Do you know CELBAN? Are you a foreign-trained nurse?

CELBAN is The Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses. It is a performance-based test that is an important English language proficiency exam for internationally educated nurses (IENs) recognized by Canadian nursing regulators. If your nursing studies are not recognized in Canada, then you will need to take a nursing program in Canada of where it is recognized by Canadian nursing regulators. The exam’s assessment tasks are based on authentic, routine communications in a nursing environment. CELBAN is both relevant and engaging. You must prove your English language proficiency as part of getting nursing licenses in Canada.
CELBAN is an online test. There are two parts: The CELBAN Speaking Test is a virtual interview and the CELBAN Listening, Reading and Writing Tests (Computer Based Test, CELBAN CBT).

There are four language-skill areas tested in CELBAN: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Test results include a proficiency report for regulators and a feedback report showing your linguistic strengths and weaknesses related to the productive skills (speaking and writing).

The minimum CELBAN scores required for registration are set by Canadian Nursing Regulators and are as follows:

  • Listening: CLB 9
  • Speaking: CLB 8
  • Reading: CLB 8
  • Writing: CLB 7

The virtual interview (Speaking Test) is delivered remotely over Zoom. The interview takes about 35 minutes to complete.

The CELBAN CBT (Computer-Based Test) is delivered through Prometric. You will be given the choice to complete it at a Prometric test site or through their remote assessment platform, ProProctor. The CBT is completed one time in 2.5 hours.

Prometric offers you the option to take the CELBAN CBT and Practice CELBAN Exam at test sites across Canada. A list of Prometric test sites and their status can be found at

CELBAN results refers to the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB). The CLB is the national standard used to describe, measure and recognize adult English as a second language (ESL) ability in Canada. The CLB’s metrics show required communicative abilities, and are expressed as 12 benchmarks or reference points, within three stages of ability: basic, intermediate and advanced. You must be able to prove the you can communicate effectively in English in a nursing environment between high intermediate to advanced level/range. This means IENs need to prove in English how to perform with communication tasks in the CLB 6-10 range of proficiency.

If your nursing program was in the English language, then you do not need to take CELBAN as proof of English language proficiency. However, your nursing program must be recognized by Canadian nursing regulators.

Canadian Permanent Residency (PR) status and visas are not required in order to take CELBAN, but you must meet the personal identification requirements. On the test dates, you will be required to provide personal identification. It must be government-issued, non-expired identification that includes a photo. Acceptable forms of identification are limited to the following:

  • Passport
  • Canadian Permanent Resident or Citizenship Card
  • Canadian Driver’s License
  • Canadian Health Card
  • Canadian Identification Card

CELBAN test results are valid for a period of three years from the date your test results report is issued.

You may take CELBAN as many times as you want. You must be sure that both components (CBT and Speaking) are complete before beginning another test.

There are free and paid material to practice and prepare for CELBAN. The ability to use English comfortably and accurately as a nurse in Canada is the best preparation to invest in. Test practice materials offer sufficient introduction to the test platforms and format, but it is recommended you take a course, hire a tutor or self-study with appropriate material to prepare for CELBAN. Preparation is necessary! Simply thinking you will be tested just to communicate in every day English will leave you with unsatisfactory results. You are being tested your English in a nursing environment! Good results take time and investment!

For information about CELBAN training courses from one of our CELBAN teachers, please contact us using this link.