Important notice: We are currently updating program information for the 2021-22 academic year. The fees displayed on this page are for the 2020-2021 academic year, to see fees for the 2021-2022 academic year click here. This notice will be removed when updates are complete.

See the Courses tab below for details on program delivery.


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Practical nurses are key players in today’s health-care teams, focusing on patient safety, quality care and lifelong learning. Your compassion and desire to care for others will make you a perfect fit for this profession.

In our Practical Nurse program, you’ll gain the knowledge, skills and experience you need to succeed.

In the classroom, you’ll learn nursing theory from experienced instructors and get hands-on training during simulated practice experiences. With considerable clinical involvement in continuing care, assisted-living facilities, acute care, home care and other community settings as well as a two-month practicum, you can be sure you’ll be more than prepared to write the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration exam upon completion.

In fact, our program is focused on educating you to the full scope of practice as identified by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta, ensuring your transition from nursing student to licensed practical nurse is seamless.

A meaningful career in health care is waiting for you. Apply to the Practical Nurse program today!

Career opportunities

Upon graduation, you’ll be eligible to write the national Practical Nurse exam. After you pass, career opportunities will be available to you in:

  • acute care facilities
  • community health agencies
  • continuing care facilities
  • primary care clinics
  • physician offices
  • educational institutions
  • assisted living centres
  • occupational health departments
Starts In: September
Application Deadlines:

For current application status, terms being processed and application deadlines visit the Program Application Status page.

Duration: 2 years
Credential: Diploma

Thompson Rivers University

Graduates of Practical Nurse are eligible to receive a maximum of 57 transfer credits into the TRU Bachelor of Health Science or a maximum of 60 transfer credits into the TRU Bachelor of General Studies.

University of Lethbridge

Graduates of the Practical Nurse diploma are eligible to be admitted into the University of Lethbridge’s Post-Diploma Bachelor of Health Sciences degree program for completion of their Bachelor of Health Sciences degree.

Delivery Format

A blended course is intentionally designed to include continuum of both face to face/on-campus and online delivery. This includes both synchronous (in real-time on a set schedule) and asynchronous learning strategies (learning that does not occur at the same time or same place). Communication, instruction and assessment components of a blended course provide consistent information but go further by enhancing and supplementing each other. Students may complete some of their lessons online and may also be required to come to campus.


Learning does not occur at the same time or same place. Instructor provides materials including online readings, recorded lectures or presentations, posted lecture notes, video content, assignments and exams for online completion. Students access the course materials within a flexible timeframe prescribed by the instructor.


Learning happens in real time. Student and instructors interact and engage with each other in a specific virtual space, through a specific online medium, at a specific time. This can include video conferencing, live chatting, and live-streaming lectures.

New Students Returning Students
As a student in Practical Nurse, you can expect to experience a blended program with face-to-face lab and work-integrated learning experiences and online learning of theory in a virtual environment. Face-to-face experiences will follow protocols for your health and safety. Online lessons will be both synchronous (at a specific time with your classmates and instructor) and asynchronous learning (you can access materials within a flexible timeframe prescribed by your instructor). As a continuing student in Practical Nurse, you can expect to experience a blended program with face-to-face lab and work-integrated learning experiences and online learning of theory in a virtual environment. Face-to-face experiences will follow protocols for your health and safety. Online lessons will be both synchronous (at a specific time with your classmates and instructor) and asynchronous learning (you can access materials within a flexible timeframe prescribed by your instructor).


Learning Environment

General Requirements

All specialized courses in one term must be successfully completed to advance to the next term’s specialty courses.

To remain in good standing, students must attain a minimum term grade point average (GPA) of 1.7 in all Arts and Science courses and a minimum term GPA of 2.3 in all nursing related courses.

A final minimum grade of C is required in all PNG (nursing) courses to pass the course. A student who receives a grade of C- or lower must repeat the course prior to proceeding in the program.

Students who have a gap in Practical Nurse studies must provide four months’ written notice to the program chair prior to the term they desire to continue in or return to for completion.

Students required to repeat any PNG (nursing) course must meet with the program chair to discuss a progress plan.

Students who are unsuccessful in passing any course must successfully complete COL-1130 (Achieving College Success).

Year 1 Term I
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Year 1 Term II
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Year 2 Term I
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Year 2 Term II
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Year 2 Term III
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New intakes are in September of each year.

General admission requirements

All applicants must meet the general admission requirements for Lethbridge College programs as indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar.

Academic requirements

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar, applicants to this program must also satisfy the following specific course requirements (or equivalencies):

  • 60 per cent minimum in English Language Arts (ELA) 30-1 or 70 per cent in ELA 30-2
  • 60 per cent minimum in Math 20-1 or a higher level math
  • 60 per cent minimum in Biology 30 or C- in BIO-1160 (Anatomy and Physiology I) at Lethbridge College, or equivalent

Note: Admission is competitive and is based on a point system for percentages in biology, math and English. More points will be awarded for higher grades and for the higher levels of math and English (i.e. 30-1). The points are then cumulative to determine placement for competitive entry. To calculate your point value use this guide:


English language proficiency requirements for Practical Nurse program

In addition to the academic requirements, if English is not your first language, English Language Proficiency (ELP) must be demonstrated within the last two (2) years prior to the application. Acceptable evidence of ELP may be one of the following:

  • IELTS Academic with a minimum band score of 6.5 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, 6.0 in reading and 6.5 in writing
  • TOEFL internet-based test score with a minimum score of 22 in speaking, 23 in listening, 21 in reading and 25 in writing
  • Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of three (3) years of full-time secondary education at a school where English was the principal language of instruction
  • Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of one (1) year of full-time post-secondary education at a school where English was the principal language of instruction

Note: Meeting the English Language Proficiency requirement does NOT exempt the applicant from meeting the English academic admission requirement for entry to this program.

Health Care Aide pathway

The Health Care Aide pathway is designed to recognize prior learning of individuals who have successfully completed a recognized Health Care Aide certificate program. Applicants will be granted prior learning credit for PNG-1146 and PNG-1147 based on the following requirements:

  • successful completion of a recognized Alberta provincial standard Health Care Aide certificate program within the last five (5) years
  • documented evidence of a minimum of 1000 hours working as a paid Health Care Aide within the last two (2) years in a health care facility

Note: Applicants must still meet admission and competitive academic requirements.

Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Pre-Placement Requirements

This program has a required Work-Integrated Learning Pre-Placement Requirements (WIL) component. The College dictates the legal terms and conditions governing the WIL.

Students must meet and maintain certain requirements to participate in the WIL setting as determined by programs, practice agencies and/or legislated by government bodies. These may include health (e.g. immunizations, screening tests, etc.), privacy and security (e.g. police information check, IT access, etc.), and OH&S requirements (e.g. CPR certification, Fire Safety, WHMIS, Mask Fit-testing, etc.).

Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) coverage - WIL placement agencies and employers usually require WCB coverage on behalf of the student. Students enrolled in post-secondary institutions in Alberta are deemed to be employees of the Province of Alberta and, as such, provided WCB coverage. In certain instances for students outside of Alberta, WCB coverage may not be provided (e.g. non-Alberta residents taking a course solely through distance learning with a WIL placement outside of Alberta). These students are advised to contact the program prior to application.

Students with disabilities who may require accommodations must schedule an appointment with Accessibility Services at Lethbridge College preferably upon acceptance to the program and no later than the Add/Drop deadline to identify potential impacts of their disabilities in the PBE setting.  As part of this process, it may be necessary to collaborate with PBE supervisors to determine appropriate accommodations that do not compromise the health and safety of clients, essential placement requirements, or mandatory licensing processes.  Failure to consult with Accessibility Services in a timely fashion may compromise the student’s PBE placement and opportunities for success in the PBE setting.

In order to participate in a WIL, a student may be required to complete a Police Information Check or other type of Security Clearance to the satisfaction of Lethbridge College and the WIL organization. Completion of a WIL does not guarantee employment with a WIL organization. Many disciplines are provincially or otherwise regulated (e.g. health professions under Alberta's Health Professions Act); such regulation is beyond Lethbridge College's control. Completion of a WIL and graduation from a certain program do not guarantee one's licensure or admission into a regulatory body. Prospective students are encouraged to consult with a representative of the relevant regulatory body if they have concerns.

WIL sites will include Lethbridge and may include surrounding rural communities. WIL’s may include day, evening, and/or weekend schedules. Students will be expected to travel to assigned sites and will be responsible for arranging travel and any associated costs.

Prior learning assessment (PLA)

If you have experience working in this field of study, you may be eligible for prior learning assessment. Review our Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Candidate Guide for information on requirements for PLA for the Practical Nursing program.

Important notes

  • Students seeking Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) should contact the Program Chair immediately upon accepted admission to the program to allow sufficient time for assessment.
  • Students receive a program handbook upon acceptance into the program outlining the program’s policies and expectations. It is very important for learners to review and understand these requirements.
  • Students are encouraged to complete the following non-nursing courses prior to the first term of the program: BIO-1156, BIO-1160, BIO-1161, COM-1162, ENG-1150, PSY-1170, and SOC-1167.


Applicants who lack the required academic admission requirements can apply to the Academic Upgrading program to upgrade their academic skills.


To be eligible to graduate, students must attain a passing overall program grade point average (GPA) of 1.7.

All requirements must be met within five years of the first nursing course used towards the diploma.

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, students are awarded a diploma in Practical Nurse.

Graduates are eligible for licensure through the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta upon payment of a fee and successfully passing a national practical nurse examination.

Academic Year Tuition Fees Books & Supplies
Year 1 $4,283.00 $1,121.00 $2,250.00
Year 2 $5,135.00 $1,288.00 $1,200.00

Our Budget Wizard is a free self-service tool that can help you make sense of your finances and the cost of your education. Give it a try!

Budget Wizard

  • Costs for supplies may vary considerably depending on what students already have or where they purchased their supplies; cost provided is on the moderately high end.
  • Practical Nursing students are charged for their CNPNE exams after program completion at a cost of approximately $725 these costs are not part of the college program.
  • Students will be charged a medical/dental benefit fee unless they opt out by demonstrating alternative coverage prior to the end of the first week of class.
  • Tuition for international students is $15,533 for Year 1 and $19,149 for Year 2. The cost of additional fees, books and supplies is the same for all students.

Committed to your success

There’s just something about our Practical Nurse program that seems to set our grads up for success. Maybe it’s the small class sizes. Perhaps it’s the experienced instructors who are committed to helping you succeed. Or it could be the amount of hands-on learning built into the program. Whatever the reasons, the results are clear: choosing to take the Practical Nurse program at Lethbridge College will set you up for success.



Not all practical nurse programs are created equal. Choose the one committed to your success.

Hands-on, immersive learning

SPHERE: A learning environment like no other

Experience realistic health training made possible by on-campus and industry collaboration.


SPHERE: A learning environment like no other

The Simulated Patient Health Environment for Research and Education (SPHERE) helps to close the gap between theory and practice. What can you expect from your experience in SPHERE during your program?

Well, the simple answer is: anything you might encounter on the job.

The experiences students have during their programs range from communication-focused interactions with simulated patients to acute medical or surgical patients requiring more complex care. All the experiences in SPHERE are specific to your health profession and are aligned with what you are learning in the classroom.

SPHERE is an evolving learning environment primarily for students in the Centre for Health and Wellness that uses using high-tech manikins and role-playing. SPHERE provides a comprehensive range of health-related experiences to enhance your education and better prepare you for your future role.

SPHERE focuses on creating collaborative opportunities within the Centre for Health and Wellness, other campus programs and departments, as well as industry stakeholders. SPHERE strives to ensure all elements of realism are present in the experiences so students get to experience the most realistic experience.

Created in collaboration with programs to meet their specific needs, scenarios either use high-tech manikins or people to role-play the patient and family members. This level of simulation encourages students to treat/interact with a patient just as they would during a clinical experience.

For more information about SPHERE or experiences you’d have within your program please contact

A student’s perspective

“You can thrive in here no matter what.”

From here to there: alumni updates

Lethbridge College isn’t just a place to go to school – we’re a community that is here to support you from your initial interest in our program through to the moment you cross the stage at Convocation and beyond. Just take a look at where an LC education has taken some of our grads.

Nicole Martin

“The LPN program has been designed brilliantly. The classes are seamless and each lends support to the others. The material is challenging; however, no student is left unsupported. I graduated from Lethbridge College in 2011, and since then my career has blossomed. The LPN program gave me the knowledge and tools required to make the transition from student to Licensed Practical Nurse proficiently. And I am thriving in a career I love. Without a doubt, Lethbridge College and the LPN program changed my life.”

Steven Brockbank and Sachiko Nakayama

“I have worked at the Peter Lougheed since graduating in 2012 as a vascular nurse and work to the full scope of the LPN practice. As a vascular unit we recently moved into a new unit within the Peter Lougheed to expand the level of care we provide. I work with great people who are excellent nurses and doctors and am challenged and grow as a nurse constantly. On a personal note I married my wife and fellow LPN graduate of 2012 Sachiko Nakayama on Sept. 7, 2012, and we welcomed our baby boy Kai Lawson Brockbank on Jan. 22, 2016."

– From Fall 2016 Wider Horizons

Chantal A. Lortie

“My passion is teaching and so this year I’ve enrolled myself into Vancouver Community College to begin working towards my provincial instructor diploma.”

– From Spring 2016 Wider Horizons

Virtual tour

Explore the SPHERE Lab through the Virtual Tour. Click to walk around and get an inside look at it and the other great spaces on campus.