Excel Academy - For A Career That Matters - T: (780) 441-7999, 10766 97 Street, Edmonton, AB T5H 4R2

Health Care Aide (HCA)

The Government of Alberta Health Care Aide (HCA) 2019 Provincial Curriculum Certificate is a caregiver program developed by Alberta Health 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 375 hours of classroom-based theory and laboratory instruction with testing, and 320 hours of clinical placements. Online students would require approximately 24 hours per week to focus on their studies. Intakes occur in the Fall (September) and Spring (March). Program options include full-time classroom-based programs (currently suspended due to Covid-19 pandemic), and a blended online program.

The Excel Academy is licensed to deliver the latest 2019 Health Care Aide (HCA) provincial curriculum, and offers the latest curriculum standards mandated by Alberta Health and Wellness. Students may have the opportunity to receive additional certification in Abuse Prevention & Intervention, Trauma Informed Care, WHMIS, First Aid & CPR, FOIP, Health Information Act, and Boundaries.

Full-time Classroom-based Delivery

  • Full-time Classroom-based delivery is currently suspended.

Full-Time Blended Online Delivery

  • 6.5 month (25 week) blended online program
  • Students complete the theory portion of the program using our online learning management system, attend lab skill training at the Academy campus and complete a practicum component in a variety of active health care environments. Next program start date: September 14, 2020

Student Admission Requirements: The following requirements must be met to be eligible for entry into Excel Academy’s licensed Health Care Aide program:

1. Academic English Language Arts (ELA):

• Grade 11, 20-2 level course, with a minimum score of 60% achieved or Canadian jurisdiction equivalent; or
• English 20-1 with a minimum of 60% achieved or Canadian jurisdiction equivalent; or
• Deemed equivalent by completion of ACCUPLACER (assessment placement test).
Applicants who have not completed the ELA, 20-2 level requirement and achieved the minimum grade are subject to completing the ACCUPLACER assessment test.

2. English Language Proficiency (ELP):
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:
• Required Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of a minimum of 7 in each of the 4 language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing); OR
• By completing 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
• By completing a recognized post-secondary degree or diploma program in Canada. The program must have involved at least two full years of full-time, consecutive academic study in English.

Approved English Language Proficiency Tests:
Official results must be submitted directly to Excel Academy’s Health Care Aide Program Administrator as part of the application process. Test results accepted include:
• International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic: 6 (no section score below 5.5);
• Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Testing (TOEFL iBT): 71 or higher;
• Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General: 7 (with no section score below 6); and
• Canadian Language Benchmarks/Milestones Test: 7 in each strand
Test results must have been obtained within two years of the start date of the program. IELTS (Academic) and TOEFL results are valid for two years from the day of testing. Results that expire prior to the Start Date of the program will not be accepted.

Digital Literacy:
Applicants must possess knowledge of computer/technology tools to be successful in the program. Applicants must:
• Be able to communicate, research, and understand information
• Know how to use a computer to access the Internet and 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 and the Internet

Obtaining an English Language Proficiency (ELP) Requirement:
If the applicant does not have the necessary English Language Proficiency requirement or s(he) has test results that have expired, official and current ELP results must be obtained. A list of testing centers is provided to the required students during the application process.

Additional Documentation Requirements
Students are must have the ability to obtain a clear Police Information Check, WHMIS certification, First Aid and CPR Level C certification, and completed immunization records prior to the onset of Clinical Placement Experience I. Students are advised to ensure they are able to obtain these documents prior to program admission. Failure to determine eligibility to receive these documents may result in the student’s inability to complete the program.

Potential applicants will have an individual interview at the Excel Academy with the HCA Program Administrator.

A signed and completed Application Form along with the $125 non-refundable application fee (this fee counts as payment towards tuition)

HCA Program Outline

TERM 1 consists of 5 courses:
Course 1: Health Care Aide Role & Responsibility
Hours 45 Credits 3 Prerequisites: None
Course 2: The Human Body, Health & Chronic Illness
Hours 45 Credits 3 Prerequisites: None
Course 3: Communication & Documentation in the Health care Environment
Hours 60 Credits 4 Prerequisites: None
Course 4: Providing Person-Centred Care & Comfort
Hours 75 Credits 5 Prerequisites: None
Course 5: Clinical Placement 1 This course must be completed prior to the start of Course 7
Hours 80 Credits 3 Prerequisites: Course 1,2,3,4

TERM 2 consists of 5 courses:
Course 6: Meeting Complex Care Needs
Hours 75 Credits 5 Prerequisites: Courses 1,2,3,4 Can be delivered alongside Course 5
Course 7: Special Activities for Clients with Various Health Conditions

Hours 75 Credits 5 Prerequisites: Course 5
Course 8: Clinical Placement 2
Hours 160 Credits 5 Prerequisites: Courses, 6, 7
Course 9: Consolidated Clinical Placement
Hours 80 Credits 3 Prerequisites: Course 8
Note: Delivery options are dependent upon what the post-secondary institutions offer.

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 is currently being developed for the Health Care Aide (HCA) Program for individuals with related education (Health Care Aide, nursing attendant, etc.) and experience (600 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.


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 initial assessment exam resulting in less than 60% of the HCA curriculum modules required

HCA Tuition

Includes 2 scrub tops. Textbook, administrative fees, lab fees, & instructional materials $931.65 (classroom based), $1012.15 (online blended)

Excel Academy’s Health Care Aide programs are student aid eligible (HCA PLAR excluded).


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 Program Administrator at (780) 441-7996 for further details.
Our HCA and HCA PLAR prices continue to be some of the most competitive in the city.