Internationally Educated Health Care Professionals

Are you an Internationally Educated Health Care Professional?

With your existing education and experience, you may be eligible for registration as a Health Care Assistant in BC.

Within months, you could be earning pay and benefits as you build a healthcare career in Canada.

The advantages of becoming an HCA include providing person-centred care as part of a team, networking with other health care professionals, learning about organizational structures, deepening your professional values, and increasing your proficiency with healthcare language and terminology in Canadian practice environments.

Success Stories

Find out what people say about starting their new career in British Columbia.

Pathways to Registration

Consider integrating into the Canadian healthcare workforce more quickly as a Health Care Assistant.

Depending on your background, there are several pathways to becoming a registered HCA:

  1. HCA Competency Assessment Pathway (i.e. NCAS)
  2. Health Career Access Program (HCAP)
  3. Recognized HCA Program in BC

Financial Supports

Consider integrating into the Canadian healthcare workforce more quickly as a Health Care Assistant.

There are several financial support options available through Health Match BC to help you with costs associated with the registration pathway you choose.

  1. HCA Competency Assessment Pathway Bursaries (NCAS & Remedial Education)
  2. HCAP Pre-Requisite Stipend
  3. HCA Recruitment Incentive
  4. HCA Training Program – BC Care Providers Association provides free training at select post-secondary institutions for participants who are unemployed, precariously employed, or employed but requiring upskilling

Financial supports outside of Health Match BC include:

Education

Completing a full HCA program at a recognized post-secondary institution may be beneficial to learning how the Canadian healthcare system works and for gaining hands-on experience during clinical placements.

To be admitted to an HCA program, you must demonstrate that you meet the BC HCA Program English Language Competency Requirements.

English Language Proficiency Tests Info Sheet – Find out about testing centres for HCA program entry.

If English is not your first language, you may wish to explore HCA ESL programs, which include additional English language training. Browse all the recognized institutions offering the HCA program across British Columbia on our Education page.

Employment

While you are in the process of getting your credentials recognized, you can put your training and experience to immediate use. Your skills, such as the ability to work well with others, good communication skills, patience, compassion, and experience assisting the elderly in daily living activities, are needed in a variety of employment or volunteer opportunities. Below are some examples of positions you might explore, depending on your experience.

Acute/Hospital Facilities

Hospital Porter, Dialysis Technician, Unit Clerk, Housekeeper, Screener/Greeter*

Long-Term Care Homes / Assisted Living Residences

Housekeeper, Food Server, Laundry Attendant, Dietary Aide, Cook, Health Care Support Worker, Screener/Greeter*

Community-based

Private in-home Caregiver, Home Health Companion, Health Care Support Worker

Other

Community Support Worker, Mental Health Worker, Doula, Contact Tracer*, Visitation Support Worker*

*Jobs emerging during the pandemic

 

Browse employment opportunities before and after registration, in both public and private healthcare sectors on our Employment page.

Resources

Internationally Educated Nurses

If you are an internationally educated nurse, you may be eligible to start your healthcare career in Canada as a Health Care Assistant while you are re-credentialing to practise as a nurse. The following institutions offer bridging programs.

Visit British Columbia College of Nurses & Midwives (BCCNM) for a complete list of recognized nursing programs in BC.

Join the Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) in BC Facebook Group to connect with other IENs and share resources.

Internationally Educated Health Care Professionals FAQ

What are the advantages of registering as a Health Care Assistant for internationally educated nurses (IENs)?

You will gain valuable Canadian healthcare experience, working as an HCA. You can also keep your skills in practice, access a comprehensive salary and benefits package while building seniority with an employer, and accumulate work hours to improve your eligibility for bridging programs if you wish to become registered as a nurse in BC.

What are the HCA registration requirements for internationally educated nurses?

Nurses educated outside of Canada and not licenced to practice in Canada must apply to register as Internationally Educated Health Care Professionals. For more information on registration requirements, click here.

What is the registration pathway for internationally educated health care professionals (including IENs)?

Depending on your background, there are several pathways to becoming a registered HCA. If you have previous HCA or health-related education completed outside of BC, you may be eligible to complete a competency assessment to confirm that you meet BC HCA Core Competencies.
Another option is to complete a recognized BC HCA education program (approximately seven months). You can find more information on the pathways to registration for internationally educated nurses here.

Is there financial support to assist with expenses related to re-credentialing?

Yes, there are several financial assistance options that you may be able to access, depending on your eligibility. Please visit our Bursaries & Stipends page.

What bridging education programs exist in BC for internationally educated nurses?

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