Internationally Educated Nurses – Frequently Asked Questions

IMPORTANT: To work or accept employment in Alberta, Canada, Licensed Practical Nurses must have registration and a valid Practice Permit from the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA), as per the Health Professions Act (HPA) of Alberta.

This page will assist Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) with commonly asked questions about application timelines, the CLPNA’s English language requirements, the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE), and Criminal Record Checks.

Click here for step-by-step instructions about: How to Apply

Click here for frequently asked questions about: Application and Assessment

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

Click here for information about: English Language Testing Standards

Applying for Registration as an IEN

This section will help answer questions that Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) may have about how to apply for registration to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in Alberta.

The following information is intended to support you in making an informed decision prior to submitting an application to the CLPNA. The CLPNA cannot provide a decision on eligibility prior to your application for Registration being submitted and assessed as the CLPNA would not have a complete understanding of your nursing history. It is recommended that potential applicants review all information and policies before submitting an application to the CLPNA. Application fees are not refundable. Policies are subject to change.

How do I apply for registration as an LPN in Alberta?

Once an IEN has made an informed decision to move forward with an application, they will need to contact the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). The NNAS is the first step in the application process. The NNAS will evaluate the IEN’s credential, curriculum, work history and registration history with other jurisdictions. Once the NNAS process has been completed, the NNAS will provide you with a link to begin the CLPNA’s Application for Registration.

My NNAS Advisory Report states ‘Not Comparable’, will my CLPNA application be denied?

Not necessarily. A decision on an application for registration with the CLPNA cannot be issued until the application has been assessed. The CLPNA may request additional information not included in the NNAS Advisory Report, to support the assessment of an application. If further information is required, the CLPNA will notify the applicant by email.

Will the CLPNA waive the English Language requirement?

Language proficiency is a requirement of all applicants to the CLPNA and may not be waived. The CLPNA will accept successful English Language testing scores (IELTS or CELBAN) that have been completed within the last 3 years. The CLPNA does not consider work history or letters from employers as a substitute for English Language Proficiency testing. See the English Language Proficiency Standard for further information.

What does it mean to be ‘actively engaged in practice’ within the last 4 years?

The CLPNA policy requires that an applicant must demonstrate that they have been actively engaged in practice by providing nursing services for a minimum of 1,000 nursing practice hours within the past four years. Nursing practice hours must be worked in a jurisdiction where you are licensed to practice as a nurse. See the Policy: Actively Engaged Requirements for Registration and the Continuing Competence Program for further information.

I already submitted a Verification of Registration to the NNAS, do I need to submit another one to the CLPNA?

In accordance with the CLPNA’s Policy, Verifications of Registration (VoR) issued more than six months from the time the application is assessed for registration are no longer considered current. This currency allows the CLPNA to assess current registration and practice in your originating jurisdiction(s). If the VoR in your NNAS Advisory Report is past the six-month currency date, you will be required to provide a new one.

Is a Criminal Record Check required?

In order to meet the requirements of registration, the CLPNA will only consider Criminal Record Checks issued by BackCheck directly to the CLPNA through the online system. To register for an account and complete your Criminal Record Check, visit: Sterling BackCheck. Criminal Record Checks are considered valid for six months from the date of issue. If you are not currently residing in Canada, a Criminal Record Check must be completed through a Canadian Consulate or Embassy.

Can the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE) be challenged?

No, the CPNRE cannot be challenged in Alberta. Applicants are not eligible to write the CPNRE until the Application for Registration to the CLPNA has been assessed and has been approved for a Provisional Registration. More information about the CPNRE will be sent to you once the decision letter has been issued and all requirements have been met.

How long will it take my application to be processed?

  • Up to 5 business days for confirmation that the Application for Registration has been received.
  • Up to 10 business days for an assessment to be completed.
  • Up to 5 business days for Provisional Permits to be issued once requirements are met and payment for Provisional Registration fees have been received.
  • Applications and related components stay active for six months. Applications that have not been completed in this time will become dormant. If documents provided are older than six months, you may be required to provide updated documents.

Additionally:

  • Phone calls will be returned within 24 hours or 1 business day.
  • Emails will be responded to within 48 hours or 2 business days.

*Please note that these are general timelines and may vary due to high volume.

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If I do not meet NNAS or the CLPNA’s registration requirements, how can I have my credentials assessed?

Individuals who do not meet NNAS or the CLPNA’s registration requirements are advised to contact one of the approved practical nursing programs to have your credential assessed for prior learning and recognition. Completion of a Practical Nurse program may be required.

If you don’t meet registration requirements, you may be referred to the Alberta Licensed Practical Nurses Competency Exam (ALPNCE) – Touchstone Institute.

Please note that you can only register for this exam after obtaining a referral from the CLPNA.

Are there financial resources available?

Microloans are available through Bredin Centre and Windmill Microlending, to assist you in paying for fees associated with your professional assessment and application process. Please note that the organizations offering microloans are not affiliated with the CLPNA. Approval of a microloan is not an endorsement of your eligibility with the CLPNA. For further information, please contact the lenders directly.

How can I find resources for settling and working in Alberta?

Opportunity Alberta is a Government of Alberta website where you will find information and resources that include moving to Alberta, looking for work, and ways to immigrate to Alberta.

Frequently Asked Questions About: Application and Assessment

This section will help answer questions that Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) may have about the application and assessment process when applying to register to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in Alberta.

The following information is intended to guide you in completing your CLPNA application requirements. It is recommended that you keep a record of all email correspondence and information for your reference as you complete the application process. Please note that the CLPNA corresponds primarily by email. Application fees are not refundable. Policies are subject to change.

Click here for frequently asked questions about: Applying for Registration

Click here for step-by-step instructions about: How to Apply

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If the CLPNA has my NNAS Advisory Report, do I still need to complete all of the fields in my CLPNA Application Form?

Yes, applicants must complete the application fully and truthfully. The online application form includes several declarations, such as good character and fitness to practice, that all applicants are required to make. Completing the application also supports the applicant in ensuring that the CLPNA has accurate and up-to-date information to make a comprehensive application assessment.

How can I meet the English Language requirement?

The CLPNA will accept successful English Language testing scores (IELTS or CELBAN) that have been completed within the last 3 years. The CLPNA does not consider work history or letters from employers as a substitute for English Language Proficiency testing. Language proficiency is a requirement of all applicants to the CLPNA and may not be waived. See the Policy: English Language Proficiency Standard for further information.

How do I provide a Job Description?

The CLPNA requires that job descriptions be issued directly to the CLPNA by the IEN’s previous employer. The CLPNA will accept job descriptions that have been submitted to the NNAS and included in the IEN’s NNAS Advisory Report. Please ensure that your previous employer includes your first and last name with your job description.

I already submitted a Verification of Registration to the NNAS, why am I being asked to submit another one to the CLPNA?

In accordance with the CLPNA Policy, Verifications of Registration (VoR) issued more than six months from the time the application is assessed for registration are no longer considered current. This currency allows the CLPNA to assess current registration and practice in your originating jurisdiction(s). If the VoR in your NNAS Advisory Report is passed the six-month currency date, you will be required to provide a new one.

How do I complete the Self-Assessment form?

To complete the Self-Assessment, you will need to rank each competency and provide a brief example including where, when, and how you completed that competency in your past nursing experience. You may type this information on a separate sheet of paper. If you type it on a separate page, please be sure to include the competency, rating, and the additional information for each competency.

How do I provide a Criminal Record Check?

In order to meet the requirements of registration, the CLPNA will only consider Criminal Record Checks issued by BackCheck directly to the CLPNA through the online system. To register for an account and complete your Criminal Record Check, visit: Sterling BackCheck. Criminal Record Checks are considered valid for six months from the date of issue. If you are not currently residing in Canada, a Criminal Record Check must be completed through a Canadian Consulate or Embassy.

How should my documents be sent to the CLPNA?

In order to avoid delays or possible disruption with the delivery of your documents, it is recommended that all documents be sent by email to international@clpna.com, at this time. Please ensure that you have included your first and last name as it appears in your myCLPNA profile and application, in your correspondence with CLPNA.

When can I book the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE)?

Applicants are considered eligible to write the CPNRE once the Application for Registration to the CLPNA has been assessed and has been approved for a Provisional Registration. More information about the CPNRE will be sent to you once the decision letter has been issued and all requirements have been met.

How long will it take my application to be processed?

  • Up to 5 business days for confirmation that the Application for Registration has been received.
  • Up to 10 business days for an assessment to be completed.
  • Up to 5 business days for Provisional Permits to be issued once requirements are met and payment for Provisional Registration fees have been received.
  • Applications and related components stay active for six months. Applications that have not been completed in this time will become dormant. If documents provided are older than six months, you may be required to provide updated documents.

Additionally:

  • Phone calls will be returned within 24 hours or 1 business day.
  • Emails will be responded to within 48 hours or 2 business days.

*Please note that these are general timelines and may vary due to high volume.

If I do not meet the CLPNA’s registration requirements, what are my options?

PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment Recognition) – Individuals who do not meet the CLPNA’s registration requirements are advised to contact any one of the approved practical nursing programs to be assessed for PLAR. Completion of a Practical Nurse program may be required.

Request for Review – Should you wish to seek a review of the registration decision, you may do so by submitting a request for review within 30 days to the attention of Melanie Therrien, Deputy Registrar. Please indicate the reasons for the request, any supporting documentation to support your request, and a review fee of $350.

If you don’t meet registration requirements, you may be referred to the Alberta Licensed Practical Nurses Competency Exam (ALPNCE) – Touchstone Institute.

Please note that you can only register for this exam after obtaining a referral from the CLPNA.

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QUESTIONS?

For more information, please contact: Email Internationally Educated Nurses, Ask CLPNA or call 1-800-661-5877 (toll-free in Alberta), or 780-484-8886.

Updated October 6, 2022