English Language Proficiency

English language proficiency is essential to ensuring the public of British Columbia receives safe, competent care from LPNs. For this reason, CLPNBC requires all applicants for registration to demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency before they can begin practising nursing in BC.

Demonstrating English language proficiency

What is your first language?

English is only considered a first language when it is the language you learned at home in childhood and the language you primarily use for reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Before you complete your application for registration, you will be asked: “What is your first language?”

If English is your first language, and there is no indication of contradictory evidence during the application assessment process, CLPNBC will determine that you meet the English Language proficiency requirement.

You will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency if:

  • English is not your first language
  • CLPNBC identifies evidence that you have falsely reported your English language proficiency
  • CLPNBC has concerns about your English language proficiency during the application assessment process

Evidence of English language proficiency

Approved English language tests and scores

CLPNBC accepts the following English language tests and minimum passing scores:


Approved English Language Test Minimum Passing Scores
Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) Speaking: 8
Listening: 10
Reading: 8
Writing: 7
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - academic version Overall Band Score: 7.0
Speaking: 7.0
Listening: 7.5
Reading: 6.5
Writing: 7.0


If you met the scores on one of these tests when you entered a CLPNBC-recognized education program, or when you applied for assessment through the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS), you may not be required to submit another test. CLPNBC does, however, require current evidence of your English language proficiency. Depending on the assessment of your application for registration, you may be required to submit another test.

Additional evidence of English language proficiency

If you have not completed one of the required English language proficiency tests (CELBAN or IELTS), you may submit additional evidence for CLPNBC to consider. Additional evidence must include all of the following:

  • Evidence of graduation from a Canadian nursing education program taught in English within the last two years OR evidence of safe practice within the last two years working as an LPN where services were provided in English and where the primary language is English
  • Evidence that the nursing education program language of instruction for both theory and clinical was English and where the primary language is English (online education will not be accepted as evidence of English being the primary language)
  • Evidence that elementary and secondary education was taught in English where the primary language is English