Nursing Students in Canada

Are you a Nursing Student training to become an LPN, RN, or RPN in British Columbia? You could be earning pay as a Health Care Assistant while you continue toward a nursing career in British Columbia.

Working as an HCA will enable you to gain valuable healthcare experience and develop transferable skills such as providing support for various clients.

The advantages of working as an HCA as a nursing student include experience with person-centred care as part of a team, networking with other health care professionals, learning about organizational structures in health, and deepening your professional values.

Pathways to Registration

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

  1. Submit your BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry application
  2. Upload your:
    • Transcript
    • Student competency reference letter
  3. After submitting your application, your profile will be created, and the Registry will contact you within 5-10 business days.
  4. Become a registered Health Care Assistant
  5. Work as an HCA in the BC healthcare system



Browse Health Care Assistant employment opportunities in both public and private healthcare sectors on our Employment page.

Check out our Employment Articles to help with the job search process:

Nursing Opportunities

If you are a student nurse looking for new grad opportunities, visit Health Match BC and start a profile.


Canadian Nursing Students Association

Established almost 50 years ago, the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) represents nursing students and the nursing profession on legal, ethical, professional, and educational matters to government and healthcare organizations.

If you are attending a Chapter Member School, then you are already a member of CNSA.

Through this membership, you can network with other nursing students through social media, forums, and conferences, and continue to build a connection with others in the profession.

Consider attending one of their provincial or national events!


HCA Practice in BC Course

British Columbia offers a free online, self-paced course that serves as a good introductory resource for HCAs. The Health Care Assistant Practice in British Columbia provides an overview of the information relevant to HCA practice in the province of British Columbia. This 5-hour course develops an awareness of HCA parameters of practice in BC and the different types of health care settings where HCAs work. It covers the importance of working collaboratively in the health care team and highlights key concepts such as person-centred care, and legal, ethical, and professional approaches to practice.

This course is available on the LearningHub. For more information and a list of other Learning Hub Courses that may be of interest to HCAs, click here.

Nursing Students in Canada FAQ

1. What are the benefits of registering as a Health Care Assistant for nursing students?

The benefits of working as an HCA as a nursing student include obtaining additional patient care experience in a hands-on way that can supplement your nursing education, networking with other health care professionals, deepening your professional values and earning above minimum wage.

2. What are the HCA registration requirements for nursing students?

Once you have completed sufficient training, you can apply to the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry website and upload your transcript, student competency reference letter, and character reference letter.

3. How much training do I need to have completed to be eligible to register as an HCA?

You need to be currently enrolled in a nursing program in Canada, and you must have completed sufficient training, typically one year of coursework. Please review Appendix 1 Nursing Student Programs - Coursework for Full HCA Registration


4. Which nursing programs are recognized to be eligible to register as an HCA?

Your nursing program must be approved by a Canadian nursing regulatory body, such as the BC College of Nurses & Midwives (BCCNM).

5. How much do Health Care Assistants get paid?

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 $27.92 to $29.83 (wage as of April 1, 2024), 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 HCAs start with casual or part-time employment and work up to full-time status gradually.

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