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I loved my program. I got to meet a lot of great people and had many great experiences.

Practical Nursing
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I loved my teachers in my program. They were really dedicated to the success of their students and they helped me every step of the way.

Kaitlin Doyle
Practical Nursing
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I made my decision to pursue an education in nursing based on researching various colleges and determining who had an excellent program and reputat [...]

Derek Hornby
Practical Nursing
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I was attracted to Durham College by the amount of positive media attention the college had received prior to me attending.

 At Durham, yo [...]

Liz James
Practical Nursing
Practical Nursing

Practical Nursing

Practical Nursing

Practical Nursing

Practical Nursing

In practical nursing, you will combine your knowledge, skills and judgement to provide safe, competent, ethical nursing care to meet the unique needs of all patients throughout the continuum of care.

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Program Description

Approved by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), the Practical Nursing program teaches the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to practise as a safe, competent and professional practical nurse. Using the concept of caring as the basis of nursing, you will develop knowledge, skills and judgment in assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care for all age groups as they experience various health challenges. A particular focus is placed on the ability to communicate in a caring and therapeutic manner.

With a strong emphasis on practical hands-on experience, you will apply theory gained in the classroom and simulated lab practice to environments including:

  • Community
  • Long-term care
  • Maternal/child
  • Mental health

Upon completion of your program, you must successfully complete the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) to become a registered practical nurse (RPN) in Ontario and a member of the CNO*.

Please note: In Ontario the following conditions are laid out by the Nursing Act to be registered as a practical nurse. These conditions may impact your ability to register with CNO as an RPN post-graduation.

To register as a RPN in Ontario you must:

  • Be fluent in written and spoken English or French
  • Have evidence of your suitability to practice as an RPN in Ontario including not suffering from a physical or mental condition/illness, which may affect your ability to practice nursing
  • Have a good character including providing a Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) Criminal Reference Synopsis as part of the registration process. Please note: If your CPIC synopsis is not clear, CNO may determine that you are not eligible for registration
  • Not be subject to proceedings with respect to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity in nursing or other health profession in Ontario
  • Pass the CPNRE
  • Provide proof of Canadian citizenship, landed immigrant status or authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

*CNO Fact Sheet Legislation and Regulation, An Introduction to the Nursing Act [1991]. This legislation for all individuals requesting registration should be reviewed by students applying to nursing programs. For information on how the legislation may impact you, call CNO at 1.800.387.5526 for clarification.

Program approval status 

March 18, 2016

In accordance with the mandate of The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) to communicate Practical Nursing program approval status with current and prospective students please note that:

The Practical Nurse Diploma Program at Durham College is currently approved (Category 1) by the College of Nurses of Ontario. Current graduates from this program are eligible to apply for registration as a Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario.

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Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or Mature Student Status
  • Grade 12 English (ENG/EAE) (C or U) (minimum grade of 60 per cent)
  • Grade 12 mathematics (C, M or U) (minimum grade of 65 per cent)
  • Grade 11 or 12 biology and chemistry (C, M or U)
  • Keyboarding/basic computer skills (recommended)

This program may be highly competitive and have a specific selection process and application deadline. For more information, please contact  or call 905.721.3126.


If you begin classes in January, you will complete semesters 1 and 2 (Year 1) from January to August and semesters 3 and 4 (Year 2) from January to August. Semester 5 will then run from August to October.


If you begin classes in May, you will complete semesters 1 and 2 (Year 1) from May to December and semesters 3 and 4 (Year 2) from May to December. Semester 5 will then run from January to March.


To be eligible for the field placement component of this program you must (at your expense) provide:

  • A clear and current Criminal Reference Check (CRC) with Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS). If you cannot provide a clear CRC with VSS, you may not be accepted for placement by a field placement agency. CRCs with VSS must be obtained from your local police station. You may be required to obtain additional CRCs with VSS to meet field placement agency requirements
  • Current Level C CPR from a recognized provider
  • Entry immunization form completed by a health-care provider
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Career Options


As a registered practical nurse you can be employed as a bedside specialist or in a leadership position in a variety of agencies.


  • Community service agencies
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Industry, clinic or physician’s offices
  • Psychiatric and acute care hospitals
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Program Costs

YEAR ONE FEESDomesticInternational
Compulsory Ancillary


Program Incidental$180$180
Total Fees:$5,494$15,666

Please note: fees are based on the 2016-2017 academic year and do not include textbooks. For more information please see Other fees to consider.

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Laptop Requirements

Fall 2016/Winter 2017/Spring/Summer 2017

Because some of the courses offered in this program are delivered online, access to a laptop or computer will be beneficial to the success of students wishing to enroll in this program.

For Fall 2017 and beyond

Because some of the courses offered in this program are delivered online, a laptop is required in this program.

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The Practical Nursing program is designed to prepare graduates who are able to meet the challenges of the expanding role of nursing in today’s society. You will apply your learning with a variety of practicum experiences that are designed to prepare you to function as a graduate in diverse settings. Placements are located at various hospitals and agencies throughout Durham Region and surrounding areas.

Your placement will provide:

  • A consolidation semester of full-time nursing experience gained via a partnership with a professional RPN
  • Emphasis on building competence and confidence with caring and experienced faculty guidance
  • Integration of theory, knowledge and practice in diverse settings
  • Practicum experience through challenging learning opportunities in medical, surgical, mental health and community environments
  • Practice in a state-of-the-art simulation lab
  • Small group instruction in practicum and lab settings
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Opportunities For Degree Completion Or Additional Credentials

Qualified graduates can go on to take Durham College’s:

Qualified graduates could also take University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s (UOIT) Bachelor of Allied Health Sciences or Registered Practical Nursing to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs.

Graduates may also be eligible to apply their academic credits toward further study through Durham College’s partnerships with many Canadian and international colleges and universities.

Please visit the Transfer Guide for more information.

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  • code: PNII
  • Program length: Five semesters
  • Credential awarded: Ontario College Diploma
  • Location: Oshawa
  • School: School of Health & Community Services (HCS)
  • Domestic tuition: $4,173 (CDN)
  • Intake Statuses
    • Program intake status is Closed Closed: May 2017
    • Program intake status is Open Open: September 2017
    • Program intake status is Open Open: January 2018
    • Program intake status is Open Open: May 2018
  • International Intake Statuses
    • Program intake status is Open Open: May 2017
    • Program intake status is Open Open: September 2017
    • Program intake status is Closed Closed: January 2018
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