Steps to Becoming an APN in Nova Scotia

1Get your Graduate Degree in Nova Scotia
2Write the Appropriate Examination in Nova Scotia
3Become Licensed as an NP in Nova Scotia
4Renew your NP License in Nova Scotia

The Colleges of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia (CRNNS) regulates and licenses the advanced practice nurse in the following category:

Nova Scotia Job Statistics

  • 2011 average salary for general practitioners / family physicians in Nova Scotia: $127,135
  • 2010 family practice residency training program study indicates:
  • 61% of RNs feel they work to the full scope of practice
  • 88% of RNs desire to further develop their nursing skill set
  • 85% of RNs participate in telephone triage on a weekly basis
  • 82% of RNs were highly satisfied in their job
  • Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult
    • Family/All Ages
    • Pediatric
    • Neonatal

To obtain a nurse practitioner license in Nova Scotia, you must first hold a valid, current RN license:

Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

Once you have obtained an RN license in Nova Scotia, you must then acquire a master’s degree or higher in nursing to work toward licensure as a nurse practitioner.  If you are a graduate of a nurse practitioner program outside of Nova Scotia, you must get your program approved by the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia by contacting Cathy Rose (902-491-9744 ext. 225, [email protected]) before you can apply for registration.

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Dalhousie University’s Master of Nursing – NP program is Nova Scotia’s approved nursing program.  This program consists of 36 credit hours within two phases. The first phase includes required courses and focused electives within practice-related theory and research, while the second phase allows students to choose one of three programs to further develop their knowledge and skill: thesis; health policy practicum; or nurse practitioner. Students can concentrate their education on various practice foci, including: adult health; community health; mental health; maternal child health; and nursing families with ill children.

Some of the courses within the Master’s of Nursing – NP curriculum include:

  • Health Care System Policy Analysis
  • Nursing Philosophy, Knowledge and Theory
  • Research and Evidence Based Practice in Nursing
  • Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Principles of Pharmacology for Nurse Practitioners
  • Pharmacotherapeutics for Nurse Practitioners
  • Advanced Health Assessment

Prescriptive Authority

Nurse practitioners are qualified to “assess, diagnose, treat and manage acute and chronic physical and mental illness.” As such, they have the authority to prescribe pharmaceuticals listed in Schedule “F” of the Canada Food and Drugs Act as per the RN Act of 2006 and pharmaceuticals listed in Schedule I of the NAPRA Schedules.

Step 2. Write the Appropriate Examination

Family/All Ages

If you are working toward an NP license with a specialization in Family/All Ages, you are required to complete the application to write the Family/All Ages Nurse Practitioner Examination for Initial Registration in Nova Scotia.

The Canadian Nurses Practitioner Examination: Family/All Ages (CNPE:F/AA) through the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and its examination company, Assessment Strategies Inc., is a national, entry-level exam used for NPs who specialize in family/all ages/primary health care.

Once the CRNNS approves your application to write the Canadian Nurses Practitioner Examination: Family/All Ages (CNPE:F/AA) you will receive an application and given an exam date.

As of January 1, 2007, all applicants for NP registration in primary healthcare who have not established registration as an NP in another Canadian jurisdiction must pass the Canadian Nurse Practitioner Exam (CNPE). The examination fee for the CNPE in Nova Scotia is $1,384.47.

The exam consists of 190 to 200 multiple-choice questions and can be taken over a four-hour period. There are 42 competencies that comprise the exam’s content. You may purchase a prep guide from the CNA bookstore by calling 1-800-385-5881.

The 42 competencies of the CNPE:F/AA exam are part of the four categories of the framework of the primary healthcare nurse practitioner, which include:

  • Professional Role, Responsibility and Accountability
  • Health Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Therapeutic Management
  • Health Promotion and Prevention of Illness and Injury


Both exams are computer based and include 150 multiple-choice questions. Nova Scotia applicants have no pre-test questions. For additional information on the ANCC exams, you may consult the General Testing Information Booklet on the ANCC website.

You will receive information directly from your educational institution regarding examinations and testing dates. Contact your college to obtain information on applications and fee information. All fees for the ANCC exams are to be paid directly to your college. The ANCC exam is held at the Thomson-Prometric Center, 6440 Quinpool Road, Halifax.

An authorization-to-test form will be mailed to you directly from Thomson-Prometric. Once you receive your authorization-to-test form, you can make your appointment to write the ANCC exam.

Step 3. Become Licensed as a Nurse Practitioner

If you are a new graduate of a Nova Scotia nurse practitioner program, or if you are a nurse practitioner from another province or country and you want to practice in Nova Scotia, you must become registered as an NP.

To become licensed in Nova Scotia as an NP, you must complete the Application for Initial Nurse Practitioner License. You must complete the following:

  • Complete Part I of the application and submit the appropriate assessment fee, which includes both a registration/licensure fee and a service fee.
  • Send Part II: Verification of Nurse Practitioner Education to the school of nursing where you obtained your nurse practitioner education for completion.
  • Send Part III: Verification of Nurse Practitioner Registration (if applicable) directly to the authority where you first obtained an NP registration/license, and another copy (if applicable) to the authority where you most recently held an NP registration/license.
  • Send Part IV: Referee Assessment Form to the two appropriate referees who will provide an assessment of your practice as an NP.
  • Contact your employer(s) of the last two years and request that they send a letter verifying your employment as an NP, unless you graduated within the last 2 years.
  • Contact the institution where you completed your nurse practitioner program and request that they send your official transcript in a sealed envelope to the CRNNS.

Send all completed documents, fees and information to CRNNS, 4005-7071 Bayers Road, Halifax NS B3L 2C2 Canada.

Collaborative Practice Relationship

All nurse practitioners in Nova Scotia, whether under a permanent or temporary license, must work within a collaborative practice relationship.

A collaborative practice relationship is a relationship among an NP and a physician or a group of physicians or other health professionals. As defined under the RN Act of 2006, a collaborative practice relationship “enables the health providers…to work together to use their separate and share and knowledge and skills to provide optimal client-centered care.”

You must complete a collaborative practice agreement (CPA) when:

  • A CPA is initiated
  • There is a change with the collaborating physician (s)
  • You change client population and/or practice settings
  • You leave a practice setting

Temporary License

If you want to work as an NP in Nova Scotia, and you are awaiting the opportunity to write an NP examination (of if you are awaiting the results of your examination), you may apply for a temporary license. Note: you must be registered and licensed as an RN with the CRNNS in order to apply for temporary licensure.

Temporary licenses may also be granted to recent graduates of NP programs who are required to temporarily practice as an NP in Nova Scotia as part of their clinical practicum.

Temporary licenses are issued by the CRNNS for six months, or until the applicant becomes licensed with the CRNNS or has failed the NP examination, whichever comes first.

Nurse practitioners under a temporary license must work within a collaborative practice relationship.

Step 4. Renew your NP License

All NP licenses expire on October 31 of every year. NPs can renew their licenses using the CRNNS Online Renewal system.

To qualify for NP license renewal, you must:

  • Pay the applicable licensure renewal and registration services fees
  • Complete the NP requirements of a continuing competence program, such as the Building your Profile booklet
  • Complete at least 600 hours of practice as an NP in the previous 2 years if you have graduated more than two years before your initial application for NP licensure

NP License Reactivation

If you were previously licensed in Nova Scotia as an NP and you want to reactivate your license, you must contact Registration Services at [email protected].

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Advance Practice Nursing Associations in Nova Scotia

There are a number of professional organizations that support advanced practice nursing in Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to information provided by Statistics Canada, in 2010, there was an average hourly wage of $34.15 among nurse practitioners in the Halifax area of Nova Scotia. Their average annual salary was $71,032. Those in the 90th percentile made $27,352 more than the province’s overall average, at $98,384, which worked out to about $47.30 per hour.

Occupational Classification
Number of Professionals
Average Income
Nurse Supervisors and RNs
Head Nurses and Supervisors
Registered Nurses
General Practitioners and Family Physicians

Employment and salary data included in these tables was produced by Census Canada in 2006 and originally published by Statistics Canada in 2008. To provide comprehensive information for comparative purposes, the data includes all Statistics Canada Occupational Classifications in which advanced practice nurses were identified.

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