IEN Competency Upgrade Pathway


Ontario colleges are offering new, tuition-free competency upgrade courses for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) who want to qualify as Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) in Ontario. All theory courses will be delivered online. 

These courses have been funded through the Ontario government’s Nursing Program Transformation in Ontario’s Colleges initiative and are designed to offer flexible study options for working IENs.  

These courses are for IENs who have had their education assessed by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and have been informed in writing of the need for additional education. The letter provided by the CNO will outline the specific competencies that need to be addressed. The courses have been designed to address specific competencies and provide an efficient path towards meeting the CNO’s Education Requirement. 

If you require additional education, you should review your Competency Assessment Form to know what learning needs you have outstanding. Then, you should review the list of courses below to identify which ones match your learning needs. Unless otherwise specified, the courses are available online and can be completed asynchronously. This means that you can take the courses at your own pace while meeting the due dates for assignments. 

IEN Competency Upgrade Courses

For more information regarding the CNO’s Competency Assessment Program for IENs, including language proficiency requirements, please visit their website.

Who can Apply?

You are eligible if you meet ALL the following criteria, including:

  • You are an Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN)
  • You have proof of one of the following:
    • Canadian citizenship status; or
    • Canadian permanent resident status; or
    • Appropriate authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) that permits you to engage in the practice of nursing in Ontario.
  • You have a letter from CNO containing the results of your education assessment and the additional education you need.
Are there any other options for IENs who need to upgrade their education and skills?

These courses are designed to meet the competency upgrade (i.e., ‘gap-filler’) needs of IENs who require flexible study options. If you do not meet the criteria above, there are other study options available.

Further information on approved courses and programs can be found at

Am I eligible for funding to cover the tuition cost for a course?

IENs who meet the above criteria and reside in Ontario are eligible for a tuition award to cover the full tuition cost for these Nursing Transformation competency upgrade courses. Eligible students will also receive a stipend of $400 per course to help them with the costs of books and other supplies. Note: the stipend is subject to a maximum of $2000 per student. These IEN supports are made possible through funding by the Ontario government. When registering for a course, the college will let you know how to access the tuition award and the supplies stipend.

IENs who are out-of-province or out-of-country may register for the courses if they self-fund, provided they meet the above application criteria. 

How do I register for a course?

Once you have identified which courses match your learning needs, please click on the course title in the list above. You will then be directed to a list of colleges offering that course. All courses, unless otherwise specified, are available online, which means that you can access the course from anywhere in Ontario. If you need to take a course that requires on-site participation, please register for the course at a college near you.

If you need help locating a college near you, please consult this map.

If you have general questions about the Nursing Transformation IEN Competency Upgrade pathway, or need support with navigating the process, please send an email to the Nursing Transformation Career Readiness Service at

Will I receive a credential for completing one of these courses?

You will require academic records from your local college as evidence of successful completion, depending upon your specific CNO registration requirements. No credential is needed for this purpose.

How much time will I need to spend on the courses each week?

Please check-in with your college to find out more about the course load.

Are online courses self-paced and will I have to be online at specific times?

Every course will have a schedule to follow. As the courses are available 24/7 and course schedules have week to week timelines, coursework may be completed at any time within the week.

Will I have access to support if I need help with my online course?

Yes. For academic questions, your course facilitator should be your first contact. Once you register for a course, you will also receive information regarding the key contacts for technical support.

Are the courses available in French?

The IEN Nursing Transformation courses will be available in French in the near future. This website will be updated as more information becomes available.