Human Services Professional Diploma
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Graduates from the Human Services Professional Diploma Program may be successfully employed in a variety of settings such as public and private educational settings, social and community service agencies such as group homes and halfway houses, correctional facilities, community health centres, and in programs addressing alcoholism, drug abuse, family violence, and aging. Human Service workers offer assistance to individuals requiring physical and cognitive rehabilitation and lifestyle maintenance – including leisure integrative programs, children and youth at risk, settlement services, and supporting individuals requiring social work assistant intervention. Education Assistants may work in any number of educational facilities such as public and private schools with students having all types of needs. Many students with disabilities require daily assistance. The starting salary for Human Services workers can be up to $63,000 per year.
Employment possibilities may include but are not limited to:
- Social Work Assistant
- Child and Youth Care Worker
- Education Assistant
- Settlement Worker
- Respite Specialist Worker
- Community Support Worker
- Child and Family Support Worker
- Disability Services Worker
- Immigrant Aid Support Worker
- Outreach Worker
- College and University Admissions Advisor
Columbia College has been successfully preparing Human Services workers since 2006.
2017 – 2018: 92% Graduation Rate
2017 – 2018: 89% Employment Rate
Why choose Columbia College’s Human Services Diploma Program?
- Columbia College has been educating human services workers since 1996. We have the experience to know what you need to become a professional in this area and secure employment.
- Our one year accelerated Human Services diploma program gives you the opportunity to build a solid foundation in the helping profession by completing two years of study in one year. Complete fifty-weeks and you are finished, ready for work.
- Not only to you build this foundation, but you can concentrate on a specialization area of your choice – General or Education Assistant.
- We prepare you to be employment ready. You engage in practicums, start networking in the profession, resume writing, interviewing strategies, attend practicum workshops, and get a certificate in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training.
- This program is licensed by the Private Vocational Training Branch of the Alberta Government.
Employers of Graduates
The following is a list of organizations that have hired graduates of this program:
- Woods Homes
- Society for Treatment of Autism
- Independent Counselling Enterprise
- Boys and Girls Club of Calgary
- Little Treasures Inc.
- Foothills School Division
- Kids U West 85th
- Calgary Drop In Centre
- Bright Beginners Children Centre Ltd.
- Evergreen College
- Calgary Progressive Lifestyle Foundation
- Community Living Alternative Services
- Mosaic Montessori Academy
- Alberta Human Services
- Heartland Agency
- Bow Valley Child Care Centre
Click Here to see a list of Faculty Members for this program.
Our Human Services Professional Diploma Program has a unique blend of core courses and specialization options. Find employment in many fields such as social work assistant, disability services worker, child and youth worker, an immigrant services counselor, child development worker, education assistant, or other areas in the field of Human Services. In our program you are able to choose the courses that make up your specialization.
The Human Services Professional Program consists of the following:
- Complete a 2 year diploma in 12 months – Accelerated Program! Be out quickly and start earning a salary.
- 50 week program (12 months); 20 courses; 2 courses every 5 weeks; including 300 hour field practicum and an additional 28 hours of in-class practicum workshops.
- The program consists of 5 week semesters and you will be enrolled in 2 courses at a time with 39 hours of instruction per course.
- Additional Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training (8 hours).
- Linking Theory and Practice – An opportunity to apply what you learn in your courses into a real-work setting. You will complete 300 hours of practicum with an organization in your specialization area.
- Career and Employment support.
- Full time and Part Time course-by course options.
The aim of our practicum placements is for you to gain experience and employment in your area of specialization. You will be required to complete 300 hours of practicum experience over 2 practicum periods (Semesters 1-5 and 6-10). This provides you with valuable hands-on experience in the field and greatly increases potential for employment. Part of your practicum experience is to attend an additional 28 hours of practicum workshops. This is an opportunity to enhance your knowledge of your career choice and preparation for the workplace. You will also be provided with Non-Violent Crisis Intervention training to better prepare you for employment. You will benefit from the relationships Columbia College has built over time for placements where organizations value the maturity of our students and their knowledge and skills.
University Transfer Credit
Transfer opportunities may be available at a variety of degree granting institutions across Alberta, Canada, and the world. Transfer opportunities allow graduates to receive credit for some or all of their completed courses towards a bachelor degree.
Note: The institution you wish to transfer to makes the final determination on the transfer credits they will accept. Before commencing your studies at Columbia College, please consult with the institution you are planning on transferring to.
Transferring credit into Columbia College’s Human Services Professional Program
If you are a human services worker or feel you have already completed some of the components of the program, you may be eligible to get credit for a limited number of courses. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is another option if you have worked in a related human services field and believe that you have the understanding of a particular course. More information on how to apply for transfer credits can be found by contacting your admission advisor.
Students can apply for admission into the Human Services Professional program through either Standard Admission or through Mature Admission. Please review the two types of admission below to see which type fits your circumstances.
- Alberta high school diploma, verified by transcript, or non-Alberta equivalent,
- English 30-1, English 30-2 with a final mark of 60%, or equivalent
Students who do not meet the academic requirements listed above (either fully or partially) can apply through academic assessment. Academic assessment students must meet the following:
- Be 19 years old of age or older
- Out of high school for 1 year
- Successfully meet the entry levels on Columbia College’s Accuplacer assessment test or equivalent (See Academic Proficiency Requirements)
- Attend Columbia College’s Program Orientation prior to the start of the program.
- Admissions interview(s) to determine suitability for the profession and opportunity for success in the program.
- Evidence of the application for a Police Information Check, Vulnerable Sector Search and Child Intervention Check must be submitted prior to the start of the program.
- Standard First Aid and CPR Training Level C (prior to starting practicum – by the end of the first semester).
Do I need to submit a transcript? Or take the Assessment Test?
Transcripts can be difficult to obtain, and may not always be approved if they are old, if the grades are low, or if it’s unclear how the courses align with the admission requirements. Please note the following:
- Courses / Tests completed older than 2 years may not be accepted;
- Unofficial transcripts can be submitted, but official transcripts may be requested by the Office of the Registrar to have on file in order for program registration to be official;
- Students with transcripts from an international institution who are looking to apply with their transcripts are encouraged to have their education assessed through the ‘International Qualifications Assessment Service‘ (IQAS).
Applicants should direct any transcript questions they may have to email@example.com.
Please note that students who are uncertain about their transcripts can choose to apply by taking the Columbia College Admission Assessment test. Students who enter through the admission assessment test are not required to submit transcripts as part of their admission application.
Do your academic skills need to be upgraded to meet admission entry requirements?
If your academic skills need to be improved in one or more areas, the student may be referred to Columbia College’s Academic Preparation – College Prep (free courses). See Continuing Education – Academic Preparation – College Prep.
Health and Wellness Status / Accommodations
Due to the demanding nature of the work in the human services field and Occupational Health and Safety requirements, the human services field has a strong focus on health and wellness. If you have a medical condition or disability that may impact your ability to be successful in a course or practicum setting, you are strongly advised to discuss concerns with the program academic chair and/or the College’s Accommodations Advisor as soon as possible upon acceptance into the program. For more information on Accommodations, click here.
Competitive Entry: Six Step Process
Step 1: Read the program information to see the qualities needed for student success.
Step 2: Ensure that you meet all of the academic and non-academic admission requirements.
Step 3: Review the selection information to understand the process and deadlines
- Applications and proof of the admission requirements (official transcripts and/or anticipated final grades) along with all supporting documents must be submitted to be included in selection.
- Selection will begin four months prior to the start date of the program and will done on a continuous basis until the program is full.
- In the selection process, qualified applicants will be ranked according to their program suitability following a review of the entire application (including the admissions interview). Selection is ‘not’ based strictly on prior academic achievement. Applicants will be offered admission or placed on the waitlist. Columbia College reserves the right to grant or refuse admission to any applicant.
Step 4: Apply to the program and submit your transcripts and other supporting documentation.
Step 5: Schedule and complete your admissions interview.
Step 6: Continue to monitor changes to your application status and any outstanding admission requirements through correspondence with your admissions advisor.
Academic Proficiency Requirements
English Proficiency Requirements
English test / program
Minimum required score
|Columbia College’s Required College Prep English course||B or 75%|
|Canadian Language Benchmarks / Milestones Test*||8 in each strand|
|IELTS Academic*||Listening – 7.5, Reading – 6.5, Writing – 7.0, Speaking – 7.0|
|Columbia College ESL820 level course||80% and 8 in each strand|
|Columbia College’s Accuplacer English Test*||SS-85, RC-80, WR-6+|
|IQAS – Formal assessment||Alberta Education English Language Arts equivalents|
|Alberta Education – High School English Course||English 30-1, English 30-2 with a final mark of 60%, or equivalent|
OR: Successful completion of an Alberta Education English Language Arts course that is consistent with the specified academic admission requirements for the Career Program
OR: Successful completion of three years of full-time secondary education at a school where English was the language of instruction
OR: Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of one year of full-time post-secondary education at a school where English was the language of instruction
OR: Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of a post-secondary level English course with a minimum grade of a C (65%) or equivalent
Test/Transcript results are valid for two years from the day of testing or completion of a course. Results that expire prior to the Start Date of the program may not be accepted, but will be reviewed by the Office of the Registrar. Official results must be submitted.
Transcripts will be reviewed by the Office of the Registrar and the Human Services Professional program to determine whether the courses completed will be accepted to meet the proficiency requirement.
Communication during selection
Email is the primary source of communication during the selection process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the Columbia.ab.ca domain to your safe senders list or you risk missing critical email messages. An up-to-date phone number is also strongly recommended for times when email correspondence is unsuccessful.
Course List and Descriptions
For a full list of courses and course descriptions for this program, please click here.
Tutoring is available for students. If you require tutoring, please contact your Program Chair or Coordinator.
Columbia College’s tuition and general fees come into effect August 1 of each year.
For more information about tuition and the Columbia College Tuition chart, please see the Tuition and Fees page.
Refund of Tuition Fees
Please refer to the Student Contract of Tuition form for details of tuition refund policy. This form is available from this program’s Student Admission Advisor.
How to Register
For details on applying or reapplying to this program, please refer to the Admissions page.
To graduate from the Human Services Diploma Program, students must successfully complete each course, earn 66 credits, and achieve a minimum overall program grade point average of 2.0.
Board of Advisors
Tobias Mwandala, MSW., RSW. (Chair)
Cecilia Ifko, CPHR, Director of Employee Relations, The Salvation Army
Natalie McCaskill – Team Leader, Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research
Vivien Lok , Manager Settlement Services – Immigrant services Calgary
Isabel Ries Ferrari, Director, Education, Research and Best Practices, the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society (The DI)
Rachael Allum, Early Intervention Therapist, Society for Treatment of Autism (Columbia Human Services Professional Diploma Alumnus)
Manuel Rumbaoa, B.C.R., Services Coordinator – Community Support Services Dept. Columbia College
Board of Advisors: Education Specialization
Tobias Mwandala, MSW, RSW, Chair, Director Human Services Programs, Columbia College
Lindsay Hillier, CPHR, Recruitment Consultant, Calgary Board of Education (CBE)
Tom Brinsmead, Supervisor, Diverse Learning Calgary Catholic School District (CSSD)
Jane McKeown, Supervisor, Early Intervention Program, Foothills Creative Beginnings – Cochrane and Calgary
Lyndon Chubbs, M.Ed, CPHR, Manager of Human Resources, Rockyview Schools
Marian Bobak, Vice Principal, Calgary Quest School
Lucy Dooley, M.Ed., Education Assistant Practicum Advisor, Columbia College
Naveeda Kousar, Columbia College Education Assistant Professional Certificate Alumnus
Kim Palmer, Principal, Phoenix Education Foundation
- Lectures 1
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 50 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 1
- Certificate No
- Assessments Self