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How to Become a Licensed Nurse in Canada?

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  • read time3 min Read
  • By:CANAM Group
  • Updated On:Oct 17,2023 11:51 AM IST

Through their work in healthcare organizations such as hospitals, public health sector, the private sector and the field of research, nurses have a huge impact on today’s society. This blog explores the process of becoming a nurse in Canada. 

How to Become a Licensed Nurse in canada.webpNursing is a profession that holds a healing touch that mends hearts and saves lives. Nurses are known as the pillars of healthcare. They provide comfort and care when it is needed the most. With their dedication, they make the world a bright, healthy place to live in. 

The Canadian healthcare system has a high demand of nurses. Aspiring nurses can find fulfilling career opportunities within the healthcare landscape. However, to excel in the profession, nurses need more than their passion – they should possess appropriate licensure.

Introduction to NNAS

National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) recognizes the immense value that nurses from other countries bring to Canada. NNAS is a central body that evaluates international nursing credentials.  It follows a meticulous evaluation process to examine academic transcripts, certifications, and employment records. Internationally educated and trained nurses are provided with a clear pathway to licensure and integration into the Canadian healthcare system.

Applying through the NNAS involves a series of steps including document requirements, application fees, and timelines, among others. Interested nurses must create an account on the NNAS portal. They are then required to submit their proof of identity, nursing education form, nursing registration form and nursing employment form. They must make sure that all their documents are accurate and not falsified or altered in any way. 

Exploring Alternative Education Paths in Canada

Equipped with an understanding of the nursing landscape in Canada and the detailed process of NNAS, aspiring nurses must look into alternative education paths in Canada. This includes enrolling in a Post Graduate Diploma in Nursing program that offers a focused approach to nursing education. These programs enhance skills and knowledge required for a hands-on nursing approach. The targeted training hones their ability to deliver effective healthcare services.

Pursuing Masters in nursing in Canada paves way to specialized fields such as Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists. Through the in-depth knowledge received during their degree, Nurse Practitioners can diagnose illnesses, prescribe medications and provide overall patient care in collaboration with physicians. Clinical nurse specialists become experts in a particular area such as pediatrics, geriatrics or mental health to contribute to patient outcomes and healthcare policies.   

Institutes that offer a PGD/ Masters in Nursing in Canada

S.NoUniversity NameProgram Name
1.University of Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaMaster of Science in Nursing (Course-Based)
2.University of Saskatchewan, CanadaMaster of Nursing – Professional Practice Option
3.Langara College, British Columbia, CanadaPost Degree Diploma – Nursing Practice in Canada
4.Conestoga CollegeGraduate Certificate In Enhanced Practice For Internationally Educated Nurses
5.Georgian CollegeGraduate Certificate in  Enhanced Practice for Internationally Educated Nurses - Complex care
6.Lakehead UniversityMaster Of Public Health Specialization In Nursing
7.Sault CollegeGraduate Certificate in Enhanced Practice for Internationally Educated Nurses - Acute Care
8.NorQuest CollegePG Diploma for Internationally Educated Nurses - Practical Nurse

Advantages of Pursuing a PG Diploma or Masters in Nursing in Canada

Pursuing a Masters or PGD in Nursing in Canada offers professional growth and a wealth of benefits that go beyond the scope of traditional licensure process.

One of the primary advantages of pursuing a PG Diploma or Masters in Nursing is the faster route to licensure it offers. While the assessment process of National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) can be time-consuming and intricate, enrolling in an advanced education program streamlines the path to obtaining the necessary credentials. This efficiency enables aspiring nurses to enter the workforce and apply their skills and knowledge in real-world healthcare settings.

Comprehensive Education and Skill Development

PG Diploma and Masters in nursing provide comprehensive and in-depth education beyond the fundamentals of nursing practice. They cultivate advanced clinical skills, critical thinking abilities, and leadership qualities. Students engage in rigorous coursework, hands-on clinical experiences, and specialized training to handle complex medical scenarios and diverse patient populations. Aspiring nurses develop a robust skill set that sets them apart in the competitive healthcare landscape.

Increased Job Opportunities and Career Advancement

The skills acquired through PG Diploma and Masters programs provide a wide array of job roles to prospective nurses. Nurses with advanced education have the opportunity to work in leadership, research, and specialized clinical positions. This helps them explore diverse jobs within the healthcare sector, ranging from clinical practice to administrative roles. 

Potential for Higher Salaries and Specializations

Pursuing higher education in nursing helps prospective nurses elevate their earning potential. By specializing in areas such as Nurse Practitioners or Clinical Nurse Specialists, they can pivot their career towards specific healthcare fields. This helps them contribute to the overall patient care and make a substantial impact on the quality of healthcare services of an organization.

Application Process for PG Diploma's and Masters in Nursing in Canada

Pursuing a PG Diploma or Masters in Nursing program in Canada is a significant milestone in international nursing graduates. It helps them gather a better understanding of the Canadian healthcare system. It is imperative for aspiring nurses to understand the application process for Canadian universities and colleges.

Document Requirements and Application Deadlines

Prospective nursing students must navigate their admission process carefully. The required documents and the admission process is discussed below –
Step 1 – Get in touch with Canam’s Health Skills expert who will assist in researching and shortlisting colleges and universities in Canada that offer PGD and masters in Nursing.
Step 2 – Keep documents ready. The following documents are needed at the time of admission 

(i) Official Transcripts: This includes all previous transcripts. Students must get in touch with their study abroad consultant to understand individual requirements of a Canadian institution.
(ii) Updated Resume
(iii) Proof of Work Experience
(vi) English language proficiency test scores : Students must score the required marks in tests like IELTS and TOEFL.

Step 3 - It is imperative to track application deadlines to ensure that all documents are submitted well in advance.
Step 4 – Pay the application fee and wait for a response
Step 5 – Accept the admission offer.


To help aspiring nurses explore alternative education paths apart from registering with the NNAS, the overseas consultants of Canam offer their support to make informed decisions about their educational and professional journey. Nurses who are looking to make a career in Canada are offered application assistance, language proficiency preparation to ensure a smooth transition into their chosen nursing program, and, eventually, a rewarding career in the Canadian healthcare sector. 

Also read: Bachelor of Nursing Courses in Australia


By pursuing a PG Diploma or Masters in Nursing, students get an opportunity to boost their educational qualifications. These nursing courses help students access a wide range of job opportunities with a higher salaries and specializations.
A student applying to nursing programs in Canada must secure their official transcripts from their previous educational institutions, updated resume, proof of work experience, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and English language proficiency test scores.
Yes, international students are eligible to work up to 20 hours per week during their regular school sessions. When they are on a scheduled break, such as the winter, summer or spring break, they can work full time. Students must stay updated with the latest guidelines of the Canadian government to know more details about specific work regulations. 
Typically, a PG Diploma takes 1-2 years and Masters program is of 2 years. Students must contact their Health Skills advisor at Canam to know more details of their specific program.
Nursing programs in Canada include coursework and training modules to familiarize international students with the Canadian healthcare system. This gives them a chance to adapt to differences in practices, protocols, and patient care standards.

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