How to Become a Registered Nurse in Canada?

Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Sep 21, 2022 11:10 AM IST

Registered nurses are licensed nurses who practice in different health care organisations. The article provides a detailed breakdown of the process to become a registered nurse, the job responsibilities and how to become a registered nurse from India in Canada.

How to Become a Registered Nurse in Canada?

With a rising need for healthcare facilities, nursing has emerged to be quite thedemanding profession in Canada.Registered Nurses work individually or in collaboration with others to enable citizens to obtain their optimal health.

Also, the Canadian market is facing a shortage of nurses which makes it an undoubtedly lucrative profession in the country. There were more than 3 lakh Registered Nurses in Canada in 2021 and the demand for them has only exacerbated since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, today, it might as well be the best time to get inducted into the healthcare infrastructure of the country.

Registered Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system their patience, hard work and efforts provide the professionals with immense satisfaction and contentment. The article will serve as a comprehensive guide on how to become a Registered Nurse in Canada, the job opportunities and the top universities tostudy nursing in the country.

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Who is a Registered Nurse in Canada?

A Registered Nurse (RN) is a licensed professional who provides care in different medical structures such as hospitals, doctors' clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centres, long-term health care facilities, community agencies etc. They need to be licensed or registered with a nursing regulatory body, association or college in any of the Canadian provinces where they want to work.

That being said, one must know that there is no national registration or licensure process for nurses in Canada. Each province is in charge of the regulations and assessment process. This arrangement allows them to protect the health and safety of their area. The provinces also ensure that the nurses meet the standards set by them.

Registered Nurses work hand in hand with doctors, patients and other healthcare professionals. They are entrusted with the responsibility of supporting and caring for patients, controlling safety and infection and promoting and maintaining health.

Job Responsibilities of a Registered Nurse in Canada

Registered Nurses in Canada can work across a variety of specialities and different patient populations. They may specialise in community health, surgery, obstetrics care, psychiatric care, critical care and emergency care. The main job responsibilities that they perform are:

  • Checking patients to identify the nursing functions to perform.

  • Collaborating, planning, implementing and coordinating with other healthcare professionals to plan patient care.

  • Administering the medication as prescribed by the doctor or physician.

  • Monitoring assessing, reporting and documenting the condition of the patient and their symptoms.

  • Assisting surgeons during surgery and other medical procedures.

  • Teaching and counselling patients on health-related issues.

How to Become a Registered Nurse in Canada?

Registered Nurses usually have to complete a post-secondary course of four years in nursing. The course curriculum involves an understanding of medical and surgical nursing. Apart from that, in-depth knowledge of nursing theory, physical and biological sciences, primary health, and therapeutic relationships helping are also included. Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a Registered Nurse in Canada:

Get a Bachelors Degree in Nursing

The Canadian provincial and territorial nurses associations require Registered Nurses to have a bachelor's degree in nursing. Aspiring candidates must check the rules and regulations of their provinces and check out the approved nursing schools and programmes.

The baccalaureate programmes of nursing must be accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN). Except for Quebec, all other provinces require applicants to hold a bachelors degree in nursing to practice as a Registered Nurse.

In Quebec, nursing candidates are required to complete the Diploma of Collegial Studies (DEC) programme in nursing which is a three-year course. Another available option is a three-year bachelor of science degree in nursing.

Get a Nursing License

The regulatory bodies or provincial nurses associations require candidates to take one or more assessment tests to qualify for a license in a Canadian province. For example, nurses willing to practice in Ontario have to be registered with the Colleges of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). After that, they are required to take an exam to prove their competency and start practising.

They not only need to complete the registration exam but also have to appear for a jurisprudence test by the college to evaluate their knowledge and understanding of the laws, regulations, practices guidelines and etc. that govern the nursing profession in Ontario. The other states have their own set of rules to get licenses.

Fulfil Other Requirements

There are four other requirements that one must fulfil in order to become a Registered Nurse in Canada. The requirements are given below:

  • One has to be fluent in written and spoken French or English.

  • They also need to be registered or be eligible for registration in the jurisdiction where the nursing programme was completed.

  • They should have Canadian citizenship, permanent residency or authorisation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

  • Finally, they require to have good character and must be suitable to practice.

Find Job as a Registered Nurse

In order to find a job as a Registered Nurse, one has to craft a resume and look for job postings at various health centres. Also, one can get a speciality certificate to showcase themselves as an attractive employee. Increasing competency and experience is the best way to build a career as a Registered Nurse in Canada.

After being a Registered nurse for a few years, one can even plan to venture out to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Canada. The requirements for NP will vary from one province of Canada to another.

Top Universities for Nursing in Canada

The most popular universities for nursing in Canada according to QS World University Ranking 2022 along with their annual tuition fees are given below:

Top Universities for Nursing

QS Ranking 2022

Annual Tuition Fees (in CAD)

University of Alberta


5,008 for 12 credit

University of Toronto



McMaster University



University of British Columbia


1,247 per credit

McGill University



University of Calgary



Western University



Queens University at Kingston


213 per unit

University of Ottawa



University of Manitoba



How Can International Educated Nurses Get Registered In Canada?

Internationally educated nurses are welcome in Canada but they must fulfil some conditions and criteria set by the provinces to practice as Registered Nurses. Nursing aspirants from India can follow the same steps to become Registered Nurses in Canada.

Required Education and Knowledge

The educational requirements to practice as a Registered Nurse in Canada are:

  • Graduation from a recognised institute in a country.

  • Must have a valid license from the nursing authority of the home country. One needs to hold a license as a Registered Nurse or midwife.

  • Two to five years of practice in the nursing profession will be helpful for the immigration process.

Evaluation of Credentials

The education qualifications will be evaluated to check if they adhere to the standards of Canadian qualifications. National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) will do the credential evaluations.

One has to decide which province or the state of Canada to choose at this stage. Each province has its own standards and requirements for internationally-educated nurses.

English Proficiency Requirements

Those who are willing to practice as Registered Nurses in Canada must qualify for the benchmark of the English requirements which are the Canadian English Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) scores or IELTS scores.

Application to State Regulatory Authority

When the credentials get evaluated, a report is generated from the NNAS and forwarded to the state regulatory authority. The authority will again evaluate if one is fit to be a Registered Nurse. They may recommend a bridging course or extra certification to gain clinical knowledge and experience.

Take National Council Licensing Examination RN

National Council Licensing Examination RN (NCLEX RN) exam has to be taken and cleared once all the verification formalities are over. This examination is mandatory to work as a nurse in Canada for both Canadian citizens and internationally-educated nurses.

Salary of Registered Nurse in Canada

The salaries of Registered Nurses in Canada are high. The province-wise average annual salary is given below:


Average Annual Salary (in CAD)





British Columbia


New Brunswick


Newfoundland and Labrador


Nova Scotia






Being a Registered Nurse in Canada is a rewarding profession in terms of the job role as well as salary. One can easily be registered with the provinces and begin their career as a nurse and later on make advancements. To conclude, a nursing career is one of progress and lifelong learning and is one of the highest services to society.

If you have any questions related to becoming a Registered Nurse in Canada or any other country, write to us at

Apply for Nursing Courses in Canada!


How long does it take to become a registered nurse in Canada?

One needs to complete a four-year nursing programme to become a registered nurse in Canada. A bachelor's degree in Nursing (BSN) provides theoretical and clinical knowledge of medicine and surgery required to practice as a registered nurse. One can directly apply after class 12th or can get a dual degree in nursing after completing one graduation.

What are the documents required to become a registered nurse in Canada for Indians?

The documents that are required to be submitted to National Nursing Assessment Service in Canada are: Marksheets and degree certificates. Academic transcripts. Course curriculum and other academic requirements. Registration with the present nursing council. The documents must be submitted by licensing authorities. CELBAN or IELTS scores. Fee of CAD 650.

Is bridging course essential to become a registered nurse in Canada for Indians?

A bridging course may be essential to become a registered nurse in Canada for Indians. There are advanced nursing principles diploma courses provided by nursing colleges in Canada that help to meet the gap between education in the home country and Canada. One gets added experience and knowledge through the bridging courses.

How to apply for a registered nurse's license in Canada?

Internationally educated nurses must apply through the website of NNAS to become registered nurses in Canada. They need to create an account on the website and submit proper identity proofs. A nursing education form has to be completed and the required application fees have to be given after submission of the form. In the end, a Nursing Registration Form has to be filled out.

How to become a nurse practitioner from a registered nurse in Canada?

In order to become a nurse practitioner from a registered nurse in Canada, one has to have advanced education and degrees. They also have to demonstrate evidence that they would practice safely. In addition, they must pass a registration exam for the speciality they want to pursue in the healthcare field.

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