Research nursing programs and transfer opportunities between Alberta post-secondary institutions
Start a Nursing Career
Learn about the many ways you can train to become a nurse in Alberta. Program options are developed to give students choices in what, where and how they want to study.
There are several types of nurses, and a variety of nursing training programs, making it important for you to research your options until you find the one that's right for you. Post-secondary institutions work together to design training programs that give you flexibility and choice in your learning options.
There are 4 types of programs for professional nurses in Alberta:
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), which requires a two-year diploma for entry to practice.
Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN), which requires a diploma (2.5 years) at minimum for entry to practice.
Registered Nurse (RN), which requires a bachelor’s degree in either a Bachelor of Nursing (BN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN).
Nurse Practitioner (NP), which are Registered Nurses with additional clinical, masters-level education and training.
Please note there are also allied health professions, such as paramedics, diagnostic imaging technologists, medical laboratory technologists, medical radiation therapists or respiratory therapists, which might be of interest to you. Visit OccInfo to research these options.
LPNs work with other members of the health team to provide quality, patient-centred care and follow their patient’s care plan. They assist with processes like catheterization and may collect data, such as blood pressure or blood glucose levels, but cannot assess a patient on their own. They are not supervised by a RN or a physician, but may report to a unit lead (if they themselves are not the lead).
Requirements to enter practice as a LPN are a two-year diploma and a minimum of:
The Post-LPN Bachelor of Nursing program at Athabasca University helps you segue from a LPN to RN eligibility. It’s a 120-credit degree – 30 credits for LPN coursework and 90 credits for course work (some credits may be awarded for other previous coursework). Some students can receive up to 45 transfer credits towards their course work, depending on their prior education.
Alberta Institutions Offering LPN Programs
Practical nursing programs are offered by these Alberta post-secondary institutions:
RPNs are specialized nurses that care for their patients’ mental and developmental health. RPNs are regulated nurses used only in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon. Other Canadian jurisdictions use Mental Health Nurses or RNs with specialty training in mental health.
To practice as a RPN in Alberta, you need to earn a Psychiatric Nursing Diploma or Post-Diploma Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing.
The professional association governing RPNs in Alberta is the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta. Successful completion of the Registered Psychiatric Nurse Regulators of Canada Examination (RPNRCE) is required to register with the College.
The Psychiatric Nursing Diploma and Post-Diploma Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing programs are both offered by MacEwan University.
RPNs with a diploma or degree can become dually licensed as a RN upon completion of additional education available through the University of Alberta’s BScN.
Registered Nurse (RN)
RNs work with patients to determine their health needs. They can specialize in areas such as surgery or pediatrics by taking other training programs after they earn their degree. Being a RN can also bring leadership opportunities, for example, some community health centres in Northern Canadian communities are run by RNs.
To practice as a RN in Alberta, you need to earn (at minimum) one of the following undergraduate degrees:
Bachelor of Nursing (BN)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) – note: not the general Bachelor of Science (BSc)
There are 3 collaborative nursing models across Alberta that may allow you to complete your nursing degree through a public college in a local community.
Pathway options, such as applying your LPN education or another degree to RN programs of study, are also available.
RNs could take post-diploma programs to specialize their skills. Registered Nurses interested in graduate nursing studies that are clinical in nature can pursue Nurse Practitioner master-level training. Alberta universities also offer graduate level education to train leaders, instructors and researchers in Nursing.
University of Alberta(including bilingual and Honours degrees, and onsite at Grande Prairie Regional College, Keyano College and Red Deer College)
Other Degree to RN Pathway Options
These programs are for students who have completed a degree in a non-nursing discipline. Specific courses, such as in anatomy, physiology, microbiology or statistics, may be required of applicants, as well as a specific admission grade point average (GPA). Check program details below for more information.