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Careers in Demand in Canada: Health Care Aide

School of Health July 11, 2019

Health care aides and health care providers are one of the many careers in demand in Canada. The reason for the demand across Canada is because of aging and population growth. Health care aides are crucial to the healthcare ecosystem as they provide important assistance to a wide variety of patients like the elderly and injured or disabled persons, to name a few. Becoming a health care aide/health care provider is an opportunity to apply your love of the medical field and your desire to help people. If this sounds interesting to you, read on. We touch on why healthcare is one of the top professions in demand in Canada and all the details on how to become a health care aide.


Why is it a profession in demand in Canada?

With an ever increasing number of people living longer but not being able to care for themselves, there will always be a demand for qualified health care aides. In basic terms, for as long as people are aging, there will always be health care aide careers. The latest employment report from the Government of Canada Job Bank predicts steady growth in this field, mainly because of an aging population and shrinking health care resources. This allows for there to be a steady increase of health care aide jobs/job opportunities in Canada. 

Especially now, with the advancement of medical science and technology, there are decreased mortality rates among mentally ill and physically disabled people all across Canada. Health care aides play a crucial role in offering care to those who need it. They play a huge role in the healthcare field, assuring the quality of life for those who cannot fully care for themselves. 

It’s also important to note that being a health care aide is a very selfless career choice. It’s high in demand because there are more people in need than there are workers. Because of this, there are many health care job opportunities in Canada. If you are someone who is passionate about helping others and want a rewarding career, continue reading to learn how you can enter the field in less than 6 months.



Canadian provinces with highest demand for health care aide/health providers

As mentioned above, choosing a career as a health care aide is great because it is seeing steady growth and is in demand all across Canada. No matter which province you live in, it’s likely that there is an abundance of health care aide jobs/job opportunities in your province.  According to the Government of Canada Job Bank, the Canadian provinces with the most demand over the next three years are: Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Alberta, and British Columbia.


What does a health care aide/health care provider do? 

A health care aide provides personal assistance and support services for individuals who are ill, elderly, have a disability, or people who require ongoing support or short-term assistance. The patients’ health care aides work with can have chronic or complex medical conditions, physical or mental disabilities, or who require end of life care. Their role in the healthcare system is so important as they provide essential and important daily living support to patients. This role can be challenging, but if you are passionate about helping others and making a positive difference in the lives of others, it’s a great and rewarding line of work.

If you choose to enter your career as a health care aide, it’s important to know that not every day will be the same. Health care aides help do what nurses and doctors can’t, which is spending hours and quality time with their patients. Whether it’s at home, helping their patients clean their space, or taking them to social activities, they provide their patients with a combo of practical support and companionship.

Health care aides can work in a number of different health care settings. These include, but are not limited to, hospitals, continuing care facilities, house calls, assisted living homes, rehabs, and many more. Health care aides can find work as residential care aides, home health aides, mental health aides, psychiatric aides, or as a client care associate. Because of the many different streams a career as a health care aide can take, health care aides may work different hours than other health care positions. They can either work full-time, part-time, or on a call in causal basis.

Working as a health care aide typically means that you will be working on your feet. The job may require you to help transfer and move patients and their equipment. If you are active and love working on your feet, this is a great career to look into.


Health care aide/health care provider certifications and training

The great thing about becoming a health care aide is that the training is not as intensive as other health care programs, but you still learn all of the necessary skills to become an effective health care aide after graduation. The great news about starting a career as a health care aide is that it doesn’t take long to become one. Most diploma programs take under six months to complete. The program at Robertson College is 26 weeks, including a 4-week practicum.  

The path to becoming a health care aide may look different for everyone, especially if you are interested in a certain line of work. But, if you’re interested in becoming a health care aide in Canada, here are some steps that you should take to enter most health care aide fields.

First, think through the type of work you would like to work in. This may be difficult at first, but start off by doing research and talking to people in the industry. Think about why you want to become a health care aide and what you are passionate about. Whether that is elderly people or children, it’s great to have some sort of idea of the type of work you’d like. It’s also very normal for students to think they want to work in one area but then after their education, decide they want to work in another. That’s normal and very common. 

The next step is to decide on your education. While not every job requires a degree or diploma, it will most definitely put you ahead of other candidates during the job search. Research different colleges in your area and see if they have any health aide or health care provider diploma programs. For example, Robertson College offers a Health Care Aide Diploma Program. The program specifically helps students develop the skills and necessary core competencies to become a health care aide. The great thing about graduating from a health care aide program is that you can immediately begin your career. Diploma programs provide you with a solid foundation and information to start caring for individuals in hospitals, private homes, or other care facilities.

Another important aspect of becoming a health care aide is acquiring real-work experience. Hiring managers like to see candidates who have had some sort of real life work experience. In most diploma programs, they will have a required four-week real life work practicum. For example, in the Robertson College’s Health Care Aide Diploma Program, students take part in a compulsory 4-week full-time work experience where they work alongside industry professionals in a dental office setting.

The great thing about a workplace experience program is that through the work practicum you will meet and network with industry professionals. This is a great opportunity to meet people and figure out what type of health care work you want to work after graduation. Regardless of which program you choose, the program you take should be equipped with the resources and education you need to find a job after graduation.


Skills and qualifications to become a health care aide 

1. Interpersonal Skills 

If you are interested in becoming a health care aide provider, there are some specific and important skills that are necessary when entering the career field. The career is not for everyone, as it can be very mentally and physically challenging. It’s important to know yourself, you’re capable of, and interested in before making the decision to enter a health care aide program. Below are several important skills a typical health care aide exhibits.


2. Interpersonal communication skills 

To be a successful health care aide, you must be able to communicate with your patients and your coworkers. Not only do you have to be able to speak to your patients, you also have to attentively listen to them.  As the health care aide, you are your patient’s best advocate. You allow them to have a voice through you, which means you have to be able to effectively communicate with other members of your team.


3. Patience 

As a health care aide, there will be many situations where you will have to exhibit patience. You have to be able to meet your patients where they are at and let them know that you are there for them no matter what. It’s important to stay calm and at ease when your patients are struggling. It’s recommended that you have a steady and emotionally stable personality type.


4. Physical Stamina 

Working as a health care aide may mean that you are performing physical tasks daily. You may have to lift or turn clients, or carry their equipment for them.


5. Empathy

To be a successful health care aide, you must enjoy what you do. Do you have empathy for others? When a person is in pain and needs help, do you respond with an urge to help them? If so, you have the core values it takes to become a health care aide. A kind and compassionate health care aide sets the tone for the patient’s care and experience.


6. Technical Skills

When training to become a health care aide, there are a number of important technical skills you will learn. Technical knowledge skills are those that are acquired for specific careers through education and training. There are many technical skills that you will learn on the job, but the following are skills that you will acquire while training to become a health care aide:

  • Recognize abuse and care for the mental, emotional and physical well-being of your clients
  • Assist with the personal care and hygiene of your clients
  • Prepare meals and manage household activities
  • Help clients dealing with mental health or cognitive impairment
  • Recognize and assist with developmental disabilities, confusion, delirium, dementia and mental health illnesses
  • Promote client well-being in a palliative care setting
  • Transfer clients by using proper transfer and mobility techniques
  • Care for and prevent various types of wounds, infections, and complications
  • Effectively communicate with your clients and their family members
  • Navigate the healthcare system and become familiar with different workplace settings
  • In addition, you will also learn how to understand the goals and main responsibilities of the support worker. You will learn about the principles of health care ethics and legislation including your client’s rights as well as your rights as a care provider.


These are only a handful of the tangible skills you will learn in the classroom, but much of your technical knowledge will also come from doing.


How much do health care aides/health care providers make per year?

Before deciding if entering the healthcare field is the right choice for you, you are probably asking yourself what a health care aide/healthcare provider salary looks like in Canada. As a dental office administrator, the salaries depend on many things such as what type of company you are working for, whether you’re full-time or part-time, the province you live in, and many other factors. To place a general number, according to Canada’s Job Bank, the average salary for a health care aide is between $27,040 and $37,440 a year. 


Health Care Aide Average Salary in Canada - Job Bank


Being a health care aide may not be the easiest job, but it is definitely rewarding. Every single day, you can go to bed knowing you have helped someone out. If you are interested in starting your career as a health care aide, you can become one in less than six months with Robertson College’s Health Care Aide program. If you are interested, connect with a Student’s Admissions Advisor for more information.



Thanks for reading! 
Looking to start a career as a Health Care Aide? Learn more about our Health Care Aide Diploma Program.

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