Excel Academy - Enriching Lives by Enabling Potential - T: (780) 441-7999, 10766 97 Street, Edmonton, AB T5H 4R2

Health Care Aide (HCA)

The Government of Alberta Health Care Aide (HCA) Provincial Curriculum Certificate is a caregiver program developed by Alberta Health and Wellness to ensure there is a standardized training curriculum for all front line health care workers. Upon completion of the program, the Health Care Aide will have the ability to provide client care in a safe and competent manner in a variety of health care settings, including long term care, home care, group homes, assisted/supportive living, day programs, specialized care centers, acute care hospitals and private care.

The full certificate program consists of 305 hours of classroom and laboratory instruction with testing. In addition to that training there is a 240 hour component of required clinical practicum that must be completed.

The Excel Academy is licensed to deliver the Health Care Aide (HCA) provincial curriculum, and offers the latest curriculum standards mandated by Alberta Health and Wellness.



Intakes for the Programs will occur in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Program options include full-time classroom-based programs, and our newest offering, a blended online program. Once participants have completed an application process, a contract schedule will be developed for participant’s signature. Theory classes and Laboratory Skills training will begin immediately upon completion of registration and acceptance to the program.

Practicum learning will be scheduled to try to meet the needs of the practicum sites and practicum participants as closely as possible.

Full-time Classroom-based Delivery

  • 20 week program (14 weeks of theory, 6 weeks of practicum) Tuesday to Friday daytime classes at Excel Academy, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Next program start date: January 29, 2018
  • 20 week program (14 weeks of theory, 6 weeks of practicum) Monday to Friday evening classes at Excel Academy, 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Next program start date: January 29, 2018

Part-time Blended Online Delivery

  • 36 week Blended online program (30 weeks of theory, 6 weeks of practicum)
  • Students complete the theory portion of the program using our online learning management system, Brightspace by D2L, attend lab skill training at the Academy campus and complete a practicum component in an active health care environment. Next program start date: January 29, 2018

  • Alberta Grade 10 English or proof of successful completion from a recognized ESL program or equivalent.
  • Clear Police Information Check with Vulnerable Sector with a local law enforcement agency. Please note that online criminal record checks will NOT be accepted.
  • Up-to-date immunization record is to be completed and a record submitted prior to entry into the practicum.
  • An individual interview at the Excel Academy with the Instructor(s).
  • A signed and completed Application Form along with the $125 non-refundable application fee (this fee counts as payment towards tuition)


HCA Program Outline

Theory and Lab Instruction (305 hours):

1.1  Role of the Health Care Aid

1.2  Legislation

1.3  Functioning Effectively as a Team Member

1.4  Environmental Safety

1.5  Client Safety

1.6  Self Care and Safety

2.1  Person to Person Communication

2.2  Communication Impairments and Related Strategies

2.3  Dealing with Conflicts

2.4  Documentation

3.1  Body Systems and Function

3.2  Human Growth and Development

3.3  Healthy Aging and Independence

3.4  Chronic Conditions

4.1  Client Grooming and Personal Hygiene

4.2  Bathing the Client

4.3  Assisting with Elimination

4.4  Bed Making

4.5  Assisting with Client Mobility

4.6  Positioning, Transfers and Lifts

4.7  Assisting at Mealtime

5.1  Range of Motion

5.2  Assisting with Wound Care

5.3  Assisting with Nasogastric, Gastrostomy Care & Tube Feeds

5.4  Assisting with Urinary Catheters and Drainage Systems

5.5  Assisting with Ostomy Care

5.6  Measuring Vital Signs, Height, Weight and Pain

5.7  Assisting with Specimen Collection

5.8  Assisting with Respiratory Care and Oral Suctioning

6.1  Assisting with Medication Delivery

7.1  Assisting with the Care of Infants

7.2  Assisting with the Care of a Child

7.3  Assisting Clients with the Diagnosis of Dementia

7.5  Caring for Clients with Physical Disabilities and Developmental Delays

7.6  End of Life Care

7.7 Meeting Care Needs at the Time of Death

Integrated Practicum Work (240 Hours):

  • Health Care Aide Practicum I
    • Instructor Led Practicum (2 weeks/80 hours)
    • Acute Care/Long Term Care
  •  Health Care Aide Practicum II
    • Preceptored Practicum I (2 weeks/80 hours)
    • Long Term Care
  • Health Care Aide Practicum III
    • Preceptored Practicum II (2 weeks/80 hours)
    • Community-based – day program, DAL, group home, retirement home



What is PLAR?

PLAR stands for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition. It is an assessment process that is used in many fields to recognize an individual’s prior experience and learning to help them challenge certificate requirements. A PLAR process has been developed for the Health Care Aide (HCA) Program for individuals with related education (Health Care Aide, nursing attendant, etc.) and experience (1500 or more hours in the past 2 years) who want to earn a recognized HCA training certificate. The PLAR has a criteria process that a health care worker must meet which assesses their skills, attitudes, experience, and understanding of their field.


Required Modules

With the PLAR process, you will not be required to take all of the modules of the HCA program, only the ones you need as identified in your initial assessment exam. Additional courses and considerations may be taken on an individual basis, however all applicants will submit to a PLAR Assessment Exam which will test their existing knowledge of the courses being overlooked.


Mandatory Workshops

Healthcare Provider First Aid and CPR-Applicants for the HCA PLAR program will be additionally assessed on whether or not they have to take the First Aid and CPR (Level C) certification course based on the amount of time left on their current certification. Values, Attitudes, and Cultural Diversification – Applicants will also be given a short assessment as to whether or not they should be taking this course due to their previous training experience. This assessment will be separate from the student’s course load and requires a pass rate of 80% or higher.


HCA PLAR Final

Participants will be required to complete a final exam that will go over all of the course aspects from the start of the semester. The minimum acceptable pass mark for this test is set at 75%, however students will be afforded one opportunity to re-write their exam as their instructor sees fit.

When completed, a HCA program certificate will be presented to the participant. This certification is accepted and recognized throughout the province of Alberta.


How Long do PLAR Participants have to Complete the PLAR Process?

Participants will have twelve months from the date of admission to complete their PLAR program. A contract outlining all terms, requirements and conditions, along with a pre-planned PLAR schedule, must be agreed upon and signed by both the participant and the Excel Academy.

Admission Requirements for the HCA PLAR Assessment

  • Education: Successful completion of minimum Grade 10, including English at Grade 10 and Applied Math at Grade 10. Equivalency will be considered.
  • Resume: Must include dates of work experience as a Health Care Aide (HCA) or related job position, as well as other relevant education certificates (post-secondary transcripts, CPR certificates, etc.)
  • Letter of Recommendation or Reference: Must be from current or former employer, describing the candidate’s suitability for the PLAR process. Must describe motivation to learn, problem-solving ability, maturity, attitude toward clients, organization, teamwork, and documentation skills.
  • Proof of Work Experience: 1500 hours within the last two years, working as an HCA or related position
  • Assessment: Written pre-admission exam (80% or more required)



HCA Tuition

$4125.00
Includes First Aid & CPR and 2 pairs of scrubs. Textbook, administrative fees, lab fees, & instructional materials $676.65 (classroom based), $757.15 (online blended)

HCA PLAR

$900.00
Base Fee: Includes exams, proctoring, skills assessment, mandatory modules instruction, and certificate.
Textbook, administrative fees, lab fees & instructional materials extra.

* For every additional course required to complete the HCA PLAR certification, the pricing is determined by the mix of required modules. Modules range in price from :
$30.00 to $194.00

Please contact our HCA PLAR instructor for further details.
Our HCA and HCA PLAR prices continue to be some of the most competitive in the city.