One of the biggest perks of a Nursing degree is the chance to travel and work in different countries. In recent years Canada, Australia, the UAE, and the UK have become more popular with international nurses. Still, as we enter the 2020s and farther there is becoming an increasing opportunity for nursing jobs in Canada for foreigners.
Being an international nurse in Canada has become an increasingly attractive proposition. This can be linked to her relatively robust health care system. Canada is an attractive destination for international trained nurses seeking to grow their nursing careers in Canada. This article seeks to provide answers to questions surrounding nursing jobs in Canada.
For internationally trained nurses seeking nursing jobs in Canada, your international credentials will be assessed, and you’ll need to become licensed to practice nursing in Canada. Procedures differ based on province and territories. Therefore, one should have a destination in mind as one prepares to apply.
Also read How to Migrate to Canada in 8 Easy Ways
The Process of Getting a Nursing Job in Canada
Prior to your arrival in Canada, you can register for the NNAS. The NNAS is the National Nursing Assessment Service for Canada and the United States. It is the first step to getting your license in order to land nursing jobs in Canada.
Registration with the NNAS involves completing a form online providing all needed information; education, professional experience for the past five years, and declaring every nursing body you are currently or have previously been registered with. You will need to apply to the NNAS, if you are trained as a nurse outside Canada but seeking nursing jobs in Canada in any of the following positions:
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN)
As of 2020 NNAS registration costs about $750. The process involves sending notary-signed copies of your means of identification documents (passport, birth certificate) and having concerned people from your school, previous employment, and nursing bodies you are registered with complete the forms provided by the NNAS.
Note: You don’t have to worry about how to complete the form and the time frame. Video tutorials on how to complete these forms are available on the NNAS website, and you have one year from the date of registration with NNAS to return all documents.
You should be approved by the NNAS once all documents have been returned and vetted. Once approved, you will have permission to apply for licensure in your destination province in Canada.
Note: The NNAS provides an online handbook you can read to know more about the application process to qualify for nursing jobs in Canada.. This is available on their website too.
The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is the test used to determine your English language skills if you cannot provide proof of fluency in the English language. Each province will require you to sit for an English language examination, or French if you are aiming to work in the Quebec region.
As of 2021 the Canadian government announced new funding to help foreign nurses with their credential recognition. You can read more about it here.
Nursing jobs in Canada for Foreigners – More About NCLEX
As earlier stated most provinces and territories will require strong English language skills in order to practice nursing in Canada. In Quebec, knowledge of French is often required, though not always. You will need to complete an exam to finalize the registration process. Outside Quebec, this exam is known as the NCLEX-RN exam, provided by the NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing).
The NCLEX’s purpose is to ensure you are safe to begin practicing as a nurse in Canada. When it comes to nursing jobs in Canada as an internationally trained nurse, every nurse trained outside North America needs to pass this exam. It is a computer based test and mostly a multiple-choice intuitive exam. There are multiple online tutoring options to help prepare for it, such as UWorld. If you do not pass the first time, you can repeat the exam. Once you pass the NCLEX, it is valid across North America.
It is recommended to complete as much of the application and registration process from your home country as possible. It is generally easier to obtain documents related to your international credentials from your home country, as you avoid unwanted time differences, international calling rates, and other hassles that can arise.
After Applying for Nursing Jobs in Canada, what Next?
Don’t relax after your application. While waiting for your Canadian license, you need to put yourself out there. It is very essential to network and get to know as many people and companies in the health care sector. As an internationally qualified nurse looking for nursing jobs in Canada, networking will open doors for you. Update your resume on LinkedIn and other job sites and apply for administrative jobs within the health care sector. Working within the field gets you access to speaking to nurses and doctors of all different specialties and backgrounds, which can greatly help navigate your career path once your license is approved.
Points Worth Noting
Canada is experiencing health service challenges with lack of public services, staffing shortages, and increased wait times for procedures just like many other health services globally. As a Registered Nurse (RN) in a public service hospital, you will have a higher keenness for patients in your care as hospitals tend to hire more registered practice nurses (RPN) as cost-effective staffing measures.
While the above challenges are present throughout Canada, there is still potential for career development and growth in the public services as well as ample opportunity to work within privately owned practices.
Why Nursing Jobs in Canada?
When it comes to nursing jobs in Canada, the country offers a competitive salary for a 36-40 hour working week. In Ontario, the new graduate acute care salary is almost $59,000CAD with an annual increment pay increase. The pay varies according to your province, so take the time to research the city and province you will be living in close to before making a final decision.
Another benefit is health coverage, which generally starts after three months of living in the country. In addition, you may be able to access extra health care benefits and bonuses with your employer if you choose to work in the private sector.
Choosing a province to work in can be challenging, therefore it is advised that you take your time to research all the options you have.
It is important to know that New Brunswick’s Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) Navigation service provides customized, client-centered service to IENs at no cost to the candidate.
The service assists candidates with key barriers they might experience during the process to licensure, offering guidance surrounding:
- The National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).
- Provincial entry-to-practice competency assessments.
- Bridging programs are available in the province.
- Provincial regulatory bodies.
It is a priority of the Province of New Brunswick to attract, support, and retain these valuable healthcare professionals.
The Province is also working closely with a variety of employers in New Brunswick to fill job vacancies in nursing.
Note: Internationally educated nurses can connect with the IEN Navigation Service here