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This page is for Alberta nursing program educators. It explains how the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) approves education programs for registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) and provides information you can share with your students about nursing regulation.

The CRNA is responsible for approving the education programs located in Alberta that lead to initial entry to practice as an RN or NP and re-entry to practice as an RN. Students are eligible to apply to the CRNA once they complete an approved program.

Learn more about approved nursing education programs.

In March 2024, the CRNA's Council approved a revised Nursing Education Program Approval Framework, which outlines the expectations for post-secondary institutes.

Learn more about the CRNA's Nursing Education Approval Framework.

Entry-level competencies reflect the knowledge, skills and judgment required of RNs and NPs to provide safe, competent, ethical and compassionate care. While specific roles and responsibilities may vary by context and client population, the entry-level competency documents outline the essential competencies that all nurse practitioners must possess to be proficient when they begin practice.

View the Entry-Level Competencies for the Practice of Registered Nurses.

View the Entry-Level Competencies for Nurse Practitioners in Canada.

Standards describe the minimum expectations that must be met by RNs and NPs who practise in Alberta. They must meet or exceed all standards that apply to their practice.

The CRNA also provides guidelines to identify principles, provide direction, clarify roles and responsibilities, and provide a framework for decision-making for RNs and NPs. Guidelines help registrants apply the standards to their practice.

Learn more about how standards are created.

View the Nursing Education Approval Standard.

View the standards.

View the guidelines.

Programs are permitted to offer up to 50 per cent clinical hour replacement with high-quality simulation. This substitution does not extend to the final clinical preceptorship, which must include a minimum of ten weeks and 350 hours of direct client care.
Read the CRNA's memo on the subject.

All applicants who are recent graduates from a Canadian nursing program must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become an RN. The CRNA may grant recent graduate applicants a provisional permit so they can work as a graduate nurse while waiting to take the exam.

The process to write NP exams varies based on the stream of practice.

Learn more about RN and NP exams.

Nursing students should familiarize themselves with the CRNA's application and registration process so they can be easily apply once they're ready to graduate.

Learn more about joining the CRNA's register.

View the requirements for new graduate applicants.

Once the CRNA assesses an applicant and issues a practice permit, the applicant becomes a registrant. Registrants are required to renew their permit annually to practise as an RN or NP in Alberta. The CRNA's practice year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 of the following year, and all registrants must renew their permits in September regardless of when they first became registered.

During renewal, the CRNA ensures registrants still meet all the requirements to practice. Some of the requirements for maintaining registration include completing the annual continuing competence program, maintaining currency of practice and purchasing professional liability protection.

Learn more about how RNs and NPs maintain their permits.