How to Become a Registered and Practicing Nurse in Canada

Nursing as a profession in the healthcare sector is concerned with recovering, maintaining, or attaining optimal health and good quality of life for individuals, families, or the community as a whole.

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Nurses are tasked with checking vital signs, communicating with their doctors, administering medications, and caring for the patient till full recovery is achieved.

In Canada, the profession enjoys a good number of job opportunities because they play a vital role in the medical sector.

Generally, nursing falls under three categories which are

  • Degree
  • Non-degree
  • Advanced degree


In this category, you have License Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Aides (CNAs). The aforementioned does not necessarily possess a degree in nursing but they have undergone proper training and received certification in the field.


Nurses who fall under this category are generally known as Registered Nurses (RNs). They must have acquired a Bachelours’s degree, an associate degree, or a diploma from a program that’s hospital-based. RNs with a Bachelors’s degree tend to have more job opportunities.

Advanced Degree

Under this category are nurses that must have acquired a master’s or doctorate degree. Nurses with master’s degrees are known as Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) while those with doctorate degree are known as Doctors of Nursing Practice(DPNs).

To practice nursing in Canada or to become a registered and practicing nurse in Canada, you must first possess a General Certificate of Registration( for internationally educated nurses). Then you will need to meet the following requirement as an international applicant.

Requirements to Become a Registered and Practicing Nurse in Canada

  • Proof of authorization; first of you must have proof of authorization to work in Canada. In other words, you must have a work permit or Canadian citizenship, or Permanent Residency.
  • Completion of a nursing program; you must have completed a nursing program that is either equivalent to a Bachelors’s degree in nursing or a practical nursing diploma with the appropriate proof of it.
  • Proof of language proficiency in French or English; you must be able to fluently speak French or English and have proof of it. This could be in form of a language-based test result.
  • NCLEX-RN or CPNRE Completion; Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam(CPNRE) is for those applying to become a registered practical nurse, while the National Council Licensing Examination(NCLEX-RN) is for those applying to become registered nurses(RNs). You must have completed either one of these exams ( depending on the field you want to venture into).
  • Experience; you must have prior experience of at least three years of practice in the field you are applying for before issuance of the Registration Certificate.

It is important to note that this requirement is for internationally educated nurses who wish to pursue a career in nursing in Canada. And these requirements are not getting you registered they are simply requirements to qualify you or deem you eligible to start the registration process.

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