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Sterling College paves the way for internationally trained nurses in Canada - Sterling College
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Sterling College paves the way for internationally trained nurses in Canada

Nurse who is working her shift in a hospital

Sterling College paves the way for internationally trained nurses in Canada

Two years ago, Sterling College in Vancouver launched its Post Graduate Certificate in Nursing to help internationally trained nurses achieve their goal of becoming nurses in British Columbia. Since then, over 22 nursing students have gone on to complete their Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) and National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and are now registered nurses in Canada.

“Sterling College went above and beyond to support and guide me in achieving my goals,” says Coleen Castanares, a nursing graduate originally from the Philippines. “Thank you to my instructors, who were really generous with their time, stuck by me and had faith that I would get there in the end.”

The program has since transitioned into Sterling’s public-private partnership (PPP) with Red Deer College in Alberta, launched earlier this year. The Red Deer-Sterling Health Care Practice and Management program prepares internationally educated nurses to integrate their prior education and take on leadership roles in the dynamic Canadian healthcare environment.

Internationally trained nurses from around the world can achieve a dual credential from both institutions within two years: a Post Graduate Certificate from Sterling College and an Occupational Diploma from Red Deer College. Students who receive a diploma from Red Deer College, a public college, may quality for the Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

“The hands-on approach at Sterling introduces international students to the Canadian healthcare system and provides them with the steps and tools needed to complete and pass the examinations to become certified Registered Nurses (RN) in Canada,” says Milan Petrovich, Vice President – Academic at Sterling College. “Classes are currently delivered in a blended format with both online and in person learning in order to evaluate both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.”

Evidence shows that public-private partnerships (PPPs) in education can increase program efficiency and transparency of public expenditures, improve service delivery to underserved populations, permit quicker responses and overcome public sector restrictions. According to reports from the Conference Board of Canada, the number of nurses needed will more than double over the next ten years.

In addition to health care, Red Deer College offers two more programs at Sterling College in Vancouver that award credentials from both institutions. The Software Development Diploma positions students to enter careers in computing programming, web and mobile app development. The Diploma in Network Administration provides students with the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level employment in the computer networking field.


Sterling College is part of the ILAC Higher Education division at ILAC (International Language Academy of Canada), a global education company that includes language training, university pathway and higher education programs and the largest IELTS testing centre in Canada.