Aboriginal Education Support Worker
Our people are our strength; our children are the future.
The Aboriginal Education Support Worker diploma is designed to prepare you with the knowledge and skills to better support Indigenous students in public, Indigenous, or private K-12 schools, their families, and school communities.
College of the Rockies was the first post-secondary institution in BC to offer an Aboriginal Education Support Worker (AESW) diploma program. Today it is still the only BC institution that offers this program for local and on-line students in community and other areas of the province.
Important Notice for Program Applicants
Re: Immunization Requirements During COVID-19 Outbreak
Thank you for your interest in applying to be a student in one of our Health and Human Services programs at the College of the Rockies. As a successful applicant, you will receive or have received a request to provide documentation confirming you are current in immunizations and First Aid/CPR.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic obtaining and completing these admission requirements has been more difficult, your admission into the Health and Human Services programs will not be held up while you wait to complete these requirements. Recently services have begun to open up and obtaining these documents is becoming available.
It is the responsibility of the student to continue to actively seek to obtain and complete these requirements. Please submit any missing admission requirement documentation to Enrolment Services.
Immunization services in BC are in flux as Public Health Departments must regularly reprioritize resource distribution in response to changing COVID-19 conditions. Our local Public Health agency will do their best to accommodate College of the Rockies student immunizations by individual appointment. Immunizations are also available through local pharmacists and Travel Clinics. We recommend that students continue to pursue obtaining required immunizations to complete program admission and practicum placement requirements as soon as available.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
This program was developed with significant input from members of the Ktunaxa Nation, the Shuswap Band, the Regional Metis Association, and other Indigenous community members, students and support workers.
This two-year diploma program is available through blended studies. Some courses are offered face-to-face, and others are offered online (some asynchronous and some synchronous). This program can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis.
This program also includes two practicums, where you will correspond with your instructor online but receive your practicum experience in a face-to-face work setting.
Why Choose Aboriginal Education Support Worker as a Career?
- Employment opportunities within elementary, middle, or high schools.
- WorkBC projects a need for almost 6,000 Education Support Workers over the next 10 years. Having specialized Indigenous-focused education can increase your opportunities.
- The annual provincial (BC) median salary for Education Support Workers is almost $48,000.
Aboriginal Education Support Worker Diploma Requirements
Year 1 Semester 1 – Fall
|EAP 150||Guiding Behaviours in K-12 Schools||4|
|EAP 112||Introduction to Systems, Structure and Roles in Education||4|
|ENGL 100||English Composition||3|
|INDG 120||Indigenous Worldviews on Contemporary Structure||3|
Year 1 Semester 2 – Winter
|COMC 253||Intercultural Communications||3|
|CYFS 116||Lifespan Development||4|
|EAP 111||Understanding K-12 Curriculum||4|
|FNST 101||First Nations Studies||3|
|INDG 105||Introduction to Community Health and Wellness in Indigenous Communities||3|
Year 1 Semester 3 – Spring
|AESW 101||Practicum 1||2|
|HSWR 214||Introduction to Addictions||3|
Year 2 Semester 4 – Fall
|EAP 102||Technology and Augmentative Communication In The K-12 Classroom||3|
|INDG 203||Indigenous Ways Of Knowing||3|
|INDG 240||Indigenous Family Support Studies||3|
Year 2 Semester 5 – Winter
|EAP 105||Special Education||3|
|HSWR 215||Issues In Adolescence||3|
|INDG 205||Indigenizing Practice||3|
|KTUN 101 or equivalent||Introduction To Ktunaxa Language||3|
Year 2 Semester 6 – Spring
|AESW 201||Practicum 2||3|
|EAP 151||Trauma and Challenging Behaviours||3|
EAP-150 – Guiding Behaviours in K-12 Schools
This course focuses on understanding behaviour as communication and on learning strategies to support and guide behaviours in the K-12 classroom. Learners will also explore the influences that inform their own behaviour, including culture, beliefs, lived experiences, and personal biases. A variety of foundational concepts and theoretical perspectives relating to behaviour will be explored. The content of this course is specific to developing the core competencies required of Education Assistants and Aboriginal Education Support Workers in the K-12 school setting.
EAP-112 – Introduction to Systems, Structure, and Roles in Education
This course focuses on the systems, structures and roles within the K-12 education system. Students explore the evolution of the education system in British Columbia, levels within that system, alternate forms of education, and the roles and responsibilities related to supporting learners with diverse abilities.
ENGL-100 – English Composition
English 100 focuses on composition strategies for writing across academic disciplines. Over the course of the term, students will develop an awareness of how rhetorical situations affect composition and refine their understanding of the fundamentals of essay writing (and clear communication more broadly), including paragraphing, thesis statements, essay structure, and citation methods. Students will also learn the fundamentals of critical thinking and analysis, persuasive writing techniques (including rhetorical appeals and modes), scholarly research, and academic reading.
INDG-120 – Introduction to Indigenous Worldviews (BC Focus)
This course uses Indigenous pedagogy to support students in understanding their relationships to Indigenous peoples and territories in British Columbia. Students will learn about contemporary issues facing some of the Indigenous nations within British Columbia from an Indigenous perspective. Through examining both local and larger provincial conversations surrounding Indigenous rights, treaties (or lack thereof), and the history of colonization, students will learn to consider concepts of cultural appropriation, and examine the idea of decolonization in action.
COMC-253 – Intercultural Communication
This course explores the inherent relationship between culture, language and communication. The key concepts of study are identity, culture, assumptions and stereotypes, beliefs, value systems, and globalization. From theory to practice, students will investigate the impact of identity and context in intercultural interactions. The focus of this course is to help students develop meaningful strategies to communicate in today’s culturally diverse communities.
CYFS-116 – Lifespan Development
This course explores the development of humans from conception to death. It includes physical, cognitive and psychosocial developmental domains. Students preparing to work in careers that involve other people need to clearly understand the complex, dynamic process of development throughout a person’s lifespan. This knowledge can provide students with insight into their own development and the development of those they will encounter in their personal and professional lives.
EAP-111 – Understanding the K-12 Curriculum
This course provides students with the opportunity to explore ways to support students and facilitate learning in the K-12 classroom. Strategies for supporting literacy and numeracy are discussed in detail. This course uses the BC Ministry of Education curriculum and core competencies as the foundation for directing support. The content of this course is specific to developing the skills, knowledge, and values in an Education Assistant setting.
FNST-101 – First Nations Studies 1
This course is an introduction to the multi-disciplinary field of Indigenous studies. The prehistory, history, and traditional/contemporary cultures of Indigenous peoples in Canada and their various perspectives are addressed. Additionally, the historical overview of Indigenous/settler relations and their effects are explored.
INDG-105 – Introduction to Health and Wellness in Indigenous Communities
This course adopts an Indigenous approach to understanding health and wellness within Indigenous communities. Students examine many factors and conditions that impact Indigenous community health at an individual and collective perspective. This course also focuses on how community health and wellness is articulated and maintained according to Indigenous Peoples Place Based Worldviews. Critical Indigenous scholarship, including what is referred to as ‘traditional knowledges’ are incorporated alongside interdisciplinary perspectives, privileging Indigenous Peoples’ voices.
AESW-101 – Practicum 1
This course provides students with their first practicum experience. It allows students to observe how Aboriginal Education Support Workers perform their duties in the school community. Students spend sixty hours observing and interacting either in a classroom or other setting defined by the supervisor in the school.
HSWR-214 – Introduction to Addictions
This course provides the learner with an overview of current practice, theories and models in the field of substance use. Topics include: models of addiction, assessment, intervention and treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse; the impact of substance use on the individual, family and society in general; and ethical issues and challenges for practitioners.
EAP-102 – Technology and Augmentative Communication
This course provides students with an introduction to augmentative and alternative communication. Characteristics of various strategies related to the needs of the users are explored. Students also look at a variety of ethical and technological issues that emerge when supporting children who use alternative and augmentative forms of communication in the K-12 classrooms.
INDG-203 – Indigenous Ways of Knowing
This course introduces students to concepts of Indigenous knowledges, worldviews and epistemologies through witnessing Elder teachings, insights from Indigenous scholars and experiences of Indigenous community members. This course begins with a review of knowledge creation and ways of knowing. It then explores the value, importance and uniqueness of Indigenous ways of knowing and pedagogy in comparison to Western ways of knowing and pedagogy through exploring questions that are important to Indigenous peoples, communities, and nations.
INDG-240 – Indigenous Family Support Studies
This course is taught from a nation-specific framework, focusing deeply on the local Ktunaxa nation, while connecting these localized conversations to broader dynamics of First Nations, Aboriginal, and Inuit (referred to inclusively as Indigenous) families. Students will learn from a variety of Indigenouscreated sources, including directly from Indigenous families, support workers, and advocates. Indigenous concepts of family, raising children, and the importance of community, as well as the impacts of child removal on Indigenous nations through various government tactics will be discussed. From this, students will work towards a better understanding of how they can assist in providing culturally appropriate family support and promoting family wellness and safe environments for all children.
EAP-105 – Special Education
This course reflects the BC Ministry of Education’s Special Education Services Policy. It provides learners with in-depth information on the categories associated with diverse abilities and the associated Ministry funding. It provides learners with a variety of observation and documentation methods, as well as strategies used to support K-12 students. The content of this course is specific to developing the core competencies required of Education Assistants and Aboriginal Education Support Workers in the K-12 school setting.
HSWR-215 – Issues in Adolescence
This course introduces students to the contemporary study of adolescence from a lifespan perspective. It explores the challenges and the strengths of adolescence along with the ways this knowledge can be applied to support healthy development among the diversity of young people in this period of life.
INDG-205 – Indigenizing Practice
This course explores ways to address the learning and teaching needs of children and youth in the context of Indigenous practice, through examining concepts of Indigenization, Truth and Reconciliation, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Students will be asked to consider their relationship to Indigenous Peoples’ Nations, knowledges, and practices, and will be encouraged to critically approach what “Indigenizing” means for their own practice and professional development.
KTUN-101 – Introduction to Ktunaxa Language
This course is an introduction to the Basic Ktunaxa series with an emphasis on the structure and syntax of Ktunaxa at a basic level. It provides students with the opportunity to develop introductory skills in reading, writing, speaking and comprehending the Ktunaxa Language; the emphasis is on speaking and responding to basic commands and key phrases. Students develop the skills, strategies, and resources to support the revitalization of Ktunaxa language in their homes, their schools, and their communities. Experiential/communication-based instruction is a feature of this course.
AESW-201 – Practicum 2
This course integrates the theory learned in the classroom with the practice of working as an Aboriginal Education Support Worker in the school system. Students will assist Aboriginal students to successfully participate in school settings. To that end, students will assist with bridging cultural differences and supporting behavioral and academic excellence within a cultural framework.
EAP-151 – Trauma and Challenging Behaviours
This course focuses on the acquisition of knowledge and skills in understanding and supporting students with trauma and challenging behaviours in the K-12 classroom. Learners will explore topics such as the neurology of challenging behaviour, how trauma impacts behaviour, the challenging behaviours of students who have complex diverse needs, and various internal and external behaviour disorders. The practical skills of strategies, observing and documenting are emphasized throughout the course. The content of this course is specific to developing the core competencies required of Education Assistants and Aboriginal Education Support Workers in the K-12 school setting.
- Secondary school graduation or equivalent
- Minimum 65% in either English Studies 12, English First Peoples 12, ENGL 090, or equivalent
- The above are the prerequisites to get into the program; however students must have the necessary prerequisites for each course within the program.
- Completion and submission of AESW Application Package
- Completion of immunizations, document by the immunization form in the admissions package, or completion of immunization waiver form (lack of immunizations may impact applicant’s access to practicum placements).
- Complete a criminal record check through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General Criminal Records Review Program
Tuition and Fees:
|Tuition Year 1:||$3,991.11|
|Tuition Year 2:||$3,263.51|
|Student Association Fee:||$184.00|
|Bus Pass Fee:||$44.40|
*These prices are for domestic students and may not be 100% accurate. However, these estimates will give you an adequate idea of tuition and fees for our programs. These prices do not include textbook costs. All prices are subject to change. Tuition fees include an alumni fee, student activity fees, and a student technology fee. In certain cases a materials and supply fee may also be included. For more information, visit: Tuition and Fees.
Tuition and Fees for International Students:
|Tuition Year 1:||$17,353.85|
|Tuition Year 2:||$13,844.45|
|Student Association Fee:||$184.00|
|Bus Pass Fee:||$44.40|
*These prices are for international students and may not be 100% accurate. However, these estimates will give you an adequate idea of tuition and fees for our programs. These prices do not include textbook costs. All prices are subject to change. Tuition fees include an alumni fee, student activity fees, and a student technology fee. In certain cases a materials and supply fee may also be included. For more information, visit: Tuition and Fees.
Students interested in enroling in our Aboriginal Education Support Worker program should be aware of the workload involved. As a full-time student, you are required to spend approximately 30 hours per week in the classroom. You will also have several hours of homework each evening. As a general guideline:
- A 45-hour (3 credit) course will require 5-8 hours per week.
- A 60-hour (4 credit) course will require 7-12 hours per week.
- The average student will spend 40-55 hours per week if doing the program full-time.
There are two practicums in this program,
- AESW 101 Practicum #1 is completed in the Spring semester of Year 1. You will spend three weeks online doing coursework, then will be at your practicum site Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings for five weeks, followed by two more weeks online.
- AESW 201 Practicum #2 is completed in the Spring semester of Year 2. You will spend one week online doing coursework, then will be at your practicum site Monday – Thursday (full days) for six weeks, followed by two more weeks online.
Credit can be awarded for one or more courses in this program through Flexible Assessment.
“My journey through the Aboriginal Education Support Worker program taught me that Aboriginal people in Canada are choosing to walk a higher path. The program has prepared me to help Aboriginal families to achieve their best.”
“The Aboriginal Education Support Worker program provided an excellent opportunity for me to get the education I wanted online. My success was due, in part, to the faculty who were willing to go above and beyond to help me.”