Salary of Nurses in Canada 2023

Due to the staffing shortage across the country, skilled, trained nurses are in high demand. Furthermore, the knowledge of the salary of nurses in Canada is worthwhile.

A statistics study shows that, between 2019 and 2028, new job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) are expected to total 191,100, while 154,600 new job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration, and mobility) are expected to be available to fill them.

This shows that there are many opportunities for students to study and pursue nursing in Canada.

With this in view, nurses can work in good working conditions with flexible working hours and fantastic pay.

In this article, we will show you all it takes to become a licensed working nurse in Canada, either as an indigene or a foreigner. We will also dive into the average hourly and annual pay you can earn as a working nurse in Canada.

Let’s get started!



Since nursing is a highly in-demand field in Canada, there is no doubt that nurses in Canada are on a great career path. While fulfilling their passion and saving lives, they are also able to earn a good income.

Related: Salaries of nurses in Australia after Tax

You must know that nursing in Canada varies depending on the province or territory in which you plan to work. However, the guidelines are roughly the same with two basic steps.

  • Complete your educational training
  • Acquire a license


  1. Finish From High School

Completing high school is the foundational step for a nursing career. However, preparing for a future career in nursing goes beyond ordinary classroom activities. It requires passion, dedication, and some real-life experience.

High school students considering the nursing profession can pursue several avenues to kick-start their careers.

Some of which include:

  • Taking the right classes that align with nursing
  • Volunteering in places like a hospital, assisted living facility, or another healthcare setting. This will help you learn more about the profession and whether it aligns with your ambitions. It also bolsters college applications.
  • Learning first aid and basic life support skills
  • Researching and exploring the coursework needed for a prospective program, along with other requirements.
  1. Obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing

Most provincial and territorial nurses’ associations in Canada require potential nurses to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

As the first step in your journey to becoming a nurse, check with your province or territory’s nurses’ association or regulatory body for a list of approved nursing schools and programs in your area.

Nursing is available both as a diploma and an undergraduate degree program. Except for Quebec and Yukon Territory, the national licensing body (Canadian Nurses Association),  recommends all aspirants obtain their undergraduate Baccalaureate degree as it is required.

Before being admitted to study nursing in a college, you must have completed high school with at least a C average in English, Mathematics, Biology, and Chemistry. Physics is also recommended. However, many schools offer a pre-nursing year for those without the necessary prerequisites.

Many nursing schools offer specialized advanced programs; some examples are emergency nursing, cardiac nursing, oncology nursing, school nursing, pediatric nursing, and geriatric nursing.

Universities to consider include the University of Toronto, the University of Alberta, and the University of British Columbia. The state in which you plan to work should be an important factor in where you choose to study

  1. Obtain a Diploma of Collegial Studies(If you live in Quebec)

For a place like Quebec, you do not require a university degree in nursing. However, it is required that you complete a 3-year Diploma of Collegial Studies (or DEC) program in nursing. If you would prefer a university degree, another option is to get a 3-year Bachelor of Science (BAC) degree in nursing.

  1. Obtain a Nursing License

The next and final step to becoming a nurse is to obtain a legal license. Here are six(6) basic steps to obtain a license.

  • Apply to your provincial nurses’ association for as.
  • Take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). You must pass this exam before further steps are taken.

However, note that each regulatory body or board of nursing in Canada has its eligibility requirements for members wishing to take the NCLEX. Hence, you will need to contact the appropriate organization in your area to find out what you need to do before applying to take the NCLEX.

  1. Also, you must prove that you are fluent in written and spoken English or French.
  2. You should have registration or the eligibility to register in the jurisdiction where you completed your nursing education program.
  3. You should have Canadian Citizenship, Permanent Residency, or authorization to practice nursing under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  4. Lastly, you must have proof or a record of good character and suitability to practice. As part of the assessment of your character and suitability, you may need to submit a criminal record check.


Now, you are ready to apply for your dream nursing job! With a good resume, all you need do is search for nursing jobs around your area.

Your resume must be strong while containing a brief statement of your career objectives, a summary of your education, a list of any honours and awards you have received, and a summary of your work and clinical experience.


Nurses are in very high demand in Canada. With a lot of cities and towns in need of nurses, there is a lot of work to be done. Hence, nurses are well paid.

Registered working nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012), earn between a range of $26.28/hour and $48.37/hour in Canada.

However, the average hourly nurse salary is $34.74. Entry-level positions start at $52,327 per year. For most experienced workers, the annual salary is up to $82,233. Generally, the average nurse salary in Canada is $67,740 per year or $34.74 per hour.


Including high school, and obtaining a degree and a license, it takes

about ten(10) years of hard work, studying and dedication to become a licensed nurse. However, your nursing qualification and the type of education you get determine how long it will take you. It also depends on the territory or province in which you want to work.

Excluding high school, it takes four years to acquire a bachelor’s degree (BSc) in nursing, but if it’s an associate or diploma degree, it takes between two and three years. 


If you do not originally stay in Canada but you want to work outside your location, Canada is one of the best places to go to.

Asides from the indigenous workers, numerous thousands of people go there each year to seek better jobs and a better life. Canada allows you to earn high wages, a friendly and conducive work environment, and of course, flexible working hours.

Moreso, Canada is one of the most immigrant-friendly countries in the world. With the shortage of Canadian citizens interested in working in the nursing industry, nursing degrees from all over the world are generally accepted, and solutions are provided to help those whose qualifications aren’t sufficient.

It is important to remember that different provinces have slightly different requirements for foreigners to become registered nurses.

The national language is English. Therefore, as surely as you could understand this article so far,  you are good to go. However, there are some regions in Canada where French is also spoken.


  1. Study Nursing

Becoming a registered nurse in Canada requires a degree in the field. Although the easiest way for foreigners to become nurses in Canada is to study there, degrees from other parts of the world are accepted.

The exact rules differ between states. For example, provinces, like British Columbia and Nova Scotia, assess each nursing applicant on an individual basis.

However, others like Alberta and New Brunswick, require applicants from certain countries to take a Substantially Equivalent Competency (SEC) Assessment to make sure that their knowledge is up to Canadian standards. The SEC tests two things; theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

In some cases, foreigners can enroll in integration programs.

The aim of this is to help those who have been educated outside Canada learn to work in the Canadian health system.

Integration programs are highly personalized and involve plenty of practical learning. Many of them are sponsored by the government, which keeps fees at a minimum.

  1. A Proficiency in English and/or French 

The English language is mostly spoken in various parts of Canada although some others use French. Hence, it is required of any foreigner intending to work in Canada to have proficiency in English and/or French. Your ability to communicate with those around you is highly dependent on your flow of either or both languages.

Places like Alberta and British Columbia use primarily English, while Quebec uses French. However, some other provinces like New Brunswick and Manitoba will require you to use both languages. Therefore, proving that you are proficient in English and/or French is an important process in becoming a nurse in Canada.

Although y the IELTS is also accepted, many nursing applicants in the country take the Canadian English Benchmark Assessment for Nurses or CELBAN. The primary aim of this test is to check applicants’ use of English in situations nurses would find themselves in.

If you’re not a native English speaker but received a nursing education, this may be easier for you. The minimum scores are 7 for speaking, 7.5 for listening, 6.5 for reading, and 7 for writing. However, you will need to get an overall of at least 7. At the moment, the CELBAN and the IELTS are the only acceptable tests.

For places like Quebec, you’ll need to demonstrate proficiency in French to become a registered nurse.

The only accepted test in most states is the Test d’Evaluation de Français, or TEF. Other French tests like the DELF can’t be used because they don’t offer versions in Canadian French, which is quite different from the one spoken in France.

  1. Apply to State of Your Choice

If you studied abroad, the next step to becoming a registered nurse is to have your credentials assessed using Canadian standards.

First, you’ll need to have your degree converted to the Canadian system by the World Education Service (WES). Secondly, the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) will determine whether your degree qualifies you to work in Canada.

There are documents you will also need for this process, some of which include: your personal ID, your proof of English language proficiency, and a form filled out by your employer to verify your work experience. Check the NNAS’s website for a full list of required documents.

After your application has been approved by the NNAS, you’ll need to apply to the nursing board in the province where you wish to work. Examples of these are the College of Nurses in Ontario, the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals, and the College & Association of Registered Nurses in Alberta.

Note that these boards often have their requirements in addition to those set out by the NNAS. Hence, it is best to check out the website of the one you intend to apply to. Many state boards, for example, require applicants to take the NCLEX, a standardized nursing exam.

  1. Get Your Work Authorization

The final step for a foreign nurse coming to work in Canada is to get work authorization. Once you’re recognized as a registered nurse by one of the state boards, you’ll need to secure a visa to work in Canada. To get a work visa, you can either go through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

The FSWP works on a point system and takes into account factors like education, language ability, and previous work experience. The PNP pathway is only available in states with significant demand for nurses.

This list includes Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. Both these options lead to permanent residency.


In Canada, nursing is in high demand. Therefore, with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a registered license, job opportunities are available for both indigenes and foreigners.

Canada has good working conditions and environments. Most experienced workers earn as high as $82,233 every year.

For a foreigner with an education abroad, some requirements must be met before being authorised to work as a licensed nurse in Canada.



Yes, the pay for Nurses in Canada is fantastic. The average salary is 67,740 per year or $34.74 per hour.


 It takes four years to acquire a bachelor’s degree in nursing in Canada. However, a diploma program takes two or three years.


Nursing in Canada is open to both indigenes and foreigners. As long as you meet the Canadian standards for nurses, you are good to go.


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