How do international nurses qualify to work in Alberta?
All nurses in Alberta are registered with the College and Association of Registered Nurses in Alberta (CARNA). If you want to practice as a nurse in Alberta, you must first have a practice permit from CARNA.
Internationally Trained Nurses
CARNA has a number of requirements that internationally trained nurses must meet in order to work as a nurse in Alberta.
To qualify as a nurse in Alberta you must be able to prove the following:
- Competent English language ability.
- Successful completion of a nursing program which has official approval in your home country, state, province or territory.
- Status as a registered nurse in the country where you earned your nursing education.
- If you practiced nursing in a country other than the one you earned your education in, you must demonstrate that you practiced as a registered nurse in good standing for the last 5 years.
- Completion of at least 1,125 hours of practice as a registered nurse within the last 5 years, (not including the current year,) OR
- Completion of a nursing degree or education program that CARNA finds satisfactory.
- Evidence of your competence to practice nursing at the expected professional level in Alberta. This could be through a combination of education, experience, or other related nursing qualifications.
- You must have no health problems that could affect your ability to work as a nurse.
- You must be able to demonstrate that you are of good character through employer references.
- You must not have any outstanding criminal charges or convictions that could affect your ability to practice nursing.
- You must complete and pass the Canadian Registered Nurses Examination (CRNE). The fee for this exam is approximately $500 CAD.
How to apply
You must send CARNA the following documents, fees and forms in order for them to process your application to practice nursing in Alberta:
- Your completed CARNA application form.
- Your application fee of $212 CAD.
- Copies of these documents:
- Birth certificate, or notarized official document verifying the date of your birth.
- Photo identification (for example a copy of the biodata page of your passport.)
- If your name is different from your birth certificate, you must also include a copy of your marriage certificate or other document that proves your legal name change.
You must also arrange to have the following documents sent directly to CARNA. They should not be sent to you first.
- Proof of your nursing registration from the place you earned your nursing education.
- Proof of your nursing registration from any other jurisdictions in which you practiced as a nurse in the past 5 years.
- Transcripts from your original nursing education program.
- Transcripts of from any other place you studied nursing.
- English language test results, (where necessary) from a recognized testing body. (List of recognized English tests from CARNA.)
What happens after you apply
If CARNA can determine that you are eligible, they will decide if you are able to register (see Possible Results below.)
If they cannot determine that you are eligible, they may ask you to completed a test program called the Substantially Equivalent Competence (SEC) assessment. This assessment takes place in Calgary, Alberta and your results are sent directly to CARNA.
CARNA may determine that you are eligible to apply for a Temporary Permit, with conditions. This application costs $190 CAD. Once you are granted a Temporary Permit, you can practice temporarily as a Graduate Nurse. Once you meet the conditions that CARNA lays out for you, you can then apply for full registration.
CARNA may ask that you meet some additional requirements before they issue your registration. For example, they may ask you to demonstrate or improve your English language skills. Once this is complete, you can apply for a Temporary Permit above.
CARNA may reject your application of you do not meet the requirements.
How long does it take?
CARNA does not state a processing time, as it assesses each application individually. They time can vary greatly between one an application and another.
Where can I find more information?
You can contact CARNA directly by visiting their website: http://www.nurses.ab.ca
You can find more information about qualifying as an international nurse in Alberta here: Registration Requirements for Nurses Educated Outside of Canada (PDF).
CARNA’s toll-free phone number is 1-888-252-9392