Full Time | Part Time | Officer

Health Care Administration Officer

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Health Care Administration Officers provide leadership and management of health care services and delivery.  They apply the principles and practices of health care administration, resource-management organization and operations for the Forces Health Service. 

Their primary responsibilities are to ensure that the health care system is managed effectively, that health care professionals are able to practice in a safe and efficient environment, and that Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members receive high-quality health care wherever they may be, in garrison or on a base or wing in Canada, or deployed on international or domestic operations.

Work environment

Health Care Administration Officers work in either operational units such as a Field Ambulance, the Field Hospital, aeromedical staging units and area medical support units, or in static facilities such as a clinic on a base or wing. They may also be employed at regional or national headquarters, or in a training unit, and may be expected to deploy on International or Domestic operations.




COOMBS: In a quick-moving, modern military, whether health care needs to be delivered in a garrison clinic or during an operational deployment, keeping the system running smoothly is a huge challenge -- and a great satisfaction.

I’m Major Cybèle Coombs from Chelsea, Quebec, and I’m a Health Care Administration Officer in the Canadian Forces.

And I’m Lieutenant Jacques Pinard from Bouctouche, New Brunswick. I’m a Health Care Administration Officer from 1 Field Ambulance, Edmonton.

PINARD: It’s our job to manage the delivery of health care to Canada’s soldiers, sailors and Air Force personnel - that’s 63 thousand men and women across Canada and wherever our troops are required abroad.

COOMBS: Being a Health Care Administrator in the Canadian Forces -- what we call an HCA -- calls for the same business and management skills required to manage a clinic or hospital in civilian life, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

As a platoon commander when you’ve just graduated university, you are anywhere from 21 to 24 years of age and leading 30 people in a potential mission overseas and that’s something that most civilians do not get to experience at the early age of 21.

PINARD: As a Commissioned Officer, you will manage and lead a team of health care professionals who provide health services to the Canadian Forces. You will undergo various types of training to assist you in administering your responsibilities.

COOMBS: My role or a Health Care Administrator’s role is to help physicians, as well as other members of the health care team take care of the administration so that they can go ahead and treat patients.

Advancing to the rank of Major has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career -- the salary, pension plan and benefits are exceptional. But I’m also the mother of two young children with what I guess you’d call a normal life outside working hours.

Here at Canadian Forces Health Services Group Headquarters, my workday isn’t much different from HCAs in the civilian community. However, when we’re deployed, our skills, training and ability to lead really kick in.

PINARD: Where I fit in, I’m the one that will initially receive the information that patients are coming here, so I advise the duty medical officer who then makes clinical decisions as to what kind of trauma teams need to be here, what kind if specialists need to be here and whatnot, maybe call in some key personnel so that they are aware of it, they’re within arm’s reach, so that we can pluck them at any time and then, I just keep relaying messages as they come in.

COOMBS: If this sounds good to you, there are three ways to join us.

PINARD: If you’ve already earned a university degree in Health Care, Business Administration or Human Resource Management, the Canadian Forces may accept you through what they call the Direct Entry Officer plan.

COOMBS: Or if you’re considering going to university, you may be eligible for the Regular Officer Training Plan. The Canadian Forces will cover your full tuition all the way through university at the Royal Military College or another accredited Canadian university. They’ll guarantee you a summer job and pay you a salary while you study in exchange for your commitment to serve for a minimum of five years once you graduate.

PINARD: Either way, you’ll start your military career at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for Basic Officer Training. That’s where I learned what being an officer is all about -- whether you’re an HCA or a battlefield commander.

COOMBS: The third option is joining the reserves as an HCA. You can parade once a week and one weekend a month and have the opportunity of summer employment while attending university or continuing part-time once you’ve joined the civilian workforce. As a reservist, you may also have the opportunity of working full-time.

PINARD: When you’ve completed your Basic Training, you’ll receive your Commission and a promotion to Lieutenant in the Army or Air Force or sub-lieutenant in the Navy.

COOMBS: Then you’ll spend up to half a year at the Canadian Forces Medical Services School located at Canadian Forces Base Borden in Ontario. That’s where you’ll learn how health care is delivered in the Canadian Forces.

PINARD: When you’ve completed your initial HCA training, you’ll finally be ready to take on your first posting as a junior Health Care Administration Officer at an operational unit or at one of the Canadian Forces clinics across the country.

I find a lot of pride in that, that we are there for those that are fighting the battle and we are there to provide them the best care possible that we can give them.

COOMBS: It’s something that’s hard to put into words. I was the last person you ever would have expected to choose a career in the military. I was always the artsy one at school. But being an officer in the Canadian Forces and serving my country and having had the opportunity to help others internationally, well, it’s just a great, great feeling. I really hope you’ll join us.

Basic Military Officer Qualification

After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 12 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.

Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Available professional training

Health Care Administration Officers attend the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre in Borden, Ontario, where they complete a series of formal military training courses and programs. These include:

  • Basic Health Care Administration Course (4 weeks). The purpose of the Basic Health Care Administration Course is to educate new Health Care Administrators on the fundamentals of medical operations and health care administration;
  • Health Services Operations and Staff Officer Course (6 weeks). The Health Services Operations and Staff Officer Course trains health services Officers on the art and science of commanding personnel in the land environment at the platoon level. It concurrently teaches the health service Officer command post duties and the tactics surrounding health service support to operations and training; and
  • HealthCareCAN – Health Services Management Program (Distance Learning). This program is conducted over an 8 month period via distance learning and is generally conducted within your geographical location/parent unit. The Health Services Management Program is for middle and senior managers in health services facilities, organizations and agencies and is designed to expand your overall knowledge of, and skills in, health administration. Candidates, who already have this certificate, or relevant experience, may be excused from this stage of professional training.

Health Care Administration Officers then learn how to apply health care management skills in the context of the CAF and in close support of Combat Arms units in the field on operations.

Early in their career, qualified Health Care Administration Officers may be required to obtain certification as a Health Care Executive through the Canadian Council of Health Service Executives.

Available specialty training

Health Care Administration Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses, on-the-job training, and professional conferences, including:

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Administration
  • Instructional techniques

Available advanced training

As they progress in their career, Health Care Administration Officers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Graduate degree in Health Care Administration
  • Graduate degree in Health Information Systems

Direct entry options

If you already have a university degree, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.

Paid education options

Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP)

Due to the requirement for CAF officer to obtain a university degree, the CAF will pay successful recruits to complete a bachelor degree program in the Royal Military College System. Recruits will receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full pay in exchange for working in the CAF for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In rare instances, based on the needs of the CAF, candidates may be approved attend another Canadian University. A determination will be made on a case by case basis. If you are applying for this program, you must apply to the CAF and it is recommended to apply to other Canadian universities of your choice should you not be accepted for ROTP.

For further information, please contact a Canadian Forces Health Services Recruiter: HealthSvcsRecruiting-RecrutementSvcsdesante@forces.gc.ca

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.

Serve with the Reserve Force

The role of the Forces Health Services Reserves is to provide trained personnel to support, augment and sustain Forces Health Services organizations for CAF operations and training activities, while building and maintaining links between the Forces and the local community.

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Part time employment

Health Care Administration Officers may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force as members of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. They are employed to lead and manage health care services and delivery and to ensure that CAF members receive high-quality health care. Those employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a location within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. Applicants with a university degree that matches the criteria for this job may be placed directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic officer training and qualification. Health Care Administration Officers attend the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre in Borden, Ontario to achieve their qualification.

Health Care Administration Officer

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. Applicants with a university degree that matches the criteria for this job may be placed directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic officer training and qualification. Health Care Administration Officers attend the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre in Borden, Ontario to achieve their qualification.

Reserve Working Environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.