Work as a nurse in Canada: how to become, how much it costs and what salary

Many immigrants are interested in working as a nurse in Canada. However, starting to study the information, it is difficult to find certain specifics. Is it possible to confirm the diploma of a nurse in Canada? How much will the training cost? What is the duration of training? What positions and salaries can be expected? Alexa Franciss, program advisor at Vancouver’s popular medical college at Stenberg College, gave us answers to all the most popular questions.

How to get a nursing education in Canada?

Nurses in Canada are different and there are three main levels of nursing.


  • Licenced Practical Nurse – Diploma.
  • Registered Nurse / Registered Psychiatric Nurse – Bachelor.
  • Nurse Practitioner – Master.


I want to say right away that I work with Licenced Practical Nursing (LPN) in British Columbia, so I answer from the point of view of LPN precisely in this obedience, although for immigrants it is just the most convenient and quickest option to get to work as a nurse or a nurse. To obtain a license or enroll in a training program in another province, there may be some other conditions, you need to clarify with the local regulatory authority, since there is no all-Canadian registration and even moving from province to province, you will need to update the license.

Is it possible to somehow confirm  nursing diploma in Canada and experience as a nurse, or all have to start from scratch?

If you have a nurse education, but you can do the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). This process is long, expensive, and most offensively – not always successful. I know many who have lost at least a couple of years, although if you have time and desire, you can try, of course. Most decide to just get a local education and be calm.


Homeschooling is, in any case, useful, as you need to at least finish school in order to enroll in nursing in Canada. Also need a list of items needed for admission: mathematics, biology, English. Coming to Canada, do not forget to take all your diplomas, then to make a diploma assessment (ICES, WES). If you took these items at school or university, they may even be counted.

What do you need to do to study as a nurse in Canada?

The most difficult moment in admission is probably successfully passing the English, because without the IELTS test or CELBAN you will not be taken to the program, and if they take, then there is a risk not to get a license if you fail the test, so be careful. Handed over English and calm! CELBAN test is best to take if you were a doctor or nurse before coming to Canada, as it will be more understandable to you, otherwise – IELTS. What is needed level.

IELTS: Minimum Ball

  • Listening 7.5
  • Speaking 7
  • Reading 6.5
  • Letter 7


  • Listening – CLB 10
  • Speaking – CLB 8
  • Reading – CLB 8
  • Letter – CLB 7

If you do not reach the required level, you can start with the Health Care Aid program or even Health Care Aid – ESL (an additional three months of English before the program itself). This profession is a great start and a very good base for becoming a nurse. There is a lot of work in this area too, so if English is still weak, then try HCA.

Still need math and biology. These items can be taken at the school site (it is free for residents and Canadians), you can also take these courses at the college where you enroll (we have them for free), or simply pass the challenge exam. There are many options, the main thing to do! Upon admission to the program, they will check what you have and what they don’t have and figure it out, prompt them.

Can a non-Canadian resident enroll in this kind of program?

Yes, you can enroll in this program and non-resident.

If your partner is already on the way to PR (so you don’t have to worry about a work permit), then this is an ideal option, but I also know people who have received a work permit after the program.

How many years do you need to unlearn to become a nurse in Canada and what is the approximate cost?

In private colleges, education is more expensive than in state schools, but faster, better, and there are no waiting lists in 2-3 years. In college where I work, study for licenced practical nurse for 74 weeks (about 1.5 years) and the cost of training is $ 29,900. 3-4 thousand more will be books, certificates, equipment and so on.

What are the next steps after getting a nursing education in Canada?

As I wrote at the beginning of the article, it is possible then to get a bachelor or even a master. There are many opportunities for growth, but many are also satisfied with this first step. In our college, everyone finds work for 6 months or less. With searches, resumes, interviews help, of course. Many are hired after practice, because it’s like a long job interview, it’s a great chance to recommend yourself.

What is the initial salary for nurses in Canada and what are the career prospects?

The initial salary is on average $ 26 per hour, but there are a few nuances. You will always start as casual, that is, on call. It seems to be not very convenient, but you can take a shift, you can not take it, that is, you are not tied to a place for 40-50 hours a week. And you can also work for several health authorities (clinics and hospitals) and you will have at least 80-90 hours of work a week. While you are casual, you do not have a pension and bonuses, so you pay for it somewhere around 12%. If you work evening, night, weekend or holiday – again, they pay more. Union, in one word!

– Does the state represent any additional bonuses and benefits for nurses?

There is nothing unusual to expect from the state, but the employer usually takes care of their medical staff. Pension and benefits are the minimum package. Although I lie, the state can also help not only to provide a student loan (a great way to pay for school), but also to repay it later. If at the end of the program you go to work in underserved communities (areas where there is a shortage of nurses) for a year, then you can forgive part or even the entire student loan, this is called the Loan Forgiveness Program.

What does the nursing program teach at your college?

The stories about learning will take many pages, so here you can see all the subjects that will be in the program. In addition to the basic program, education also includes additional certificates and training, preparation for a license exam, and, of course, practice is a huge part of the program, 23 weeks (in the laboratory, in the nursing home, in the hospital, etc.)


The stories about learning will take many pages, so here you can see all the subjects that will be in the program. In addition to the basic program, education also includes additional certificates and training, preparation for a license exam, and, of course, practice is a huge part of the program, 23 weeks (in the laboratory, in the nursing home, in the hospital, etc.)

Is immigration possible through education and work as a nurse through your college?

Since private colleges in Canada still (!) Are not entitled to a guaranteed work permit immediately after graduation, that is, of course, there are risks, but since the profession is in great demand, the chances of a work visa are real. Always choose good education, do not lose, as hospitals know who has what graduates.



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