Program calendar icon Program Length

  • 4 Months

Program credential icon Credential

  • Certificate

Program location icon Location Offered

  • Nanaimo

Are you a creative person working the health or human services sector? Want more joy in your workday? As an activity assistant you bring happiness into the lives of older adults. You help create programming that promotes wellness, and you get to participate in the fun activities you design for your clients. It’s a career that can give you a daily dose of joy.

The Activity Assistant Certificate Program

In this program you learn to plan and implement activities for older adults in intermediate and extended care facilities and in community settings. You learn: 

  • about meaningful recreation experiences 
  • how various health issues and impairments can influence experiences 
  • how to adapt and modify programming to suit various conditions, behaviours and impairments. 

Program Content

You explore the theory and skills necessary to work as an Activity Assistant. You are introduced to activity as a part of life that influences and is influenced by health, age, ability, interests, values and environment.

The program includes classroom instruction and practicum experience. Courses include:

  • Framework for Activity Assistant Role
  • Enhancing Quality of Life Through Recreation Programming 
  • Overview of the Older Adult
  • Two Practicums (one part-time and one full-time)

Course Delivery

Courses are offered on a part-time basis. There are two practicums and their schedules are based on the needs of the practicum site. Students must be available and prepared to attend their second practicum full time. 

ACTA 100T - (Framework for Activity Assistant Role)
ACTA 101T - (Enhancing Quality of Life Through Recreation Programming)
ACTA 102T - (Overview of the Older Adult)
ACTA 103T - (Practicum I)

ACTA 104T - (Practicum II)


  • Health Care Assistant (HCA) certificate, or Home Support/Resident Care Attendant (HS/RCA) certificate,
    or Equivalent credential (i.e. LPN, RN, Educational Assistant, or Community Support Worker certificate).
  • Minimum 500 hours working in a health care facility with older adults or individuals with disabilities (please provide letter of employment)

Note:  This program is not eligible for student loans.

Notes on Admission

Admission may be considered on a case-by-case basis for those that do not meet the stated admission requirements but have related education and work experience. Please contact if you wish to see if you may be eligible.

Prior to starting the practicum, you must submit documentation of the following:

  • a satisfactory criminal record check prior to placement. Criminal Record Checks are requested through VIU. The Registration Centre at VIU will contact prospective students by mail regarding the requirements for a Criminal Record Check. Criminal Record Checks are processed through the Ministry according to the Criminal Records Review Act. A check completed through the RCMP is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the Act.
  • current CPR C Certificate
  • Foodsafe Level I  certificate 
  • completed  Immunization Requirements form

Note: Many employers require a Class IV Driver's License and a minimum of one year related work experience.

The Activity Assistant Program provides students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and values necessary to plan and implement individual and group activities for older adults in intermediate and extended care facilities and community settings. The graduate is prepared to function under the direction of an appropriate health care professional and to work collaboratively with other team members, families and volunteers.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Fees Amount
Tuition 2,876.42
Student Activity fee (4% of tuition) 115.06
VIU Students' Union fee (4 months x $27.60 per month) 110.40

Amounts calculated using Nanaimo Campus rates.

All fees are subject to change without prior notice and are expected to increase by 2% each year on April 1.

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus Options
Anticipated intake for someone applying today:
Next Intake(s):

  • Document deadline: November 29, 2024

  • Fees due deadline: December 12, 2024

Application Fee:
Accepting Late Applications:
Testing Required:
Admissions Assistant:
Name: Donna Kist
Phone: 250.753.3245 ext. 2526
Area Contact:
Name: Yan Li
Phone: 250.740.6322
Coordinator Contact:
Name: Karen Blackman
Phone: 250.740.6327
Document Deadline:

November 29, 2024



No refunds after Dec 12, 2024

Further information on this program can be found on the Department website.

Visit the Department Website

Previous versions of this program can be found in the Program Archive.