Internationally Educated Nurses

If you are an internationally educated nurse (IEN) seeking registration in B.C there are several steps to take:

  • Apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS)
  • Meet English requirements
  • Apply for registration with appropriate college
  • Complete a Nursing Competency Assessment

Always refer to the appropriate regulatory body (college) for the most up to date registration requirements.
For details on how to obtain registration as a Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Practical Nurse or Psychiatric Nurse please refer to the relevant college websites below:

College of Registered Nurses of BC (includes RNs and NPs)

College of Licenced Practical Nurses of BC

College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC

National Nursing Assessment Service (NSAS)

NNAS is a partnership of Canadian nursing regulatory bodies which offers an easy, direct and secure way for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) to submit their documents for Canadian nursing registration.
NNAS has a contract with CGFNS International in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Their role is to:

  • receive, review and store all documents the Internationally Educated Nurses submit;
  • ensure the documents are authentic;
  • evaluate the documents against Canadian standards;
  • ensure that each nurse's file contains all the documents that the regulatory body requires;
  • send the completed file to the regulatory body or bodies, for Canadian nursing registration.

Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS)

NCAS provides a three-part competency assessment for internationally-educated health practitioners (IEPs) — including health care aides, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and psychiatric nurses — who hope to practice in British Columbia.

NCAS is one critical tool that our community partners use to determine whether IEPs are ready to practice safely, ethically and competently in the provincial workforce. It's made up of three assessments: a Computer-based Assessment, a Simulation Lab Assessment, and an Oral Assessment that takes place at the same time as the SLA. All three are necessary in order to complete the assessment process.

Other Supports

Pre-Arrival Support Services for Internationally Educated Nurses (PASS)
PASS helps pre-arrival IENs in their countries of residence who are planning immigration to Canada, offering supports and services designed to shorten the time that IENs spend from arrival in Canada to professional registration and employment. There is no cost to enroll in PASS, but IENs must have proof of graduation from a nursing school and a letter of immigration confirmation from the Government of Canada.

IENs participating in PASS have access to:

  • Individual case management for information and referrals for language, employment and settlement services upon arrival in Canada
  • Online courses providing nursing occupation-specific English language and communication training
  • Live information and orientation webinars providing an overview of the nursing registration process and the Canadian health care system
  • Live employment-related webinars equipping IENs for successful entry into the health care field
  • Mentorship connection with Canadian nurses

English Language Testing

The two main English language assessments that are accepted by BC nursing colleges are the Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) and The International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Always refer to the appropriate college for the most up to date English language requirements and accepted assessments.

CELBAN is an assessment tool designed to assess the English language proficiency of internationally-educated nurses who are applying for licensure in the nursing profession in Canada. CELBAN has been recognized by all the nursing licensing bodies across Canada.

IELTS measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).

Preparation for English Language Testing

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