Registered Nurse



Who is the licensing body responsible for Registered Nurses in Alberta?

In Alberta, you must be registered with the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) to practice as a Registered Nurse. Refer to the Internationally Educated Applicants section. Only registered members may call themselves Registered Nurses.

What are the licensure requirements for internationally educated Nurses?

Note: Licensing bodies compare international education and experience to Canadian standards. 

After you immigrate to Alberta, you may be eligible for support with your licensing process and to find work related to or in your profession. Please contact Directions for Immigrants to book an appointment with one of our Career Coaches. 

Internationally Educated Registered Nurses must: 

1. Ensure that your English skills meet CARNA’s proficiency requirements. Go to English Language Proficiency.

2. Review the training requirements before applying to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) for assessment. 

3. Apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). 

Note: Original documents and credentials must be sent directly from the educational institution, registering body, and/or employer to NNAS to be verified before applying to CARNA. Do not send any documents to CARNA unless they have been specifically requested from you. 

All documents must be written in or translated into English (or French where applicable) by an approved agency, translator or by NNAS. 

The National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) Applicant Handbook provides the official steps to completing the NNAS application. 

4. Once you have received your report from NNAS, create an online profile and submit your application form and fee to CARNA.

5. CARNA will review your advisory report and assess your next steps towards becoming a Registered Nurse in Alberta.  

6. If no further upgrading and no further assessment is required, you will complete CARNA's remaining requirements and RN Registration process. 

Note: Anyone who has passed the NCLEX-RN exam since 1982 should contact CARNA before registering for the exam. 

7. If further assessment is required, CARNA will advise you what your next steps are.

What are the accepted English language proficiency tests and where can I be tested?

Applicants must successfully achieve the required passing score on one of the CARNA approved English Language Tests. This includes: CELBAN and IELTS. To learn more about where to take an English language proficiency test in Alberta, visit English Language Proficiency Tests and Locations.

Note:  You will be required to maintain this level of English language proficiency throughout the entire application process.

What training programs or services are available for internationally educated Nurses?

In order to be admitted into a bridging program, applicants must meet application criteria and show proof of verification of eligibility with the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA). Applicants also need to be aware of registration deadlines and other potential costs, including preparation materials, travel etc. 

Mount Royal University (MRU) Bridge to Canadian Nursing Program 

The MRU Bridge to Canadian Nursing Program is a one-year upgrading program for nurses who have been educated outside of Canada.  The program introduces nursing practice in Canada and combines professional communication skills for nurses, professional terminology, clinical judgment skills and an understanding of human responses in health and illness. 

Interpersonal Skills Training, Directions for Immigrants, Clear Communication for Health Professionals

Developed for health care professionals, Clear Communication for Health Professionals is a facilitated study group that focuses on the essence of effective communication in a health care setting. Participants will learn more about Canadian workplace culture, developing effective listening skills and other techniques designed to help you succeed in the workplace.  Please visit the Job Success Groups tab on the
Study Groups page.

Directions for Immigrants, NCLEX-RN Study Group

Directions for Immigrants offers a Study Group to help internationally educated nurses to prepare for the NCLEX-RN examination.  Visit the Nursing tab on the
Study Groups page for more information on this service and eligibility criteria.

Canadian Culture and Communication for Nurses
A free online program with blended options fro internationally-educated nurses who want to develop their English communication skills. Take part in up to four, 12 week modules, you are placed according to your language level. Visit for more information.

What are the educational requirements for Registered Nurses in Alberta?

Note: Licensing bodies compare international education and experience to Canadian standards.

In Alberta, registered nurse status requires a bachelor's degree in nursing.

The following post-secondary institutions in Alberta offer degree programs in nursing:
Athabasca University
Grande Prairie Regional College in collaboration with the University of Alberta
MacEwan University in Edmonton
Keyano College in Fort McMurray in collaboration with the University of Alberta
Lethbridge College in Lethbridge
Medicine Hat College in collaboration with the University of Calgary
Mount Royal University in Calgary
Red Deer College in collaboration with the University of Alberta
University of Alberta in Edmonton
University of Calgary in Calgary
University of Lethbridge in Lethbridge

What information resources are available for Registered Nurses in Alberta?

Additional Occupational and Pre-Arrival Information 

For more information on occupations, duties and wages, visit 

Pass (Pre-Arrival Support Services for IENs)