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) 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 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.  Intakes occur in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Program options include full-time classroom-based programs, and a blended online program.

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. Students may have the opportunity to receive additional certification in Abuse Prevention, Trauma Informed Care, WHMIS, First Aid & CPR, FOIP, Health Information Act, and Boundaries as part of their tuition.

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 dates: February 3, 2020

Full-Time Blended Online Delivery

  • 24 week blended online program (18 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 6, 2020

  • Alberta Grade 10 English or proof of successful completion from a recognized ESL/EAL program or equivalent (IELTS, TOEFL, CLB, LINC, IQAS).
  • Ability to obtain a clear Police Information Check with Vulnerable Sector with a local law enforcement agency. Please note that online criminal record checks will NOT be accepted.
  • 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

Theory and Lab Instruction (305 hours):

1.1  Role of the Health Care Aide

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 Experience (240 Hours) – Arranged by the Excel Academy:

  • 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 (4 weeks/160 hours)
    • Long Term Care, Designated Assisted Living, Community-based Settings
  • Note: shift work is likely during the practicum component of this course, including day and evening shifts

What is PLAR?

NOTE: The HCA PLAR program is currently unavailable due to upcoming changes in the Government of Alberta HCA program requirements. Please check back for updated information in Spring/Summer of 2020.

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.


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 First Aid & CPR and 2 scrub tops. Textbook, administrative fees, lab fees, & instructional materials $751.65 (classroom based), $832.15 (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.