Nurse Login

Changes to English Proficiency Tests

Dec. 9, 2022

Innovations are happening to how internationally educated nurses meet the language requirements for a permit. The College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) serves the public interest, and our priority is registering nurses that meet the entry-level criteria

All applicants must meet the English language requirement to practise in Alberta. There are multiple ways to meet this requirement, including taking a nursing program in English within Canada or having two years of nursing experience in English. Another way to meet the requirement is to take an English language proficiency test.

Individuals who took their nursing education outside of Canada and have not yet held a permit in Canada need to complete a language test.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • Reading 6.5
  • Listening 7 (Previously 7.5)
  • Writing 6.5 (Previously 7)
  • Speaking 7
  • Overall 7

Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment (CELBAN)

  • Reading 8
  • Listening 9 (Previously 10)
  • Writing 7
  • Speaking 8

In addition to passing score changes, applicants now only need to submit test scores once. The National Nurses Assessment Service (NNAS) is the first step for internationally educated nurses. The organization reviews education for nursing regulators across Canada. NNAS will no longer check English language test scores, and applicants will only need to supply them to regulators. This change increases the flexibility for when applicants can take the test, as test scores expire after two years.

We know that more change needs to happen. Formal English testing is only one way to demonstrate an individual has the English skills necessary to practise. The CRNA is currently reviewing additional ways for applicants to meet this requirement to further improve the application process. Watch our website for more updates.