Health Care Assistants are an integral part of the health care system in BC and are important members of the front-line health provider team. HCAs provide compassionate and supportive care that is essential to maintaining comfort, independence, and quality of life for a variety of clients, including older adults, people living with disabilities or chronic illnesses, and clients receiving palliative care.
Being an HCA is more than a job—it is a rewarding, dynamic, and challenging career with many opportunities to learn and to grow both personally and professionally.
Here are just some of the reasons why a career as an HCA might be right for you.
You’ll be helping clients and their families
As a Health Care Assistant, you will help clients to be as independent as possible. Families will rely on you to care for their loved ones and to provide the kind of diligent support that they may not be able to give themselves. As you care for your clients, you will also be giving their families peace of mind.
You’ll be a valued member of the health care team
Health Care Assistants provide the majority of direct personal care and support to clients in continuing care settings. Other health care team members, such as nurses and therapists, will rely on you to be the “eyes and ears” of care and to report any changes that might affect the client’s health and safety.
You’ll be working within a high-demand field
There is currently strong demand for Health Care Assistants across the province, in both urban centres and rural communities. WorkBC’s Labour Market Outlook 2018 Edition estimates that 5,980 Health Care Assistant jobs will be created in British Columbia over the next 10 years.
HCAs are also in high demand across the rest of the country. According to the Conference Board of Canada, Future Care for Canadian Seniors Report (2015) “In Canada, the aging population and need for continuing care is expected to drive demand for health care assistants, and it has been suggested that the need for community care workers could double in the next decade.”
Visit our Employment page for more information about employment opportunities.
You’ll be lifting spirits
Health Care Assistants support more than just physical health; they support the whole person, including the client’s emotional well-being. As an HCA, you will help to improve your client’s quality of life. Some of your clients may be isolated and not have close connections with family or friends. The support you provide can bring joy and comfort.
You’ll be building a strong foundation for a career in health care
Training as an HCA is a great achievement, and many HCAs find long and fulfilling careers in the field. After a few years of working as an HCA, you may decide to move on to another role in heath care. Some HCAs choose to use their experience as a stepping-stone to further their training as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN).
Working as an HCA will enable you to build a strong foundation of skills that will serve you well in any future health care role. It is also a great way to try your hand in patient centered care and build some savings before investing in a multi-year college or university degree in nursing or other related field.
You’ll receive time-efficient training
After a short and comprehensive HCA training program, you can begin working in a variety of settings, including hospitals, continuing care homes, assisted-living residences, and home care. Many HCA programs can be completed in just under seven months, and most HCAs graduate, register, and start earning income in less than a year. Your HCA education and training will cover everything you need to begin work, as well as arm you with several valuable certificates, including CPR, first aid, Food Safe, WHMIS, and violence prevention.
You’ll earn a competitive wage
Due to the high demand for workers, those in the health care industry are some of the highest paid. Even in entry-level health care jobs, the earning and growth potential are better than in many other fields. According to information from the Health Employers Association of BC, the starting hourly wage of a Health Care Assistant working in a publicly funded setting can range from $21.48 to $24.83, depending on the employment sector. As a full-time or part-time employee, you would have access to a comprehensive benefits package and a benefit pension plan through the Municipal Pension Plan. Most graduates usually start with casual or part-time employment and work up to full-time status gradually.
You’ll be able to live and work almost anywhere in BC
Almost every region of the province has a strong demand for HCAs, meaning that you can live and work almost anywhere in BC once you receive recognized training and register as a Health Care Assistant. There are very few other fields that offer such widespread career opportunities.
You’ll find flexibility and diversity in how you work
As an HCA, you may work full-time or part-time hours, or on a call-in (casual) basis. You can apply for positions that are permanent, temporary, or casual. Shift schedules may include a combination of days, evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays.
If you’re ready to take the first step toward becoming a Health Care Assistant, find a recognized HCA training program near you.