English Proficiency

Nursing Program and English Language Proficiency Requirements for Internationally Educated Practical Nurses (IENs)

Graduates from schools of practical nursing outside of Canada applying for their initial or first registration in Nova Scotia, must have;

  1. Completed a practical nursing program or equivalent, provided by an approved School of Practical Nursing that included:
    1. at least 500 hours of theory
    2. at least 1000 hours of clinical experiences
      1. medical, surgical, obstetrical nursing
      2. nursing of children
      3. psychiatric nursing
  2. Demonstrated English Language proficiency for applicants whose first language is NOT English. (Applicants from Australia, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States may be exempt.)

Required Scores for the English Language Proficiency Test (LPT)

Name of Test Minimum PassingScore Website
Canadian English Language Benchmarks Assessment for Nurses(CELBAN) Writing     7 Speaking  8 www.celban.org
Listening 10 Reading    8
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic Only)
Writing 7.5 (7) Speaking 7.5 (7) www.ielts.org 
Listening 8 (7.5) Reading 7 (6.5)

Test results must be original; these may be submitted by the applicant or testing facility. Copies are not accepted.

What IEN Applicants Need to Know

  1. Applicants must achieve the minimum passing score in each section of the test.
  2. Scores must be obtained in one sitting of the English language proficiency test. Results that combine scores from more than one test or more than one sitting of the same test are not accepted.
  3. English LPT results will expire two years from the date the test was completed. If the test results expire before an applicant has been approved to register with the College, the file is placed on hold. Applicants must submit new or updated English LPT result to restore the application process. Individual applicants are responsible to monitor the expiration dates of their LPT results.
  4. Applicants with a file on hold cannot:
    • be approved to write the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE);
    • qualify for a license, or;
    • register with the College.
  5. Most applicants, who meet the requirements for nursing education programs and language proficiency, are required to write and successfully pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE).

Graduates from schools of practical nursing or equivalent outside of Canada, who are unable to provide evidence of their nursing program and/or status in their own country, are required to:

  • Provide a notarized statement which includes following information:
    1. Name used by the applicant when enrolled in the program
    2. Name and location of school of nursing
    3. Length of the program
    4. Date of entrance and completion of the program
    5. A list of theory and clinical courses ( programs must have had at least 500 hours of theory and at least 1000 hours of clinical experiences in medical, surgical, obstetrical nursing, nursing of children and psychiatric nursing)
  • Demonstrate English Language proficiency (see above scoring requirements)
  • Write and successfully pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE)

Applicants who do not meet the theory and clinical hour requirement will be contacted by a Registration staff member regarding a competency assessment. Applicants may be eligible for a PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment Recognition) at the Nova Scotia Community College. For more information on registration requirements for graduates from outside of Canada, contact:

College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia

Starlite Gallery
302 – 7071 Bayers Road
Halifax Nova Scotia
B3L 2c2Tel: 902-423-8517, Toll-free (NS) 1-800-718-8517
Fax: 902-425-6811Email: info@clpnns.ca

For more information about the PLAR program and assessments contact: Judy Morrow, Practical Nursing Program Manager, Nova Scotia Community College

Tel: (902) 491-4717
Email: Judy.Morrow@nscc.ca

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Posted in Internationally Educated Nurses