To become a nurse in British Columbia, internationally educated nurses must work with various regulatory bodies. The process can become difficult to navigate, which is why we are here to support you through the journey. From introducing you to the Canadian health care system to preparing you for the regulatory examinations, we are committed to setting you up for success.
Please see below for a basic step-by-step guide on becoming a nurse in BC.
Your first step is to apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). They will review and verify your documents including:
Language testing can be conducted by and submitted from the following agencies:
IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
The lowest acceptable scores are speaking 7, listening 7.5, reading 6.5, writing 7, overall 7 (Academic format). – ielts.org
CELBAN (Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses)
The lowest acceptable scores are speaking 8, listening 10, reading 8, writing 7. – celbancentre.ca
Please note: If NNAS receives documents written in any language other than English or French, they will need to be translated. NNAS can translate them, at your request, for a fee.
TIP: You can complete the entire NNAS process from outside Canada. Start early as it can take up to 1 year to complete but remember that your language testing results must be no older than six months at the time you apply to NNAS. – nnas.ca
After the NNAS reviews your application, you’ll need an NNAS registration number, an NNAS application number and an NNAS advisory report in order to apply to BCCNP.
Most internationally educated nurses are directed by the BCCNP to the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS) which measures an applicant’s entry-level competencies as compared to a new Canadian graduate. All applicants must demonstrate entry-level competencies, including those who have engaged in specialized practice. – bccnp.ca
All applicants for registration must demonstrate the entry-level competencies for Registered Nurses in BC. A competence assessment evaluates your nursing skills, knowledge and practice in comparison to what is expected of a new BC graduate. The majority of internationally educated applicants will demonstrate these competencies through completion of a competence assessment (NCAS) and transitional education.
Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS)
Competency assessments for BCCNP are completed through the Nursing Community Assessment Service and involve three components that enable internationally educated nurses to demonstrate their nursing experience and competencies that may not be reflected through an evaluation of their education alone. They are:
While the computer-based assessment can be written in more than 100 countries around the world, the simulation lab and oral assessments must be taken in person in Vancouver, BC, Canada. – ncasbc.ca
After you complete the competency assessment, BCCNP will receive a report. They will review the assessment report, along with your other application documents, to identify if you have any competency gaps.
If gaps exist, you may be required to complete transitional education including: i) one or more individual courses, ii) a re-entry to practice program or iii) a BC Bachelor of Nursing program before you can write the national nursing exam (NCLEX-RN) and register with BCCNP.
Note: You will have to meet the entrance requirements for these educational programs.
Upon successful completion of your Transitional Coursework, applicants for BCCNP registration must write and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN).
Once you have completed all BCCNP registration requirements, including any required transitional education and passing the NLCEX-RN, you must ensure your practicing RN registration is approved before you start practicing as a Registered Nurse in BC.