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Registered Nurse

Registered nurses provide expert health care directly to patients. They also engage in public health education, research and administration. Their knowledge, skills and abilities include complex critical thinking, co-ordination of care, leadership of multidisciplinary teams, comprehensive assessments, holistic care and more.

  • Avg. Salary $70,429.00
  • Avg. Wage $45.40
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 36,200
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Nurse, RN

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: General Duty Registered Nurses (3152.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Registered Nurses (D112) 
  • 2011 NOC: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012) 
  • 2016 NOC: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012) 
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 Registered Nurse is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
General Duty Registered Nurses

Interest in speaking to collaborate with members of an interdisciplinary health team to plan, implement, co-ordinate and evaluate patient care in consultation with patients and their families; may teach and counsel patients and their families on health-related issues in collaboration with other health care providers


Interest in compiling information to monitor, assess, address, document and report symptoms and changes in patients' conditions; and in administering medications and treatments as prescribed by physicians or according to establish policies and protocols


Interest in operating medical apparatus or equipment; and in supervising licensed practical nurses and other nursing staff; may develop and implement discharge planning process on admission of patients

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 Apr 10, 2017

Registered nurses may work on their own or as members of a health care team.

Key roles include:

  • providing direct nursing care
  • assessing the ongoing needs of individuals, families, groups or communities
  • planning, providing and keeping records of nursing care
  • co-ordinating patient care
  • counselling patients about health
  • managing and delivering patient care plans
  • leading and supervising nursing teams
  • advocating for clients.

In hospitals and other health care settings, these roles may include tasks such as:

  • co-ordinating and supervising multidisciplinary teams
  • managing cases and co-ordinating health care
  • observing, assessing and watching patient symptoms and evaluating care
  • making independent nursing decisions and acting on them (as appropriate)
  • giving medications, injections and intravenous therapy
  • preparing patients for surgery and helping surgeons during surgery
  • caring for mothers during labour and delivery, and caring for newborns and their families
  • preventing or treating injuries or illness, and managing chronic diseases
  • teaching patients to care for and promote their health
  • managing nursing and health-related services
  • leading and engaging in research activities

Registered nurses may focus on providing a certain type of care (such as emergency or trauma care, or critical care) or working with a certain type of patients (such as children, or people with heart disease).

More and more, nurses work in community and workplace settings as well as health care settings. To learn more, see the Community Health Nurse and Occupational Health Nurse occupational profiles.

For information about psychiatric nursing duties, see the Psychiatric Nurse occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Nursing can be demanding work (mentally, physically and emotionally). Nurses are often exposed to biological, physical and chemical hazards. In acute care settings, they work with very sick patients. They help lift patients and routinely handle items that weigh up to 20 kilograms.

Registered nurses often work shifts that include nights, weekends and holidays.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Registered nurses need to possess:

  • problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • effective communication skills (written and verbal)
  • strong organizing skills
  • good leadership skills
  • good judgment and the ability to make quick decisions (especially under stress)
  • patience, understanding and a caring attitude
  • flexibility and enthusiasm
  • the ability to lead and co-operate with others
  • general good health

They should enjoy:

  • working and consulting with others
  • solving problems
  • providing care
  • directing the work of others

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
NOC code: 3012

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 13 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 27, 2021 and Nov 29, 2021.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Assess patients to identify appropriate nursing interventions
Collaborate to plan, implement, co-ordinate and evaluate patient care
Monitor, assess, address, document and report symptoms and changes in patients' conditions
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Organized
Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 10, 2017

To become a registered nurse in Alberta, graduates must meet the College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta’s (CARNA) requirements. These include:

  • a 4-year nursing degree program approved by the Nursing Education Program Approval Board
  • the national licensing exam
  • a learning plan for continuing competence.

For a current list of approved programs, visit the CARNA website.

Schools may require proof of current immunization, health assessments, CPR and first aid training. They may also require a security clearance.

Registered nurses may take further courses to specialize in other health care areas. See the Canadian Nurses Association website for more information.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Burman University

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

Mount Royal University

University of Calgary

University of Lethbridge

Related Education

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

Athabasca University

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

University of Lethbridge

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Nurse - Registered

Registered nurses provide professional nursing services, deliver health education programs and provide consultative nursing services to promote, maintain, and restore patient health.


Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf] and Registered Nurses Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) is mandatory. Only registered members who have an active practice permit may provide the restricted activities specified in the Regulation and call themselves registered nurses or use the initials RN.

What You Need

Registration requires successful completion of:

  • An approved nursing education program or equivalent
  • The NCLEX-RN national licensing exam

Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time may have to demonstrate that they are currently competent to practice.

Once registered, members then apply for a practice permit. Annual requirements including minimum number of practice hours and continuing competence must be met to keep the permit active. For detailed official information about registration requirements, visit CARNA.

Working in Alberta

Registered nurses who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory registered nurse body elsewhere in Canada may apply for registration in Alberta. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the CARNA website.

To learn about certification for internationally educated registered nurses, see Registered Nurse Registration Process.

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 Apr 10, 2017

Registered nurses work for:

  • regional health authorities
  • clinics (ambulatory, medical, dental and community, public health)
  • primary care settings
  • nursing homes
  • home care agencies
  • large corporations and insurance companies
  • government services (for example, prisons, outpost nursing, the foreign service, the Canadian Armed Forces)
  • schools

Some nurses are self-employed.

Advancing to supervisor or administrator may require a master’s degree in nursing or a related field. Registered nurses may also become nurse practitioners (NPs). They may do this by taking graduate courses and training in advanced clinical practice. For more information, see the Nurse Practitioner occupational profile.

Registered nurses are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses. In Alberta, 96% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] 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.

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

In Alberta, the 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 1361 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Salaries for nurses vary depending on the employer and the nurse's hours, educational qualifications, experience and responsibilities.

Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

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 $35.47 $37.60 $36.48 $36.86
Overall $40.00 $47.05 $45.40 $46.38
Top $46.30 $56.44 $53.60 $56.22

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
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

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 Apr 10, 2017

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

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) website:

Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) website:

United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) 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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