What to expect from a career in Nursing

Nursing programs at Ontario colleges come at varying levels for those in or interested in the field. Courses meet the needs of current Registered Nurses looking to diversify their skills as well as future nurses looking to get started.

Patient care demands exceptional attention to detail and a compassion for those in need. If you have these things and you see yourself starting or continuing in nursing education, here’s what you need to know.

Nursing Courses

Ontario college nursing programs cover the following areas:

  • Pre-Health Sciences. A preparatory science and math program designed to satisfy entry requirements into other medical programs, including nursing.
  • Practical Nursing. Two-year college diploma programs that teach the skills you need to become a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), with an emphasis on clinical experience.
  • Nursing Specialties. Teaching areas such as critical care nursing, operating room perioperative nursing, perinatal intensive care nursing and more, all of which build on training gathered as a Registered Nurse.
  • Bachelor or Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Four-year degree programs that prepare students for work as Registered Nurses (RNs). RNs have a greater depth of knowledge and competency in the field of nursing than RPNs and have a greater range of care delivery options.

Many other nursing programs exist, so be sure to study complete program listings before making your choice.

General Nursing Program Requirements

All entry level nursing programs will require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, with a grade 12 English credit. Specific science and math credits may be required for different programs, and are always seen as an asset.

Nursing Jobs and Salaries

Depending on your certification, nursing careers may include (but are not limited to) fields like:

  • Acute care
  • Community services
  • Health centres
  • Long-term care institutions
  • Hospitals

Licensed nurses may also serve as practitioners, educators and managers in the health field. Nurses also have options in the travel & tourism industry, as travel nurses are often in high demand.

Salaries in the field increase with experience. Registered nurses can expect starting salaries from $45,000 to $50,000 per year, and those that have a specialty like critical care, could start at $60,000 or more. Practical nurses have lower starting salaries, at around $43,000 per year.

Ontario Colleges Offering Nursing Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of nursing programs at Ontario colleges.

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