Nursing in Canada: A Guide to Pursuing a Rewarding Career



Updated On 01 August 2023


Read Time 13 minutes

Nursing, a profession like no other, holds the healing touch that mends hearts and saves lives. With compassion as their guiding light, nurses are the pillars of healthcare, providing comfort and care when it's needed most. Their dedication makes the world a brighter, healthier place.


Nurses are in high demand in Canada, giving numerous chances to aspiring healthcare workers. With a nursing shortage, the government seeks trained professionals to fill critical roles in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings, making it a viable and satisfying career path.


Read this blog if you want to study nursing courses in Canada and gain details about your higher education, eligibility, courses, work prospects, and universities in this profession.


Why Study BSc Nursing in Canada?

Discover the wonders of studying nursing in Canada! Here's why it's an excellent choice:


  • Cutting-Edge Education: Canada offers top-notch medical infrastructure and advanced universities. These universities provide a remarkable learning experience in different fields. Also, they will help you in professional and personal growth.

  • Lucrative Job Opportunities: Candidates can get fantastic jobs in different organisations in Canada.

  • Hands-On Learning: Universities in Canada are renowned worldwide for their nursing programs, giving you real-life skills.

  • Grants and Financial Aid: For deserving students, the universities and government provide various grants and financial assistance options.

  • Globally Recognised Degrees: Canadian nursing degrees are respected worldwide, opening doors worldwide for your success.


So, why wait? Embrace the journey to becoming a skilled and compassionate nurse in the beautiful land of Canada!


Types of Nursing Courses in Canada

Now you know why you should choose nursing in Canada, but how many years would it take? Well, it depends on the type of specialisation and degree. Let’s explore programs for studying nursing in Canada.


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN)


The bachelor’s degree in nursing in Canada will take 4 years to complete, and you will gain a thorough knowledge of nursing theory, clinical skills, and research, as well as hands-on clinical experiences in diverse healthcare settings. 


A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree will teach you nursing ethics, health assessment, pharmacology, nursing research, and leadership, among others. Some universities may also offer expedited BScN programs for those with a bachelor's degree in a similar discipline.


Diploma/Associate Degree in Nursing


A diploma/Associate Degree is mainly a two to three-year program offered by community institutions or technical universities. A degree focusing on preparing you for entry-level nursing careers by providing basic nursing knowledge and skills. 


You’ll learn about nursing basics, health promotion, illness prevention, and clinical practice through classroom lectures, laboratory sessions, and clinical placements.


Practical Nursing (PN) Diploma Programs


A Practical Nursing Diploma is a one- to two-year program offered by community-based universities or vocational institutions that prepares you to work as Licenced Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) in various provinces.


You'll acquire hands-on clinical experience in diverse healthcare settings while learning practical nursing skills such as drug administration, wound care, and basic patient care.


Master's in Nursing (MSN) Programs


Master's in Nursing (MSN) program in Canada is a two-year program offering advanced education and specialised training for registered nurses, preparing you for leadership roles in healthcare. Such programs typically include coursework in research, healthcare policy, and advanced clinical practice, equipping graduates with the skills to excel in diverse healthcare settings.


Specialisations and Research Opportunities


When you pursue nursing in Canada, you’ll have a wide range of specialisations available, allowing you to focus on specific areas of interest within the field. 


Common specialisations include Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Nurse Administrator, and Nurse Researcher. Such specialisations provide advanced training and clinical expertise in their respective domains, enabling you to contribute significantly to healthcare and patient outcomes. 


Furthermore, nursing universities in Canada often offer research opportunities to engage you in cutting-edge research projects, addressing critical healthcare challenges and advancing evidence-based practice. These research experiences enhance your critical thinking and analytical skills, fostering innovation and leadership within the nursing profession.  


Top Nursing Universities in Canada

Canada boasts numerous prestigious universities offering excellent nursing programs that nurture your professional growth. Such institutions provide varied degrees, specialised tracks, and chances for clinical practice and research partnerships. 


The top Nursing Universities in Canada, as per the QS World University Rankings 2023 by Nursing Subject, ensure quality education and a supportive environment for aspiring nurses to thrive and make a difference in the healthcare field.



Overall Score


University of Alberta



University of Toronto



McMaster University



University of British Columbia



McGill University



University of Calgary



Queen's University at Kingston



University of Ottawa



Western University



University of Manitoba


University of Alberta


Known for its comprehensive nursing programs, the University of Alberta offers cutting-edge research opportunities and clinical placements, preparing you to excel in various healthcare settings and positively impact the field.


The University of Toronto


A leading institution with a strong nursing faculty, the University of Toronto provides many nursing specialisations, state-of-the-art facilities, and collaborations with prominent healthcare institutions, ensuring a high-quality education and ample career prospects.


McMaster University


Focused on evidence-based nursing practice, McMaster University's nursing programs emphasise research and critical thinking, empowering graduates to contribute to advancements in healthcare and implement effective patient care strategies.


University of British Columbia


With a global reputation, UBC offers innovative nursing programs with diverse clinical experiences and research initiatives, preparing you to address complex health challenges and become leaders in nursing practice and policy.


McGill University


Renowned for its bilingual nursing programs, McGill equips a strong foundation in healthcare knowledge and research, fostering an inclusive learning environment that promotes intercultural competence.


University of Calgary


The University of Calgary's nursing programs prioritises interdisciplinary collaboration, offering you unique opportunities to engage in research projects and gain practical experience, equipping you to thrive in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.


Queen's University at Kingston


With a focus on leadership and advocacy, Queen's nursing programs instil critical thinking skills and compassion, empowering graduates to excel in patient-centred care and contribute to healthcare improvements.


University of Ottawa


Offering bilingual nursing programs, the University of Ottawa prepares you to serve diverse communities while emphasising innovation, research, and interdisciplinary collaboration to address emerging healthcare challenges.


Western University


Western nursing programs emphasise community engagement and experiential learning, providing opportunities to work with marginalised populations and effect positive healthcare delivery changes.


University of Manitoba


With a strong commitment to Indigenous health and cultural safety, the University of Manitoba's nursing programs prioritise community partnerships and provide practical skills to deliver inclusive and holistic patient care. 


Requirements and Eligibility for Nursing in Canada

Academic Qualifications


To study nursing in Canada, prospective students must complete specific academic requirements. Bachelors in nursing in Canada, such as the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN), typically require you to have finished your high school education with relevant science subjects like biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology. Some universities in Canada may have strict grade or prerequisite course requirements.


When you’re applying for masters in nursing in Canada, such as the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), you are typically expected to hold a bachelor's degree in nursing or a related discipline. GPA (Grade Point Average) requirements may vary by university.


Language Proficiency Examinations (IELTS, TOEFL)


Because most nursing courses in Canada are taught in English or French, overseas students whose first language is not English or French are normally needed to demonstrate language ability.


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are two widely regarded linguistic proficiency tests. Minimum score requirements for these assessments may differ between courses and universities.


Specific Program Requirements


All nursing courses in Canada may have their own criteria, especially for specialised or advanced programs. These criteria could involve additional prerequisites, work experience, or specific certificates. You must thoroughly research and meet the program's unique requirements.


Student Visa Process


When planning to study nursing in Canada, you must first secure a valid study permit (student visa). The procedure includes submitting needed documents, such as admission letters from Canadian universities, proof of sufficient money, admission tests, interviews, personal statements or resumes, and a clean criminal background. To minimise delays and ensure a seamless transition to Canada for studies, apply for a student visa well in advance.

Understanding and meeting these standards and eligibility criteria are critical for students wishing to study nursing in Canada. Proper preparation and commitment to these rules can assure a successful and fulfilling academic journey in one of the world's best nursing study destinations.


Scholarships, Grants, and Financial Aid for Nursing

Nursing is a highly sought-after profession in Canada, leading to a demand-supply gap in the industry. To address the shortage of registered nurses, the Canadian Government offers policies and scholarships encouraging you to pursue nursing studies in Canada


Scholarship awards may depend on the student's first-year performance. Universities in Canada provide several nursing scholarships for international students; look at the table below:

Scholarship Name



Award Amount

The Class of 1966 Nursing Scholarship

Canadian Government

Nursing students pursuing degrees in accredited Canadian institutions

Varies (depending on the fund)

University of Toronto Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing Scholarship

University of Toronto

Nursing undergraduates

Varies (depending on the fund)

F.A. Davis Nursing Undergraduate Scholarship

F.A. Davis Company

Nursing students pursuing degrees in accredited Canadian institutions

$1,500 - $2,500

BN Nursing Scholarship

Canadian Nurses Foundation

Nursing students in BN programs

Up to $5,000 (annually)

National Overseas Scholarship

Government of Canada

International students from developing countries

Full tuition, living expenses, travel

Susan Nelles Scholarship

Susan Nelles Memorial Fund

Nursing students with financial need

Up to $2,000 (one-time)

Canadian Nurses Foundation

Canadian Nurses Foundation

Nursing students and professionals

Varies (depending on the fund)

Aramark Leadership Awards

Aramark Canada Ltd.

Nursing students with leadership potential

Up to $5,000 (one-time)

StudentAid BC Nurses Education Bursary

Government of British Columbia

Nursing students in British Columbia

Up to $6,000 per year

General Entrance Award program for Prospective undergraduate students

Individual Universities

Prospective undergraduate students

Varies (depending on the institution) 

Post-Graduation Opportunities


Nursing Licensure and Registration

Upon completing nursing courses in Canada, you must obtain licensure and registration to practice as a registered nurse (RN). This process involves meeting the requirements set by the nursing regulatory body in the province or territory where they intend to work.


  1. To obtain the licence, you must pass the Canadian Registered Nurse test, except for Quebec, which has its own test. The CNA administers the test thrice yearly and allows you to retake it as often as you like.

  2. Once licensed, nurses can pursue various opportunities in the healthcare sector across Canada.


Job Prospects in Canada and Abroad

Canada's nursing profession offers a wide range of job prospects. With a growing demand for healthcare services, nurses are in high demand across the country, especially in rural and remote areas.


Job opportunities can be found in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, community health centres, and home care settings. Additionally, international nursing graduates may explore opportunities in their home countries or other countries seeking skilled healthcare professionals.


Pursuing Higher Education or Specialisations

Post-graduation, nurses may consider furthering their education by pursuing higher degrees or specialised certifications. Advanced degrees such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) can lead to leadership roles, teaching positions, and advanced clinical practice.


Specialisations in areas like nurse practitioners, nurse educators, nurse administrators, or nurse researchers can also open up new career pathways and increase marketability in the healthcare industry.


By exploring these post-graduation opportunities, nursing graduates can shape rewarding and fulfilling careers while significantly contributing to healthcare in Canada and beyond.



Q. How much does it cost to study nursing in Canada?

A. The cost of studying nursing in Canada varies depending on the university, program, and level of study. Generally, tuition fees for international students in nursing programs can range from CAD 15,000 to CAD 40,000 per year. Additional expenses like accommodation, textbooks, and living costs should also be considered.


Q. Can I become a nurse in 2 years in Canada?

A. Yes, you can become a nurse in Canada in as little as two years by completing a Practical Nursing (PN) Diploma program. These programs provide basic nursing knowledge and skills, preparing you for entry-level nursing careers as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs).


Q. What is the age limit for nurses in Canada?

A. There is no specific age limit for becoming a nurse in Canada. If you meet the educational and licensing requirements, you can pursue a nursing career at any age.


Q. How many hours do nurses work in Canada?

A. Nurses in Canada typically work full-time, which amounts to around 36 to 40 hours per week. However, depending on the healthcare facility and their specific role, nurses may work various shifts, including day, evening, night, and weekends.


Q. What benefits do nurses get in Canada?

A. Nurses in Canada enjoy several benefits, which may include competitive salaries, health and dental insurance, pension plans, paid time off (vacation and sick leave), maternity and parental leave, and opportunities for career advancement and professional development.


Q. How can I get PR after BSc nursing in Canada?

A. To become a Permanent Resident (PR) in Canada after completing BSc nursing, you can explore different immigration pathways such as the Express Entry system, Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) if you have gained work experience in Canada. Meeting specific criteria, such as language proficiency, work experience, and education, will be essential for a successful PR application.


Q. What is the nursing exam in Canada?

A. The nursing exam in Canada is called the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). It is a standardised exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). It assesses the competence of candidates seeking licensure as registered nurses in Canada and the United States. Passing this exam requires obtaining licensure as an RN in Canada.



In conclusion, studying nursing in Canada offers a world of opportunities for aspiring healthcare professionals. With cutting-edge education, diverse specialisations, and abundant financial support through scholarships, you can embark on a rewarding journey to become compassionate and skilled nurses.


The demand for nurses in Canada and abroad makes it a promising career path, contributing to a brighter, healthier world. We hope you had an insightful read about nursing in Canada. If you would like to get a deeper insight into how to study in Canada or apply to universities, we encourage you to have a word with our team of expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC).


Our counsellors will provide you with guidance throughout your study abroad journey. Get help with the application process, drafting SOPs and filing for a visa. Visit us and get one-to-one counselling or avail yourself of free video counselling via our website. We will be happy to help you, so please do not hesitate to contact us at or 1800-1230-00011.

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