Information you need to know to work as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse

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

In Alberta, you must be registered with the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta (CRPNA) to practice as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse. Only registered members may call themselves a Registered Psychiatric Nurse.

What are the licensure requirements for internationally educated Registered Psychiatric Nurses?

Internationally Educated Registered Psychiatric Nurses must:

  1. Ensure that their English skills meet the standard set out by the NNAS: The minimum (lowest acceptable) scores for the language tests are:
    • IELTS: Academic format - speaking 7, listening 7.5, reading 6.5, writing 7, overall 7
    • CELBAN: speaking 8, listening 10, reading 8, writing 7
  2. Apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). After your account is opened with NNAS, you will be told which documents you will need to provide in order to verify your personal information and past experience. 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 CRPNA. Do not send any documents to CRPNA 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 NNAS. The National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) Applicant Handbook provides the official steps to completing the NNAS application.
  3. Complete the NNAS Report Review Form. CRPNA will review your advisory report and assess your next steps toward becoming a Registered Psychiatric Nurse in Alberta.
  4. If further gap training/education is required, you will be advised of those requirements by CRPNA.
  5. If no further upgrading and no further assessment is required, you will be eligible to write CRPNA's Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada (RPNC) Examination.

For complete and the most current information on the licensing process for, visit the Internationally Educated Nurses page on the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses website.

What are the educational requirements for Registered Psychiatric Nurses in Alberta?

In Alberta, the following post-secondary institutions offer programs specifically related to psychiatric nursing:

  • Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton and Ponoka offers a Psychiatric Nursing diploma and a post-diploma bachelor's degree in Psychiatric Nursing.

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 CRPNA 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.

What supports are available to support internationally educated Psychiatric Nurses to integrate into the Canadian labour force?

Directions for Immigrants offers workplace communication groups to help you integrate into the Canadian work environment. The Clear Communication for Health Professionals (CCHP) workplace communication group is designed to help internationally educated health care professionals fine-tune their communication skills with patients, supervisors, and colleagues. In one week, you will learn through role-play and scenarios the nuances and expectations of Canadian patients, inter-disciplinary teams, and other health care industry participants. Topics include overcoming communication barriers, professional workplace interaction/behaviour, Canadian workplace culture, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Visit Clear Communication for Health Professionals for more information. 

Canadian Culture and Communication for Nurses

A free online program with blended options for 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 Professional English Group (PEG) Canada for more information.

What information resources are available for Registered Psychiatric Nurses in Alberta?

Additional Occupational and Pre-Arrival Information

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