In Canada, registered nurses, RNs, and LPNs, licensed practical nurses, differ by education. RNs have four-year degrees in nursing from a university. LPNs have two-year college nursing diplomas, and in Ontario are called Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs). LPNs need to obtain an undergraduate degree, though usually in an accelerated program that gives credit for their previous college coursework. They can then take the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam (CRNE) in order to work as an RN.
Post-Diploma University Baccalaureate Programs
LPNs have the option to become RNs via a baccalaureate program. Universites such as Athabasca offer a post-LPN Bachelor of Nursing (BN) Degree program. A typical BN requires 120 credits, while the post-LPN program requires 90; the 30 remaining are the credits earned getting the associate degree, or LPN certification. At the University of Fraser Valley's Program, the student enters the second year of a three-year program. In addition to nursing-oriented classes such as Family Health Promotion and Informatics, candidates must take a selection of humanities and social sciences courses. Graduates can then write to the Canadian Registered Nurse Examinations for professional certification.
Second University Baccalaureate Programs
LPNs who already hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing can apply for a post-LPN baccalaureate program. The students can apply their previous coursework plus their LPN diploma in order to satisfy up to 50 per cent of the post-LPN program's requirements. Previous university coursework must be above the 100 level to satisfy this condition. If your degree was obtained outside Canada, you can still transfer the credits as long as they're reviewed by the Office of the Registrar and Program Director.
College Baccalaureate Programs
Colleges, such as Red River College, also offer RN baccalaureate programs. The program spans over 32 months or about three calendar years. The final year includes 450 hours of practical work. LPNs can receive credit for year one and attend 22 months of the 32-month program, which includes a senior practicum of 450 hours. Successful candidates receive a Bachelor of Nursing degree and can write the Canadian Nurse Registration Exam (CRNE) exam. Make sure to check residency requirements. Due to high demand, Red River College's program is only open to residents of Manitoba.
Quebec College Programs
Quebec is the only province in Canada that does not require a bachelor's degree in order to become an RN. Colleges such as CEGEP John Abbott College have intensive two-year programs. LPNs only need to complete 1515 of the 2145 specific component hours required for the program. However, the general education part is still 660 hours, bringing the total number of hours to 2175. Applicants from outside the province must first contact admissions to determine their eligibility. Once the student has completed the program, she has to pass a Quebec provincial licensing registration examination to work as an RN Quebec.
- Monster.com: Registered Nurse (RN) versus Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)/ Registered Practical Nurse (RPN)
- Athabasca University: Post-LPN Bachelor of Nursing Degree Program
- University of the Fraser Valley: Licensed Practical Nurse Access to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Red River College: Nursing Baccalaureate Program
- Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing: Media Release
- Red River College: Nursing - Licensed Practical Nurse to BN
Alana Vye is a Canadian writer living abroad. She had a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Toronto and has worked in online marketing and publicity. She's also an avid traveler who has visited Asia, Europe and Central America.