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The English Language Proficiency Test is a measure of your English writing, speaking, listening and reading capabilities to ensure you’re able to safely communicate with the client and other members of the interdisciplinary team in Nova Scotia.

Test scores must be obtained in one test sitting and we do not accept results that combine scores from more than one test or more than one sitting of the same test.

Name of Test Minimum Passing Score
Canadian English Language Benchmarks Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) Writing: 7
Speaking: 8
Listening: 10
Reading: 8
Total: N/A
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic Only) Writing: 7
Speaking: 7
Listening: 7.5
Reading: 6.5
Total: 7

We may be able to download your test results directly from IELTS if you provide us with your Test Report Form Number. If not, please arrange for the language testing centre to forward a copy of your test results to CRNNS.

Internationally Educated Nurses: Meeting the English Language Proficiency Requirement

There are four ways in which you can demonstrate your English language proficiency to CRNNS:

  1. Provide an English language proficiency test score that meets CRNNS’ requirement;
  2. Provide evidence to CRNNS that you completed an English language nursing program in a jurisdiction that appears on our English Language Proficiency Test Exemption List;
  3. Submit information from your employer(s) that shows you have worked as a nurse in a country that appears on our English Language Proficiency Test Exemption List for the last 24 months; or,
  4. Show that you have met the English language proficiency requirements of a Canadian nursing regulatory body (licensed practical nurse or registered psychiatric nurse) and hold a licence to practice nursing with that regulatory body for the current licensure year.

Additional information about the English language policy that applies to internationally educated nurses not currently licensed in Canada can be found in the CRNNS Registration & Licensure Guide for Internationally Educated Nurses.

Note: An applicant’s English language proficiency is determined during the NNAS process and CRNNS as the regulatory body does not intervene in this initial process. This means that if NNAS determines that you are not proficient in English, you will be required to submit an English language test to NNAS. CRNNS cannot “waive” this NNAS English language proficiency test requirement. Once you apply to CRNNS the above rules related to English language proficiency apply.

Test Exemption Canadian RNs or New Graduates

All applicants must submit an English Language Proficiency Test score unless they provide satisfactory evidence of the following.

Please note that these exemptions do not apply to internationally educated nurses who do not hold a current RN licence in Canada:

  1. the applicant meets one of the following criteria:
    1. completed a nursing program where the language of instruction, for both theory and clinical, was English. Online or distance education programs do not meet the definition of a nursing program for the purpose of this requirement. A written statement from the school of nursing may be required; or,
    2. provide an Employer Confirmation of English Language Proficiency directly from their employer(s) to CRNNS that they have:
        • worked as a nurse for a minimum of 24 months prior to submitting their application to CRNNS in a setting where services were provided in English; and;
        • there were no concerns with their nursing practice when they communicated in English; or
    3. met the English language proficiency requirement of another Canadian nursing  regulatory body at the time of their registration and currently hold a licence to practice nursing in that jurisdiction; and
  2. there is nothing in the application that causes CRNNS to question the applicant’s continued English language proficiency.

Expiry of the English Language Proficiency Test
Your English Language Proficiency Test results will expire two years from the date you complete the test. If your test results expire prior to you becoming registered with the CRNNS, your file will be placed on hold until an updated test is received. You will not be permitted to do the following if your file is placed on hold:

  1. receive a temporary licence or
  2. register/licence with the CRNNS

You are responsible to monitor the expiry of your test results.