BC's Indigenous Public Post-Secondary Institute

Indigenous Human Services Certificate

Department: Career Training (Human Services)
Program Delivery Location: Merritt, Vancouver, Community Based Delivery
Credential: Certificate
Format: Full-Time, Part-Time
Start Dates: September, January

Indigenous Human Services Certificate


The Indigenous Human Service Certificate and Diploma prepares students with a career in non-profit agencies, Indigenous communities, and government. Graduates of the certificate program will be able to provide support and assistance to agencies and communities coping with economic disadvantage, mental health issues, developmental, gender and diversity issues, as well as challenges such addictions, family change and involvement with the justice system. Once graduates complete the Diploma portion of the program they will be able to extend these supports and services to individuals and families.

Students who wish to continue their education have the opportunity to ladder into the Social Work Degree Program at NVIT. The Diploma will be available at the Merritt campus or off campus in Indigenous communities.


The Indigenous Human Services Certificate and Diploma Program aims to provide graduates with:

  • a basic understanding of trauma-informed practice

  • human service theory and practice within a colonization and decolonization context

  • excellent interpersonal communication skills

  • a professional manner

  • empathy and caring attitude

  • an understanding of problems and issues of individuals and families in the Indigenous and non-Indigenous social environment

  • social work principles and ethics

  • problem solving abilities

  • an ability to work effectively in groups

  • a knowledge of social policy from a decolonization perspective

  • a combination of academic, experiential and community-based learning that focuses on thetheory and practice of delivering basic social service from a decolonization perspective

  • skills for self-care


Applicants are encouraged to meet academic requirements before program entry. All assignments required for the Certificate program will be requested in typed format, therefore, keyboarding skills/computer literacy skills prior to entry are strongly recommended.


The Indigenous Human Service Program admits 25 students who begin study in September. Applicants will need to meet the general, education and personal readiness requirements.

All qualified applicants have their program plan reviewed by a faculty advisor and/or an academic planner who are able to provide advice regarding the selection of appropriate full and part-time options.

NVIT is committed to ensuring education is accessible to all people. Students who do not meet program requirements should contact the Department Head or an NVIT Academic Planner regarding upgrading opportunities.


  1. Age: applicants must be 19 years old by the start of the program or permission from program

  2. Two letters of reference

  3. For other general admission requirements see the following link http://www.nvit.ca/about/policies/secivadmissionfees/c33generaladmissionrequirements.htm


This certificate prepares you to provide support and assist individuals with a broad range of differing abilities.  Becoming qualified for a career as an educational assistant or community support in school districts, group homes, employment agencies and community organizations, or transfer to NVIT’s Human Services diploma program.


  1. Grade 12 or equivalent, mature student status

  2. C+ minimum in English 12 or English 060 or equivalent assessment.


The Indigenous Human Services Certificate is delivered over three terms in 10 months and consists of four courses in the first two terms and two in the summer term.


Classroom concepts may be evaluated through written exams, assignments, class participation, presentations.  Practicum will be evaluated by the Instructor and the Practicum Placement Supervisor.

Student’s knowledge and competencies  are evaluated by written exams, assignments, and/or classroom participation.  Performance is assessed by instructor observations of students in work experience situations. All courses are evaluated per the NVIT Grading System. (See page 10 of this guide.)


Learners will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the required courses within the program. A minimum 2.00 GPA for course work in the certificate program is required to graduate.

Certificate Completion Plan
  • ENGL-101 - Foundations for Academic Writing
  • ENGL-110 - English Composition
  • IHMS-110 - Fundamentals to Interpersonal Communication
  • IHMS-120 - Introduction to Indigenous Studies And Human Service Practice
  • IHMS-130 - Introduction to Professional Human Service Practice
  • IHMS-140 - Intro to Working With Substance Use
  • IHMS-150 - Introduction to the Family in Human Service Practice
  • IHMS-160 - Field Education Practicum
  • PSYC-111 - Introduction to Psychology I
  • PSYC-121 - Introduction to Psychology II
  • Course Listing for this program

    ENGL-101 - Credits: 3.000
    Foundations for Academic Writing
    An introduction to reading and writing in the academic disciplines. Through the study and application of the principles of academic discourse and with emphasis on expository and persuasive writing, this course will introduce students to critical reading and academic writing. In lectures, discussions and on-line exercises, instructors will focus on skills central to academic discourse. Students will examine methods for discovering and arranging ideas, and they will consider ways in which style is determined by situation. Reading and writing assignments will require students to study, analyze, and apply principles of exposition and persuasion. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENGL-060 / English 12, English Studies 12, English First Peoples 12, or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
    ENGL-110 - Credits: 3.000
    English Composition
    English 110 prepares students to write successful college essays. This course focuses on the writing process. Students will learn how to develop, organize, write, revise, document, and edit essays. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENGL 060 / or English 12 or English Studies 12 and/or English First Peoples 12 or permission of instructor.
    IHMS-110 - Credits: 3.000
    Fundamentals to Interpersonal Communication
    Self-awareness is foundational to the development of competent Indigenous Human Service Workers. The purpose of this course is to provide opportunities of self-development by furthering self-knowledge and the development of self-reflection skills. Topics include the values and ethics of helping, relationship building, interpersonal and intercultural communication, interpersonal conflict and teamwork. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission or permission of the program coordinator
    IHMS-120 - Credits: 3.000
    Introduction to Indigenous Studies And Human Service Practice
    Students examine the historical and continuing processes of colonization in Canada and the resulting societal, political, linguistic, spiritual, and cultural impacts that are challenging Indigenous people today. Students will be introduced to the concept and process of decolonization through connections to contemporary community initiatives and human service practices of Indigenous peoples. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission or permission of the program coordinator
    IHMS-130 - Credits: 3.000
    Introduction to Professional Human Service Practice
    This course prepares students for their field practicum experience. Students review the field of human service practice beginning with an overview of the values and ethics that are key elements of professional attitude and conduct. Additional topics include observation, record keeping, community mapping, supervision, teamwork and self-care. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission or permission of the program coordinator
    IHMS-140 - Credits: 3.000
    Intro to Working With Substance Use
    This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to working with people who use substances and substance-related harms. Students will primarily examine the harmful use of substances among Indigenous populations and introduce the concept of addictions generally. The course will explore different models of addiction as well as key foundational concepts in the prevention, screening, assessment, and treatment of substance misuse and abuse. Students will be introduced to the descriptions of various drugs and their effects and will be encouraged to explore their own attitudes and beliefs regarding substance abuse and treatment. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission or permission of the program coordinator
    IHMS-150 - Credits: 3.000
    Introduction to the Family in Human Service Practice
    This course is an examination of the family in both historical and current Indigenous and Canadian contexts, which provides the groundwork for beginning practice with families in human service work. Current social, political, cultural, and economic influences on diverse families are presented. Topics include family of origin, family systems theory, and family communication theory. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission or permission of the program coordinator
    IHMS-160 - Credits: 3.000
    Field Education Practicum
    The fieldwork course provides the link between the classroom and the workplace. Under supervision, students will integrate core concepts of human service practice in a fieldwork agency. Students will spend two days a week in a fieldwork placement from January to April. Fieldwork seminars will be held weekly to enable students to discuss what they are learning to make the connection between theory and practice. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Students must have a 2.00 GPA in the Fall semester to continue into the Spring Semester
    PSYC-111 - Credits: 3.000
    Introduction to Psychology I
    Psychology 111 is a survey course which introduces students to the field of psychology in general. Students will be encouraged to use a critical and inquiring approach to information presented to them, to be open minded, creative and divergent thinkers. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENGL 060 / English 12 or English Studies 12 or English First Peoples 12 .
    PSYC-121 - Credits: 3.000
    Introduction to Psychology II
    Psychology 121 provides an introduction to psychology in general and focuses on areas of special interest within the field of psychology. The course will provide students with a basic understanding of psychology as well as allowing them to develop a questioning approach to psychology as it is experienced in daily life. This inquisitive approach will be of benefit to students in any further studies they may undertake. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: or permission of instructor. / PSYC 111

    Current Course Offerings

    01 = Merritt Campus
    V1 = Burnaby Campus

    Spring 2024 (January - April)

  • ENGL-110-01
  • PSYC-121-V1
  • Fall 2024 (September - December)

  • ENGL-110-V1

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