How to Become a Nurse in Canada in 2023 – A Step-by-Step Guide to becoming a Registered Nurse in Canada


Do you want to be a nurse, and is Canada your study-abroad destination? Then you will find this post on becoming a nurse in Canada beneficial. 

In the course of reading, you will discover the requirements to become a nurse in Canada, how long it takes to become a nurse in Canada and affordable nursing schools in Canada. It is worth the read.


One of the greatest opportunities a bachelor’s degree in nursing science will offer you is travel. In recent years, there has been a rise in the need for nurses in Canada, making international nursing an increasingly attractive proposition.

Nursing could be your best profession if you are interested in caring for people and are full of empathy, love for human life, and hospital vibes. And you might want to take your career up a notch by immigrating to Canada.


How could that be???

Before venturing into that, it’s expedient that you know several steps you need to take to become a nurse, turning your dream into a career. They are straightforward. If you need support, you will find this article very enlightening.

In this article, you will discover in clear and simple terms how to become a nurse in Canada, the procedures for immigrants, how to become a nurse in two years in Canada, and the list of nursing schools in Canada for those who are yet to enroll.


So, if you are interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, here are the steps to follow: As the tip of the iceberg, Canada does not have the same processes as other countries.

See Also: How to Become a Nurse in USA – Requirements and Steps to Becoming a Registered Nurse in the USA

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Easy Guide to Becoming a Registered Nurse in Canada

Obtain a Post-Secondary Education

Why? You need a higher education degree to become a nurse. Evidence supports the claim that baccalaureate-prepared nurses (nurses who have undergone university training) can provide safe, ethical, cost-effective and high-quality nursing care for Canadians.

The trend toward a university education for registered nurses (RNs) is here: except for students in Quebec, students must choose to obtain a baccalaureate degree in nursing to prepare for an RN career.

Apply to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) Directly for an Assessment

All nursing graduates who plan to practice in Ontario must be registered with the CNO. Once you are deemed eligible (after applying), you’ll take the registration exam. Why? This exam is designed to measure the competencies of nurses at the start of their practice.

In addition to the registration exam, you must complete a separate jurisprudence exam administered by the College designed to evaluate your knowledge and understanding of the laws, regulations, college by-laws, practice standards, and guidelines that govern the nursing profession in Ontario. The RN Jurisprudence Exam is completed online.

Check More: How to Become a Nurse in Florida – Requirements as well as List of the Best Nursing Colleges/Universities in Florida

Evolve your Competencies

Because nursing is a self-regulating profession, establishing and maintaining high standards of practice is critical—not only for the safety of patients but also for the long-term advancement of the nursing profession.

\Researching and expanding nursing competencies through best practice development is another essential contribution RNs can make after they begin to practice. You might go out of style if you don’t evolve your competencies.

What are the Registration Requirements to Become a Registered Nurse in Canada?

To become eligible for Registration, educated Registered Nurses must hold a General Certificate of Registration; international applicants will need to meet the following registration requirements –

  • Proof of authorization to work in Canada
  • Completion of a nursing program equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing or practical nursing diploma.
  • Nursing practice is the category for which the international student applies within three years before issuing the Certificate of Registration.
  • Completion of the NCLEX-RN for those applying for Registered Nurse, or the CPNRE (Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam) for those applying for Registered Practical Nurse.
  • Proof of language proficiency in English (or French).

With these, you can apply to become a registered nurse at a provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body in Canada, usually the NNAS (National Nursing Assessment Service). They will give you a work permit to endorse your work in any Canadian location. Registration with NNAS usually costs $765.

You might want to see this: How to Become a Nurse in New Zealand | A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Registered Nurse

Aside from Registered Nursing, are there other Nursing Practice Available in Canada?

Yes, there are other nursing groups aside from registered nurses. Nursing is a profession in Canada that consists of three regulated nursing groups: registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN)*, and registered psychiatric nurse (RPN). Let’s go over them quickly.

  • Registered Nurse (RN): RNs usually complete a four-year post-secondary university nursing program to become generalist registered nurses. The program prepares the RN to give direct care and to take on the role of coordinating care for individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations in a variety of healthcare settings and with a variety of health professionals. Clinical instruction prepares the RN to take a leadership role when the care requirements become more complex.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)* or Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario: LPNs complete a post-secondary nursing program at the college level that usually takes two years. LPNs provide and coordinate care for individuals, families, and groups in various settings and with various health professionals. They can work with clients of varying complexity, recognizing when consultation and collaboration with other health professionals are required.
  • Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN): RPNs complete a 2 ½ to 4-year psychiatric nursing education program at a college or university. RPNs provide care for clients with complex psychosocial, mental health, and physical needs. They coordinate care for individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations in various healthcare settings with various healthcare professionals.

NOTE: RPNs are regulated to practice only in four Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba – and in the Yukon Territory.

How Long Does it take to Become a Nurse in Canada?

Becoming a nurse can be pretty long and difficult with the whole process and studies. Depending on the nursing program, the number of years can differ. At most, it takes 6 years of nursing school, licensing, and registration to start practice.

Pretty long, right? But yes, there are options to reduce the years to help practice on time.

Keep reading!!!

Become a Nurse in 2 Years in Canada

It’s possible to become a nurse in two years. The good news is that several schools offer accelerated nursing programs in Canada, so you’ll be helping patients in no time. Trust me; it’s legit and standardized. Some schools offering accelerated programs in Nursing in Canada include

You could check out these schools via their links for more details. A list of affordable nursing schools in Canada is also provided below.

Read More: How to Become a Doctor in USA| A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Physician

Affordable Nursing Schools in Canada

Have you ever wondered which institutions have the cheapest nursing schools in Canada for international students? We did thorough research and came up with this list.

  • Brandon University
  • Cape Breton University
  • Mount Royal University
  • University of Regina
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • University of Prince Edward Island
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of New Brunswick
  • Saint Francis Xavier University
  • University of Manitoba

Details on How to Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse

If you’re looking to immigrate to Canada as a nurse, you should read to the end. Immigrating as a Nurse to Canada is open to all groups of nurses.

With the ever-increasing demands for health practitioners, especially nurses, in Canada. It’s not an understatement to say that Canada wants you; therefore, you must apply to immigrate to Canada as a nurse.

You can do this by applying for or getting assistance from Emigrate Canada. With their dedicated Nursing Canada team on hand to assist you throughout the entire process, from ensuring your education history and credentials are approved to handling the application to both the NNAS and the Provincial Nursing Registration Board of your choice.

They will ensure your Express Entry application is as strong as possible. Our contracted Canadian Immigration Lawyers will ensure your eventual Permanent Residency application is approved the first time.

The process of immigrating to Canada as a nurse should take around one year from start to finish. Once you immigrate to Canada as a nurse, expect a salary of around $75,000 to $106,000 per year, depending on your nursing specialty.

What are the Accepted Language Proficiency Tests for Nurses in Canada?

One of the documents you need for approval to become a registered nurse in Canada is a language proficiency document in French or English. The accepted proficiency tests include

  • Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment For Nurses (CELBAN)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Applicants must achieve the test scores for all components during one complete test attempt. The College will not accept scores from a mix of different tests or more than one attempt at one test.

This test is based on writing, speaking, listening, and reading. The minimum benchmark scores must be achieved, including the standard error measurement of 0.5.

NOTE: The College of Nurses will only accept scores from a CELBAN test at a CELBAN administration site. The College does not accept results from CELBAN tests administered by educational institutions for educational purposes. Also, the college will only accept scores from the Academic format of the IELTS test.

You might want to check this also: How to Become a Nurse in UK – Steps on How to Relocate to the UK as an International Nurse

How Competitive is Nursing Admission In Canada

Nursing is a very competitive course to study abroad in Canada; academically qualified candidates are considered before others. So to study nursing in Canada, you may want to have good grades to put yourself at a better advantage.

As a candidate, you should also know that Canadian nursing school screening is usually very intense; candidates’ academic knowledge and life experience are tested.

Is there a Demand for Nurses in Canada?

Yes, there is a demand for nurses in Canada. Canada is facing a shortage of nurses, primarily due to the aging of a large number of nurses in the workforce; it is estimated that by 2023, if something is not done, Canada will fall short of almost 60,000 equivalent registered nurses, according to the Canadian Nurses Association. This means there is no better time to pursue a career in nursing in Canada than now.

Conclusion: How to Become a Nurse in Canada

Nursing is currently one of the best-paid jobs in Canada. Becoming a registered nurse may take years of serious study, but the stress and challenges are worth it. Since you desire to become a nurse in Canada, take advantage of this post on how to become a nurse in Canada to achieve your dream.

I believe this article was beneficial. We hope to hear from you once you make it to Canada as a Nurse, do well to share your experience with us at

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