Policy: English Language Proficiency Standard

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) play an integral role in Alberta’s healthcare system and are obligated to deliver safe, competent, and ethical nursing care. As an LPN in Alberta, all applicants to the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) need to be able to communicate clearly in English to practice.

The Policy: English Language Proficiency Standard outlines how applicants can demonstrate English language proficiency to the CLPNA.

The requirement for English Language Proficiency (ELP) can be met through one of the following ways:

  • Graduated from a Practical Nurse Program in Canada that was taught in English
  • Graduated from a 2-year post-secondary education program in Canada where English was the language of instruction
  • Registered as a nurse in another Canadian jurisdiction where English language has been assessed by that jurisdiction as meeting the requirements for language proficiency
  • Successful completion of a recognized English Language Proficiency test:
    • CELBAN – Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses
    • IELTS – International English Language Testing System (Academic Version)

Results from an ELP test need to be received directly from the testing facility. More details about the tests are available in the policy.

One question commonly asked is “I am currently registered as a nurse in another province; do I have to take the CELBAN or IELTS test?” As long as you were assessed to have met the English Language Requirement and hold current registration with them you do not need to do a language proficiency test. 

Applications for registration are not considered complete and ready for assessment until the language requirement has been met.

For more information see: English Language Testing Standards – College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (clpna.com)


For more information, please contact:

Email the CLPNA’s Registration Department

Ask CLPNA or call 1-800-661-5877 (toll-free in Alberta), or 780-484-8886.