NIC's Human Services department and its programs are part of a provincial network that ensures not only high-quality instruction and programming, as well as transferability throughout the province.
The Educational Assistant/Community Support program is offered over ten months at the Comox Valley campus, and is divided into three terms.
The first term exposes you to an anti-oppressive, feminist framework with which to examine and understand social issues and ethics pertaining to disabilities. Communication skills and critical thinking are highlighted.
The first semester includes five courses. You will learn a variety of frameworks for analyzing the structure and problems within society and exploring the different models for supporting families and individuals. You will study human development and develop strong research and writing skills through university English.
During the second term, you will continue your study of human development through the lifespan. There will be opportunities to explore in-depth theories, skills and positive behaviour support strategies. You will learn to support the health and wellness of individuals in the community and in school settings through supervised placements in a community agency or school and participation in weekly seminars to discuss ethical issues and reflect on practical experiences.
The third term consists of six weeks of full-time supervised practice experience in a school or community agency. This invaluable experience allows you to use your new skills and knowledge in practice. The final term also provides you with exposure to the field and employment connections. You will attend a weekly seminar to continue learning through reflection, discussion and writing.
As a graduate of the Educational Assistant/Community Support program you will be prepared to assist individuals who have physical, cognitive and psychiatric disabilities.
As education assistant, you will qualify to work in schools and, under the supervision of the teacher, provide classroom support.
As a community support worker, you may pursue a career in community-based or government agencies, in departments that assist individuals with special needs.
Some graduates have started their own community support businesses and hold contracts with a variety of government and non-government agencies in departments that assist individuals with developmental or physical disabilities.