Nursing: Upgrade Courses for IENs

Qualifying as an RPN and RN

Disclaimer: Please note that these upgrade courses are only for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) who want to qualify as Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) in Ontario. If you are interested in a general nursing education, please visit this page.

Ontario colleges are offering new, tuition-free competency upgrade courses for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) who want to qualify as Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) in Ontario. All theory courses will be delivered online. 

These courses have been funded through the Ontario government's Nursing Program Transformation in Ontario’s Colleges initiative and are designed to offer flexible study options for working IENs.

Who are the IEN Competency Upgrade Courses for?

These courses are for IENs who have had their education assessed by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and have been informed in writing of the need for additional education. The letter provided by the CNO will outline the specific competencies that need to be addressed. The courses have been designed to address specific competencies and provide an efficient path towards meeting the CNO’s Education Requirement.  

If you require additional education, you should review your Competency Assessment Form to know what learning needs you have outstanding. Then, you should review the list of courses below to identify which ones match your learning needs. Unless otherwise specified, the courses are available online and can be completed asynchronously. This means that you are able to take the courses at your own pace while meeting the due dates for assignments. 

IEN Competency Upgrade Courses

  • Nursing Informatics
  • Pharmacology
  • Nursing in Ontario
  • Research in Nursing
  • Health Assessment
  • Healing and Episodic Health Challenges
  • Health and Transitions
  • Relational Practice
  • Pre-clinical Readiness (NOTE: this course requires on-site participation at a college)
  • Clinical Experience (NOTE: this is not an online course – on-site participation at a college is required)
  • Preceptorship (NOTE: this is not an online course – on-site participation at a college is required)

To find out when each course is available, please check the OntarioLearn website

For more information regarding the CNO’s Competency Assessment Program for IENs, including language proficiency requirements, please visit their website.

Who can apply?

You are eligible if you meet ALL of the following criteria, including: 

  • You are an IEN  
  • You have proof of one of the following:
    • Canadian citizenship status; or
    • Canadian permanent resident status; or
    • Appropriate authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) that permits you to engage in the practice of nursing in Ontario
  • You have a letter from CNO containing the results of your education assessment and the additional education you need.

Are there any other options for IENs who need to upgrade their education and skills?

These courses are designed to meet the competency upgrade (i.e., ‘gap-filler’) needs of IENs who require flexible study options. If you do not meet the criteria above, there are other study options available.

Further information on approved courses and programs can be found here.

Once you have identified which courses match your learning needs, please click on the OntarioLearn website and select the course title. You will then be directed to a list of colleges offering that course. All courses, unless otherwise specified, are available online, which means that you can access the course from anywhere in Ontario. If you need to take a course that requires on-site participation, please register for the course at a college near you. If you need help locating a college near you, please consult this map.

Students will require academic records from their local college as evidence of successful completion, depending upon their specific CNO registration requirements.

Every course will have a schedule to follow. As the online courses are available 24/7 and course schedules have week to week timelines, coursework may be completed at any time within the week.

Please check-in with your college to find out more about the course load.

Yes. For academic questions, your course facilitator should be your first contact. Once you register for a course, you will also receive information regarding the key contacts for technical support.

The IEN Nursing Transformation courses will be available in French this spring. The OntarioLearn website will be updated as more information becomes available.

Funded by: Ontario Government Logo

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