Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

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.

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) 
  • 2021 NOC: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (31301) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

General Duty Registered Nurses

2006 NOC: 3152.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2016 NOC: 3012

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Feb 04, 2023 and Jun 02, 2023.

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.
Work Setting: Hospital/medical facility or clinic
Tasks: Monitor, assess, address, document and report symptoms and changes in patients' conditions
Tasks: Provide nursing care
Tasks: Assess patients to identify appropriate nursing interventions
Construction Specialization: Accurate
Construction Specialization: Judgement
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Excellent written communication
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 10, 2017
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 10, 2017
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Nurse - Registered.

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.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses occupational group, 95.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

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.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 10, 2017

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2016 NOC: 3012
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3012 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $36.86 $38.09 $36.85 $36.86
Overall $43.63 $47.78 $46.21 $46.51
Top $49.34 $59.44 $56.12 $59.44

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

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.

Was this page useful?