May 22, 2024

Internationally trained nurses new in Canada can explore career options. Photo by glenmcbethlaw.

As an internationally trained nurse, you may find that your education and experience are not immediately accepted in Canada. Depending on where and when you took your courses, whether you have enough experience and your level of English, the process to become a registered nurse in BC can take a really long time (and money). I will write about the path for becoming a registered nurse in my next article.

There are some alternative careers in demand whose completion is shorter, which you may want to explore, such as:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Medical Office Assistant (MOA)
  • Health Care Assistant (HCA)
  • Home Support Worker

LPN: In B.C., licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work as frontline health care professionals caring for a wide range of clients at all stages of life in collaboration with other members of the health care team. You work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centres, doctors’ offices, clinics, private homes, educational facilities and community health centres.

Average wage: $25.50


Some of the requirements to become LPN include:

MOA: You perform a variety of secretarial and administrative duties in doctors’ offices, hospitals, medical clinics and other medical settings.

Average wage: $21.63

Some of the requirements may include:

  • Secondary school completion; some employers require completion of a college MOA program
  • Training in medical terminology or pharmacology, 45+ wpm in typing speed and accuracy, management software and basic medical office procedures may be required depending on size and location of clinic

HCA: You assist people, especially older adults or people with disability, who require basic nursing care. You also help to promote and maintain clients’ physical, emotional, and social well-being. HCAs work within a health care team in care facilities or independently within the community.

Average wage: $20.90


  • 5-7 month post-secondary certificate program, criminal record check
  • If you have related international training and/or experience, you may be able to register and get certified with a shorter course and an exam, please check the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry for more information.

Home Support Worker (also known as home care aide, long term care aide, personal care attendant, or resident care aide): You provide personal care and companionship for seniors, persons with disabilities and convalescent clients. Care is provided within the client’s residence, where you may also reside.

Average wage: $17.31

Requirements may include:

  • Home Support/Resident Care Attendant (HSRCA) certificate or the equivalent from a recognized college may be required
  • First Aid, CPR and FOODSAFE certifications

Note: most HSW positions start on call and may require you have a vehicle to move from home to home.

Click here to read Part 2 of A Series

About Silva:
Argentinian born Silvia Di Blasio is a Certified Career Counsellor, Life Coach and an immigrant herself. With a passion for sustainability, food security and resilient communities, Silvia shares her time and skills through diverse projects including writing, blogging, facilitating workshops, coaching and consulting.Silvia works as a Case Manager helping immigrants to get back to their pre-landing occupations at the Career Paths Program at ISSofBC.

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