English Language Proficiency

To register and license with NSCN, all of our applicants are required to provide evidence of English language proficiency (ELP).
For internationally educated nurses: Effective October 14, 2022, the assessment for English language proficiency will be conducted by NSCN, not NNAS. All internationally educated nurse applicants will submit their proof of language proficiency directly to NSCN. Learn more here.

You can meet the English language proficiency registration requirements in the following ways:

  1. Obtain the required score on an NSCN-approved English language proficiency test score (CELBAN or IELTS Academic). See below for the required scores. 
  2. Submit evidence of completion of a nursing program in a jurisdiction that appears on our English Language Proficiency Test Exemption List below, where the language of both theory and clinical instruction was provided in English.
  3. Submit evidence of completion of post-entry nursing (or non-nursing) education in a jurisdiction that appears on our English Language Proficiency Test Exemption List below. 
  4. Submit an Employer Confirmation of English Language Proficiency form directly from your employer(s) that shows you have worked in a health care environment within the last 24 months in a jurisdiction that appears on our English Language Proficiency Test Exemption List where services were provided in English.
  5. Submit an Registration/Licensure Verification form showing you currently hold a licence to practice as a regulated health professional in a jurisdiction that appears on our English Language Proficiency Test Exemption List below.

The Question and Answer document provides answers to commonly asked questions about meeting NSCN’s English language proficiency registration requirement. We encourage you to review this document. 

There are two different tests that you can take to demonstrate your English language proficiency. 

In November 2022, we updated our cut scores for the CELBAN and IELTS Academic based on recommendations from the Canadian Nurse Regulators Collaborative (CNRC). The following new cut scores better reflect the language demands expected of nurses at the entry-level to practice in Canada.

Name of Test  Minimum Passing Score
Canadian English Language Benchmarks Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) www.celbancentre.ca Writing: 7
Speaking: 8
Listening: 9
Reading: 8
Total: N/A
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic Only) www.myetc.ca/ieltsregistration Writing: 6.5
Speaking: 7
Listening: 7
Reading: 6.5
Total: 7

We may be able to download your test results directly from IELTS and CELBAN. Please email registration@nscn.ca for more information. If not, please arrange for the language testing centre to forward a copy of your test results directly to us at registration@nscn.ca.

NSCN does not accept the IELTS Indicator Test.

The current English Language Proficiency Test Exemption List includes only English language programs taught in the following countries/territories:

  1. Anguilla
  2. Antigua and Barbuda
  3. Australia
  4. The Bahamas
  5. Barbados
  6. Belize
  7. Bermuda 
  8. British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)
  9. Canada 
  10. Cayman Islands
  11. Dominica
  12. Falkland Islands
  13. Gibraltar
  14. Grenada
  15. Guernsey 
  16. Guyana
  17. Isle of Man
  18. Jamaica
  19. Jersey
  20. Malta
  21. New Zealand
  22. Republic of Ireland
  23. Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  24. St. Kitts and Nevis
  25. St Lucia
  26. St Vincent and the Grenadines
  27. Trinidad and Tobago
  28. United Kingdom
  29. United States of America
  30. US Virgin Islands

Revised August 2020

Your English Language Proficiency Test results expire two years from the date you complete the test. NSCN may still consider this and other expired language tests in the assessment of your English language proficiency. Feel free to include these scores with your application.  

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at registration@nscn.ca. We strive to respond to you as soon as possible. However, due to the high volumes of emails and complexity of inquiries, our response time may vary.  

Please be advised that registration requirements and fees are subject to change. All registration and licensure fees are non-refundable. Click here to learn more about fees and payment options