Canada’s Nursing Programs that have Opportunities for International Students

Prospective international students interested in pursuing a career in nursing have a variety of options in Canada. The demand for nursing will keep increasing, the jobs has relatively high pay, and the career is also at lower risk of automation. If you are looking into a Canadian nursing program either to start fresh or to pick up some new nursing skills, there are a number of schools across the country offering exceptional programs with in-depth theory content as well as great experiential learning options, including training in simulation centres.

Some of Canada’s exceptional schools for nursing students are listed below. They include MacEwan University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Humber College, Laurentian University and Trinity Western University!

MacEwan University – Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Program Overview

Alberta’s MacEwan University offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing for those future healthcare heroes out there! This program prepares its graduates for direct entry into direct practice, equipped with the knowledge and skills to tackle nursing leadership, education and research. This degree program combines discussions, debates, lectures, writing projects and application scenarios; all of these methods of learning will well prepare future nurses for their careers! Throughout your bachelor’s degree, you’ll be able to take courses such as Mental Health Nursing, Introduction to Applied Statistics, and Introductory Psychology.

As a nursing student, you’ll have access to the Clinical Simulation Centre – this is a state of the art lab and simulation space for students in nursing, but also for students in programs such as policing, social work, and acupuncture. Here, nursing students will be able to transform theory learned into hands-on practice; specialized technology is available for use and includes software and integrated audio and visual services.

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Careers at a Glance

Most of the graduates from the Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing will take up positions as registered nurses (RN’s). Registered nurses will find career opportunities in environments such as acute care, primary care, community care, tertiary care, clinic-based-care, education centres, research centres and government administration.

According to the Government of Canada, registered nurses will be highly in demand over the period of 2019 – 2028; in fact, openings are expected to total 191 100 while new registered nurses available to fill these positions are expected to total 154 600 people. Demand for registered nurses is rated as good in all provinces except for Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador as cited by the Government of Canada. Meanwhile, the median hourly wage of registered nurses in Canada is $37.60 according to the Government of Canada.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University – Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing

Program Overview

Kwantlen Polytechnic University offers a Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing in British Columbia, and the program is widely known amongst international and domestic students alike. Students in the nursing program will be taught using a particular philosophy well known to psychiatric nursing programs; psychiatric nursing is about health promotion, a shift from the previous disease model. Some of the courses students can expect to take during their psychiatric nursing degree include Mental Wellness and Communication, Introduction to Psychology: Basic Processes, Health Care Ethics, and First Nations Health.

Students in the Psychiatric Nursing program will have the opportunity to engage in experiential learning. Students will be directly involved with clients in their homes, institutional centres and community centres. Much of this work will take place in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley – although, opportunities outside of these jurisdictions are possible as well.

Further, well there are not specific specializations available in the Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing, students can tailor their degrees into a certain specialization of psychiatric nursing. Possible informal specializations include forensic psychiatry, psychiatric emergency care, eating disorders and substance use services.

Careers at a Glance

Most graduates of the Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing are likely to become psychiatric nurses. In Canada, psychiatric nursing jobs are reported on as mental health nurses, and the country is expected to face a shortage of psychiatric nurses over the next 10 years. as cited by the Government of Canada. This means there will be more nursing jobs available than nurses to fill them. In all of the provinces with the exceptions of Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Ontario demand for nurses is classified as good according to the Government of Canada. Further, psychiatric nurses in Canada earn a median hourly wage of $37.60 as cited by the Government of Canada.


International Student Success – Josephine Ladia

Josephine Ladia was an international student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University from the Philippines. She completed both the Nurse Ready program (designed for nurses trained abroad) as well as the Registered Nursing program.

Since completing her education abroad and in Canada, Josephine has held a number of different nursing positions in the Vancouver area. She has worked at the Bayshore HealthCare centre as a health care assistant, at the Chen Hoang Client Support Group Society, and now as a registered nurse for Vancouver Coastal Health. What an amazing collection of Canadian work experience, congrats Josephine!

Humber College – Practical Nursing Diploma

Program Overview

Ontario’s Humber College offers a Diploma of Practical Nursing that can easily serve as your education entry point into the world of practical nursing in Canada. This is a 4-semester program complete with both courses and experiential learning opportunities; in fact, over 1000 hours of clinical placements are provided to students during this diploma. In the diploma, some of the courses you’ll be taking include Practical Nursing Health Assessment, Legal and Ethical Concepts, Basic Human Anatomy, and Practical Nursing Pharmacotherapeutics.

As a Humber Practical Nursing student, you will be spending a lot of time in the labs where you’ll be learning by doing. 2 labs will be common locations for your hands-on learning; these are the Clinical Simulation Learning Centre and the Biosciences Lab. In the Clinical Simulation Learning Centre, students can practice acquired skills during simulations before any practice on real patients, thus preserving patient safety. The Clinical Simulation Learning Centre allows nursing students to practice hands-on training with minimal risk involved. Next, the Biosciences Lab is another common lab for practical nursing students; this lab happens to be the only publicly-funded college lab in Ontario that houses cadavers for lab use by students and faculty teachers.

Careers at a Glance

Licensed practical nurses could work in a number of settings notably acute-care hospitals, clinics and public health units, private practices, psychiatry, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation services and many more healthcare-oriented environments.

In Canada, there is a high demand for licensed practical nurses; this profession is expected to face a shortage over the period of 2019-2028 according to the Government of Canada. There is an expected number of openings totalling 33 500 over this period, while at the same 28 000 new practical nursing job seekers will become available, as cited by the Government of Canada. Licensed practical nurses in Canada earn a median hourly salary of $26.30, according to the Government of Canada.

International Student Highlight – Introducing Idee Folami

Idee Folami is a Nigerian native who studied at Humber College in the Bachelor of Nursing degree program. She was an outstanding student, earning the Canadian Millenium Excellence Award twice and graduating as class valedictorian as well.

Idee credits Humber as being a school that prepares you well for the workforce – it offers both exceptional academic and clinical training through the use of simulation labs very similar to the environments nurses work in each day. Students that go through this program are ready to enter the workforce.

After graduating from Humber, Idee worked in cardiology and intensive care units before pursuing her Masters’s in Nursing at the University of Toronto. From there, she is eager to get started in on teaching young nurses to be their best selves and great caretakers for patients.

Laurentian University – Master of Science in Nursing

Program Overview

Ontario’s Laurentian University offers nursing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. For international students interested in pursuing graduate studies in nursing, Laurentian has that option in a Masters of Science Nursing program. Notably, there are two options for graduate programs in nursing at Laurentian – one is the thesis stream, while the other is for post-nurse practitioners. The thesis stream evidently allows nurses to undertake their own research; this fine-tunes their research abilities which is an asset to nursing positions in the public health or policy development realm. Meanwhile, the graduate program geared towards nurse practitioners in Ontario – it is a course-based program that includes 4 core courses and 3 electives.

Some of the courses that graduate students in these programs could take include the following:

  • Advancing Social Justice
  • Oncology Nursing
  • Health Care Policy and Nursing Practice In Northern, Rural and Remote Environments
  • Family Nursing
  • Risk Management in Healthcare Environments

In both degree programs, the course Health Care Policy and Nursing Practice in Northern, Rural and Remote Environments is a mandatory course as the graduate programs have a focus on remote and northern healthcare.


Careers at a Glance

For students who complete graduate programs, doors open to more senior positions here in Canada. One such senior nursing position could be that of a manager in healthcare – specializing in nursing. In Canada, the labour supply and demand for this position are expected to be in line over the period of 2019-2028; the new positions opening are expected to total 20 100, while 22 000 new job seekers will be available to fill these positions as cited by the Government of Canada. Further, demand for managers in healthcare is expected to remain good in all provinces with the exceptions of Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Saskatchewan where the outlook remains fair as cited by the Government of Canada. Notably, healthcare managers can earn a high wage; the median hourly salary in Canada is $45.67 as cited by the Government of Canada.

International Student Spotlight – Meet Anthony Olowu!

Laurentian nursing student Anthony Olowu is originally from Nigeria. He is currently in the midst of completing his Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is working part-time as a personal support worker at Finlandia Village. He loves nursing for its caring aspect; nursing provides the opportunity for one-on-one interactions with patients which is something he both enjoys and finds himself to be good at.

But academics isn’t all he has to offer, Anthony is also a varsity athlete at Laurentian with the university’s outstanding track and field team!

Trinity Western University – Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Program Overview

British Columbia’s Trinity Western University offers a 4 year Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing set in a Christian and liberal arts context. The program will include classroom, lab and clinical instruction and students will graduate with knowledge in nursing therapeutics, nursing research, medical, surgical and mental health nursing as well as maternity and pediatrics. As examples, some of the courses students will take include Health Promotion and Primary Health Care, Community Health, Spirituality and the Helping Professions, and Professional Ethics amongst other courses.

Trinity Western University offers something incredibly unique for its students – global projects. The nursing program at TWU is highly focused on global health; the program instruction is attentive to the determinants of health and illness in countries all around the world. So, global projects allow nursing students to travel to another country for an amazing experiential learning experience – this is a short-term mission trip that creates a long-term transformation for both the community abroad as well as the nursing student.  Some key questions guide the mission trips these students take, they are the following:

  • WHY did things get to be this way and why are we participating in God’s mission?
  • WHO are we becoming and who are we called to love?
  • HOW can we help without hurting and how do we follow and obey God?

Each student at the end of their global project trip will have the opportunity to create a next step they could take in their professional and spiritual life given all they have learned abroad.

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Careers at a Glance

Of course one of the common career options to come out of this degree is a registered nurse, but depending on the courses chosen and further education students could become a nurse specialized in mental health, ER nurse, critical care nurses, geriatric nurses and more. These nurses could end up working in hospitals, long-term care homes, public health, and outpatient centres amongst other medical centres.

One such career option that could come out of the TWU nursing degree is that of geriatric aides. Geriatric aides are an in-demand occupation, with it expected that there will be a shortage of new employees able to fill opening positions between 2019-2028 according to the Government of Canada. Demand for geriatric aides is expected to remain strong in all provinces, and remain fair in the Northwest Territories as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador, as cited by the Government of Canada. Finally, the expected median hourly salary for geriatric aides is $20.23 as cited by the Government of Canada.

There is no shortage of options for international students hoping to become nurses in Canada. Schools with great programs are available across the country and many international students have found successful careers upon graduation from these programs. So, if your goal is nursing in Canada, these schools are the way to go! Look into applications and get started on your dream career in Canada.TwitterFacebookLinkedInWhatsApp

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