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

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

  • 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 two 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.
        English Language Test Requirements

Professional Liability Insurance (PLI)


If you are or will be employed by either Alberta Health Services (AHS) and/or Covenant Health and/or Bethany Group and/or Bayshore Health and/or MacEwan University and/or CASA, please be advised that CRPNA has attained the required proof from these employers that their RPN employees have the required type and amount of Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) required by CRPNA.

If you are employed as a psychiatric nurse by another employer, your employer may and most probably will, have coverage that covers its staff, including psychiatric nurses. It is your responsibility to confirm that these other employer’s coverage meets the requirements of the CRPNA. The CRPNA requires any PLI policy to be a least $2 million in coverage.  


If you are concerned that you may not have adequate coverage under your current employer you may choose to purchase additional coverage of your own, this coverage can be through any insurance provider that has policies for Professional Liability Protection. You can also purchase coverage through the Canadian Nurses Protective Society which provides professional liability protection related to nursing practice.  Professional liability or “errors and omissions” coverage generally extends to claims for professional negligence, excluding intentional torts, defamation, etc.  These additional protections may however be available with extended/supplementary protection insurance.    



Professional Liability Insurance can be acquired under a few different names such as:

  • Professional Liability Protection (PLP) or
  • Errors and Omissions (E & O) Protection Insurance or
  • Professional Liability Insurance (PLI)

There are many nuances when it comes to PLP/PLI/E&O insurance and it would be very wise to seek out an industry specific expert to ask to have all your questions answered about whether or not you need additional insurance, what is included and what is excluded.  PLP like in homeowner’s insurance, has things that are covered and there are also things that are excluded.   As a professional you may also want to consider if you want to acquire a supplemental policy as a PLP/PLI/E&O policy does not cover disciplinary action through a regulatory body. 


All regulated members (excluding non-practicing and retired members) must hold Professional Liability Insurance. This is a requirement under the Health Professions Act (HPA) and the CRPNA Regulations. 


Professional liability protection provides financial compensation to members of the public who have been harmed as a result of malpractice or negligence by a professional. 




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


For further information, contact CRPNA by email or phone.


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.