The Education Assistant program trains you to help children and youth who require extra support, assist teachers in early childhood education settings, elementary and secondary schools, and help children and youth in the community. Through theory and practice, case studies, specialized training, and work experience practice, you will be well-prepared and equipped to enter the field of special education.
You will receive over 20 certifications upon graduation, including Standard First Aid, American Sign Language Basics, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and more.
*From an English language teaching institution.
**19 years of age upon starting classes, and pass college’s admissions test.
This program has been approved by the registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
Vancouver Career College provides hands-on training that will ensure you're job-ready upon graduation.
This session welcomes you to the college, introduces you to your fellow classmates, faculty, and staff, reviews the policies and procedures related to your studies, and prepares the student for their learning experience.
The purpose of this course is to optimize learning through equipping students with effective study techniques. This course also provides an introduction to personality styles that will be encountered in the workplace and allows students to practise appropriate and productive interaction between the various styles. Emphasis is placed on the types of communication that work best with each style in order to achieve a good working relationship and to manage and resolve conflicts that arise. Students are also introduced to strategies for setting personal goals, managing time, and managing the stress that results from study or work and builds on positive group dynamics and setting expectations for student success.
Students will work with teams and clients in a variety of settings. Theory, practical exercises, and activities in this course attribute to these types of settings.
This course provides information and training for using the college’s learning management system, online library resources and electronic textbooks, and an introduction to the tablet technology and Microsoft Office 365 software suite.
Throughout the college’s programs, students utilize technology (electronic books, online library, tablet/computers), use e-mail to communicate with instructors and submit assignments, internet for research and class activities, and use MS Office software to prepare letters and resumes, reports/assignments, and presentations. Multiple resources are provided during this course for students to read and practise their skills including courses in MS Word and MS Excel.
This course covers the foundations of being an education assistant and working as part of a school team. Students are introduced to individual education plans (IEPs) whilst supporting teaching and learning. IEPs are presented throughout the program as part of case studies, observation and recording, and making adaptations to plans. The course discusses provincial and school board practices, philosophies, and professional ethics. Students will analyse their own educational beliefs and discuss how to put them into practice. Emphasis is also placed on discussing the development selfregulated learners, the relationship to social-emotional learning and executive functioning, meeting the needs of diverse learners, and motivating and engaging learners. The provincial guidelines for special education services are also reviewed.
This course is an introduction to inclusive education in BC and Canada. Students examine positive ways of including children of all needs and abilities in the regular classroom, shaping the skills and strategies needed to create an inclusive classroom by individualizing learning for each student regardless of their exceptionality. The first part of the course provides fundamental background knowledge in the field of special education; topics include introduction to the individual education plan; students with learning and behaviour exceptionalities, intellectual disabilities, communication exceptionalities; and equity and diversity. The second part of the course focuses on instructional approaches that emphasize teaching students effectively regardless of exceptionality or other forms of diversity: topics include climate, organization, and management of inclusive classrooms; using universal design and differentiating teaching; differentiating assessment; enhancing social relations; and transitions.
This course also introduces the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) which addresses the support of students with very diverse learning needs. This includes a set of online training modules. A further set of training modules assists students in creating a UDL toolkit of resources and a term assignment to present these resources. A Certificate of Completion is issued to students upon the successful completion of the training modules and the term assignment.
How does a teacher learn to be outstanding? One key pathway is to learn the science of child development and know how to apply it in the classroom. This provides teachers (and education assistants) with a solid foundation from which to problem solve how to best educate each student. To be successful, one must understand each student as a learning, feeling, relating human being. The goal of this course is to help participants create classrooms that optimize students’ development.
Using case studies, research, and reflections on practice, students gain a solid foundation in developmental psychology as well as practical skills for applying that knowledge in a classroom. The course emphasizes diversity – individual and group –age trends, and classroom implications, along with sections on the foundations of child development, the cognitive child, the emotional child, the social child, and the whole child.
This course will address human development from conception through adolescence, with a focus on childhood to teenage years. Students will learn about fetal development and the effect of teratogens on an unborn child. There will be in depth review of a child’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive and cultural development. Students will study psychological theories and how they relate to child development.
Students are introduced to the basic concepts and methods related to studying communication, covering both typical speech and language development along with information on disordered speech and language. Foundational science is covered (the anatomy and physiology of speech, language, and voice production) as well as articulation and phonology and related disorders. Language development in children and the related disorders are also studied, including communication in a multicultural society and its characteristics and these speech/language differences versus disorders. Speech and language disorders in adults – neurological impairment – are also discussed.
Other subjects in this course cover various impairments and conditions: voice disorders; swallowing disorders; fluency disorders; the anatomy and physiology of hearing and hearing disorders; and hearing testing and management of hearing disorders. During this course, students are also introduced to American Sign Language (ASL) where they begin to learn basic vocabulary development, the manual alphabet, simple structures, and grammatical forms of ASL, history, finger spelling, numbers, terminology, and insight into the culture and community of deaf people. After this ASL introduction, students are assigned an ongoing training assignment following the Signing Naturally curriculum where students aim to reach a fundamental competency in signing by following multimedia exercises, home study and practice, and intermittent role playing and communication labs with their classmates. Later in the program, students will apply what they have learned into a term project where they learn to use ASL in the classroom.
Student will learn about various methods of augmentative and alternative communication and assistive technology, software and programs that can assist children and adults with communication. This course includes curriculum based on SET-BC standards: augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, activities, and ways of thinking. Students will be introduced to, accessibility options for computers and communication boards, and Blisssymbolics. The course requires students to maintain a blog or learning log and a project building an assistive technology (AT) plan and implementation analysis after working with a special needs student. This term project must be completed by the end of the first practicum.
Four additional workshops, with accompanying certificates of completion, are part of this course. These workshops include lecture, group and online learning activities, and assignments required to be completed.
The workshops are:
SET-BC: Assistive Technology in the Classroom (mostly selfdirected course accessed online) earning a Certificate of Participation
SOLO 6+ Essentials: a literacy suite of popular assistive technology supporting Read:Outloud, Draft:Builder, Write:Outloud, and Co:Writer. Upon completion of assigned modules, earns a Certificate of Completion.
Introduction to Picture-Based Software for the Classroom: Boardmaker®: this course introduces students to this software tool; students will create a project they could use in a classroom and present to class. Earns a Certificate of Competence.
Digital Education Basics: SMARTBoard – this workshop introduces students to smart boards (interactive whiteboards), learning how to get started with the SMART board, create objects, and create interactive lesson activities. Students will present a short lesson activity to complete the workshop and earn a Certificate of Completion: SMARTBoard Basics.
This subject provides a comprehensive study of effective communication skills and techniques the student will use both professionally and personally. The subject will sharpen skills to work effectively in a professional, helping relationship including communicating with parents, colleagues, and administrators. The main focus of the course is the classroom and student, the rationale for using certain communication strategies, and guidance on how to implement them. Many issues are discussed, including intrapersonal skills and interpersonal and small group communication; listening skills; verbal and non-verbal communication (from both the EA’s and student’s perspective); instructional strategies such as lecturing, discussions, and storytelling; teacher influence; ethical considerations; and racism/sexism in the classroom. Students will deliver a mini-lesson for a small group discussion and/or a storytelling session targeted for a small group of children.
All children are special; however, children with exceptionalities have difficulty reaching their full potential. Their intellectual, emotional, physical, or social performance falls below or rises above that of other children. They have special needs related to physical, psychological, emotional, or social factors, or a combination of these.
This course examines students with exceptionalities within Canadian schools. It stresses the psychological, cognitive, social, and physical differences that more and less able learners bring to the teaching/learning situation, the unique difficulties faced by children who are exceptional, the developmental consequences of various exceptionalities, and the multiple types of interventions necessary to accommodate these students effectively. The age range spans infants to young adults. Emphasis is placed on children with mild differences in learning and children with behavioural disorders.
Three professional development courses are provided to students and will occur before, during, or immediately after this course. Course descriptions are included in this outline: PD-RES: Applying Brain Mechanics to Resolve Conflict (JIBC), PD-NCI: Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Foundation Course, PD-NCIB: Nonviolent Crisis Intervention®: CPI Booster Session (POPARD).
This is a two-day workshop of certified training on behaviour management. The first day focuses participants on gaining a basic understanding of crisis intervention methods with the emphasis on early intervention and non-physical methods for preventing or managing disruptive behaviour. The second day of training expands on crisis intervention methods to include the study and practise of holding skills, used as a last resort when an individual becomes an immediate danger to themselves or others.
Children with autism are sometimes challenging to accommodate in the classroom setting. Students will learn characteristics of autism, teaching strategies and behaviour modifications/adaptions in order to assist children who are on the autism spectrum. ASD topics include characteristics of ASD; diagnosis and assessment; cognitive profiles and ranges of ability; theory of mind; sensory difference; social and communication skills; challenging behaviour; effective instructional practices; and applications in the classroom. The course also includes an introduction to Applied Behavioral Analysis; ABA topics include basic ABA theory and definitions; implementing basic ABA instructional strategies and techniques; how to collect reliable and consistent data when working with students; the ABCs of behaviour; reinforcement strategies for students; the discrete trial teaching format; errorless learning techniques; recording the level of prompting for instruction when collecting data; definition of prompts; shaping a behaviour or skill; identifying chaining strategies and prompting levels; completing a task analysis and collecting data; and identifying naturalistic opportunities for instruction. Specialized certification training extends the content of this course (PD-ASD and PD-ABA01) so the subject matter of ASD and ABA encompass three weeks’ training.
Students also attend a workshop training session that provides an overview of the Pyramid Approach to Education. It provides an overview of how to set up an effective teaching environment for students with autism and/or related developmental disabilities.
Students who successfully complete this workshop earn a Certificate of Participation.
Also, in conjunction with POPARD’s “Nuts & Bolts” training workshops, classroom discussion and practice, and reinforcement of concepts, additional workshops will be led by the instructor, selecting topics related to teaching students with autism and related disorders. Each training workshop is followed up with classroom discussion and assigned tasks and presentations. Topics may include: Choice in the classroom, Break time and choice, Task organizers, Sentence frames, The visual bridge, PECS: introduction, getting ready, overview of the phases of PECS, and tips for success, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Emotional regulation in the classroom, Developing behavioural emergency plans and linking them with positive behavioural support, Self-management: introduction, self-awareness, selfmonitoring and self talk, self regulation and self reinforcement, Non-verbal communication, Discrete trial teaching (DTT), Understanding challenging behaviours, Goal setting and program monitoring for functional skills, and Asperger Syndrome.
Another workshop during the student’s training is associated with ASD. Functional curriculum was designed to assist classroom teachers at the elementary and secondary school level in providing a functional curriculum for students with autism and pervasive developmental disorders. This workshop covers functional curriculum assessment and data recording, functional academics, arts and crafts, self-help and life skills, community training, vocational and work experience, and curriculum for students with severe intellectual disabilities.
Students will learn the concepts and apply them to practice in each of the eight key subject areas, ultimately preparing a curriculum ‘binder’ and presentation report of samples of adapting the concepts to real life. This curriculum binder is a term project due by the end of the second practicum; upon completion, students earn a Certificate of Competency for functional curriculum.
This course, provided by the Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders (POPARD), reflects current research and evidence-based practice in teaching students with ASD. In addition, research-based methods of effective adult instruction are used in this course. These include practical hands-on activities, demonstration, coaching, and application exercises as well as a variety of ways of evaluating participant learning.
Fifty percent of the mark will be based on completion of activities performed daily in class, individually and/or in small groups; the remaining 50% of the mark will be based on a closed-book quiz written on the final day of the course, comprised of multiple choice, fill in the blanks, and short answer questions.
This course, also offered by POPARD, reflects current research and evidence-based practice in teaching students with ASD. In addition, research-based methods of effective adult instruction are used in this course. These include pre-reading, practical hands-on activities, demonstration, coaching, and application exercises as well as a variety of ways of evaluating participant learning.
Completion of this course provides the participant with an overview of ABA history and theory, with an emphasis on practical applications in school settings. Participants will have the opportunity to practise teaching using discrete trial and task analysis formats. They will also see how ABA principles are applied to other teaching situations and to program development for students with autism spectrum disorders.
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is used to rapidly teach communication skills to those with limited functional speech. PECs promotes communication with a social context without lengthy prerequisite training. Training in PECs begins by teaching a spontaneous request and goes on to teach additional communicative functions such as responding to questions and commenting. An added attraction for preschool children with autism and related disorders is the high proportion of children who acquire independent speech.
Participants will learn how to implement the six phases of PECS, plus attributes, through presenter demonstrations, video examples, and role-play opportunities. Participants will leave the course with an understanding of how to implement PECS with individuals with autism, related developmental disabilities, and/or limited communication skills. A project assignment due by the end of the course must be completed to receive an additional Certificate of Completion.
Students are introduced to the terminology used by professionals working in the field of mental health, as well as the issue of mental illness and its stigma in the classroom and society in general. Many areas are covered including trauma- and stressor-related disorders; neurodevelopmental disorders; attention deficits; disruptive behaviour; anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and related disturbances; mood disturbances; eating disturbances; psychosis and schizophrenia; and substance misuse and addictions. Additional discussions include understanding suicide and brain structures.
Some special attention is given to learning and resources for depression and eating disorders. A presentation/report is also assigned for students to demonstrate their knowledge from research on a specific mental health disorder.
ASIST is an internationally recognized two-day workshop which uses multimedia presentations in a practice-oriented training to build skills and confidence in suicide intervention. The ASIST workshop is divided into five sections that follow in a logical progression to gradually build comfort and understanding around suicide and suicide intervention.
Throughout this course, students will learn various strategies in language and math, such as Base 10 principles and TouchMath. Students will be required to put together two lessons and present to class (one for reading, one for math).
Students will also earn a certificate after completing sessions and assignments for “Overview of the Orton-Gillingham Approach”. Topics include the characteristics of the individual with dyslexia; principles of the Orton-Gillingham Approach; brain organization and multi-sensory instruction; phonology and the language system; structure of the English language; history of the English language; and lesson planning using the approach.
Students will then participate in seminar training that guides them step-by-step through TouchMath® computation and methodology. This multisensory approach combines auditory, visual, and tactile/kinesthetic elements that enable students of all learning styles to be successful. Participants will practise and quickly master TouchMath counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Students are required to complete a practicum at an assigned school (either private/independent or public institution) for a total of four weeks. Students will be monitored by both the practicum host and the college throughout the duration of the practicum; this ensures students apply their knowledge and skills learned during the program into practice. The practicum may be in a variety of settings, such as an elementary school, high school class, and special programs. There are two practicum sessions that will be completed by students in two different settings, for a total of eight weeks. The actual hours may vary depending on the practicum host arrangements, typically six or more hours per day, five days per week (less hours for touchback sessions). These practicum touchback sessions are scheduled weekly during the practicum period (approximately three hours per session); a cohort will attend these sessions at the college (for discussing their practicum experience, raising questions, sharing best practices, and submitting assignments).
This course provides students with knowledge of how language is developed in a child, starting with foundations of linguistics; communication development in infancy; phonological development; semantic development; morphology and syntax; development of communicative competence; theoretical approaches to language acquisition; variation in language development; atypical language development; language and literacy in school years; and bilingual language development. The second part of the source reviews language development and reasons it is difficult to learn from some students and the basics of distinguishing between various communication disorders versus second language acquisition. Some basic principles and approaches to teaching English as a second language are outlined.
This course is organized around areas of concern and a clear understanding of the needs of students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAS/E) by defining FAS/E, describing the common learning and behavioural characteristics of children with FAS/E, and strategies that may be helpful in meeting the challenges these children present in the classroom. Needs and strategies for several characteristics are discussed, including attention difficulties, cause and effect thinking, social skills, personal skills, memory skills, language development, reading and writing, motor skills, mathematics skills, science skills, and fine arts.
Students will also learn to develop a sample IEP through case studies of examples; other activities include observation and discussion during a meeting with parents, common misinterpretations of normal responses in students with FAS/E, and various skills checklists (scenarios and group work).
This course introduces students to ways to support students who are hard of hearing and deaf, as well as those with visual impairments. The first part of the course discusses students with hearing impairments and how to support and establish learning relationships in the classroom. Content includes working with teachers, especially vision resource teachers; talking with students and parent interviews; when to get help and when you need it; changes to IEPs; collaborating with the educational team; and the nature and degree of visual impairment. It also explains the student’s functional vision (charts), safety and environment, and supporting the student through planning, instruction, assessment, the print user, the Braille user, and available resources.
The second part of the course focuses on visually impaired students including preparation to support/teach students; meetings with teachers, educational team, students; classroom adaptation; communication tips; tips for students; and equipment needs. Training sessions are also included this course, including:
- Using ASL in the Classroom – this follows up on ‘Introductory American Sign Language’ with lecture, discussions, and a project using sign language with a student, including practical examples and presentation. A Certificate of Completion is awarded when students have completed their assignments and practice lessons in the classroom setting.
- Working with Gifted Students – using provincial guidelines, students are introduced to gifted education, including identification and student profiles; content (acceleration, telescoping, compacting, independent study, tiered assignments, learning centres, and curricular models); process (higher level and creative thinking, problem solving); the learning environment and products.
In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness of students with acquired brain injury (ABI) in the school system. Advancements have led to an increase in the number of children and adolescents who are surviving and being served in our schools. Length of stay in hospitals and rehabilitation centres also is decreasing and students return to the school system. This course introduces students to planning and supporting these students.
Topics include structure and function of the brain; defining ABI; characteristics associated with ABI; planning support; teaching students; managing challenging behaviour, students with mild ABI; and transition planning. Students will participate in case studies and discussions and the EA’s role in supporting students with ABI, as well with those who have physical impairments and/or chronic health impairments.
During this course, students will have had training (e.g. Applied Behavioural Analysis) and be able to practically apply behaviour management theory and understand their effects on a child’s behaviour. Students will be challenged to apply knowledge of ABA and Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) in role plays and hands-on assignments in order to practise how to teach life skills and behaviour management. Using provincial guidelines, students will learn about adaptations and modifications to IEPs where outcomes address functional life skills.
This course introduces students to what trauma is, how it affects children and youth, how common it is, the effects of trauma, and presents some ways of dealing with symptoms of trauma. Students will learn how trauma affects the mind, body, spirit, and relationships.
This course will examine trauma intervention in relation to children and youth. Students will identify trauma-informed approaches to supporting children, youth, and families, and the principles of traumainformed practice: trauma awareness; safety and trustworthiness; choice, collaboration, and connection; and strengths based and skill building. Students will examine issues related to children and youth with special needs, mental health services, child safety, family support, and children in care services. Students earn a Certificate of Completion upon successful completion and attendance to this course.
This course is designed to provide crucial information on physical management skills and specialized health care procedures for students with disabilities. Participants learn specific strategies for addressing such physical management areas as lifting, transferring, positioning, and mobility. Step-by-step procedures are also provided, such as tube feeding and clean intermittent catheterization, as well as information on what to do if a problem occurs. Discussion also predicates these self-help skills with the concept of encouraging independence. Self-help skills include eating and feeding techniques, tube feeding, toilet training, urinary collection, and colostomy management. Respiratory procedures are also learned: tracheostomy care, secretion management, oxygen management, and ventilator management (in BC, these procedures can only be performed by nurses, so the lines of responsibility are clearly indicated). Other topics and procedures include assisting students with diabetes, seizures, and glucose testing.
All of the skills and procedures learned are practised in the college’s health care lab and strict guidelines are presented to emphasize the role of an EA in providing personal care skills within the role of the educational team, nurse, and other colleagues. Students are tested on several procedures and must successfully and safely complete the skills checklists, as well as demonstrate the knowledge of the material in written examinations. A separate certification course is included in the program for the assistance of medication administration.
While the majority of personal care needs of children with severe and multiple disabilities are met by education assistants, there are a limited number of health procedures which may be carried out only by qualified EAs; this is the purpose of the training provided in EA260: Supporting Personal Care and this course. The routines that require this training include gastronomy feeding and related care, administration of pre-established and prescribed routine oxygen, administration of pre-measured and prescribed medication, seizure management, glucose testing and ostomy care. [Other procedures are normally handled by nurses.]
This course focuses on medication administration where students learn about the EA’s scope of practice; the six rights of medication administration; classifications of medications; medication knowledge and related terminology; guideline determinants, roles, and responsibilities; and routes of administration. In this training, students are introduced to various samples of pills and tablets, topical medications, liquid medications, inhaled medications, dosage containers, authorization forms and medication administration records; this is followed by learning the protocols and procedures, including knowing common side effects and allergic reactions, proper storage and handling; and common medications administered in the school setting. Importantly, EAs are clearly advised of their role, when to seek help and/or contact a school nurse, and other limitations. A final grade of 90% is required for both the knowledge test and practical exam due to the importance of health and safety concerns.
Students are required to complete a practicum at an assigned school (either private/independent or public institution) for a total of four weeks. Students will be monitored by both the practicum host and the college throughout the duration of the practicum; this ensures students apply their knowledge and skills learned during the program into practice. The practicum may be in a variety of settings, such as an elementary school, high school class, and special programs. There are two practicum sessions that will be completed by students in two different settings, for a total of eight weeks. The actual hours may vary depending on the practicum host arrangements, typically six or more hours per day, five days per week (less hours for touchback sessions). These practicum touchback sessions are scheduled weekly during the practicum period (approximately three hours per session); a cohort will attend these sessions at the college (for discussing their practicum experience, raising questions, sharing best practices, and submitting assignments). This second practicum will be at a different type of setting from the first practicum (EA298).