Is CELBAN equibalent to IELTS, to continue studying?

Hi I have a question, I’m a nurse in another country and I have to take the English test to take the examination for licensure as a nurse in BC, I have interest in further studying a specialty, or follow the Masters after getting my license in BC However, universities are asking me to take IELTS. The question is, is CELBAN equibalente to IELTS, to continue studying. Thanks for your attention. Angie

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conceptDear Angie,

Welcome. From where are you writing? I often have people contact me from around the world. I have a few of their e-mails and my replies on my blog (

The one inconvenience about migration is the number of organizations you need to contact. With them being government and universities, there is not a great deal of communication between them, to streamline their processes. So that means each one requires a different English Proficiency Exam.

  • As far as I know the CELBAN is only accepted by colleges of nursing, in Canada.
  • The TOEFL is the academic standard, but some universities may accept the IELTS.
  • The IELTS is the immigration standard.

Fortunately the academic version of the IELTS is also accepted by the colleges of nursing, but many people find it difficult to get the score. Often people choose the CELBAN because it is easier. Mind you, once you have an acceptable score on the CELBAN, it is used for your admission to the required upgrading courses the college of nursing may ask you to take at a college or university. So in this way, only, the CELBAN can also be considered an English entrance exam for college or university.

C0UP0NSmThe thing is, if you want to do a Master in Nursing, you have to complete your RN registration first, which will take at least two years, and about $5000. An RN is a base requirement for an MN. At the same time it is worth it, only with an MN can you teach nursing, in Canada. And, back when people were talking about the shortages, we had a shortage of nursing teachers, which was actually part of the problem creating the shortage.

At the end of the day, if you can get the score for IELTS Academic version there, where you are, then do that. You can use the score with the college of nursing AND for immigration. You might be able to use it for a university too.

But if you are having trouble getting the score, try the CELBAN. But make sure you avoid the CELBAN trap ( You can prepare for about 6 months, and take the exam here in Canada. Meanwhile you can explore, and think about where you want to live.

For those overseas, I strongly encourage preparing for the CELBAN from home, when you are getting paid well and you have family support. Life of an immigrant can be overwhelming and depressing. This can and does decrease a person’s will and drive. Just read a few posts where I am offering encouragement to see for yourself (

At the end of the day, Angie, I hope and wish the very best for you! I hope your path is smooth and you can learn from some of the trials others have experienced.!


2 responses to “Is CELBAN equibalent to IELTS, to continue studying?

  1. Hi Kim :

    its me again πŸ™‚ , i got my IELTS result today , they are much improved, listening 7.5, reading 7, speaking 8 and writing 6.5 good change yet am still lacking .5 :(:(
    so i decided to go for CELBAN this time so obviously i need your assistance and advice.

    Kind regards,


  2. Dear Kim :
    hope you are doing well :), it has been long since i contacted you , so this is a quick update πŸ™‚
    i sat for my SEC last July 2012, did fairly well , i had to take few courses(all done except for my clinical ). while i was studying for my courses we moved to Vancouver, i have to admit its very hard to relocate and start a new life out of my comfort zone 😦 but we managed to overcome few difficulties and things are getting better except for my English proficiency test that has expired, so naturally i had to set for another test and with the high scores required now i was terrified to try something new therefore i wrote the IELTS in march my scores were overall 7, speaking 8, reading 6.5 , listening 7 and writing 5 😦 that was really shocking since my last test score was much better.
    again i did the same mistake (or so i feel ) sat for IELTS again April 13 , still waiting for the result but i do not have good feeling at all .
    what made go for the IELTS, is that i have never wrote CELBAN and i was not prepared to try something new, second reason, the dates are far from what i was aiming for .
    then i read all the blogs regarding IELTS vs CELBAN and i regret wasting all that time.
    anyhow, in a week time ill be able to decide based on my IELTS results whether i will have to write CELBAN or not .
    i wish i had met all those who advised me to write the CELBAN before i spent all that time and money on IELTS .

    i will be contacting you soon inshallah to take some advice on writing the CELBAN soon

    Kind regards,


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