Skip to main content

​English language proficiency for internationally educated nurses applying AFTER January 31, 2023

If you applied for registration after January 31, 2023, the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS) will assess your English language proficiency. Please visit the NCAS​ website for more information​

Communicating effectively in English is critical to provide safe nursing practice in British Columbia. All applicants for registration must show a minimum level of English language proficiency before BCCNM grants registration.

Evidence accepted

Applicants can demonstrate proficiency by submitting evidence that must be no more than two years old. Evidence can include the following: 

  • Successful completion in all four components (reading, listening, writing, and speaking) of either the Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic.

OR a combination of:

  • Successful completion of a BCCNM-recognized education program, or a Canadian approved nursing education program in English;
  • Successful completion of primary and secondary education in English in Canada;
  • Current registration in a practising class of nursing registration, or equivalent, in a Canadian jurisdiction where English language proficiency was required for registration;
  • Confirmation (from employer) of nursing practice in a predominantly English setting;
  • Confirmation (from employer) of work experience in a Canadian healthcare setting where services are provided in English; and
  • Successful completion of additional nursing, or a related field of study leading to a diploma or degree, in English.
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.

How to submit evidence of language proficiency

​Note: Internationally educated applicants who apply after January 31, 2023 need to submit their evidence of English language proficiency to the Nursing Community Assessment Service​. All other applicants should follow the instructions below. 

Test scores must come directly from the exam provider. For IELTS and CELBAN please select BCCNM as the recognizing organization to receive your scores. If you will be providing another form of evidence listed above, please contact BCCNM Registration Services at for more information. Internationally educated nurses submit their evidence of language proficiency to the Nursing Community Assessment Service​ (NCAS).

Approved English language proficiency tests 

If you choose/are required to complete a language proficiency test, you must choose one of the following tests and meet the minimum scores below. ​​

approved english language tests
Accepted testing method  
minimum passing score 
Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN)   In-person or 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 
Overal band score: 7.0
Reading: 6.5
Listening: 7.0
Writing: 6.5
Speaking: 7.0​​