Activity Assistant Certificate

Expand your opportunities in the health care field and make a difference in the lives of seniors by helping them engage in an active lifestyle. You will learn to plan and implement supervised activities for older adults with cognitive and physical impairments and gain hands-on experience and make employer connections with supervised practicum experience.


Applications are now being accepted for the Winter 2021 start. View the program guide for Winter 2021.


Watch the virtual information session and download the pdf


 This program is currently not available to international applicants.
Where: Online
Starts: January 2021
Length: 4 months, part-time
Delivery: Off-campus, Digital Scheduled Class

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The information in the program was valuable in expanding my knowledge and skillset and a great reminder of why I became involved in this industry. I got a job as an activity assistant during the course and have been doing that since. I’d highly recommend it for care aids and other support workers as I believe we can all make a difference.

Denise Collins, Activity Assistant grad

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Program Requirements

  • HSR-160 Framework for Practice
  • HSR-161 Activity for Well-Being
  • HSR-162 Programming for Individuals with Cognitive Impairments
  • HSR-170 Practice Experience I
  • HSR-171 Practice Experience II

Note: You must complete all courses in the program within the same term.

Completion Requirements

  1. Students must complete all courses in the program within the same semester.
  2. Students must achieve a minimum of C+ in each course; and pass the two practicums in order to complete the program. 

Have questions? Educational advisors are available to help you through the application process. Call 1-800-715-0914 or email


Admission Requirements

  1. Health Care Assistant (HCA) certificate or Home Support/Resident Care Attendant (HS/RCA) certificate; or equivalent credential (e.g. LPN or RN or Human Services - Educational Assistant/Community Support certificate).

Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

Before Classes Begin

Once accepted to the program but before classes begin, you will be required to:

  • hold a current CPR C certificate
  • submit a Criminal Record Check form, which will be sent to you by Admission once you are offered a seat in the program.
  • submit a completed immunization form, which will be sent to you by Admission once you are offered a seat in the program.  This form should be validated by the public health nurse at your local health unit and must be presented to the Activity Assistant Instructor on the first day of classes.
  • hold a Food Safe Level 1 certificate (TFS-010)


Accessible Learning

Making education accessible for those with a documented disability is a key priority for NIC. We offer a wide range of services, supports and resources for students. For more information visit: Accessible Learning Services.

Program Highlights

The four-month Activity Assistant program provides specialized professional development for individuals who have previous education and training in health care (LPNs, RNs, health care assistants and home care aides) or community support (education assistant/community support graduates).

The program consists of three core courses as well as two practice experiences:

In Framework for Practice (HSR-160), you will be introduced to the activity assistant role as well as the concept of activity and how it influences and is influenced by the components of health, age, interests, values and environment. You will gain an understanding of aging and dementias in the context of activity, how groups can be used for clients and residents with complex care needs, theories in activity programming and much more.

In Activity for Well-Being (HSR-161), you will explore dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, and learn a wide range of strategies for activity involvement for clients who have cognitive impairments. Course highlights include the fundamentals of program development, client assessment and recreational assessment tools, client-specific goal development and working with volunteers and family - to name only a few.

In Programming for Individuals with Cognitive Impairments (HSR-162), you will develop strategies for therapeutic recreation and program development for individuals with dementia, including how to use a care planning approach to provide effective client-centred programming.

During the program, you will have opportunities to apply classroom knowledge and skills to hands-on experience in two supervised practice experiences, working with adults in a variety of care settings in facility and community settings.

Health considerations

Please note, the work of activity assistants can be physically demanding and may require bending, lifting or lengthy periods of standing, which may be problematic for those with back, neck or arm injuries.
If you have significant health challenges, please discuss your concerns with your physician and consult with the program coordinator.

Career Opportunities

Upon completion, your specialized knowledge and applied experience will qualify you to work alongside an activity coordinator to lead group activities and recreational programs in community and facility settings such as intermediate care facilities, assisted living settings, adult day care programs, clients' homes, seniors' centres and residential group homes.

Tuition & Costs Estimate

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit our tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Year 1
Tuition $2,695
NISU Fees $65
Books $158
Learner Resource $75
Total $2,993

Full and part-time employees of the HEU, as defined by their criteria, may be eligible for up to $3,500.00 in funding towards the cost of the program tuition through the FBA Education Fund.   To learn more, please visit the HEU website.

Find out if this program is eligible for Student Aid BC funding.

This program is tuition refund Category 3.

The program will be held from January to April 2021. Online courses are scheduled to take place on Wednesdays, 5 - 8 pm and Saturdays, 9 am - 4:30 pm. Two irregular class dates: Tues Jan 5, 2021 5-8 pm and Sunday Jan 24, 2021 9 am – 4:30 pm. See full program schedule for all dates and times. Both practicums for this program are virtual online - no in-facility work.