKami College students have access to free English courses and if required, multilingual student advisors and tutors are also available at both MaKami campuses. Read more about our ESL programs.

We have classes during the day, evenings and on weekends at our Calgary and Edmonton campuses. To learn more about the Health Care Aide Program, we highly recommend attending one of our student tours.

The new 2019 Government of Alberta program contains three clinical placements that total 360 hours of the program.

The first two placements are instructor-led experiences with employers where you can learn to effectively apply your classroom and lab training.

The third clinical placement is an opportunity for students to work alongside another HCA and get immediate feedback on the skills you need to succeed as a Health Care Aide.

You will be taught by experienced and knowledgeable health care aide instructors who have worked as a licensed nurse (RN, LPN, RPN, NP) in the province of Alberta.

New tuition bursaries offering up to $9,000 are available for Health Care Aide students who started their HCA program after July 1, 2022 and are working in continuing care centres. Learn more about these bursaries.

Eligibility and Admissions

The following requirements must be met to be eligible for entry into a licensed HCA program at MaKami College, as outlined by Alberta Health Services (AHS).

  • English 20-1 or 20-2 with a minimum score of 60% achieved or Canadian jurisdiction equivalent;
    or
  • English 30-1 or 30-2 with a minimum of 55% or Canadian jurisdiction equivalent, such as a Canadian High School Equivalency Diploma (General Education Development-test (GED)); or
  • Deemed equivalent by completion of Next-Generation ACCUPLACER (assessment placement test) reading and writing tests, with a minimum score of 237 in each category. The math test is not required.

Notes:

Students who have not met the ELA requirement (i.e., 20-1, 20-2, 30-1, or 30-2 English level) with the minimum grade are subject to completing the Next- Generation ACCUPLACER assessment test. This can include students out of province, out of country, or mature students that have been out of school for a significant length of time.

Candidates where English is a Second Language (ESL) must meet the English Language Proficiency requirement in addition to the Academic English requirement. Equivalencies are as follows:

  • By presenting a Canadian High School Equivalency Diploma (General Education Development- test (GED)), or
  • By attending high school in Canada. Studies must have been in English at an approved Canadian high school (grades 9, 10, 11, 12) with at least three consecutive years of full-time academic study; or
  • Providing evidence of attending two consecutive years of full-time equivalent post-secondary study in English in a subject other than a HCA program at a Canadian institution; or
  • By completing an Approved ELP Test with the required Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB): A minimum CLB of 7 in each of the 4 language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and not an average of 7.
  • Official test results must be submitted directly to the PSI.

PSIs will accept submissions from any one of the following approved ELP tests:

  1. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic: 6 (no section score below 5.5);
  2. Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Testing (TOEFL iBT): 71;
  3. Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General: 7 (with no section score below 6);
  4. Canadian Language Benchmarks Tests/Milestones Test (7 in each strand, not an average of 7);
  5. Duolingo English Test (minimum score of 95); and
  6. Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN): 7 in each area of listening, reading, writing and speaking, not an average of 7);

Notes
Test Currency: results must have been obtained within two years of the start date of the program. Test Validity: IELTS (Academic) and TOEFL results are valid for two years from the day of testing.

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

Dual Credit students may start the HCA program in grade 10 and must meet the ELA requirements by the end of grade 11.

The entry requirements for Dual Credit students is English 10-2 60%, and students must meet English 20-2 to 60% by the end of grade 11 to remain in the program. For schools that will offer the entire HCA program, this is approximately half-way through, after Course 5.

Dual Credit Delivery Options
PSIs in consultation with secondary schools and or school division may choose to have students:

  • Complete the entire HCA program in high school, with clinical placements usually taking place in the summers; or
  • Complete the first half of the program, including the first clinical placement (course 5), which may occur during the summer after grade 12. After high school completion, the student must enroll as a post-secondary student.

MaKami College gives professionals in the health care aide industry the opportunity to get certification through our HCA certificate program. We work with health care professionals to assess their knowledge and skills and complement them with the ones offered in our program to ensure success at MaKami as well as in their career.

All applicants looking to use the PLAR methods will be provided with a PLAR Student Guide that explains PLAR and the Alberta HCA PLAR process. Please contact the HCA Department for a copy of the PLAR Student Guide, and more information on the PLAR policies as well the associated application and processing fees.

Health Care Aide Curriculum

MaKami College’s Health Care Aide program offers a cutting-edge iPad-based curriculum using the newest curriculum available from the Government of Alberta. The program is offered in a blended format, with theory completed online and practical labs and clinical placements completed in-person.

View the full Health Care Aide Program curriculum here. 

Clinical Placements

The new 2019 Government of Alberta program contains 3 clinical placements that total 360 hours of the program. The first two placements are instructor-led experience with employers where you can learn to effectively apply your classroom and lab training. The third clinical placement is an opportunity for students to work alongside another HCA and get immediate feedback on the skills you need to succeed as a Health Care Aide.

During this clinical placement experience, students will experience the role of the HCA by working under the direction of a regulated health care professional (e.g. LPN, RN, RPN). Students will have the opportunity to work in a continuing care setting such as supportive living (designated supportive living or DSL), senior lodges, long term care, and group homes.

Students will integrate and implement the knowledge they have learned in courses 1–4 in the clinical setting. Students will provide client care that is safe, ethical, and respectful based on the needs of the client. Care that meets these standards is known as person-centred care.

During the second clinical placement experience, students will experience the role of the HCA by working under the direction of a regulated health-care professional (e.g. LPN, RN, RPN). Students will have the opportunity to work in a variety of health care settings such as continuing care or acute care.

Students will integrate and implement the knowledge they have learned in all the courses 1-7 in the clinical setting. Students will provide person-centred care and support for clients and their families; that care is safe, ethical, and respectful.

This is the final clinical placement course, where students will practice the role of the HCA. Students will be working under the supervision of a regulated health care professional (e.g. LPN, RN, RPN) and buddied with an HCA. Students will work in a variety of health care settings, such as continuing care or acute care.

Students will integrate and implement the knowledge they have learned throughout the HCA Program, which will guide them in providing person-centred care and support for clients and their families; that care is safe, ethical, and respectful.

If you have additional questions about MaKami’s health care aide program, please talk to one of our advisors.

Interested in the Health Care Aide Program at MaKami College?

Are you ready to see if you have what it takes to become a health care aide? Answer a few questions below and get pre-approved today!

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