Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) Competency Upgrade Pathway



The Internationally Educated Nurses Competency Upgrade Pathway is part of Ontario’s Nursing Program Transformation Initiative. This pathway has been designed for Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) who want to qualify as Registered Practical Nurses (RPN) and Registered Nurses (RNs) in Ontario.  The pathway consists of both online theory courses and in-person skills-based courses. The online theory courses are delivered asynchronously through OntarioLearn.

These courses are for IENs who have had their education assessed by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and have been informed in writing of the need for additional education. The letter provided by the CNO outlines specific competencies that need to be addressed. The courses in this pathway include CNO competencies and provide an efficient path towards meeting the CNO’s Education Requirement. The flexible delivery of courses allows students to take only those courses needed to address the competencies outlined in their individual letter of assessment

For more information regarding the CNO’s Competency Assessment Program for IENs, including language proficiency requirements, visit their website at the following link:

For more information regarding the IEN Competency Upgrade Pathway, please visit the Ontario Learn IEN website here:

No credential will be awarded for completion of these courses.

Please review the information below for further details.


The IEN Competency Upgrade Pathway is not a conventional program that leads to a college diploma or degree. Instead, it offers competency upgrade courses specifically designed for Internationally Educated Nurses to meet the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) requirements for nursing practice in Ontario. 


There are eight online theory courses and three in-person courses in the pathway.

Online Theory Courses

  • OL661 Pharmacology
  • OL662 Nursing Informatics
  • OL663 Research in Nursing
  • OL664 Nursing in Ontario
  • OL669 Health Assessment
  • OL674 Relational Practice
  • OL682 Health and Transitions
  • OL683 Healing and Episodic Health Challenges

In-Person Courses

NOTE: The in-person courses are not offered at Confederation College

  • Pre-Clinical Readiness
  • Clinical Experience
  • Preceptorship

Course Delivery

Each online theory course in the pathway is 14 weeks long. The theory courses are delivered online, asynchronously, which means there are no live lectures. Students will follow a schedule within the course that will outline weekly tasks and due dates. A facilitator will be available in the course to help answer questions and keep students on track. The course content is available 24/7, so students can work on the course anytime during the week, as long as they are meeting deadlines listed on the course schedule. We recommend students expect to spend a minimum of 5–12 hours on a course each week.
In-person courses are not delivered at Confederation College, but are offered at other Ontario Colleges. 


Applicants are eligible to register into courses if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • You are an Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN)
  • You have proof of one of the following:
    • Canadian citizenship status; or
    • Canadian permanent resident status; or
    • Appropriate authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) that permits you to engage in the practice of nursing in Ontario.
  • You have a letter from CNO containing the results of your education assessment and the additional education you need.

Note: It is also strongly recommended that applicants are proficient in English, including in writing, reading, speaking, listening, and comprehension.

Tuition and Supplies

IENs who meet the above criteria and reside in Ontario are eligible for a tuition award to cover the full tuition cost for the Nursing Transformation competency upgrade courses they wish to register in. Eligible students will also receive a stipend of $400 per course to help them with the costs of books and other supplies.

Note: the stipend is subject to a maximum of $2000 per student. These IEN supports are made possible through funding by the Ontario government. 

Application Submission

Applicants that meet the above criteria can contact Online Learning at [email protected] to apply. Information and documentation that is submitted will be reviewed to determine eligibility for funding. Students will be contacted after the review is complete to advise if they are eligible for a tuition award and supplies stipend, and also to confirm registration. 

For questions or to obtain more information, email Online Learning at [email protected]