Become A Registered Practical Nurse

In long-term care, registered practical nurses (RPNs) play a vital role in creating individualized care plans that meet the unique needs of each resident. They work as an integral member of an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, social workers, dieticians, speech language pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and more.

Registered practical nurses care for residents with stable and more predictable medical needs. However, the varied demands on registered practical nurses in long-term care means they not only exercise a wide range of skills, but also have the opportunity to pursue different medical specializations. Caring for residents over a long period of time, registered practical nurses not only become indispensable members of their care teams, but also develop strong, personal relationships with residents and their families.

Become a registered practical nurse

Job Requirements

To become a registered practical nurse, you must:

  • complete an approved program of practical nursing
  • complete the national registration examination
  • be registered and in good standing with the College of Nurses of Ontario


Registered practical nurse programs approved by the College of Nurses of Ontario, are offered at publicly-assisted colleges, as well as some Indigenous institutes in partnership with publicly-assisted colleges.

Admission generally requires:

  • Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent academic achievement
  • individual college or program prerequisites

Programs are two-years long and lead to an Ontario college diploma.

Become A Registered Nurse

Registered nurses working in long-term care provide comprehensive care to residents with ever-increasing levels of complex needs.

They are clinical leaders in assessment, care planning, carrying out care and measuring what’s working or not for all residents in a long-term care home. Registered nurses are also responsible for leading residents’ care teams, which can include a number of different designations and practitioners. Due to the wide scope of their role in the sector, registered nurses with experience in long-term care can achieve leadership roles in their careers much sooner, than in other sectors

Job Requirements

To become a registered nurse, you must:

  • complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree offered by a university, college, or through a college-university partnership
  • complete the national registration examination
  • be registered and in good standing with the College of Nurses of Ontario


In Ontario, Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs are provided by:

  • 2 university stand-alone programs (Queen’s University and University of Toronto)
  • 17 collaborative university-college programs
  • 4 college stand-alone programs (Humber, St. Lawrence, Seneca and Georgian colleges)

Admission generally requires:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
  • minimum academic achievement average
  • individual college or university program prerequisites

Programs are typically four years in length. However, some compressed and accelerated options are available for students with prior education and experience.

Become A Personal Support Worker

Personal support workers are the backbone of the long-term care sector. On a day-to-day basis, they are able to make the biggest difference to the residents’ quality of life and are involved in every single aspect of care-planning, including:

  • personal care
  • social and emotional well-being
  • housekeeping
  • culturally-specific supports

Given the support they provide across a spectrum of needs, becoming a personal support worker in long-term care is a great opportunity to develop a wide range of valued skills like inter-personal communications, teamwork, adaptability and collaboration.

It is also a much-in-demand role, with the long-term care sector alone looking to employ thousands of personal support workers over the next four years.


Personal support worker education programs are offered by:

  • publicly-assisted colleges
  • private career colleges
  • district school boards
  • Indigenous institutes

Programs take from five months to a year to complete.

Pathways For Internationally Educated Nurses

If you are an internationally educated nurse, Ontario offers programs designed to help you become eligible to practice here in a short time.

Discover if you’re eligible for immigration to Canada


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