Practical Nurse Professional Diploma Program
Compare your Experience
Click here to learn more about how your experience at Columbia College would be different from most post secondary institutions.
One of the Best Colleges in Canada
Columbia College’s Practical Nurse graduates achieved a 100% success rate in passing the Canadian Licensed Practical Nurse Registration Examination in the most recent writing (September 2017). We are very proud of our students’ success and the faculty and staff who assist in each student being prepared for the exam. This exam must be passed by any individual who wishes to work as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada
Graduates of this program work in a variety of settings which include: acute care centres, continuing care facilities, assisted living facilities, doctors’ offices and in the community providing home care. The starting salary for Practical Nurses can be up to $62,000 per year.
Practical Nurses perform nursing assessments, provide nursing care and implement prescribed medical treatments. You will participate in classroom instruction, skills development in the lab, and practicum experience in continuing care and acute care settings.
Upon successful completion of the program and the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE), you are eligible for licensure with the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA). This is a Nationally Accredited program. When you graduate from our program, you will be eligible to be licensed in any province in Canada.
Columbia College’s Practical Nurse Professional Program is licensed through Alberta Government Private Vocational Training Branch and is approved by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses (CLPNA) through its Education Standards Advisory Committee (ESAC) which is the licensing body for practical nursing in the province of Alberta.
Learn more about becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada by viewing the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta’s document: Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada – Requisite Skills and Abilities.
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2016 – 2017: 85% Employment Rate
Click Here to see a list of Faculty Members for this program.
Employers of Graduates
The following is a list of organizations that have hired graduates of this program:
- Pinnacle Medical Centres Crowfoot
- CBI Home Health Services
- Alberta Health Services
- Rockyview General Hospital
- Peter Lougheed Hospital
- Commodore Solutions Inc.
- Stoney Health Services
- Nurse Next Door
- Brylu Staffing
- Scenic Acres Retirement Residence
- Home Instead
Columbia’s Practical Nurse Professional Program students have consistently achieved some of the best results in Canada. Our reputation for graduating highly competent professionals is something we are very proud of. This program is one of the few in North America that follows a Mastery Learning Model.
- This is a full-time, 2 year diploma program that is completed in 80 weeks (approximately 20 months).
- Classes are normally scheduled to run between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. During the program, students should be prepared to attend classes that may be scheduled in the evenings and on weekends.
- Designed to give students Practical Nursing theory and clinical experience in continuing care and acute care
- Practicums (clinical) will be scheduled according to the co-operating health care employer’s availability of clinical practicum placements. This means that the 722 hours of practical experience may be scheduled during the day, evening, night and/or weekends.
- Clinical placements will need to be scheduled in alternative locations. The College may be required to delay the date of completion until a clinical placement can be arranged.
- In the lab, the facilitator to student ratio is 1:12. In the practicum, the facilitator to student ratio is 1:8. In the classroom, the class sizes may be up to 24 students.
Mastery Learning in the Practical Nurse Program
Columbia’s Practical Nurse Diploma Program students have consistently achieved some of the best results in Canada. Our reputation for graduating highly competent professionals is something we are very proud of. This program is the only one we have found in Canada that follows a Mastery Learning Model.
Columbia’s Mastery Learning Model provides students with up to 500 additional hours of free Mastery Learning tutorials over the course of the 20 month program. The tutorials provide learners with support from faculty, who work with them on strengthening competencies and skills and working towards mastery. Our free tutorials have proven to be an excellent resource for the students.
Practical Nurse Olympic Games
Columbia College follows an Olympic Games approach in the delivery of 4 hour Gamification sessions once a week. The sessions are delivered using a fun-based approach to support student learning, by using a series of nursing-related activities to build and consolodate the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their regular courses throughout the preceding week.
The Olympic Games sessions were added to the nursing program to help ensure that students moving into field-based practicums are able to recall information learned earlier in the program. This strategy and delivery is aimed to greatly increase their confidence, ability to perform in a nursing role, and successfully complete the program.
University Transfer Credit
Transfer opportunities may be available at a variety of degree granting institutions across Alberta, Canada, and the world. Transfer opportunities allow graduates to receive credit for some or all of their completed courses towards a bachelor degree.
Note: The institution you wish to transfer to makes the final determination on the transfer credits they will accept. Before commencing your studies at Columbia College, please consult with the institution you are planning on transferring to.
Transferring credit into Columbia College’s Practical Nurse Professional Program
If you are a health care aide care provider or feel you have already completed some of the components of the program, you may be eligible to get credit for a limited number of courses. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is another option if you have worked in a related health care field and believe that you have the understanding of a particular course. More information on how to apply for transfer credits can be found by contacting your admission advisor.
Students can apply for admission into the Practical Nurse Professional program through either Standard Admission or through Mature Admission. Please review the two types of admission below to see which type fits your circumstances.
- Alberta high school diploma, verified by transcript, or non-Alberta equivalent,
- English 30-1 with minimum final mark of 60% or 70% in English 30-2 or equivalent
- Credit in Math 20-1 or 60% in Math 20-2 or equivalent
- Biology 30 with minimum final mark of 60% or equivalent
Students who do not meet the academic requirements listed above (either fully or partially) can apply through academic assessment. Academic assessment students must meet the following:
- Be 19 years old of age or older
- Out of high school for 1 year
- Successfully meet the entry levels on Columbia College’s Accuplacer assessment test or equivalent (See Academic Proficiency Requirements)
- Attend Columbia College’s Practical Nurse Professional Program Orientation prior to the start of the program.
- Admissions interview(s) to determine suitability for the profession and opportunity for success in the program.
- Meet all non-academic requirements.
- Applications and proof of the admission requirements (official transcripts and/or anticipated final grades) along with all supporting documents must be submitted to be included in selection.
- Selection will begin four months prior to the start date of the program and will done on a continuous basis until the program is full.
- In the selection process, qualified applicants will be ranked according to their program suitability following a review of the entire application (including the formal interview). Selection is ‘not’ based strictly on prior academic achievement. Applicants will be offered admission or placed on the waitlist. Columbia College reserves the right to grant or refuse admission to any applicant.
- ENGL110 Fundamentals of English Composition
- PSYC110 Basic Concepts of Psychology
Students will be required to travel to various locations in order to complete their clinical and practicum placements. Clinical and practicum placements will be provided as available. Every effort is made to accommodate students in clinical placements within the time frame of the program, however in rare instances there may be a delay in program completion until a clinical placement can be arranged.
Preparing for Clinical Placements
|Security Clearance||According to the Protection for Persons in Care Act, our clinical sites require that students obtain a Police Information Check (PIC) including Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) Check prior to going on practicum. Any criminal code offence for which a pardon has not been received may be a deterrent to a student’s entry into practicum or even the program.
Note: In cases where a PIC or VSS is not clear, the Office of the Registrar will conduct a formal assessment to determine whether the student would be permitted to enter the program.
Information on how to apply for your PIC can be found here.
|Your Police Information Check (PIC) with Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) should be applied for at the start of your program.
Copy of Official PIC and VSS must be received prior to start of first clinical placement.
|Updated Immunization||Most practicum sites require students to demonstrate updated immunization status prior to attending practicum. Failure to do so could jeopardize a student’s ability to complete the practicum portion of their program which would require the student to withdraw. The receiving practicum site has the right to refuse students who cannot prove they have met all the required immunizations.
The Practical Nurse Professional program requires an up-to-date Rubella vaccination as one of the program requirements. All other immunizations are strongly recommended.
|It is advised to start the immunization process as soon as you start the program.
Information will be provided to you at your program orientation.
Evidence that you have applied for your Rubella Vaccination must be received by the Office of the Registrar prior to completing your enrollment contract and attending orientation.
Copy of Official Rubella vaccination record must be received prior to start of first clinical placement.
|Influenza Vaccination||Candidates are required to obtain up-to-date annual influenza vaccinations as a requirement to be eligible to participate in clinical placements in the Practical Nurse Professional program. Evidence of the vaccination must be provided to the Clinical Practicum coordinator prior to attending practicum.||Evidence that you have obtained your annual influenza vaccination must be provided to the Clinical Coordinator prior to beginning your practicum placement.|
|Current Heart and Stroke Foundation Health Care Provider Level (C) CPR||A current Heart and Strong Foundation Health Care Provider Level (C) CPR must active and renewed every academic year of study. Columbia College offers the required CPR course on a continuous basis (CPRS 212 Health Care Provider). Please note that only Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada CPR certification will be accepted.||Evidence that you have obtained your annual CPR certification must be provided to the Clinical Coordinator prior to beginning your practicum placement.|
|Health and Wellness Status||Due to the demanding nature of the work in the health care field and Occupational Health and Safety requirements, the health care field has a strong focus on health and wellness. Students with a medical condition or disability that may impact them in a practicum setting are strongly advised to discuss concerns with the program academic chair and/or the College`s Accommodations Advisor as soon as possible upon acceptance into the program.|
|N95 Mask Fitting||You will have an opportunity to get an N95 mask fitting before you begin your first clinical placement.
Further details on mask fitting will be provided during orientation.
|To be completed prior to first clinical placement.|
Health and Wellness Status / Accommodations
Due to the demanding nature of the work in the health care field and Occupational Health and Safety requirements, the health care field has a strong focus on health and wellness. If you have a medical condition or disability that may impact your ability to be successful in a lab or practicum setting, you are strongly advised to discuss concerns with the program academic chair and/or the College’s Accommodations Advisor as soon as possible upon acceptance into the program. For more information on Accommodations, click here.
Competitive Entry: Six Step Process
Step 1: Read the program information to see the qualities needed for student success.
Step 2: Ensure that you meet all of the academic and non-academic admission requirements.
Step 3: Review the selection information to understand the process and deadlines
Step 4: Apply to the program and submit your transcripts and other supporting documentation.
Step 5: Schedule and complete your formal admissions interview.
Step 6: Continue to monitor changes to your application status and any outstanding admission requirements through correspondence with your admissions advisor.
Academic Proficiency Requirements
English Proficiency Requirements
English test / program
Minimum required score
|Columbia College’s Required College Prep English course||B or 75%|
|Canadian Language Benchmarks / Milestones Test*||8 in each strand|
|IELTS Academic*||Listening – 7.5, Reading – 6.5, Writing – 7.0, Speaking – 7.0|
|Columbia College ESL820 level course||80%|
|Columbia College Benchmark Testing||8 in each strand|
|Columbia College’s Accuplacer English Test*||SS-85, RC-80, WR-6+|
|IQAS – Formal assessment||Alberta Education English Language Arts equivalents|
|Alberta Education High School English Course||English 30-1 with minimum final mark of 60% or 70% in English 30-2 or equivalent|
OR: Successful completion of an Alberta Education English Language Arts course that is consistent with the specified academic admission requirements for the Career Program
OR: Successful completion of three years of full-time secondary education at a school where English was the language of instruction
OR: Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of one year of full-time post-secondary education at a school where English was the language of instruction
OR: Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of a post-secondary level English course with a minimum grade of a C (65%) or equivalent
Math Proficiency Requirements
English test / program
Minimum required score
|Columbia College MATH101||B or 75%|
|Columbia College’s Math Accuplacer Test||60|
|Alberta Education Math Course||Credit in Math 20-1 or 60% in Math 20-2 or equivalent|
OR: Successful completion of an Alberta Education Math course that is consistent with the specified academic admission requirements for the Career Program
OR: Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of an equivalent Math course in a College Prep or Academic Upgrading program from a recognized and accredited institution
Science Proficiency Requirements
English test / program
Minimum required score
|Columbia College CPNP010||B or 75%|
|* Columbia College CPNP102||B|
|Alberta Education High School Biology Course||Biology 30 with minimum final mark of 60% or equivalent|
OR: Credit obtained for an Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, or Medical Terminology course at a post-secondary accredited institution (may be through their College Prep program)
* In some circumstances, students may be conditionally admitted into the Practical Nurse program provided they successfully complete CPNP102 within their first two semesters.
Test/Transcript results are valid for two years from the day of testing or completion of a course. Results that expire prior to the Start Date of the program may not be accepted, but will be reviewed by the Office of the Registrar. Official results must be submitted.
Transcripts will be reviewed by the Office of the Registrar and the Practical Nurse program to determine whether the courses completed will be accepted to meet the proficiency requirement.
Communication during selection
Email is the primary source of communication during the selection process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the Columbia.ab.ca domain to your safe senders list or you risk missing critical email messages. An up-to-date phone number is also strongly recommended for times when email correspondence is unsuccessful.
While you wait
If you’ve been accepted into the Practical Nurse program, you can complete some courses (if available) while you wait for your program to begin. These include:
Course List and Descriptions
For a full list of courses and course descriptions for this program, please click here.
Columbia College’s tuition and general fees come into effect August 1 of each year.
For more information about tuition and the Columbia College Tuition chart, please see the Tuition and Fees page.
A student may incur additional fees that are not part of the tuition or the book fees for this program. These fees are an approximation.
Uniforms and duty shoes: $300
Current Heart & Stroke Foundation Health Care Provider Level (C) CPR: $85
Refund of Tuition Fees
Please refer to the Student Contract of Tuition form for details of tuition refund policy. This form is available from this program’s Student Admission Advisor.
May 22, 2018
September 4, 2018
January 7, 2019
How to Register
For details on applying or reapplying to this program, please refer to the Admissions page.
To graduate from this program, students must successfully complete all 26 Practical Nurse Courses with a G.P.A. of 2.3.
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- Lectures 1
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 50 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 0
- Certificate No
- Assessments Self