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Be a Nurse in Australia: Everything You Need to Know

Are you thinking about being a nurse in Australia?

This is a savvy career move as there are lots of nursing opportunities in Australia. According to reports, the health care industry is Australia's largest employer.

But what does it take to become a nurse in Australia ? Is the NCLEX exam there the same as in the US ?

Seeking employment in a foreign country can seem daunting, especially in a highly regulated field such as nursing.Therefore it's essential that you inform yourself about what Australian nursing qualifications you need, what the job market is like, the average salary, and the application process.

We answer all of these questions in this blog post.Keep reading to find out whether becoming a nurse in Australia is a good fit for you.

The Nursing Demand in Australia

Before we get into the application process and Australian nursing qualifications, let's first take a look at the job market for nurses in Australia.

If you have your heart set on going to The Land Down Under and pursuing a nursing career, we have good news.

Currently, Australia has a strong demand for nurses.What's more, forecasts show that in the medium to long term, Australia's demand for nurses will significantly exceed supply.Government reports estimate that by 2025 there will be a shortfall of roughly 85, 000 nurses and 123, 000 by 2030 under the current settings.

If you are thinking about becoming a nurse in Australia your qualifications will be in high demand.This means better job choice, security, and, potentially, better pay and benefits.

Potential Nursing Opportunities in Australia

Because nursing demand in Australia is so high, there are a variety of opportunities.

However, the lion's share of jobs is typically in rural areas which are underserviced. That said, there are also many placements in urban areas, especially for nursing homes and aged care, midwifery, mental health, and critical care nursing.

Pediatrics nurses and forensic nurses are also in high demand.

What Are the Australian Nursing Qualifications?

If you're looking into becoming a nurse in Australia, the next thing to know about is the Australian nursing qualifications.

Like Canada and the US, Australia requires its nurses to complete an Outcomes - Based Assessment(OBA) bridging program called NCLEX - RN.This replaced the previous bridging program, the EPIQ - RN Program, in March 2020.

Now, international nurses need to complete the NCLEX exam and OSCE(Objective structured clinical examination) to become registered to nurse in Australia.

NCLEX Australia vs the USA

If you're wondering how NCLEX Australia compares to the USA, the answer is that the exams have the same content, and are both administered by Pearson Vue.

However, there are some differences.For one, while in the US you are automatically issued your license after passing the NCLEX, in Australia, you will need to also complete the OSCE.

Also, the application process for the NCLEX exam in Australia is currently faster than in the US.

Lastly, if you were an NCLEX - USA passer in the past 10 years, you can skip sitting the NCLEX exam in Australia and apply for the exam exemption.

The Application Process to Become a Nurse in Australia

If you wish to apply to take the NCLEX for Australia, you will need to first receive approval from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency(AHPRA).

After this, you will need to register online and pay your fee.You can also call the staff of the Pearson Vue center.

After this, you will receive an email from the Pearson center with your endorsement for the NCLEX exam registration attached.You will also receive an Authorization to Test(ATT).Your ATT in Australia is valid for 90 days, after which it expires and you will need to register once more.

After this, you will receive your exam appointment date. 

You will need to bring along identification proofs to the exam appointment, including your passport if you are an international candidate.After you have sat the exam you will receive your results from the AHPRA within six weeks.

Already taken the NCLEX exam and failed ? If so, fear not.Instead, read this post on how to excel  after failing the NCLEX - RN exam the first time around.

How to Prepare for the NCLEX in Australia

As the NCLEX in Australia is a bridging exam, it's essential that you prepare for it. Even though you might be well qualified and experienced, it is a good idea to prep, otherwise, you might find you score low marks simply because you were faced with some unexpected questions.

One of the best ways to prep for the NCLEX in Australia is to do practice questions via question banks such as ours here at Archer Review.

Typical Compensation for Nurses in Australia

Now that you know what the requirements and nursing demand in Australia are, what is the average salary ? Moving internationally and becoming a nurse in Australia is a big step, and you want to be assured of income stability if you take it.

According to estimates, registered nurses in Australia earn an average salary of $73, 000 per year.However, depending on your specialization, you can earn far above this.

Depending on where you work, your specialization, and your seniority, you can earn an annual salary of over $200, 000.

Are You Thinking of Becoming a Nurse in Australia?

If you're considering becoming a nurse in Australia, you'll be happy to know this is not a bad career move at all.Thanks to Australia's shortages of nurses, you'll be assured job stability into the future.

If you want to nurse in Australia, the first thing you'll need to do is sit the NCLEX exam.

To ensure that you pass with flying colors, it's essential that you prep thoroughly for the exam. As mentioned above, one of the best ways to do this is by practicing and taking a prep course.

If you want to thoroughly prepare yourself for your NCLEX exam, we can help you do this by providing access to mock exam questions, video resources, webinars, performance graphs, customizable exams, and more.

Preparing for the NCLEX exam can be tough, but we are committed to making your career dreams come true.

Get access to the Archer NCLEX - RN Question Bank and all its features and resources by registering up for Archer review NCLEX.