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How Do I Become an RPN?

Learning more about the role through Co-op Programs and Volunteering

High school co-op placements and volunteer positions in health care facilities (acute care hospitals, residential care or long term care facilities) are some of the great ways to learn if nursing is the right career path for you.

Co-op opportunities in which you are working with a RPN can provide valuable learning experiences and can also allow you to observe the actual day-to-day knowledge and skills an RPN uses to provide safe and effective care. Shadowing a RPN in a health care setting can help you learn more about the health care work environment, the role of the RPN, providing patient centred care and will allow you to reflect on how this nursing  profession might fit with your own career aspirations.

To pursue these types of learning opportunities, contact your high school guidance counselor or call/email your local hospital or care facilities and inquire about volunteer opportunities.
 

 
Registered Practical Nurse Career Path
 

The accompanying flowchart describes the requirements at each stage of your development throughout your career as an RPN.

It’s important to begin with the right courses at the high school level to build a foundation for your nursing studies. Your school guidance counsellor will be able to assist you with your options.
 
 
Once you have been accepted to a college program, accessing support through grants and bursaries is a great way to help finance your ongoing education.
 
Proof of successful completion of the practical nursing program (with application to the College of Nurses) is required to begin the assessment for eligibility to write the RPN examination. See the FAQs section of the College of Nurses of Ontario for more information.
  
 

Becoming a Registered Practical Nurse