Education Assistant Diploma


Program Description

This Diploma program enables Education Assistant Certificate graduates to further their knowledge, skills, and abilities working with children and youth in regular elementary and secondary classrooms. The program may lead to laddering opportunities in the areas of child and youth care and in other educational fields.

Northern Lights College offers a 12 month Certificate* or two-year Diploma program. This program may be completed on a part- or full-time basis. Students may complete the program within their own community through online delivery. Face-to-face offerings may be available within the NLC region (contingent on student enrollment or special project offering).

Career Prospects

Education Assistant Diploma graduates are employed in public, private, and independent schools around the province. Graduates of the Northern Lights College program may seek a variety of positions in elementary and secondary education settings, including Special Needs Support Worker, Personal Care Attendant, and Playground and/or School Supervision Monitor.  Education Assistants may be employed to provide support to children with varying levels of special needs or they may provide general support to classroom teachers in the delivery of educational programs to groups of children or to the entire class.

Students are encouraged to research employment prospects in their community and local School Districts prior to applying to the program.


Location: The entire program is regularly offered through a blended model of online delivery, including asynchronous and synchronous modes of delivery.

Students complete practica within their own communities provided options exist for acceptable placements. Students unable to locate suitable practicum placements in their own community may need to relocate to another community for one or more of the practicum courses.

Face-to-face offerings may be available within the Northern Lights College region depending on student interest and project funding.

Length: 16 - 24 months full-time or part-time studies over two or more years.
810 theory course hours + 260 practica hours = 1070 total hours. 

Full-time: September to complete within 16 months.
Full-time: Spring to complete within 20 months
Full-time: January to complete within 24 months 
Part-time: September, January, or May/July.

Fees: Current Fee Schedule

Need upgrading first? Start with NLC’s Career and College Preparation program.

Admission Prerequisites

Northern Lights College Education Assistant Certificate graduates must submit a letter of intent to continue their studies in the Education Assistant Diploma program.
New Applicants must submit:
1. Northern Lights College application specifying entrance to the Education Assistant Diploma program and applicable application fee.
2. A comprehensive letter stating the applicant's background, interest, and goals for taking the Education Assistant Diploma.
3. Two current letters of reference written and dated within the last year. One must be from a recent employer and one must be a personal reference from a non-family member, preferably attesting to the applicant's suitability for working with children and youth.
4. A current certificate of good health from the applicant's doctor (form included in application package on website).
5. Proof of high school completion or equivalent. Mature students lacking high school completion may be considered for admission.
6a. Successful completion of  English Studies 12,  English First Peoples 12, or equivalent with a grade of C (60%) or better.
6b. Completion of the NLC Writing Assessment. Performance on the NLC Writing Assessment is used to make recommendations about appropriate course placement.
7. Official, sealed transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions attended.

Additional Notes:
1. Secondary School Dual Credit Students must also submit:
  a. A dual credit application completed at local secondary school.
  b. Documented evidence of successful Grade 11 completion.
2. A Criminal Record Check is not a program admission requirement. However, students are required to authorize a Schedule B Ministry of Justice Criminal Record Check (working with children) before participating in any practical work or practicum involving children. Under no circumstances will a student be permitted to begin working with children until a Schedule B CRC clearance letter has been reviewed by NLC. Convictions for certain offences may disqualify students from working with children and, therefore, from program completion. Students will be provided with more information about the Schedule B CRC process at program orientations. Schedule B CRC searches may take from 3 to 6 weeks, so students are urged to attend to this matter at least 6 weeks before their program start date. Further, students are obligated to report any criminal convictions that occur after they authorize a Schedule B CRC but are still enrolled in the program. Failure to do so may result in immediate dismissal from the program.

Important Notes

  1. The program is eligible for Canada Student Loans. Visit StudentAid BC to apply for financial assistance online.  Note that dual credit students are not eligible for Student Aid.
  2. Each student is required to authorize a Ministry of Justice Criminal Record Check before participating in any courses involving access to children or vulnerable adults.
    Under no circumstances will students be permitted to complete any practical work in a child care or school setting until NLC has received a clear Schedule B criminal record check with the Ministry of Justice.
    Students are obligated to report any Schedule B criminal convictions that occur after they authorize a Criminal Record Check but are still enrolled in the program. Failure to do so may result in immediate dismissal from the program. Please see the NLC Criminal Records Check page for completion instructions and more information pertaining to Criminal Record Checks
  3. Students complete practica within their own communities provided the options exist for acceptable placements. Students unable to locate suitable practicum placements in their own communities may need to relocate to another community for one or more of the practica.
  4. Please note the following application deadlines: May 1 for Fall (September) start; October 1 for Winter (January) start; and February 1 for Spring (April) start.
  5. The information on this program page is a summary of the official Program Completion Guide approved by NLC’s Education Council. Download the current Program Completion Guide. To review the upcoming Sept 2020 changes to the program please download the Fall 2020 Program Completion Guide.
  6. Northern Lights College has partnered with Collège Éducacentre for delivery of the Education Assistant Certificate in French. For information on delivery of the program in French, please contact:
      Emiie Dehoubert, French Student Advisor
      Collège Éducacentre 604-708-5100 poste 1404
  7. Program graduates are eligible for direct admission into the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s Advanced Specialty Certificate in Community Care Licensing. Advanced standing is granted for HDEC 104.  

View to the Education Assistant Admissions Page

Do you need more information?
ECEC/EA Office:


Core Courses:

Specialty Courses:

Any Three of the Following Elective Courses:

Note: Additional electives may be recognized through Chair and Dean approval

Practicum Courses