Three students sitting together in Centennial Hall

School of Health & Community Services

Child and Youth Care Counsellor

The Child and Youth Care Counsellor program provides you with the skills and competencies to improve the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of vulnerable children, youth, and families who may have suffered physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, failure, family breakdown, and may have behavioural and/or learning difficulties.

Preparation for a career in Child and Youth Care Counselling demands a commitment to learning the essential components of developing healthy, caring relationships, as well as a look inward to learn to understand yourself and your ability to help others. The dynamics of abuse and neglect and the treatment of those issues are explored through courses in professionalism, children and the law, psychology, treatment methods, counselling skills and caring for at-risk youth. Education in group process, family dynamics, and ethics is also offered to enhance personal development and growth.

As a student, you’ll be trained in professional practice, communication, self-awareness, theory, and assessment and intervention. You will also be out in the community applying your skills and knowledge in three of the four semesters of course work. Throughout, you will be involved in numerous group projects, role plays and counselling sessions. After graduation, you have the option to use your diploma as credit towards a degree at a number of partner institutions.

MHC is a member of the Alberta Child & Youth Care Educator’s Consortium, a group that advocates for curriculum that is accepted and recognized among all institutions.  

High School
60% or greater in each of:

  • ELA 30-1 or ELA 30-2 (minimum 70%)
  • One 30-level academic subject
  • Three grade 12 5-credit subjects (maximum of 5 credits of CTS courses)

Mature Route

  • ELA 30-1 or ELA 30-2 (minimum 60%)
  • One 30-level academic subject

Transfer Route

  • ELA 30-1 or ELA 30-2
  • Eight courses from an accredited post-secondary institution with a minimum of a “C” grade.

Pre-Program Requirements

Along with the academic requirements, you must also meet ALL of the following non-academic requirements. Upon acceptance, and prior to the first day of practicum, you are asked to submit:

  • CPR and First Aid Certificates
  • Police Information Check (Students are obligated to inform the Program Coordinator immediately of any change in the status of their criminal record.)
  • Intervention Record Check 
Child and Youth Care Counsellor graduates are in demand across Canada. The scope of potential employment opportunities open includes group homes; residential treatment centres; institutional settings; young offender settings; school liaison work; child development assistant (school setting); outreach/street programs; mental health centres; family and community based programs; therapeutic foster care; and, day treatment programs.                     

The Child and Youth Care Counsellor program has a major practicum component. During the first year, you will observe different agencies while gaining information about many others. This experience assists in determining a successful placement in the second year. As part of an integration of practice and theory, you are in practicum placements two days (15 hours) per week for the entire second year of the program. You will apply for practicum placements and through an interview process must show a high level of commitment and professional suitability to the agency. You may be placed outside of Medicine Hat for the second year practicum.

As stated in the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta's Code of Ethics, it is the professional responsibility of members to maintain their personal, physical and emotional well-being.  Students are expected to meet the physical demands of meeting clients in their own life space, and to always maintain healthy, professional boundaries.  Should the program coordinator judge, in consultation with faculty, that there is evidence that you are professionally unsuitable or a risk to clients, the coordinator may prohibit you from attending or completing the practicum.

Looking for ways to help fund your education?

There are lots of options like student loans, scholarships, bursaries and emergency funding available.

Check out our FINANCIAL AID page for more information.

Many programs offered at Medicine Hat College qualify for transfer credits to other institutions. In some cases, you must transfer to another institution to complete your program and gain your credential.

The ACADEMIC CALENDAR has official information on transfer options for each program.

Please consult the calendar or meet with an academic advisor for more information.

At MHC, we care about students and want to help you succeed.

As a student, there may be times when you require support. Our SERVICES page provides you with links to a number of campus supports including academic success, counselling and care, health and wellness, and many other resources.

Have you always wanted to study abroad?

Enhance your education, share in cultural diversity and embrace new experiences. Visit the INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY PROGRAM section to find out more.