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FAQs: Competency based courses for additional education

How do I know if I need to complete additional education?

CNO reviews all relevant information provided in your application, including:

  • your National Nursing Assessment Service Advisory Report
  • other nursing education you have completed
  • information about any nursing experience, which may include the results of additional evaluations you have completed

If CNO finds that you require additional learning to meet the education requirement, we will send you a letter and a Competency Assessment Form (CAF) outlining the specific competencies that need to be addressed. We will also send you a link to a list of programs and courses you can take to meet these competencies.

Why do I need to take additional education?

Before applicants can register with CNO, they must show they possess nursing knowledge, skill and judgment equivalent to that of a current graduate from an approved nursing program in Ontario. CNO will recommend additional education in your CAF to address competency gaps that remain after the assessment of your application.

How do I know if a program or course meets the competencies I need to fulfill?

Review our list of accepted courses/programs and their associated competencies. If you choose to take a course that is not recommended in your CAF, please be aware that it may not meet the gaps identified.

CNO completes comprehensive reviews of all accepted competency-based courses to ensure applicants can obtain the required knowledge, application and evaluation of the competencies needed to meet the education requirement.

Will the courses help me complete other requirements for registration?

Some education programs you take may also meet nursing evidence required to meet other requirements for registration, such as Language Proficiency and Evidence of Practice. Please see Language Proficiency and Evidence of Practice for more information.

Do I have to take the courses recommended by CNO?

The courses CNO recommends are tailored to your specific application to help you complete the learning you need to meet your outstanding competencies. If you are considering different courses beyond what CNO recommends, they may not meet the education registration requirement.

What is the timeline to become registered once I complete additional education?

There are many factors that impact the timelines for each applicant.  Some factors may include:

  • the time it takes for the school to submit the required information (i.e., transcript, course descriptions, and letter validating the education was provided at the required level),
  • the time it takes for you to meet the other registration requirements
  • the time it takes for CNO to review documents to make sure you have met the requirements to complete the registration requirement

What’s the difference between a competency-based course accepted by CNO versus a CNO approved nursing program?

CNO has a legislated accountability to approve all Ontario based entry level foundational nursing programs. As such, a comprehensive Program Approval Framework was developed. Applicants who successfully complete a CNO approved nursing program can attain a Baccalaureate and Diploma in Nursing.

Since competency-based courses are at the continuing education level, CNO takes a different approach to accepting these courses for additional education.

To ensure courses and programs meet the competencies required to meet the education registration requirement, CNO reviews the full course curriculum of the school offering the program. If the courses provide the opportunity for applicants to show they obtain the knowledge, application and evaluation of each competency addressed in the course, CNO will accept the course as a recommended option. 

Page last reviewed August 26, 2022