Becoming A Registered Psychiatric Nurse in Alberta  


To be eligible to practice as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) in Alberta, you must meet registration requirements to obtain a practice permit/license from the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta (CRPNA).  

Requirements for registration as a RPN in Alberta are established in the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Profession Regulation, which falls under the Health Professions Act (HPA). They include:

  • Graduated from an approved psychiatric nursing education program  within the last four (4) years
  • Passed the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada (RPNC) Examination
  • Have been employed in the practice of psychiatric nursing or its equivalent for at least 1400 hours in the past five (5) years
  • Successfully completed an approved psychiatric nursing refresher education program within the past three (3) years
  • Competent to practice psychiatric nursing
  • Evidence of good character
  • Sufficiently proficient in the English language to be able to provide professional services in English - click on document link below to determine English Language proficiency.  Applicants may be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language.
  • Currently registered in good standing in another jurisdiction and have substantially equivalent registration requirements
  • Proof of Professional Liability Insurance (PLI)

To apply select one of the following:

New Psychiatric Nurse Graduates  

Internationally Educated Psychiatric Nurses

Canadian RPN

Information about an application will ONLY be discussed with the applicant. 

English Language Requirements

Updated Language Proficiency Cutscores/Benchmark Levels

Communicating effectively in English or French is a critical factor to provide safe nursing practice in Canada. The Canadian Nurse Regulators Collaborative (CNRC), of which the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta is a member, reviewed the current language proficiency requirements for the regulated nursing professions. The objective of this review was to determine the current English and French language proficiency levels for listening, reading, writing, and speaking; and to recommend the best approach and method(s) to assess the language proficiency of internationally educated nurses.

To view the news release please click here .

To view the background document please click here


You can find the link to English Language Test requirements here:   English Language Test Requirements 

  • If English is NOT the first language learned at home in childhood and it is NOT the first language that is primarily used for reading, writing, listening, and speaking then the English Language competence must be demonstrated by completing one of the approved English Language tests.
  • Achieve at least the minimum scores in all components of the test
  • Ensure test results are less than six months old when applying.  If results are more than six months old, the test will have to be re-taken and submitted before you can proceed.
  • Send a copy of the test results when applying.  Arrange for the original test to be sent directly from the test centre to CRPNA.

Professional Liability Insurance (PLI)


All practicing registrants must carry professional liability insurance of at least $2,000,000 per occurrence.  Regulated members must submit proof of insurance to the College upon request. 


Professional Liability Insurance is also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance or professional liability protection insurance (PLP).  The CRPNA utilizes the term PLI or Professional Liability Insurance when speaking of insurance.


Many employers carry PLI for their employees, CRPNA maintains a list of major Alberta employers and copies of their coverage. If you are employed by any employer on this list, you will have the required coverage required at registration and renewal.


If you are in independent practice or have additional PLI coverage because you have multiple employers or are employed for an agency that does not provide coverage, please keep you member home page profile updated with your professional liability insurance policy to avoid suspension of your permit. 


All members must confirm they have secured appropriate insurance at the time of initial registration and are required to update their profile in the member portal to ensure an active policy is always listed.




If you are a self-employed Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) in independent practice you are required to have specific PLI coverage for self-employment and submit verification to CRPNA annually as this is a requirement for entering into private or self-employed practice.




Registration Exam Requirement

To find information about exam requirements, how to apply, withdraw from the exam, exam schedule - click here  .

RPNRC announces new tools to assist candidates writing the national registration exam

Click here for the News Release 

Click here for the Study Guide

Psychiatric Nursing Education Programs

For those thinking of entering a psychiatric nursing program read more about where you can obtain your education.