Search Jobs Contact Us Register

Becoming a nurse in Australia: What you need to know

Nursing is a multifaceted profession in more ways than one. It not only has a variety of fields within which to specialize, but there are also different qualifications to consider, healthcare settings within which to work, and employment options from which to choose, amongst others. While there is a lot more to it, we’ve compiled a summary of the basics that you need to know about being a nurse in Australia.

The nursing demand in Australia

A detailed report by the Commonwealth of Australia forecasts that in the medium to long term, the demand for nurses in Australia will exceed supply by far. Reports estimate that by the year 2025 there may be a shortfall of approximately 85,000 nurses and about 125,000 by 2030. If you’re considering being a nurse in Australia, your qualifications are very likely to be in high demand and you’d therefore have better options of jobs from which to choose, security, and potentially better benefits and pay.

Opportunities for nurses in Australia

The high demand of nurses in Australia means that there are a wide variety of opportunities available. Many jobs are located in rural areas that are underserviced, but there are many placements in urban areas such as midwifery, mental health, nursing homes and aged care, as well as critical care nursing, pediatric and forensic nurses. Greenstaff Medical Australia has a wide variety of options and locations to choose from- Take a look for yourself!

Australian nursing qualifications

Similar to the US and Canada, nurses in Australia are required to complete an Outcomes-Based Assessment (OBA) bridging program called NCLEX-RN. This has replaced the previous program in March 2020 known as the EPIQ-RN. International nurses now need to complete the NCLEX exam as well as the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) in order to become a Registered Nurse in Australia. 

The application process to become a nurse in Australia

Before taking the NCLEX for Australia, you would first need to receive approval from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Thereafter, you register online and pay a fee, after which you receive an endorsement for the NCLEX exam registration and an Authorization to Test (ATT). The ATT is valid for 90 days after which it expires. Should your ATT expire, you would need to start the registration process again. Once this is complete, you receive your exam appointment date, attend the exam, and should you have passed, you’d receive your results within 6 weeks of taking the exam. 

Additional information

  • Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF): The ANMF is Australia’s largest national union and professional nursing and midwifery organisation. Their members work in the public and private health, aged care, and disability sectors across a wide variety of urban, rural, and remote locations. They work with members to improve their ability to deliver safe and best practice care in each and every one of these settings, fulfil their professional goals and achieve a healthy work/life balance. Read more here.
  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) & National Boards: AHPRA works with the 15 National Boards to help protect the public by regulating Australia's registered health practitioners. Their primary role is to protect the public and set standards and policies that all registered health practitioners must meet. They assist with professional standards, registrations of students and healthcare practitioners, notifications, compliance, and accreditation. Read more here.
  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) & Nursing and Midwifery Board: The functions of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia include registering nursing and midwifery practitioners and students, developing standards, codes and guidelines for the nursing and midwifery profession, handling notifications, complaints, investigations and disciplinary hearings, assessing overseas trained practitioners who wish to practise in Australia, and approving accreditation standards and accredited courses of study. Read more here.
If you’re looking for further information about becoming a nurse in Australia, or you have international qualifications and would like to join our team, let us know by sending us an email at or choose another method of contacting us by visiting our contact page.