Considering a career in health care, but aren't sure which training program to pursue? Budget cuts to provincial health programs and services have made many students wary of entering the field—but not all areas of health care are cutting back.
Front-line roles, such as health care aide (HCA), are actually expanding, driven by the needs of our aging population—needs our hospitals and long-term care providers are struggling to meet.
In this post, we examine how demand for HCAs, plus several other factors, make training in this field a smart choice for students who want a secure career on the front-lines of healthcare.
1. Health care aide training is quick to complete
If you're looking to launch a meaningful health care career, but don't want to spend years in college, health care aide training is an excellent alternative. Most HCA programs can be completed in under 6 months, including an internship at a hospital or long-term care facility.
A full-time HCA diploma covers everything students need to know to begin work, including patient care techniques, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, mental health and social issues, and palliative care.
Quality training will also include several valuable certificates, such as CPR, First Aid, Non-violent Crisis Intervention, and Safe Food Handling. Most diploma programs finish with a 6-8 week practicum to help students gain real-world experience, and transition smoothly into professional roles.
2. Health care aides are in high demand
Despite cuts to other areas of health care, HCAs remain in high demand all across Canada. According to the latest government market research, the job outlook for health care aides is extremely positive due to the escalating needs of our aging population.
For the first time ever, the number of seniors in Canada has outpaced the number of children. Statistics Canada predicts that by 2031, nearly one in four Canadians will be over 65. This trend is replicated in several other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan, where populations over the age of 65 are rapidly rising.
Growing numbers of seniors means expanding demand for the specialized services HCAs provide—support that helps older patients remain independent for longer, and in many cases, stay in their own homes.
Health care aides have become an essential link between patients, families, doctors, and nurses—relieving pressure from public health providers, who simply can't keep up with the needs of seniors.
The Government of Canada Job Bank gives "health care aide" a 3/3 star-rating for job outlook, and forecasts continued growth for this career path well into the future.
3. HCA work is flexible
Most health care aide jobs offer some degree of flexibility, such as the freedom to choose your own shifts, work on a casual or part-time basis, or select the number of home-care patients you'll support each week. This career is a good fit for students juggling other responsibilities, such as child care, who want to avoid a rigid 9-5, Monday through Friday, work schedule.
4. Health care aides take great pride in their work
Families rely on health care aides to provide essential, everyday care to their loved ones. HCAs offer physical, emotional, and practical support to their clients, and in many cases, are considered part of the family.
Thanks to health care aides, more patients than ever are empowered to live independently, in their own homes. And nursing home residents enjoy the kind of personalized attention and support nurses and doctors simply cannot deliver.
Although this work is often challenging, most HCAs find that the personal rewards—knowing they're making a real difference in people's lives—fuel a deep sense of worth and fulfillment.
We turn to health care aides to look after our closest family members as they deal with the challenges of aging, and in some cases, chronic and serious medical conditions. The special trust placed in HCAs makes this work a great source of pride for professionals in the field.
Consider the 5-month Health Care Aide Training offered by Herzing College, at the Winnipeg campus.
Click below to explore the program, see admission requirements, a detailed course list, or chat live with a friendly advisor. We're here to help!