How to get registered

All nursing graduates who plan to practise in Ontario must register with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), and in order to do so, they must successfully complete an approved examination. The first step, before the exam, is to apply to the college directly for assessment.

There are three types of examinations in Ontario: Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE); National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN); and Nurse Practitioner Examinations.

Prospective nurses are encouraged to prepare for examination.

There are seven requirements nursing applicants must meet in order to obtain a current General Certificate of Registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario (and practice in Ontario as a RN or RPN):

  1. Completion of an acceptable nursing or practical nursing program.
  2. Evidence of recent safe nursing practice.
  3. Successful completion of national nursing registration examination.
  4. Evidence of fluency in written and spoken English or French.
  5. Registration or eligibility for registration in the jurisdiction where a nursing program was completed.
  6. Proof of Canadian Citizenship, Permanent Residency, or authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) to engage in the practice of nursing.
  7. Good character and suitability to practise, as indicated by a Declaration of Registration Requirements and a Canadian Criminal Record Synopsis.

Get all your questions answered about nursing examination and registration in Ontario here.

For registration requirements, check with specific provincial registration bodies, which include the following:

Becoming a nurse practitioner

In Ontario, Registered Nurses (RNs) with additional education and experience are in the Extended Class, also known as Nurse Practitioners (NPs). NPs have an expanded scope of practice including the ability to order and interpret diagnostic tests, communicate diagnoses, prescribe prescription drugs, and perform specific procedures. Find out what else NPs do.

NP is a protected title in Ontario (since August 2007). And there are four NP specialty certificates within the Extended Class: NP-Primary Health Care, NP-Pediatric, NP-Adult and NP-Anesthesia.

In order to become a NP in Ontario, RNs must have obtained advanced education, demonstrate evidence of safe practice, and have passed an approved registration exam. Learn more about these exams here. With these criteria, an RN can apply to the CNO to join the Extended Class.

For more information, check out these links.