Top Differences Between CCA and CCA – PE (Work and Learn)

February 17th, 2023

Canada has a major shortage of Continuing Care Assistants (CCA) and Personal Support Workers (PSW). The aging population and a growing number of people with disabilities have largely contributed to this. In recent years, the government has taken several measures to combat the crisis, and this includes free tuition for the CCA program which is being funded by the Seniors and Long-Term Care division of the Nova Scotia Government. In February 2022 the province of Nova Scotia also announced a 23% increase in CCA salaries.


These two new incentives have significantly increased the demand for the CCA free tuition program. There are currently two options available to choose from at Eastern College – CCA and CCA PE (Work and Learn). In this article, we will go over the differences and benefits of each so you can select the one right for you.

What is it like working as a Continuing Care Assistant?

Working as a CCA can be physically and emotionally demanding but also a highly rewarding profession. Some of the duties of a Continuing Care Assistant include;

  • Assisting clients with daily activities (bathing, grooming, dressing)
  • Preparing meals and feeding clients as needed
  • Administrating medication
  • Monitoring clients’ emotional and physical well-being
  • Engaging in recreational activities with clients, (playing games or going for walks)
  • Assisting with mobility and transfers (wheelchair and walkers)

The work environment may range from the client’s home to nursing facilities. Schedules may include weekdays, evenings and holidays.  Some of the skills required to be a great care assistant are empathy, compassion, and patience. Good communication is also essential for the role to communicate with your client, family and healthcare professionals.

The CCA Program

The 44-week CCA program consists of theory and practice through the use of classrooms, laboratories and work placements. You will have the opportunity to work in various healthcare settings including hospitals, long-term care homes or as an in-home care provider. After completing the course content you will gain real-world experience and network within the healthcare industry through a 11-week internship.

The CCA – PE (Work and Learn) Program

Work and Learn is a training program where students work and earn while they learn. The CCA Work and Learn program can benefit individuals who are just starting their careers or looking to make a change.  This approach combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training allowing you to acquire the skills and experience needed to succeed in the field. The Continuing Care Assistant – Progressive Education (CCA – PE) program is 37-weeks long and classes are offered remotely so you can learn from anywhere. Starting from week 11, you will attend classes virtually three days a week and work two days a week while gaining hands-on experience through a paid placement in the continuing care sector.

Other benefits of Work and Learn CCA

  • 100% free tuition including books and exam fees
  • Build a professional network with the healthcare industry
  • Earn a salary while you learn
  • Well-rounded experience that includes theory and practical training
  • The potential for a job placement upon completion of the program

How to become a CCA in Nova Scotia?

There is a high demand for qualified care assistants in Nova Scotia. There are many benefits of working as CCA, such as making a positive impact on people’s lives, flexible working options, competitive pay and benefits, a sense of fulfilment from helping others, and opportunities to work in various settings including hospitals, nursing homes and clients’ homes.

If you are a Canadian permanent resident or citizen, you can take advantage of no tuition cost for the Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) program in 2023. The tuition cost including books is covered by the Nova Scotia Government.

Learn more about the CCA Program in Halifax and the CCA Work and Learn Program.