Dual Credit

Applications are being accepted for the 2023 Health Care Aide Program until December 8, 2022!

Pembina Hills School Division has, once again, teamed up with NorQuest College to offer the Health Care Aide Program from January to July 2023. NorQuest College’s Health Care Aide program is among the largest in Canada and prepares students to be a part of a healthcare team in a variety of different settings, providing a high level of front-line care to clients in need of assistance.

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be prepared to work in continuing care institutions, home care agencies, group homes, assisted or supportive living, day programs, specialized care centres and programs, acute care hospitals, and private care. Health care aides provide personal assistance and support services for the elderly, families, disabled, acute care (often newborns), or chronically ill people who require short-term assistance or ongoing support.

Who can apply?

  • To apply as a high school student, the student must:
    • be at least 17 years old as of December 31, 2022
    • not be older than 19 as of September 1, 2022
    • be a currently registered Pembina Hills student
      *Non-Pembina Hills high school students, who meet the age eligibility as indicated above, are considered to be adult students for this program
  • Adult students 

What are the admission requirements?

  • A minimum of 60% in English Language Arts 20-2. Additional proficiency exam may be required for adults who do not meet the minimum requirement.
  • Clear Police Information Check (also known as a criminal record check; must include a Vulnerable Sector Check) is required to participate in the clinical placement.
  • An up-to-date immunization record (required for the clinical practicum)

What Does it Cost?

Term 1 fees are $4,310. (Term 1 runs from January 2023 to mid-July 2023.)

  • Deposit – $1,000.00 due at the time of application submission
  • Installment 1 – $1,655, due January 5, 2023
  • Installment 2 – $1,655, due February 5, 2023

Other Costs

Students will also be required to purchase lab uniforms, books, and other equipment (approximately $580 total, purchased through Norquest College).


High school-aged, Pembina Hills, students are eligible for fee subsidies for the first term of the dual credit program. Upon successful completion of Term 1, the students will be eligible for a refund as follows:

  • 3rd and 4th-year high school students – up to 78% refund
  • 5th-year high school students – up to 39% refund

Adult and non-Pembina Hills high school students are not eligible for refunds.

Term 2 (through Norquest)

All students (high school and adults) must register for the second term directly with NorQuest College. At this point, students will be eligible for scholarships, bursaries and student loans. For more information, visit the NorQuest Alberta Health Care Aide Bursaries webpage.


How to Apply

Term 1 application and payment must be completed online through Student Quick Pay or at the division office. Application deadline has been extended to December 8, 2022If there are not enough applications received for the program to go ahead, students will be notified by December 8.

Pembina Hills High School Students

  • Access Student Quick Pay through your parent’s PowerSchool account. (If you are an independent student or don’t have access to PowerSchool, follow the instructions for Adult Students below.)
  • Go to https://powerschool.pembinahills.ca/public/home.html
  • Click on Payments, Consent & Transp. Forms in the menu on the left side of the screen to open Student Quick Pay.
  • Select the student name and complete the form: 2023 Health Care Aide Application

Adult & Non-Pembina Hills High School Students
(if you don’t have access to PowerSchool)

Payment Options

The $1,000 deposit fee will be applied to your account when you submit the application form. Your application will not be approved until the deposit is paid in full

  • Payment can be made online with a credit card or VISA debit.
  • You may also submit payment by cash or cheque to the Pembina Hills School Division Regional Office, 5310 – 49 Street, Barrhead.
  • Cheques are payable to Pembina Hills School Division

After your registration has been approved, the subsequent Installment Fees will be applied to your account.

  • Installment 1 – $1,655 due January 5, 2023
  • Installment 2 – $1,655, due February 5, 2023

For more information contact PHSD’s Dual Credit Coordinator:
Karen Fischer


Why Dual Credit?
Earn college credits while you are in high school.
Increase your earning power!
Lower costs to you (subsidized).
Earn both high school & college credit at the same time.
Improve your chances of acceptance into competitive college programs.
Obtain college pre-requisite courses.
Start college while you still have the support of home & high school.
GREAT opportunity, especially for students who graduate this June, and still meet the age eligibility for high school … upgrade or work part time, and start your college career!

Interested in learning more?
Talk to your high school career counselor or school administrator.

Learn more about dual credit courses and program options in Pembina Hills.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is dual credit?
Students who are obtaining college and high school credits at the same time. In this case, students achieve 25 grade 12 CTS credits, while simultaneously earning a college Health Care Aide certificate. These credits and their marks, can be used for their university/college entrance requirements as well as for their application for the Rutherford scholarship.

What does a Health Care Aide do?
They provide direct care, personal assistance and support to patients who are elderly, disabled acute or chronically ill people who require short term assistance or ongoing support. They assist patients with daily living activities such as bathing, grooming, dressing, eating, exercise, recreation, and toileting. Covenant Health, Edmonton – The Health Care Aide (HCA) provides basic nursing care to residents as directed, assists with activities of daily living, and performs other activities necessary to meet the personal needs of residents. The HCA maintains and promotes resident safety, comfort, privacy and dignity, promotes the independence of residents, and performs duties to maintain an aesthetic environment. The HCA is responsible for the provision of care in accordance with established standards, and the Mission, Vision, Values, policies and procedures of Covenant Health.

Wage, job possibilities
Wage Range in Alberta:  $19.53 – $24.46 an hour
The demand for Health Care Aides is on the rise in Canada. As the population ages, there is an increasing need for professionally trained individuals with the skills and competency to care for them. Health care aides are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 3413 which includes Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates. In Alberta, most people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry. The employment outlook is promising in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry as information from The Alberta Learning Information Service describes. The Canadian and Alberta government are now taking action to ensure that there are enough skilled employees to handle the future surge in Health Care Aide demand through financial incentives and job education and awareness.

Who signs up?
We have a variety of students; some see the HCA certificate as a long-term career prospect, others use it as good foundational study and a great part time job to support themselves as they go on to further studies, typically in the medical or human services fields.  We have had both guys & gals in our previous co-horts.
*Students who have graduated, but are still high school age (19 as of Sept. 1st) are welcome to register.  This gives you an opportunity to up-grade &/or work part time while taking your HCA.

Past graduates, where are they now?
We have had a student use her HCA marks to help her get into the RN program at Red Deer College, some wish to pursue Vet. Tech or EMT or Neonatal Nurse or psychiatric nurse. Many students are employed full time or part time as HCA’s in the region. All of our graduates have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge, skills, and especially confidence by participating in and completing the HCA program. They often have the confidence to pursue additional career aspirations, dreams, and goals.

What does this job look like at AHS?

  • Health care aides (also known as HCAs) are valued members of the health-care team. Health care aides provide personal assistance and support services for elderly, disabled, acute or chronically ill people who require short-term assistance or ongoing support. They work with patients who have chronic and/or complex medical conditions, physical or cognitive disabilities, or who require end-of-life care. Health care aides are also known as nursing attendants (also known as NAs), home support aides, home support workers or residential support workers.
  • Health care aides provide essential and important daily living support and comfort to patients, clients and residents. They assist with bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting and other personal hygiene activities. They may help patients/residents with feeding, mobility and exercise as needed.
  • Health care aides must be able to speak, read, write, and comprehend the English language well enough to follow directions and communicate effectively with patients/residents and their team members. They report on their observations and communicate concerns to nurses and other licensed health care professionals.
  • At times, health care aides provide work guidance to other health care aides and students. They also interact with patient family members and caregivers. The demand for health care aides continues to grow as an important and necessary role in delivering health care in Alberta, making it a great career choice.
  • Health care aides work in a variety of health care settings including hospitals, continuing care facilities and within patient/client home settings. They can work as residential care aides, mental health aides, home health aides, psychiatric aides and client care assistants. Health care aides work collaboratively with nursing professionals and other members of the overall health care team.
  • Health care aides may work full-time or part-time hours, or on a call-in (casual) basis. They can apply for positions that are permanent, temporary or casual depending on department and facility needs. Shift schedules may include a combination of day, evening, night, weekend and holiday shifts, as well as on-call duty.
  • Health care aides are on their feet for much of their work day. Many work in environments that require varying levels of physical exertion to transfer patients, use and move equipment and provide personal care. Health care aides require patience and understanding because their patients may have mental or emotional challenges, in addition to physical limitations.

For further information, please contact:
Karen Fischer, PHPS Dual Credit Coordinator
780-674-3182 (H)
780-305-8505 (C)
780-674-3262 (F)

Why HCA? Ten Good Reasons
  1. HCA provides a terrific academic and practical basis or foundation for anyone considering the other programs.
  2. HCA gives you an opportunity to obtain excellent marks that will count toward your entrance/acceptance of a post-secondary program.
  3. Your marks may be used as part of your Rutherford scholarship application.
  4. HCA will give you a great opportunity for part time employment as you pursue further education.
  5. HCA gives you an opportunity to experience post-secondary schooling while you are still in high school. That means you continue to have the support of home/community and school while starting college.
  6. It is VERY affordable compared to a non-dual credit college program.
  7. The experience of the course work combined with the labs and practical experience are very valuable!
  8. The practical experience allows an opportunity to see if health care is really the area that you are interested in (without spending big dollars at college/university.
  9. While out on their practicums students will also see what other health care careers there are – physio, OT, recreation therapy- and this may give them more insight into which direction they want to go.
  10. Health Care Aide can be a great career choice, or it can be a stepping stone to get you on your way to your ultimate career.