To work as a Registered Nurse (RN), Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in British Columbia, registration from the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) is required.
If you were educated as a nurse outside of Canada, you must apply to the one of five approved assessment agencies for a credential assessment. The credential assessment process evaluates your international nursing education in comparison to current Canadian nursing education requirements.
The approved credentialling agencies are:
- The Canadian Branch of the World Education Service (WES)
- BCIT International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)
- International Credential Assessment Service (ICAS)
- Comparative Education Services (CES)
- National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS)
For more information, please visit the BCCNM website.
English Language Proficiency
You will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency, and you may asked to submit the results of an acceptable English Language Proficiency (ELP) test. For more information, please visit the BCCNM website.
You will need to apply to the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS). As part of this application, you will be required to upload documents to demonstrate your identity, credential assessment and language proficiency.
After reviewing your application, the NCAS will contact you with information about your next steps. This may include completing a competency assessment and/or transitional education.
The NCAS competency assessment evaluates your nursing skills against the competencies that nurses are required to possess for safe nursing practice in Canada. The assessment includes a computer-based test and a simulation lab assessment. In May 2022, NCAS launched the new Triple Track competency assessment allowing internationally educated nurses to be assessed for up to three health care professions at the same time:
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Health care assistant (HCA)
For more information, please visit the NCAS website.
While you complete the above requirements, you will also need to start an application with the nursing regulator, BCCNM. They will request further documentation from you to understand your nursing background and experience. For more information, please visit the BCCNM website.
You may be referred by the BCCNM to upgrade your education and skills. Transitional education requirements can include individual courses or a re-entry to practice program.
Once you have completed the BCCNM registration requirements, including any required transitional education, the BCCNM will refer you to take the registration exam for your level of nursing. The exams include the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) for a Registered Nurse (RN), the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Exam (RPNCE) for a Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN), or the Regulatory Exam – Practical Nurse (REx-PN) if you are a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
Provisional BCCNM Registration (Optional)
Provisional registration allows applicants to practice under supervision while they wait to write the registration exam. The BCCNM will notify you if you are eligible for Provisional registration. If you do not plan to practice nursing in BC before gaining full practising registration with BCCNM, you DO NOT need to obtain provisional registration.
Practising (Full) BCCNM Registration
Once you have met all BCCNM application requirements, passed the NCLEX (RN), RPNCE (RPN), or REx-PN (LPN) exam, and paid the annual BCCNM practising registration fee, you can transition to practising registration.
How Can We Help You?
Health Match BC’s Navigation Services for internationally educated nurses will assist you in navigating the registration process and learning about financial supports that you may be able to benefit from.