How to Become a Nurse in Alberta|10 Best Steps

Are you interested in the steps on how to become a nurse in Alberta? Do you enjoy taking care of sick patients and working with people? Are you naturally caring? Then becoming a nurse might be just that profession for you.

A nurse is a licensed healthcare professional, practicing either independently or under supervision by a doctor, surgeon, or a dentist, and is skilled in taking care and maintaining the health of patients in a healthcare environment.

Licensed professional nurses, provide expert health care directly to their sick patients. They also engage in public exercises like Health talks, Disease awareness campaigns, etc.

They also carry out research and administrative work at their workplace. They possess a variety of knowledge and skills in coordination of care, leadership, comprehensive assessment, complex and critical thinking including a variety of other skills.

They also put together several elements such as diagnosing, ordering, and interpreting investigative tests, treating health problems, as well as prescribing drugs into their practice.

For individuals interested in following the career path of a nurse, there are varieties of courses and programs available, however, it could be daunting when you have several things on your plate, and you have no idea how to start.

Fortunately, we are here to help you. In this article, we will be looking at the steps on how to become a nurse in Alberta, so if becoming a nurse is what you want, then sit tight and relax, while we carefully guide you through the path ahead.

The List of Steps on How to Become a Nurse in Alberta

  • Step 1: Decision Making 

  • Step 2: Choose a Nursing Path

  • Step 3: Earn a degree in nursing

  • Step 4: You need to apply to the College of Nurses (CNO) directly for an assessment.

  • Step 5. If you pass, you must meet four other requirements to be “registered” by a provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body in Canada.

  • Step 6:  Apply for a nursing job and a work permit.

  • Step 7: Get a specialty certification

  • Step 8: Join a community/union of practicing nurse

  • Step 9: Acquire more education

  • Step 10: Continue to Project a Professional Image

Now, below are more details on the list of steps on how to become a Nurse in Alberta.

Step 1: Decision Making 

The first on our list on how to become a nurse in Alberta is decision-making. It is unarguably a big commitment to become a nurse, as it comes with lots of commitments.

Why it might be daunting to combine a nursing profession with family commitment, proper planning might be of a little help, but first, you will have to decide on whether a career in nursing is what you want.

 You must be aware of the commitments and consequences while choosing cautiously because it might be one of the most important decisions you will ever be making.

Step 2: Choose a Nursing Path

After deciding on whether nursing is for you, what follows next is to choose a nursing path. The nursing career can take you in many directions, as you try to rise through the ladder.

Starting from the beginner’s level of being a nursing assistant (CNA) up to the ranks of a nursing administrator. Bearing this in mind, you should think of the type of work environment you prefer.

For instance, certified nurse assistants quite often work from nursing homes, while their counterpart regional nurses work in hospitals and doctors’ offices. So, permit me to ask, what type of setting excites you?

This is because there are many sectors in the healthcare industry, it is required that one specialize in a particular area. As such, you must consider what gaps you want to fill, as well as what role to play within the industry. 

If a support medical staff role is what you want, then a CNA or LPN/LVN might as well suit you.

If managing other nurses and providing assistance is what interests you, then a career as a regional Nurse or advanced nurse practitioner might be what you should be going for.

If you have a passion for a specific field, it is time to jump straight into it, but note that the educational requirement varies with respect to different areas.

Step 3: Earn a degree in nursing

Earning a degree is the most important step on the list of steps on how to become a nurse in Alberta. The type of nursing degree you want to acquire will determine the career path you will eventually follow.

Nursing programs comprise both classroom study and clinical experience. Clinical training is meant to equip you in acquiring practical knowledge and life scenarios associated with the nursing profession.

Their experience will give you the chance to observe how operations are run in a medical setting. RN nurse associate degree takes less time to complete, however, it has a downside, as employees are quicker to hire nurses with a bachelor’s degree.

This is because they have more in-depth knowledge and have acquired more education than the RN

Here are the types of nursing degrees available:

  • Nursing diplomas » Community colleges and vocational schools

  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) » Community colleges

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) » Available at colleges and universities

  • Master of Science in Nursing (BSN) » Colleges and universities

  • Doctoral degrees (DNP, ND, Ph.D., DNSc) » Colleges and universities

Step 4: You need to apply to the College of Nurses (CNO) directly for an assessment.

Graduates of nursing with intentions of practicing in Alberta must be registered with CNO.

Once deemed eligible on a successful application, you will now be able to take the exam.

The exam is meant to measure your competence in nursing at the start of your practice. You must also complete a registration exam by the college as well in addition.

These exams are taken online and are meant to evaluate your knowledge and understanding of rules, regulations, college by-laws, practice standards, and guidelines, that govern the nursing profession in Alberta. 

Step 5: You must meet four other requirements to be “registered” by a provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body in Canada.

After successful completion of an eligibility program, showing evidence to the college of a successful and recent safe nursing practice, including successful completion of the national registration examination; you must then proceed further by providing the following details which will now be required for you to get registered.

  • Certificate of English or French language proficiency.

  • Evidence of registration or eligibility for registration in the jurisdiction where a nursing program was completed.

  • Proof of Canadian Citizenship, Permanent Residency, or authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) to engage in the practice of nursing.

    Good character and suitability to practice, as indicated by a Declaration of Registration Requirements and a Canadian Criminal Record Synopsis.

  • An authentic certificate of registration from a college is required to be provided by all nurses who wish to practice and perform in Alberta. It is important to note that 

 Only members of the College are allowed to refer to themselves as nurses in Alberta.

Step 6:  Apply for a nursing job and a work permit.

Once you are registered to work as a nurse in Alberta, the next step is to secure a job offer. There are several job sites that post nursing vacancies; however, you can use sites like

You can be able to get notifications on vacant jobs within Canada. It’s important to note that after getting a job offer, you must apply for a work permit.

This can be done on paper or online by simply downloading the form for a mail-in application through the Canadian immigration and citizenship website

Step 7: Get a specialty certification

Nurses in Alberta can specialize in a variety of areas within their profession e.g Critical Care, Community Health Care, etc. Getting certifications in your career as a nurse can also help you to a very great extent to rise through the ladder, as a practicing nurse.

Certification also can help you land better-paying jobs, as well as help you build specialty and competence in the nursing field.

However, In order to acquire some certifications, you will be needing a certain level of experience in your chosen area of specialty as required.

Step 8: Join a community/union of practicing nurse

To ensure you remain relevant and up to date within your field as a practicing Nurse, you must consider joining a community and being active.

Joining a community comes with several opportunities and experiences. Joining a community not only helps make you stay up to date with current events and topics, but it also helps with networking.

The importance of Networking does not only stop at building friendships, but it’s a great way to get job referrals, etc.

Communities also from time to time organize training sessions, webinars, and workshops for younger nurses looking forward to rising through the ladder.

This helps keep them up to speed with current happenings within the nursing field. There are several communities or unions in Alberta you can join as a nurse to improve yourself, one of which is the United Nurse of Alberta.

The Union is the biggest union of registered nurses in Alberta and is quite committed to its member’s welfare.

Step 9: Acquire more education

In order for you to move through the ranks as a professional nurse, you will have to acquire more education. More education will ensure you stay up to date with your specialty.

As within the nursing profession, educational courses abound, both professional courses and otherwise.

Taking these courses will go a very long way to improve you as a nurse. Furthermore advancing your degree can be a very great step toward improving yourself as a nurse, whether you decide to go to school or take up relevant skills, it’s a valuable investment in yourself and your nursing career.

Step 10: Continue to Project a Professional Image

Projecting a professional image out there helps in increasing your relevance within the field. The nursing profession has always been seen as the most trusted profession for several years due to several good reasons.

The public express much trust in nurses, dues to their work ethics, compassion, and knowledge. As a practicing nurse, such great trust must be upheld and maintained through a professional means of discharging your duties.

Engagements outside the profession,  should also portray good moral ethics as this is what the profession is known for. More so engaging in public talk shows, carrying out research and carrying out seminar presentations, could also be a great way of projecting a professional image of yourself as a nurse.

How much does a registered nurse earn in Alberta?

Having seen the steps on how to become a nurse in Alberta, let’s talk about how much nurses earn. On average, a licensed nurse in Alberta Health Services earns as high as $98,243 a year and $47 an hour in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The average salary ranges from $69,662 and $121,633. This estimated salary range represents the median based on salaries collected from a number of nursing professionals.

Additional pay could also include bonuses, commissions, etc. Salary ranges however may vary with respect to locations, works place as well as educational qualifications.

Nurses with higher educational qualifications earn much more than nurses with lower qualifications. Moreover, salary may also vary with respect to rank attained within the profession.

How long does it take to become a registered nurse in Alberta

Graduates with interest in the nursing profession, must meet the requirements needed to become a registered nurse in Alberta by the College & Association of Registered Nurse of Alberta (CARNA). This demands that you acquire a 4-year nursing degree as approved by the national licensing body.

Which nursing career path pays the most?

The nursing profession, no doubt is a high-paying one. Not all nurses within this career earn as much as you think however, Nurses who facilitate pain-free childbirths, work in intensive care units, as well as resuscitate acutely unwell patients earn more.

Certified anesthetist has consistently been ranked as the highest paid nurses within the nursing career. The reason is not far-fetched from the fact that they are regarded as the most advanced, within the nursing profession.

They work closely with medical staff especially, during situations that demands intensive care action

Conclusion on how to become a nurse in Alberta

The work of a registered nurse, involves the provision of  expert health care services directly to patients. Proudly referred to as frontline warriors, nurses are  strong pillars of the healthcare system, and play a pivotal role in healthcare.

Nurses are also known to engage in public education, research programs as well as administrative work.

The nursing profession, demands the ability of one who can think critically, coordinate care and leadership, and possess a holistic ability to care and show empathy towards others.

Throughout Alberta and beyond, qualified nurses are in high demand, not just for bedside roles but for education and leadership roles as well. This further explains how lucrative the job of a nurse can be.

Before deciding to join the nursing profession, you must also decide whether or not it is what you want. The job of a nurse can be demanding at times, and time-consuming, giving you little time to focus on family matters.

However, for those interested in following the career path of a nurse, there is a wide range of Nursing courses available, from training diplomas to full-fledged specialized degree programs,  you can jump on to achieve your dreams. Let us know what you think about these steps on how to become a nurse in Alberta in the comment section.

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