Course Delivery: Combined delivery (online theory and in-person labs and clinicals)
Duration: 120 weeks
Start: March & September
Wages: $41.02-$71.68/hour (BCNU April 2024)
Regulated By: British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM)
Articulation - Direct Pathway (Post-Graduation): Graduates are also eligible for advanced entry to Athabasca University’s Bachelor of Science Post Diploma (major in Math, Human Science or Computing Information Systems).

Douglas College’s Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing also grants advanced entry (PLAR).
Access for LPNs: Experienced LPNs are encouraged to apply and may be eligible for advanced standing in the program through Stenberg’s Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Process (PLAR).

About the Career

A Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) directly cares for those with mental illness, physical and developmental disabilities, and addictions. Registered Psychiatric Nurses also promote optimal mental health across community and health care settings. RPNs work in challenging clinical and treatment environments and in interdisciplinary team settings. 

Registered Psychiatric Nurses possess specialized skills in providing psychiatric patient assessments, determining patient needs, offering therapeutic support and expert counselling, and implementing treatment plans. They must possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills to be effective as primary nurses, and capable of extending compassion, empathy and diplomacy.

RPNs are employed in a broad range of settings that provide challenging and exciting opportunities. As a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, you could find work in:

  • Various Health Authority Hospitals
  • Mental health & Substance Use Programs
  • Inpatient and Community Services
  • Forensic Service Departments
  • Schools / Higher Education
  • Group homes & Clubhouses
  • Not-for-profit Organizations
  • Nursing Education Programs
Psychiatric Nursing Program | Stenberg College
More coming soon.

About the Program

In response to an overwhelming demand for Psychiatric Nurses throughout British Columbia, particularly outside the large urban centres, Stenberg College has offered its online-based Psychiatric Nursing diploma program since 2006. The only program of its kind in Canada, this innovative program allows students to do the majority of their coursework as well as their clinical placements and practicum in their local communities (within BC). 

Theory is instructor-led in a guided online learning platform. Online learning combined with regional clinical placements allow you to pursue your education in your home community. 

You will be taught by working Nurse Educators who are committed to your success. This program is recognized by the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM), and the curriculum focuses on the competencies that are required to successfully complete the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination (RPNCE). Nursing abilities are based in seven categories: 1. therapeutic relationships and therapeutic use of self, 2. evidence-informed knowledge, 3. collaborative practice, 4. Advocacy, 5. quality care and client safety, 6. health promotion, and 7. ethical, professional, and legal and responsibilities​. The client is the person central to all nursing practice.​​

To learn more about the entry-level competencies of RPNs, click here. To learn more about the requisite skills and abilities of RPNs, click here.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the Psychiatric Nursing program must first complete the following:

  1. Attend an information session via webinar
  2. Submit an application form
  3. Successfully complete the online entrance essay assignment/assessment
  4. Provide an up-to-date resume

*If English is a second language, you will be required to pass one of Stenberg College’s recognized Language Proficiency Assessments (IELTS or CELBAN).


  • Grade 12 English (minimum grade B)*
  • Grade 12 Anatomy & Physiology or Biology (minimum grade B)*
  • Grade 11 Math (Principles, Foundations, Pre-calculus, or Applications) (minimum grade B)*

Additional Pre-requisites (under 19 years):

  • Graduation from grade 12 with a C+ average
  • Grade 10 Science (minimum grade C)

*Stenberg College Regional Psychiatric Nursing applicants may write challenge exams or take upgrading courses to meet admission requirements for Math 11, English 12 and A&P/Bio 12 which must be passed with the above-noted minimum grades. Any Post-Secondary level Math, English or Anatomy & Physiology courses are also acceptable.


For applicants applying for a seat outside of the Lower Mainland region, admission is granted to candidates on a first-qualified basis in the next available cohort.

Admission to the Psychiatric Nursing program within the Lower Mainland region is highly competitive. Meeting the minimum pre-requisite requirements does not guarantee a seat. Applications are evaluated based on a multitude of factors, including prior post-secondary education and work/volunteer experience in the healthcare industry. Waitlists do not carry forward to the following intake and applicants are required to re-compete. For details regarding your specific region, please speak to a Program Registrar, as the intake status of a region can change.

Twelve percent (12%) of Psychiatric Nursing program seats are allocated to self-identified Indigenous applicants who meet program requirements. If the seats are not filled within 12 weeks of the program start, the seats will be offered to other qualified applicants.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) may be eligible for advanced entry

LPNs are encouraged to apply and may be eligible for advanced standing in the program, resulting in fewer courses and reduced tuition. Pre-requisites for LPNs include:
  • Verification of current Licensing as a Practical Nurse
  • Proof of the equivalent of 2 years full-time (3600hrs) Work Experience as an LPN
  • Proof of completion of an accredited LPN program in the form of a transcript

Please Note: We are no longer accepting applications to our Lower Mainland region for the LPN Access Pathway due to a large waitlist and limited seat capacity. We are still accepting applications for all other regions for the LPN Access Pathway Program.

Program Courses

Student Support

  • Academic tutoring
  • Assessment and skill development support
  • Open study skills tutorials
  • Typing practice support
  • One-on-one student support coaching sessions
  • English language learning support
  • Online learning resources
  • Online academic journals and databases
  • Campus life events

Post-Graduation Pathways

Stenberg Psychiatric Nursing graduates have many options available to them after program completion! Read below to learn more about our articulation agreements.

Articulation to Athabasca University

Stenberg College Psychiatric Nursing graduates are eligible for advanced entry to Athabasca University’s Bachelor of Science Post Diploma with a major in Math, Human Science or Computing Information Systems.

Articulation to Douglas College

Douglas College’s Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing (BSPN) grants advanced entry (PLAR) to Psychiatric Nursing graduates.

Our Faculty

Accreditation and Recognition

Stenberg College is designated by the BC government’s Ministry of Advanced Education through the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB). This program is approved by PTIB, which is responsible for setting standards of quality and ensuring consumer protection. Stenberg College has also received the BC government’s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation, which is BC’s brand or “seal” of quality post-secondary education for public and private institutions.

British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives Recognition

Stenberg’s Psychiatric Nursing Diploma Program is recognized by the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM). This full-time, 120-week combined-delivery program is designed to prepare students, upon graduation, to register to write the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination (RPNCE).

Have Questions?

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