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Health Care Aide - Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

Program Details

Program Description

This program is suitable for non-certified experienced Health Care Aides who wish to receive recognition for their knowledge and experience. To obtain an HCA Certificate, a learner must obtain credit for nine courses (6 theory and 3 clinical). As an experienced HCA, a learner may be eligible to obtain course credit through Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (i.e. Transfer Credit, Portfolio or Challenge Course) or by taking a full course. Any course which a learner is not successful in obtaining course credit through PLAR, must be taken as a full course. Depending on PLAR process chosen, some learners are required to complete mandatory clinical components totaling 240 hours. Travel to a Northern Lakes College campus may be required to assess your skills. Expenses relating to required travel are the students' responsibility. This program is offered twice per year in September and February. The Health Care Aide Program follows the Government of Alberta's curriculum. Students are also required to successfully PASS the HCA Comprehensive Provincial Licensing Exam prior to obtaining their HCA Certification. If you need additional information to determine your eligibility, request a complete information package from Admissions and contact the Program Coordinator.

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Program Delivery



Sep 01, 2021 - Jan 28, 2022 - Blended - Available Anywhere
Feb 01, 2022 - Jun 24, 2022 - Blended - Available Anywhere

Program Year


Program Length

20 weeks

Academic Requirements

Credit in English 20-2 (60%) or equivalent. Credit in Math 20 or equivalent is strongly recommended. If academic requirements are not met it will be necessary for students to complete an ACCUPLACER assessment.

Mature students will be accepted if they successfully complete a skills assessment.


Students may apply for recognition of prior learning for courses successfully completed in the Government of Alberta Health Care Aide Curriculum Certificate (2019) at institutions who are licensed to offer the Alberta Health (2019) Provincial Curriculum.

Other Requirements

To be eligible for the HCA PLAR, students must provide proof of the following: Previous employment, including a job description, totaling 600+ hours within the past three years as an HCA or personal care provider; English Language Proficiency requirement; completion of the Self-Audit PLAR Candidate Guide. Resume including dates of work experience as a health care aide or in a related job position as well as supportive education certificates (e.g., workshops taken, CPR, First Aide, etc.).

Letters of recommendations from current employer and/or letters of reference outlining the candidates suitability for the PLAR process.

A clear Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Check must be submitted upon acceptance to the program. The Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Check must have been obtained within the 90 days of presenting proof to the Program. Presence of an unclear Criminal Record or Vulnerable Sector Check may impede your ability to complete the practicum required for successful completion of the program and may be a barrier in securing employment as a HCA after graduation. Applicants are required to be fit for practice in the various capacities of the role. The applicant must be in good physical, emotional and psychological health. An up-to-date Immunization Record must be submitted prior to the practicum placement. Proof of current Canadian Heart and Stroke CPR certification for Health Care Providers must be submitted prior to the practicum.

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