Please note:

Fall 2024 registration information

  • Applications open February 21, 2024 and are completed online through If you require assistance, please email Ontario Colleges at or phone 1-888-892-2228.
  • Application deadline is July 2, 2024.
  • Acceptance offers go out July 15, 2024.
  • Deadline to confirm acceptance is July 29, 2024.
  • This program is available for domestic students only. International applicants, please contact for alternate program options.

About the program

Practical Nursing is a career-focused program where the student will gain the knowledge, skills and experience required to become a member of the nursing profession and health-care team. The foundational knowledge for practical nursing is based on scientific theory from nursing, the physical and psychosocial sciences and humanities. Person-centred care is learned in context through real-life experiences and career-related work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences. Seniors care is given special attention to meet the needs of an aging population.

Regulatory Obligations:

The Nursing Act

The Nursing Act requires that all graduate practical nurses wishing to work in Ontario must be registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario. The Nursing Act also states graduates must not have been convicted of a criminal offence or an offence under the Narcotic Control Act (Canada) or the Food and Drugs Act (Canada). In addition, the Nursing Act identifies a number of other abilities and requirements that must be met in order to practice nursing in the province of Ontario.

The College of Nurses of Ontario

Graduate practical nurses wishing to register with the College of Nurses of Ontario must sign a declaration of their status regarding: citizenship; permanent residence; immigration; convictions of a criminal offence under the Narcotic Control Act/Food and Drug Act; involvement with respect to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity in Ontario in another health profession; any mental or physical disorder, which makes it desirable in the public interest that the person not practice nursing. These conditions also apply throughout the program. In preparation to pursuing a nursing career, we encourage all prospective nursing students to carefully consider the requisite skills and abilities for nursing practice in Ontario outlined by the College of Nurses of Ontario.

The Practical Nursing diploma program at Conestoga is currently approved (Category 1) by the College of Nurses of Ontario. Current graduates from this program are eligible to apply for registration as a Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario.

Admission requirements

  • A 1-year Personal Support Worker certificate from Ontario
  • Proof of current employment as a Personal Support Worker
  • The following Ontario Secondary School courses (or equivalents), with a minimum cumulative average of 75% are required:
    • Grade 12 compulsory English, C or U, or equivalent, OR Conestoga College Preparatory Communications (COMM1251)
    • Grade 12 Mathematics, C or U, or equivalent, OR Conestoga College Preparatory Mathematics (MATH1420)
    • Grade 11 or 12 Biology, C or U, or equivalent, OR Conestoga College Preparatory Biology (SCIE1010) with a minimum mark of 75%
    • Grade 11 or 12 Physics or Chemistry, C or U, or equivalent, or Grade 11 or 12 Science (SNC3M or SNC4M), OR Conestoga College Preparatory Chemistry (SCIE1030)
  • For more information on preparatory programs, visit Academic Upgrading.

Note re: admission requirements

  • Higher averages are often required for admission due to competition for available spaces in the program.
  • It is recommended that Biology be completed within five years prior to the start date of the program. If you do not have the Math, English or Science requirements, please contact Admissions at for additional information.
  • Graduate Certificate (Excluding TESL) and Exception Diploma Programs Standard Language Requirements:
    • IELTS overall band of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
    • TOEFL iBT 88
    • CAEL 70, no sub-test band score less than 60
    • PTE Academic 58
    • Conestoga English Language Test (CELT) Band 6

Admission procedures

  • An academic strength is calculated by averaging the submitted marks of required subjects. If more than one mark is received for a required subject, the highest mark will be used in the calculation.
  • Ten (10) additional marks are added to each Advanced level, OAC, U, U/C, and post-secondary course used in the calculation of academic strength.
  • Final selection is made using a formula which considers academic strength.
  • A sound mathematical and English background is important for success in this program and is considered during the admission selection process. Minimum cutoffs may apply.
  • Applicants must provide current proof of employment via a letter from their employer.
  • Former PSW to PN bridge and Practical Nursing students must contact for consideration regarding readmission to the program.

Program requirements

  • Mandatory work-integrated learning (WIL) document requirements must be completed by students prior to student field/clinical WIL experiences. Successful WIL completion is required for students to progress to program completion. To qualify for field/clinical WIL learning experiences, students must present the following at the start of the program in accordance with pre-admission information provided by the college:
    • A complete immunization record including MMR, Tdap, varicella, COVID-19, and hepatitis B. Seasonal flu vaccination is required during flu season (October - March).
    • TB Testing: Evidence of current 2-step or previous 2-step + current 1-step if more than one year has passed since 2-step testing.
    • Standard First Aid and CPR - BLS level (must be completed in Canada)
    • An annual Police Check for Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS) to be completed in Canada. Police Checks must be clear of any unpardoned criminal offences. An unclear criminal record may result in the inability to participate in WIL experiences which will jeopardize progress in the program. Acceptance for WIL is at the discretion of the agency; some agencies may request students to provide a VSS completed within six months of WIL start date. Students with criminal records are advised to meet with the program chair for academic counselling to determine program suitability.
  • Students are responsible for costs associated with respirator fit testing required for WIL experiences.
  • Applicants are advised that a latex-free environment in the College or clinical setting is NOT guaranteed.
  • Travel within the program: Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from assigned learning settings external to the College and for covering any costs incurred. The location of these learning sites could be anywhere within a one hour's drive of the Doon campus.
  • Applicants should display integrity, reliability, maturity, self-direction, self-discipline, determination, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, poise and leadership attributes.
  • Applicants are advised that the program uses self-directed/independent and online study in the delivery of some courses and portions of other courses throughout the program.

Graduate opportunities

Students who successfully complete the program are eligible to write the National Registration examination for registration by the College of Nurses of Ontario as a Registered Practical Nurse. Graduates find employment in nursing homes, acute and chronic care hospitals, residential homes for the older adult, and other community health-care settings.

On average, 88% of graduates from the last three years (2017 to 2019) found employment within six months of graduation.

For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities, see the Government of Canada website:

Program outcomes

  • Communicate therapeutically with clients and members of the health care team
  • Assess clients across the life span, in a systematic and holistic manner
  • Plan safe and competent nursing care, based upon a thorough analysis of available data and evidence-informed practice guidelines
  • Select and perform nursing interventions using clinical judgment, in collaboration with the client and, where appropriate, the health care team, that promote health and well-being, prevent disease and injury, maintain and/or restore health, promote rehabilitation, and/or provide palliation.
  • Evaluate the outcomes resulting from all interventions in the nurse client interaction and modify the plan of care as required.
  • Act equitably and justly with clients and members of the health care team.
  • Adapt to a variety of health care settings, using different leadership skills and styles as appropriate to each setting.
  • Contribute to creating a healthy and safe work environment in a variety of health care settings.
  • Practise in a self-regulated, professional and ethical manner, complying with relevant legislation and with the standards of both the regulatory body and the practice setting to provide safe and competent client care.

Program related resources


  • This is a highly competitive program. Apply by October 1 for January. Please read the Oversubscribed Programs information on our Admission Information web page.

    Students living outside of Ontario are not eligible for oversubscribed programs.
Continuing Education
Upcoming registrations

Mark your calendar with our registration dates, so you can plan your future.

Fall registration: Opens July 22, 2024
Winter registration: Opens November 4, 2024