5 Requirements for Nigerian-Trained Nurses to Work in Canada

If you’re a Nigerian-trained nurse aspiring to work in Canada, it’s essential to understand the requirements and steps involved in the process. Working as a nurse in Canada can be a rewarding experience, but it requires meeting certain criteria and completing necessary steps. In this article, we’ll outline the seven key requirements for Nigerian-trained nurses to work in Canada and provide helpful information to assist you in pursuing your nursing career in Canada.

Categories of Nursing In Canada

1. Registered Nurse (RN)

Role: Registered nurses play a crucial role in providing direct patient care, coordinating healthcare services, and advocating for patients’ well-being. They assess patients’ conditions, administer medications, develop care plans, and collaborate with healthcare teams.


Education: To become a registered nurse in Canada, individuals must complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited nursing program and pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE).

Regulatory Body: College of Nurses in Ontario (CNO), British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP), and other provincial regulatory bodies oversee the licensure and practice of registered nurses.


2. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Role: Licensed practical nurses provide basic nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses and healthcare professionals. They assist with patient hygiene, monitor vital signs, administer medications, and support patients’ comfort and well-being.

Education: Licensed practical nurses typically complete a diploma or certificate program in practical nursing and must pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) to obtain licensure.

Regulatory Body: College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA), College of Licensed Practical Nurses of British Columbia (CLPNBC), and other provincial regulatory bodies govern the practice of licensed practical nurses.

3. Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Role: Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses with specialized training in diagnosing, treating, and managing patients’ health conditions. They can prescribe medications, order diagnostic tests, and provide comprehensive primary care services.


Education: Nurse practitioners hold a Master of Nursing (MN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with a specialization in nurse practitioner studies. They must also obtain national certification as nurse practitioners.

Regulatory Body: Nurse practitioners are regulated by provincial regulatory bodies such as the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC).

4. Nurse Educator

Role: Nurse educators are experienced nurses who teach and mentor nursing students in academic settings, including universities, colleges, and healthcare institutions. They develop curriculum, facilitate clinical experiences, and promote professional development among students.

Education: Nurse educators typically hold advanced degrees such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Education (EdD) and have extensive clinical experience in nursing practice.

Regulatory Body: Nurse educators may not have specific regulatory bodies but adhere to educational standards set by nursing education institutions and accrediting bodies.

5. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Role: Clinical nurse specialists are expert nurses with advanced knowledge and skills in specialized areas of nursing practice, such as critical care, oncology, or mental health. They provide direct patient care, conduct research, and lead quality improvement initiatives.

Education: Clinical nurse specialists require advanced education at the master’s or doctoral level in a specialized area of nursing. They may also obtain certification as clinical nurse specialists.

Regulatory Body: Clinical nurse specialists are regulated by provincial nursing regulatory bodies and may have additional certifications from specialty nursing organizations.

5 Requirements for Nigerian-Trained Nurses to Work in Canada

1. Nursing Qualifications and Registration

The first and foremost requirement is to have a nursing degree or diploma from an accredited institution in Nigeria. Additionally, you must be registered as a nurse in Nigeria and possess a valid nursing license. The regulatory body for nursing in Nigeria is the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), and you must be in good standing with this council.

2. Language Proficiency

Proficiency in English or French is crucial for working as a nurse in Canada. Most healthcare settings in Canada require nurses to have strong communication skills in English, as it is the predominant language used in healthcare facilities. You may need to provide proof of language proficiency through standardized tests such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP).

3. Nursing Assessment and Credential Evaluation

To work as a nurse in Canada, you must undergo a nursing assessment and credential evaluation process. This process involves having your nursing qualifications and credentials assessed by a designated Canadian organization, such as the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) or a provincial regulatory body. The assessment determines if your education and experience meet Canadian standards for nursing practice.

4. Visa and Work Permit

As an internationally trained nurse, you’ll need a valid visa and work permit to work in Canada. Depending on your situation and the specific nursing program or job offer, you may apply for a temporary work permit or explore pathways for permanent residency through programs like the Express Entry system or provincial nominee programs (PNPs).

5. Canadian Nursing Exam

After completing the credential evaluation process, you may be required to pass a Canadian nursing exam to demonstrate your competency and readiness to practice nursing in Canada. The most common exam for nurses is the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

FAQ About Working as a Nurse in Canada from Nigeria

Q: Can I work as a nurse in Canada without Canadian experience?
A: While Canadian experience is beneficial, it is not always a mandatory requirement. Nursing assessments and exams assess your competency regardless of where you gained your experience.

Q: How long does it take to complete the nursing assessment and credential evaluation process?
A: The duration varies depending on the organization conducting the assessment and the completeness of your documentation. It’s advisable to start the process early and follow the guidelines provided by the assessment body.

Q: Are there specific pathways for Nigerian nurses to immigrate to Canada permanently?
A: Yes, Nigerian nurses may explore immigration pathways such as Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), or employer-sponsored streams that lead to permanent residency in Canada.

Q: Can I work as a nurse in Canada if I have a nursing degree from a Nigerian university?
A: Yes, having a nursing degree from an accredited Nigerian institution is a valid qualification. However, you must meet all other requirements, including language proficiency, assessment, exam, and registration with a Canadian regulatory body.

Q: Do I need to take additional courses or training in Canada to work as a nurse?
A: Depending on your assessment results, you may be required to complete additional courses or training to meet Canadian standards and licensing requirements. These requirements vary based on individual assessments.


Working as a nurse in Canada from Nigeria requires thorough preparation, meeting specific requirements, and completing various steps, including assessment, exams, registration, and securing a work permit. By understanding and fulfilling these requirements, Nigerian-trained nurses can pursue their nursing careers in Canada and contribute to the country’s healthcare system. Start early, gather necessary documentation, seek guidance from regulatory bodies, and explore employment opportunities to embark on a successful nursing journey in Canada.


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