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2023-2024 Academic Calendar

Practical Nursing Diploma

Location(s): ​Dawson Creek

The Diploma in Practical Nursing at Northern Lights College follows the current provincial curriculum as revised in 2017. The program is designed to provide learners with the knowledge, skills, judgments, and attitudes to perform to the full range of competencies as endorsed by the British Columbia College of Nursing & Midwives (BCCNM). The curriculum provides a learning experience that is integrated, professional, collaborative, and culturally sensitive, with an aim to prepare graduates to care for individuals (and families of individuals) at multiple life stages and in a variety of practice settings.

Consistent with the BCCNM Scope of Practice: Standards, Limits and Conditions (2021), the focus for beginners’ practice is “promotion, maintenance, and restoration of health, with a focus on clients with stable and predictable states of health.”

Upon successful completion of the program, learners will possess the competencies to successfully complete the Regulatory Exam – Practical Nurse (REx-PN).

Students in this program have an average of 28 hours of classes, laboratories, and other learning activities per week. A comparable number of individual study hours is required. Further, in clinical learning situations, students will be in close contact with individuals who have various health issues. For these reasons, students should be at a satisfactory level of physical and emotional health to ensure success in the program. 

Career Prospects

Licensed Practical Nurses work with other interprofessional, health care team members in a variety of settings and play an increasingly wide role in primary health care focusing on health promotion, illness and injury prevention, and health protection and restoration. 


Dawson CreekSeptemberCohort


1850 hours.

This is a two year (22 month) program, with a break in July and August.

Estimated Program Fees

Program fee type: Practical Nursing Diploma

Costs indicated are estimates for a full-time course load.

Book, instruments, supplies, uniforms/clothing and third-party fees are additional.

Domestic Fees

 TuitionStudent FeesInstruction-related
Fees (includes GST)
Year 1$ 4,552.80$ 155.76$ 627.40$ 5,335.96
Year 2 (estimated)$ 5,583.68$ 167.55$ 0.00$ 5,751.23

International Fees

 TuitionStudent FeesInstruction-related
Fees (includes GST)
Medical Insurance
Year 1$ 16,850.40$ 155.76$ 627.40$ 828.00$ 18,461.56
Year 2 (estimated)$ 20,260.60$ 167.54$ 627.40$ 828.00$ 21,883.54

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Admission Requirements

The following admission requirements reflect provincial standards mandated by the Practical Nursing Program Provincial Curriculum Guide Supplement.

Complete all requirements: 

  1. High school graduation requirement
    • Grade 12 graduation, or equivalent, or mature student status. 
  2. English requirement
    One of the following:
    • For applicants with English as a first language*, one of the following:
      • English 12 with a C+grade or higher, or equivalent
      • English First Peoples 12 with a C+ grade or higher, or equivalent
    • For applicants with English as an Additional Language*, one of the following:
      • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) result with an overall score of 7.0 or higher and:
        • Speaking band of 7.0 or higher
        • Listening band of 7.5 or higher
        • Reading band of 6.5 or higher
        • Writing band of 7.0 or higher
      • Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) with minimum scores of:
        • Speaking: 8.0
        • Listening: 10.0
        • Reading: 8.0
        • Writing: 7.0 
  3. Math requirement
    One of the following:
    • Foundations of Mathematics 11 with a minimum grade of C, or equivalent
    • Pre-Calculus 11 with a minimum grade of C, or equivalent
    • If course requirement is over ten years old or absent, complete the numeracy section the Canadian Adult Achievement Test (Number Operations and Problem Solving) with a minimum score of 11.9
  4. Biology requirement
    ​One of the following:
    • Anatomy and Physiology 12 with a minimum grade of “C” (60%), or equivalent
    • Biology 12 with a minimum grade of “C” (60%), or equivalent
  5. A&P requirement
    One of the following:


Applicants with English as an additional language are defined as those who do not have three years of full-time, face-to-face, secondary or post-secondary education at an accredited institution where English is the medium of instruction in a country where English is also an official national language. English as a Second Language/Additional Language courses are not included in this three-year calculation.  In addition to meeting English language admission requirements for the Provincial Practical Nursing Program, graduates who speak English as an additional language must be able to demonstrate performance-ready English proficiency as a condition for registration and practice in British Columbia. See BCCNM’s website for further details.

** The completion date for PNUR 099 or equivalent must be within five years of program initiation. Applicants may be granted conditional acceptance prior to completing PNUR 099 or its equivalent.  However, the PNUR 099 requirement must be successfully completed prior to the first day of classes in Semester One.

Post-Admission Requirements

The following post-admission requirements must be submitted to Admissions prior to the first day of classes:

  • Current CPR (Basic Life Support) certification1
  • Immunizations2
  • Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination2
  • Negative TB test indicating the absence of active tuberculosis2
  • N95 fit testing certification
  • Clearance letter from the Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP), for a Schedule “B” Criminal Record Check (CRC), WORKS WITH Children and Vulnerable Adults3

1 as outlined in the Health Sciences Placement Network Practice Education Guidelines – Orientation – Students.

2 as outlined in the Health Sciences Placement Network Practice Education Guidelines – Communicable Disease Prevention. Please make an appointment with public health nurse immediately to complete the Immunization Checklist.  The immunization process can take anywhere from one to three months, sometimes longer, so verifying immunization status is critical.

3 No student will be permitted to begin a workplace practicum until the CRC has been received by NLC. Failure to do so and may result in program withdrawal. For information and regulations, see Criminal Records Checks.

Important Notes

  1. The program is eligible for Canada Student Loans. Visit Student Aid BC to apply for financial assistance online.
  2. Students must provide their own supplies/equipment (stethoscope, uniforms*, lab coats*, WCB approved safety/nursing shoes, and a watch with a second hand).  Students are required to have a computer (laptop or other mobile device) with minimum computer requirements. Appropriate attire and shoes are required for lab courses and for clinical and preceptorship experiences.; students must purchase standardized program uniforms from the NLC Bookstore.
  3. Program graduates are eligible for direct admission into the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s Advanced Specialty Certificate in Community Care Licensing.
  4. The program is affiliated with Northern Health and the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives.
  5. Clinical learning experiences (PNUR 116PNUR 126PNUR 236PNUR 246, and PNUR 248) may occur in a variety of settings and communities.  Efforts will be made to place students in convenient clinical locations, but all students should be prepared for in-region travel. Transportation, meals, and accommodation are the responsibility of the student. After a clinical or preceptorship site is assigned by the Program Chair and instructor, no changes are permitted. 

Program Requirements

Residency Requirement25% of total program hours must be completed at Northern Lights College
Minimum Grade RequirementsA minimum of 100% on all Pharmacology Math exams. A maximum of two rewrites are available for each Pharmacology Math exam (applies to PNUR 114 and PNUR 124)A minimum of 80% (A-) on the theory portion of the Pharmacology courses (applies to PNUR 114 and PNUR 124). A minimum of 80% is required to pass Integrated Lab Assessments or Skill Assessments in the Integrated Nursing Practice courses (applies to PNUR 115, 125, 235, 245).  Should a mark of 80% not be achieved, a student will be allowed one retest for each Skills AssessmentA minimum of 75% on the theory portion of the Integrated Nursing Practice courses (applies to PNUR 115, 125, 235, 245)A minimum of 68% (B-) on all other theory nursing courses
Continuance RequirementsProgram progression/continuation requirements are assessed by instructors and program chair. Students who don’t meet program progression requirements are withdrawn from program.In ALL cases, when a second test is necessary, the student and instructor will meet to discuss remedial strategies before the retest is attempted. Sufficient time for practice and improvement will be provided (minimum of two days).In total, a maximum of two rewrites of a final exam are permitted for the theory portions of the Practical Nursing curriculum in a given academic year. No more than one supplemental exam can be written per theory course.
Attendance RequirementsConsistent attendance is mandatory.Absence for more than six (6) hours of theory classes per course will seriously jeopardize a student’s ability to meet course objectives and may result in automatic course failure.A student who is absent from a scheduled lab must complete a make up assignment as determined by the instructor. Absence of more than six (6) hours of scheduled lab hours per course will seriously impair a student’s ability to meet course objectives and may result in automatic course failure.A student who is absent from a scheduled shift comprising a clinical, practicum, or preceptorship will not be provided with supplemental clinical experience. Students absent for more than 15% of each experience will be required to withdraw from the program. 

Level One (semester one)

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Level Two (semester two)

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Level Three (semester three)

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Level Four (semester four)

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Level Five

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Diploma in Practical Nursing