The entry-to-practice education in Alberta for Licensed Practical Nurses is a diploma program available from post-secondary institutions.

RELATED – Approved Practical Nurse Programs

For post-secondary institutions (PSIs) offering a practical nurse education program, it’s important to understand the relationship between the legislation, the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta, and the post-secondary institution.

The Council of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) delegates the review of all of Alberta’s practical nurse education programs to the Education Standards Advisory Committee (ESAC). Following a program review, ESAC prepares a report with recommendations for Council. Council reviews the report and determines approval status. Education programs are reviewed in order to:

  • Fulfill the CLPNA’s legislative duty under the Health Professions Act to approve all practical nurse education programs.
  • Promote the safe practice of nursing through a standardized nursing education approval process and the use of comprehensive education standards.
  • Provide stakeholders with a transparent account of program approval, and,
  • Support continuous evaluation and improvement of nursing education programs.

Diploma Program Approval Standards

The CLPNA’s Council approves education standards for Practical Nurse Diploma programs. These standards provide a benchmark for program quality, are used to measure program performance, and determine a program’s ability to graduate competent, safe practical nurses.

Practical Nurse Diploma Education Standards are revised as necessary to ensure currency and relevancy and undergo a comprehensive review every four years.

CLPNA Operational Policy

The CLPNA has developed an operational policy to facilitate the review of all practical nurse education programs.

Establishing a New Diploma Program

Any Post-Secondary Institution (PSI) wishing to offer a new diploma program should refer to the policies and guidelines for establishing a new practical nurse diploma program.

Program Review, Documents and Templates

Approved Diploma Programs and educational institutions applying to the CLPNA to establish a Practical Nurse Diploma Education program undergo a program review by the Education Standards Advisory Committee (ESAC). This comprehensive review is completed by measuring program performance against the Diploma Program Approval Standards.

The programs gather data and complete a comprehensive self-study document, along with templates containing specific program information. These documents are then submitted to ESAC for evaluation prior to a scheduled site visit.


Templates provide a standardized format for submission of supporting data. All diploma programs must use the mandatory templates with their submission.


In addition to the mandatory templates, optional templates provide a format to submit other required information. Diploma programs may choose to use their own templates instead of the optional ones provided.

Diploma Program Guide

This guide provides support to programs undergoing program approval, re-approval and annual reporting requirements.


Approved Diploma Practical Nurse Programs are required to notify ESAC of any substantial changes within their program. Please refer to the Notice of Change Form and Appendix C in the Diploma Practical Nurse Education Standards Guide.

Annual Program Review Documents

Diploma programs are responsible to show continued compliance with program approval standards and are expected to work toward compliance in areas that were deficient at the time of their full program review.

The annual reporting requirement includes submission of the following documents:

Additionally, approved diploma programs will be provided with an annual review template with recommendations and reporting requirements.


For more information, please contact:

Email the Education Department 

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