IEN Registration and Licensure Pathways

Nova Scotia offers you many opportunities for an exciting nursing career. First, you must become licensed to practice as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN) in the province. When you have your license, you can find employment in various settings.

Nursing Regulation in Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia College of Nursing is the regulatory body for nurses in the province. The NSCN is responsible for issuing licenses and monitoring those who hold a license.

As reported in the NSCN Annual Report 2022, there were over 16,000 nurses in Nova Scotia, including nurse practitioners (NPs).

NPs are advanced practice nurses with a graduate-level education in nursing. As an IEN, you must first obtain an RN registration and licensure before you can be licensed as an NP in the province.

What is the difference between a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and a registered nurse (RN)?

LPNs and RNs are self-regulated nursing professions in Canada. There are similarities in their practice environments, but there are also significant differences in their educational training and scopes of practice.


Nursing registration requirements

There are two registration pathways for IENs in Nova Scotia.

The expedited pathway

This pathway is for IENs who are registered and hold a current licence that entitles them to practice as an RN in the Philippines, India, Nigeria, Australia, US, UK or New Zealand.

The non-expedited pathway

This pathway is for IENs who do not hold a current licence to practice as an RN in Canada or the seven designated countries. 

NSCN Application Process for IENs in the Expedited Pathway

NNAS Application Process for IENs in the Non-Expedited Pathway

English Language Proficiency


What’s next after applying to the NSCN?

Nursing education differs worldwide in its requirements, content, and delivery. Your nursing program may not have included all of the content taught in the Nova Scotia program.

When the NSCN  assesses your nursing program, the College may find that you have some missing education or “educational gaps”. If you did not fill these educational gaps through continuing education or nursing experience, the NSCN may ask you to complete a competence assessment and/or a bridging/re-entry program.

Competence Assessment for LPN and RN Registration

Nursing RN Bridging/Re-Entry Programs

Nursing Registration Exam

NSCN Jurisprudence Exam

Currency of Practice Requirement

Conditional License