pr_pathway_nursing_course Nursing from Australia: Structure, Eligibility, Exams

Study Nursing Course in Australia

Nurses in Australia have shown commendable levels of resolve, compassion and positivity over the last few years. Thus, they have cemented their status of being among the most reliable professionals in Australia. This reliability is also evident from the role that nurses in all healthcare environments and levels have played in Australia’s fight against the coronavirus disease. When COVID-19 started to spread in Australia, the country was immediately brought under lockdown. Most of the businesses were asked to shut down, and the workers were made to stay at home.

However, over 20,000 international nursing students were given special permission to work more than 40 hours a week, which is the maximum permissible working hours for international students in Australia. This situation is only a glimpse of the demand Australia has for the services of nursing professionals.

Nursing is one of the professions that provides a high level of job satisfaction for service-minded people. Especially in a developed country like Australia, a nursing career is more enriching than anywhere else due to the country’s high quality of living, better work conditions, safety and better remuneration.

How to Become a Nurse in Australia

Working in the capacity of a nurse in Australia mainly requires registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). It also necessitates you to satisfy several other conditions, including what we will discuss below.


Consider What Kind of Nurse You Want to Be

Two kinds of nurses, enrolled and registered nurses, are eligible to practice in Australia (more on this later). So, the first consideration that you should make is whether to be an enrolled nurse or a registered nurse. There are many differences between both types of nurses, including distinctions regarding their authority levels, pay scales, and qualifications. A registered nurse has more authority and salary than an enrolled nurse in Australia, and the qualifications of both healthcare professionals differ. Almost every nurse who works in Australia is a registered nurse.

What Does a Registered Nurse Do?

Registered nurses in Australia assess and deal with the healthcare needs of patients, including medication administration and monitoring of their health. They have higher levels of responsibility than enrolled nurses and are capable of managing a team or unit.

How to Become a Registered Nurse in Australia

  • An Australian Bachelor of Nursing qualification or equivalent overseas qualification is the minimum education you will need to be a registered nurse in Australia. The qualification may be AHPRA-approved if it is from certain countries. If you have the overseas qualification from any of the other countries, it would be recognised only if you attend an OBA course. This course would turn your overseas qualification into its Australian equivalent.
  • Register yourself with NMBA through AHPRA, with all the necessary documents. The documents are likely to vary from person to person according to different courses but will include the document proving your English competency.

You could apply for a relevant skilled visa or sponsor visa to work as a registered nurse in Australia. The Registered Nurse, too, comes as a job on the Skilled Occupation List. There are several visa options for registered nurses to migrate to Australia, including the following:

PR Pathways for Registered Nurses in Australia

There are multiple PR pathway options available for nurses depending mainly on their specialisation, degree and work experience. The PR pathway in australia is relatively easier for nurses in Australia compared to many other professions. One has to choose the right path to acquire PR quickly. Living in Australia as a permanent resident for four to six years could lead to citizenship for nurses. Here is an array of visa options to consider when looking to migrate to Australia as a registered nurse.

It is a visa that makes it possible for you to live, be employed and/or study nursing in Melbourne or elsewhere in Australia. You would be able to apply for the visa in the event of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) inviting you to do so after you express your interest in it and a state or territorial government nominates you for it. Getting that invitation requires at least 65 points, besides satisfying other criteria. As a skilled registered nurse, you could apply for a state nomination if your job appears on the occupation list of that state.

It is a visa for invited employees, eligible British Nationals (Overseas) or Hong Kong passport holders and eligible New Zealanders with the skills that the Government of Australia needs. The Government has allocated only a limited number of places to this visa subclass, and there is high competition for it from applicants. Therefore, getting an invitation from the DHA to lodge an application for this visa, requires a high points score. In the event that the DHA invites you to do it, you would be able to stay and work as a nurse permanently in Australia.

This visa comes in two different types. One type requires a territorial government or state agency’s nomination, whereas the other necessitates sponsorship from an eligible family member. It allows living and working in Australia temporarily, but if you hold it, you could apply for a Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 191). The subclass 191 visa will allow you to live permanently, work as a nurse permanently, and/or study nursing in Australia.

This visa is for a person with a Subclass 494 or 491 visa who has lived, studied or worked in a designated regional area in Australia for three or more years with $53,900 or more as their taxable income. This visa will only become effective on November 16, 2022, though. It will allow living, working and/or pursuing education permanently in Australia. So, if you have been working as a registered nurse in that area for three years or more and meet the income requirement, you might qualify for this visa.

It is a visa that would allow you to work for four or five years as a nurse if an employer sponsors you for it. The visa allows an Australian employer to recruit overseas workers if their jobs are on the Skilled Occupation List. The visa duration would be four years if you do not have Hong Kong citizenship; if you do, it would be five years. The visa comes in three streams but as a registered nurse, you should apply for the Medium-Term Stream visa. You could apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (subclass 186) if you satisfy the requirements for it.

This visa enables living, studying and/or working in Australia permanently. It requires employer sponsorship, three years of work experience in the occupation you are nominated for, a successful skills assessment, and more to qualify you for this visa. If you have a valid TSS visa and have worked as a nurse for an employer for three or more years, however, you could apply for it.

Benefits of Studying in Australian Regional Areas:

The Government is encouraging skilled workers to move to regional areas to fill the skill shortage gap. It is advantageous to study in a regional area for the following reasons.

  • On the points-based system, you would benefit from an additional 5 points awarded for studying in a regional area.
  • If you obtain a job in a specified DAMA Visa  
  • Regional visas have priority processing.
  • regional area, you would be exempted from the minimum salary required, which is, $53,900 on the new 494 and 491 visas.
  • From 2021, international students graduating in all locations outside Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane will be offered an extension on the current two-year Post-study work stream of the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa (TGV), which applies to Bachelor and Masters by coursework graduates.

Top Reasons to Study Nursing in Australia

Do you like to take care of the sick, old people or the disabled? If so, you may be looking for a career where you can positively impact people’s lives. Nursing is one such career option that would suit you. In this blog, we will discuss other reasons why you should become a nurse in Australia.

AECC Australia can help you to find the right courses.

  • Increasing Demand

Nursing is also evolving in many different ways in Australia, including with regard to demand. There is much more requirement for nurses in Australia now as compared to the past, and it would only go up considering the ageing population in the country. Australia’s Department of Health's research reports projects the demand for nurses to be 85,000 by 2023 and more than 123,000 by 2030. This growing demand is why the country remains a top choice for international students to study nursing.

  • High Remuneration

Pay scales are also rising in this field. Australia is one of the top five countries in the world that offer a high salary package to nurses. A registered nurse earns an average of $75,000 to $85,000 based on their specialisation and experience. The healthcare industry is consistently growing in Australia, and every year there are nearly 30,000 new nursing job openings. The earnings of nursing professionals are in the top 20% high earnings of all Australian workers across all industries.

  • Flexibility

A nursing degree from Australia makes your career very flexible and allows you to move to any part of the world to work. It is also possible to transfer nursing skills from one area of nursing to another. From the most important positions in a trauma centre to working in community health or public health environment, you can pick from several speciality areas. Besides, nursing provides flexible employment hours. There are adaptable hours for a nurse that can range between 4 and 12 hours at any time of the week.

  • Universities

Several universities in Australia are world-renowned for their nursing courses. In fact, 12 of the top 50 higher education providers in the world for nursing are in Australia, according to the 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject. We will talk more about the best universities to study nursing in Australia later.

  • Other Reasons

Excellent health coverage, options to bring family members to Australia, and high-quality education for children also explain why Australia is one of the best places to study nursing.

Top Five  Universities for Nursing Education in Australia

Here, we will discuss the best higher education providers in Australia to study nursing, according to the 2022 QS World University Rankings. All of these institutions offer bachelor’s, master’s, and diploma programs related to nursing. You decide which the best university is for you according to your budget, preferences and requirements.

Best University List

Reasons to choose the universities

The University of Sydney

This is the best university to study nursing in Australia, as per the 2022 rankings. The researchers of the university created the courses, reflecting the changing requirements of healthcare. The university has leading teachers, researchers and clinicians in the most advanced and up-to-date phase of knowledge in nursing to teach you. Add to that the quality of the programs at the University of Sydney, and it explains why many of its graduates become better than others in the field. Contact us to know more about why you should consider studying nursing in Sydney.

Monash University in Melbourne

You can get evidence-based education alongside experience in clinical practice from Monash University. This institution will provide you with invaluable expertise in decision-making in a clinical setting, communication, client care, research, and cultural competence. What will strengthen and underpin the aforementioned will be the university’s associations with leading teaching hospitals and top-notch medical researchers.

University of Technology Sydney

A leading institution when it comes to nursing education, the University of Technology Sydney offers practice-oriented degrees, high-end facilities, and strong industry connections. All of those features will help to prepare students to satisfy the continually evolving requirements of the healthcare industry. Highly qualified and dynamic teachers with lots of experience in research, policy, educational and clinical roles are on hand for the nursing courses at this university.

Griffith University in Brisbane

Nursing education at Griffith means combining comprehensive experience with all the skills necessary for delivering quality nursing care. The university offers clinical placements to help develop the said skills in you as you study nursing in Brisbane. The placements will start early during your degree in nursing, as well as the range across various health service segments, with great opportunities to take on various placements in nursing practice areas that pique your interest.

Deakin University in Melbourne

One of Australia’s biggest nursing schools, Deakin University will offer you direct, practical experience in an environment related to healthcare soon after your course starts. Deakin has strong healthcare tie-ups in Victoria that will allow you to have an idea about working in the capacity of a nurse, thanks to their placements from the first year onwards. When you do not undergo a placement arrangement, you can deal with real-world situations that relate to nursing at Deakin University’s Clinical Simulation Centres. Thus, you can help yourself to be job-ready immediately after you study nursing in Melbourne.

How to Become an Enrolled Nurse in Australia

An enrolled nurse works as an interdisciplinary healthcare team member as well as under a registered nurse’s direction and guidance. They offer patients comfort and nursing support within the purview of their practice in an array of healthcare settings.

The Department of Home Affairs requires a Diploma in Nursing (VET) as the minimum educational qualification for enrolled nurses in Australia. It usually takes up to 24 months for one to complete the course, including a placement arrangement in a clinical setting. After the course, you should submit an application to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia to work in the capacity of an enrolled nurse in Australia. You will have to renew your registration with NMBA once per year.

Career Opportunities for Nurses in Australia

Nursing education in Australia opens many gates. Unlike early days when the nursing job was limited to only hospitals, today the career options are very diverse. Clinical nurse, medical researcher, orthopaedic nurse, paediatric nurse, neonatal nurse, mental health nurse, emergency nurse, certified midwife, anaesthesia nurse are some of the top career choices of nursing graduates in Australia.

A degree from the right institution, compassion towards patients, commitment to the job, communication skills and professional ethics are some of the traits of nurses who enjoy faster career growth. If you are interested in pursuing your career as a nurse in Australia, be clear of your long-term goals. Consider which degree to start with, what specialisation to choose, what you are passionate about, whether you want to live permanently in Australia, what your quickest pathway to acquire PR is, and more. When you have answers to these questions, making the right choices would be easier.

AECC helps international students to find the right course in the right university to suit their career aspirations. If you are an international student looking to study nursing, get free guidance from our consultants on courses, universities, visa regulations etc.

Having an expert at your side will make the whole process of identifying and applying for an institution easily. Study nursing to serve and live in Australia.

Visa Name

Visa Type

International Travel Period

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)

Permanent visa

5 years

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)

Permanent visa

5 Years

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491)

Provisional Visa

As long as the visa stays valid

Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa (Subclass 191)

Permanent Visa

5 Years

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482) (Medium-Term Stream)

Skill Shortage Visa

Until the visa stays valid

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (Subclass 186)

Permanent Visa

5 Years

Nursing Courses in Australia for International Students

Course Name

Course Duration

Language Requirement

Diploma in Nursing

2 Years

IELTS 7.0 in every band or its equivalent test result

Bachelor of Nursing

3 Years

IELTS 7.0 in every band or its equivalent test result

Master of Nursing

2 Years

IELTS 7.0 in every band or its equivalent test result

Diploma in Nursing

As said above, working in the capacity of an enrolled nurse in Australia requires a 2-year Diploma in Nursing (VET) qualification. It is a basic course in nursing that aims to impart essential knowledge to work as an enrolled nurse under a registered nurse. Post the completion of the said course, you will be able to apply to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Authority (AHRP). This course is a foundational program to study Bachelor of Nursing

There are different admission requirements at educational institutions in Australia, so ask the institution you plan to enrol.

As an applicant, you will need to meet the following requirements to study Diploma of Nursing in Sydney or elsewhere:

  • You will have to be at least 18 years old
  • You will need to have a visa that allows you to live and study in Australia
  • You will have to have Year 12 certification in Australia or an equivalent overseas qualification
  • You must have at least IELTS 7.0 in all bands or any equivalent English test result.

Bachelor of Nursing

A Bachelor's degree is the minimum qualification required to be a registered nurse in Australia. A degree in nursing prepares you to become a competent healthcare professional who demonstrates high-level professional knowledge, decision-making skills, and communication skills at work.

It is a 3-year course, and the course fee can vary between $25,000 and $35,000 depending on the university. Applicants generally must:

  • Have completed Year 12 in Australia or have an equivalent high school qualification
  • Have at least IELTS 7.0 in all bands or any equivalent English test result.

The institution where you apply for the course to study Bachelor of Nursing may have other requirements for admission into the program. Therefore, you should read its course information or communicate with us for any assistance regarding the requirements to study nursing in Australia.

Master of Nursing

A postgraduate degree is the entry point for students who aspire to play leadership roles in their nursing career. A master’s degree in nursing enables you to work in a wide range of specialisations. It is among the popular courses in australia  nursing among students due to the diverse roles it opens up in midwifery, nursing management, post-surgery care and so forth. With the higher level of knowledge acquired, you can play senior roles in research and clinical environments. It is a 2-year full-time degree.

As an international student in australia, you can use either a Diploma in Nursing from a Technical and Further Education Institute and a 2-year bachelor’s program at that institute or a Bachelor of Nursing qualification to apply for this course. If you have that bachelor’s degree, it must be an Australian qualification or a qualification that is equally treated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. You must be a registered nurse in Australia or another nation with an approved qualification to be able to enrol yourself in the course. You must have at least IELTS 7.0 in all bands or any equivalent English test result, among other things.

OBA Preparatory Course

Outcomes-Based Assessment is for internationally qualified nurses and midwives (IQNMs) who wish to register with NMBA. OBA looks to assess the expertise of qualified nurses who wish to comply with Australian standards. The assessment has a component with a multiple choice questionnaire; to attempt this questionnaire, you must undergo the MCQ NCLEX-RN examination. It also has another component with an examination called the OSCE, and you must pass it to become a registered nurse in Australia.

The assessment will help you upgrade your knowledge and skills to the standard necessary for nursing professionals in Australia and allow for registration in the form of a nurse here. To undergo the assessment, you must possess an AHPRA referral letter, and you should take on a preparatory course. Make sure that the preparatory course you choose is NMBA- or AHPRA-approved to simplify getting accredited by NMBA.

For more information regarding available OBA courses, contact any of our AECC offices for help and assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Australia

It mainly  depends on the kind of course you want to pursue and which university you want to pursue it at. If you have any specific university in mind, feel free to contact our counsellors for more information.

new-logo_white Nursing from Australia: Structure, Eligibility, Exams
Speak to our Consultant