Frequently Asked Questions


Nanaimo offers two intakes per year, in September and February. In Cowichan and Powell River there is one intake per year in September.

Students are selected for the program based on their personal suitability and readiness. You must meet all admission requirements. Students are expected to attend a required pre-entry group interview. During this interview, you will have a chance to meet with faculty, find out more about the program, and determine if this program is right for you.

The interviews are informal. They are focused towards finding out about each other. Read through and answer the questions while reflecting on your current ways of being.

You will receive an invitational letter from Registration once your application file is completed.

You will receive an Admission letter from Registration following the pre-entry interview. You will receive an orientation package in the mail outlining the location and schedule of classes.


The texts and printed materials will cost approximately $215. You will also need uniforms, a watch with a second hand (not a wristwatch), transfer belt, and comfortable walking shoes.

You will be expected to travel to clinical agencies early in the mornings (6:30 am) and public transport may not be available at that time.

Yes. You can apply for the government student loan and grant program. You may also qualify for additional scholarship and bursaries. Check with the Financial Aid and Awards office, located in Building 200 at the Nanaimo Campus, or call 250.740.6423.

Presently there is no laddering into the Practical Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Program Format

The average class size in the Nanaimo campus is 34. In Cowichan, the average class size is 24 students and in Powell River the average class is 16 students.

The program is 24 weeks in length. The first 12/14 weeks are Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. The remainder of the program is Monday to Thursday. When students are in their clinical placement, the hours are 6:30 am to 2:30 pm Monday to Thursday.

Class hours vary from 28 to 35 hours/week.

The amount of time spent on homework is subjective. Depending on your learning style, the time spent can range from 5-10 hours/week including reading time.

A part-time option is not available at this time.

Yes, Prior Learning Assessment is ongoing for this program. Please contact the program chair, 250.753.3245 Ext: 6678, for an information package and eligibility criteria.

Employment Outcomes

You will be qualified to work as a Community Health Worker in a home support agency or a Health Care Assistant in a long term care facilities and acute care.

The program prepares you for work as a Health Care Assistant. Graduates are required to register with the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker registry in order to attain a registration number.

Starting wages in most facilities is between $19-22/hour. The amount may vary in a privately owned facility.

Most graduates usually start with casual or part time employment, and work up to full-time status gradually. VIU’s Health Care Assistant certificate is recognized within BC and most provinces.

About 90% of the class successfully completes the program.

About 90% of the graduates get employment in the field.