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​RPNCE will become a computer-based test in 2022

In May 2022, the RPNCE will transition from the current pencil-and-paper exam to a computer-based exam.  Learn more​.

Applicants who wish to register with BCCNM as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse must successfully pass the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination (RPNCE). The RPNCE is a national multiple choice ​exam for RPNs in Canada that measures the entry-level competence and safety-to-practice of applicants seeking registration.

BCCNM has put COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place for exam sittings. Learn more.

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Have you already passed the RPNCE?

If you've already written and passed the RPNCE, you do not need to re-write it. You must still meet all of the other registration requirements in order to register with BCCNM​. 

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible to take the RPNCE, you must have met all of BCCNM’s other registration requirements for practising RPN registration​

If you are an applicant who has completed an approved psychiatric nursing education program in Canada, you must pass the RPNCE within a timeframe such that you can continue to meet the RPN Registration Requirement: Quality Assurance: Part B (RPN Practice Hours) (i.e. having graduated from a recognized psychiatric nursing program within the last five years, or having practised psychiatric nursing for at least 1400 hours within the preceding 5 years). To achieve this, most graduates should aim to pass the exam RPNCE within four years of completing their program.

If you are an internationally educated applicant, you must attempt the RPNCE within two years from the date you are eligible to write the exam. You must pass the exam within five years of the date you are eligible to write the exam.

To learn more, visit the RPN registration categories and requirements page.

Exam cost

​The fee to write the exam is $661.50. The cost is the same across all provinces except for tax. 

Exam content

​The RPNCE is a national multiple-choice, pencil and paper exam for RPNs in Canada that measures the entry-level competence and safety-to-practice of applicants seeking registration.​

Learn more about the breakdown of exam content ​

Work while waiting to take the RPNCE (provisional registration)

​Yes, if you have provisional registration​. This registration is available is for those who have met all the requirements of Practicing registration except passing the exam and who have applied for and paid to write the next scheduled RPNCE. For more information about provisional registration, go to our provisional registration section​.

 Apply for the RPNCE

How to apply

If you are a new applicant to BCCNM, you will provide your consent for us to register you for the RPNCE and will pay the exam fee as part of your online application form. We will register you for the next exam for which you are eligible, unless you tell us you want to defer writing the exam for any reason. 

If you submitted an application for RPN before Sept. 4, 2018, BCCNM staff will contact you once you are eligible to write the exam, and will explain the process you will need to follow to apply for and pay for it.​

Exam schedule and deadlines

​The RPNCE is offered three times a year on the third Wednesday in January, May and October. You may only apply for the next scheduled exam, not for one further in the future.


Jan. 26, 2022

​Apply for disability/special needs accommodation​Nov. 3, 2021
​Apply to write in another provinceNov. 17, 2021
​Apply to write RPNCE*​Dec. 1, 2021
​Withdrawal without charge​Dec. 22, 2021
​RPNCE ExamJan. 26, 2022
​Compassionate withdrawal request​Feb. 9, 2022
Exam time and location


​​Location​The exam location will be in Vancouver, BC and wherever possible, easily accessible by transit. The exact location will be communicated to candidates approximately one month prior to the examination date. ​
​Registration​8:00-8:45 am
​Exam time​9:00 am - 1:00 pm
ID​​Please bring the same two pieces of identification that you submitted with your RPNCE application in order to gain entry to the exam room.


 Exam results

You will receive your results via email approximately four weeks after the exam date. This email will contain instructions setting out your next steps towards registration with BCCNM.
If you pass

If you have provisional registration, your registration will be automatically converted to practising RPN registration. You will be notified once this has been done. 

If you do not have provisional registration, you will be sent an email requesting payment of your registration fee. Once paid, you will receive a second email confirming your practising RPN registration.

If you fail

If you fail on your first attempt at the exam, you may apply to write the exam again. Please contact for instructions how to do this.

If you fail the exam twice, you may write it a third time after completing any conditions set by the BCCNM Registration Committee in order for you to be eligible to do so.

Note: You must pass the exam within a timeframe that you can continue to meet the RPN Quality Assurance requirement for practice hours.

If you fail three times

 If you have not successfully passed the exam after three attempts, you will need to complete an approved psychiatric nursing refresher program​ before any further attempts.​

Note: You must pass the exam within a timeframe such that you can continue to meet the requirements set out in Continuing competence Part B (practice hours)​.