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​Proficiency in the English language is fundamental to ensure that the public has access to safe and competent care. All applicants for registration must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency prior to BCCNM granting registration.

At any time, during the application process, BCCNM may ask you to complete an English-language proficiency test if there are reasonable grounds to believe your English language proficiency may impact your ability to practise safely. 

Meeting the English language proficiency requirement

BCCNM's assessment of your English language proficiency starts with your declaration of the first language (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) you learned at home as a child. How you meet the English language proficiency requirement will depend on a number of factors, including language of instruction and work history:
​​You recently graduated from a BCCNM-recognized education program
Nursing education programs in B.C. require students to demonstrate their English language proficiency before admission. BCCNM considers your proficiency demonstrated at the time of admission to your nursing program, combined with your completion of education in English, when assessing the English language proficiency requirement. If you did not demonstrate English language proficiency at the time of admission, you will be required to provide evidence of proficiency at the point of application to BCCNM.
You graduated from an approved nursing education program and/or practised in another Canadian jurisdiction
If you received your nursing education in English and practised safely in another Canadian jurisdiction in an English-speaking practice setting, we consider the combination of this evidence when assessing the English language proficiency requirement.
​You completed your nursing education in a country other than Canada
The National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) will collect evidence in your application to assist BCCNM to assess your proficiency, including your first language, a language test (if taken) and information from your nursing education institution and employer(s). Once you apply to BCCNM, BCCNM will determine whether you have met the English language proficiency requirement or whether a language test will be required.

Approved English language proficiency tests 

If you are required to complete a language proficiency test, you must choose one of the following tests and meet the minimum scores below. Important: Scores must be obtained from a test taken at the same sitting. Combined scores from different writings or different tests will not be accepted.​​​


Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN)
Online computer-based exam and virtual interview​
Reading: 8
Listening: 9
Writing: 7
Speaking: 8
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)​ - Academic version
In-person only
Overall band score: 7.0
Reading: 6.5 
Listening: 7.0
Writing: 6.5
Speaking: 7.0​