Can I work as an LPN in Canada if I am an RN in BC?

I found this question, someone had typed as a search term:

Can I work as an LPN in Canada if I am an RN in BC?

I decided to answer this question to the best of my abilities.

There are three different professionally licenced roles in Canada, each one increasing in difficulty, education and income:

  • LPN
  • RN
  • PRN

What that means is that the requirements to become an Licensed Practical Nurse are lower than those for a Registered Nurse, and much lower than a Nurse Practitioner.  Each has it’s own licensing process and it’s own registration body. Colleges for LPNs, RNs, and PRN are by province. So people must register with the college in their province.

When it comes to moving from one province to another, for the most part, there are inter-provincial agreements. That means that a person that is licensed as a nurse in one province can easily move to another province. Requirements would be registration, and if educated and working in another language (like French in Quebec and some of the Maritime provinces) and English score.

There are exceptions for Internationally Educated Nurses. Internationally Educated Nurses who become an RN in a province like Saskatchewan (which does not require the SEC) seeking employment in Alberta or BC (which requires the SEC) would be required to take the SEC and complete required courses.

So, if you are a registered nurse in BC, you can easily transfer, becoming a nurse in another province. (If you are moving to a French speaking province you may be required to pass a French proficiency exam.) It is more difficult for an IEN, who has not taken the SEC, registered as an RN in Saskatchewan to move elsewhere.

However, transferring from an RN to LPN, or LPN to RN, is not the same process. The Colleges of RNs and the Colleges of LPNs are separate identities. Each has a different process. Each has different expectations. There are no agreements between these organizations.

Kim

2 responses to “Can I work as an LPN in Canada if I am an RN in BC?

  1. Thanks Kim..
    I am an IEN and an RN in BC. So, if I want to move to Saskatchewan, I assume there won’t be any problem? Is that right?

    Thanks

    • Dear Maryam,
      If you are fully licenced, and have your registration as an RN with CRNBC then the answer is yes! There is a provincial agreement between the Colleges of Nurses. This is good for you. However, if you or someone reading this is going the other way, as a fully registered RN in Saskatchewan moving to BC the process is not so easy. The process of becoming an RN in Saskatchewan requires less steps than in BC, so as an IEN moving to BC as an RN from Saskatchewan additional steps are required: the SEC, for instance. At some time SRNA may adopt similar practices as BC and Alberta. In doing so then a new provincial agreement would be made to allow for movement from Saskatchewan to BC or Alberta with ease. So if you are reading this as an RN and resident of Saskatchewan check to see with the SRNA or CRNBC on the current status.
      Thanks for asking Maryam, with your RN, contact SRNA, then start applying for positions once you are registered.
      Does this help?
      Kim

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