Schools Training

Specialist Opportunities as a Healthcare Assistant

27 MAR 2014
Career Path : Healthcare

Individuals who want to join the growing field of healthcare, while playing a role in helping others feel better, often chose to become healthcare assistants. Learn more about what this career entails and requires in the way of education.

What is a Healthcare Assistant?

A healthcare assistant is a medical professional that provides basic nursing care to patients, usually older adults, in various settings such as home care, hospitals, acute care settings and assisted living facilities. Some of their duties may include the following:

  • Observing and monitoring patients’ vital signs
  • Assisting patients with daily grooming
  • Collecting specimens for lab procedures
  • Maintaining inventory of supplies
  • Reporting health changes to medical staff
  • Assisting patients in outings
  • Helping transport patients to other departments for testing

In addition to providing basic nursing care, healthcare assistants are usually also required to perform administrative office duties.

What Type of Education/Training is Required for Healthcare Assistants?

To work as healthcare assistant, one is typically required to complete a training program. The training programs offer a certificate or diploma upon completion. As part of the training, the student will listen to lectures, watch videos and demonstrations, complete healthcare assistant courses, attend workshops and complete clinical training to obtain hands-on training. In many cases, the healthcare assistant courses cannot be taken alone but must be taken as part of a complete program. Students are required to satisfy specific admission requirements before they can start the training, such as providing proof of immunizations and criminal background checks.

Although healthcare assistants are not required to be licensed, requirements may vary by provinces. For instance, before an individual can work as a healthcare assistant in a public health care facility in British Columbia, he or she must be registered with the British Columbia Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry. The healthcare assistant training offered at Academy of Learning Career College prepares the student to obtain registration and begin work as a healthcare assistant.

What Type of Specialist Opportunities Exist for Healthcare Assistants?

Once a student has completed the healthcare assistant training, he or she can seek work as a healthcare assistant or advance their education by completing specialist training. The individual may be hired as a Healthcare Assistant Level 1 or a Healthcare Assistant Level 2, depending on the education and experience. With additional training, a healthcare assistant may find specialist opportunities such as:

  • Residential Care Worker
  • Hospital Service Worker
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Medical Office Assistant with Health Unit Coordinator Specialty
  • Medical Office Front Desk Assistant

The healthcare assistant training can also act as stepping stone for practical nursing training.

Career Outlook for Healthcare Assistants

The career outlook for healthcare assistants is very good, according to Labour Market Information. There is much demand for healthcare assistants, particularly those who have specialized training, experience with home care and are willing to work in the evenings and on weekends. Entry-level healthcare assistants with healthcare assistant training may experience wages of more than $35,000 in Canada.

Visit the Academy of Learning College Alberta for more information on healthcare assistant training.