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Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses with graduate education and training in advanced clinical practice. They conduct comprehensive health assessment, diagnose health conditions, and treat and manage acute and chronic illness within a holistic model of care. NPs order and interpret screening and diagnostic tests, perform procedures, and prescribe medications and therapeutic interventions.

Nurse practitioners can act as primary care providers within their stream of practice. They work independently across the spectrum of health services, such as acute care, primary care, community health, long-term care, specialty areas of health and emergency care.

  • Avg. Salary $96,502.00
  • Avg. Wage $54.68
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Nurse, Advanced Practice Nurse, Primary Healthcare Practitioner

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Registered Nurses (3152) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Registered Nurses (D112) 
  • 2011 NOC: Allied primary health practitioners (3124) 
  • 2016 NOC: Allied primary health practitioners (3124) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Nurse Practitioner is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Registered Nurses

Interest combinations are unique to each of the occupations in this National Occupational Classification (NOC) group. Please consult the 2003 NOC Career Handbook for further information.


Interest combinations are unique to each of the occupations in this National Occupational Classification (NOC) group. Please consult the 2003 NOC Career Handbook for further information.


Interest combinations are unique to each of the occupations in this National Occupational Classification (NOC) group. Please consult the 2003 NOC Career Handbook for further information.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 15, 2016

Duties and responsibilities vary from province to province. In Alberta, nurse practitioners may:

  • complete advanced, thorough and focused health assessments
  • diagnose health problems
  • support and counsel patients regarding health problems
  • manage and carry out patient care on an ongoing basis
  • manage complex chronic illness
  • order and interpret diagnostic tests
  • research and critically evaluate evidence for the best care available
  • read, compile and integrate research into their work
  • refer patients to other health care providers as needed
  • prescribe medications and therapeutic interventions
  • consult and work with physicians and others
  • engage in programs to promote community health.

Nurse practitioners are registered in one of three streams of practice. These include Adult, Child (with or without a neonatal specialty), and Family / All Ages.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse practitioners work in a range of health care settings, sometimes in remote areas. They may work regular clinic hours and be on call for emergencies. They might work shifts including nights, weekends and holidays.

Nurse practitioners are often exposed to infectious diseases and chemicals. They may need to handle items weighing up to 20 kilograms. Their work can be mentally, emotionally and physically demanding.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse practitioners need to have:

  • problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • excellent speaking and writing skills
  • organizational skills
  • the ability to make good decisions quickly under stress
  • patience, understanding and a caring attitude
  • flexibility and enthusiasm
  • the ability to lead and work with others on a team
  • good health
  • initiative to evaluate and improve outcomes.

They should enjoy:

  • working with and consulting others
  • solving problems
  • providing care
  • directing the work of others.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse practitioners start their careers as registered nurses. They must complete 4,500 hours of work in clinical registered nursing before applying for a nurse practitioner education program. The program must be approved by the Nursing Education Program Approval Board (NEPAB). After registered nurses have a master’s degree in advanced nursing practice, they must pass the nurse practitioner registration exam for their chosen stream of practice.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have advanced training in health assessment, health promotion and illness prevention. They diagnose and treat health problems, order and interpret tests, and prescribe drugs.


Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf] and Registered Nurses Profession Regulation [pdf], only members of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) on the nurse practitioner register may call themselves or practise as Nurse Practitioners or NPs. Only members of the College can provide restricted activities specified in the Regulation, and only if they have the competencies to do so.

What You Need

A nurse practitioner must:

  • Be a registered nurse in Alberta
  • Have completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • Have completed a recognized nurse practitioner program
  • Have 4,500 hours of experience as a registered nurse
  • Pass the nurse practitioner (NP) exam for the chosen stream of practice

Other criteria may apply for applicants who come from other jurisdictions in Canada or who are internationally educated. For detailed official information about registration requirements, visit CARNA.

Working in Alberta

Nurse practitioners who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory body elsewhere in Canada (except Quebec) may be eligible for registration in Alberta if their scope of practice and competencies are similar. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the CARNA website. Applications from Quebec will be assessed individually.

Contact Details

College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA)
11120 - 178 St.
Edmonton, Alberta T5S 1P2

Call: 780-451-0043
Toll-free: 1-800-252-9392
Fax: 780-452-3276

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse practitioners work in many different health care facilities. These may include hospitals, community-based health centres and clinics. Many work in small or remote areas that do not have local doctors.

Nurse practitioner is not an entry-level position.

Nurse practitioners are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3124: Allied primary health practitioners. In Alberta, 92% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 45,000 Albertans are employed in the Registered nurses occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.6% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 1,620 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As nurse practitioners form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for nurse practitioners.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nurse practitioners are exempt from nursing unions and therefore negotiate their own salaries.

Allied primary health practitioners

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $41.58 $48.27 $46.63 $48.27
Overall $50.43 $55.76 $54.68 $55.70
Top $55.25 $62.91 $60.78 $62.91

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) website:

College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) website:

Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta (NPAA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 19, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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