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Study nursing in Australia

As the global population grows, the healthcare professional shortage has become an alarming international crisis. Have you thought about working overseas as a nurse and helping tackle this problem?  


In this blog post, you will learn about the work environment for nurses, grades of nursing professions, and salaries of nurses in Australia. Most importantly, we will walk you through how to become a nurse in Australia in a short time. 


Demands for nursing professionals rising in Australia

Nurses are on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) every year. Like many other countries in the world, Australia is now facing the pressing problem of an ageing society. Demands for healthcare workers soar. Apart from the high demands, roughly 15% of the nurses in Australia reach retirement age every 5 years.   


To attract more people to join the healthcare workforce, the Australian government is not only increasing the salaries of nurses, but also encouraging international students to study nursing in Australia and work as a nurse in Australia afterwards. 


Work environment for Nurses in Australia

Overall, the nurse-to-patient ratio in Australia is 1:4, but there are some exceptions as well. In a general ward, a nurse is responsible for 4 patients, whereas in ICU, each nurse cares for one patient.  


Nurses in Australia are responsible for not just basic patient care duties, such as administering injections and medications, but also operating medical equipment and providing diagnostic assistance.  


Furthermore, in-house nurses are in heavy demand and enjoy higher salaries in Australia. Hence, nursing professionals can find work in any place, such as households, schools, offices, care homes, aeroplanes and cruise ships, as long as their services are needed. 


How to become a nurse in Australia

International students, after completing ANMAC (Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council) accredited courses, need to pass NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) and OSCE (Objective structured clinical examination) to become registered nurses.


Nurse courses in Australia

Are you considering working as a registered nurse (RN) in Australia but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. Here we listed four types of courses that you can take to become registered nurses in Australia.    


Feel free to reach out to us and let our advisors help create a personalised plan that launches your career as a registered nurse in Australia.  


Master of Nursing (2 years)

After graduating from university, you can study for a Master of Nursing in Australia for 2 years and become a registered nurse.  


The following are universities that provide a 2-year postgraduate nursing programmes in Australia:   

  • The University of Melbourne    
  • University of Sydney    
  • The University of Queensland    
  • Monash University    
  • The University of Adelaide    
  • Curtin University    
  • Edith Cowan University    
  • Charles Darwin University  

Bachelor of Nursing (graduate entry) (2 years)

Universities that offer graduate entry routes for Bachelor’s in nursing in Australia include: 


  • Queensland University of Technology 
  • Flinders University    
  • University of Tasmania    
  • University of the Sunshine Coast

Bachelor of Nursing (3 years)

You can also enrol in any Bachelor of Nursing programme in Australia and become a registered nurse.  


Nursing Pathway

After you complete your Diploma of Nursing and become an enrolled nurse, you can enter a nursing pathway and then become a registered nurse in Australia. It takes about 3.5 to 4 years.  


If you are not quite sure which types of courses suit you best, don’t hesitate to contact us for free advising sessions. Our advisors at Intake will help you draw up the perfect study abroad plan and find the best nursing courses in Australia for you, based on your needs and background.  


Requirements to study nursing in Australia

The basic entry requirement for nursing courses in Australia for international students is the English language requirement. The accepted English language tests usually include IELTS and OET.  

To enter nursing programmes in Australia, international students will be required to achieve an overall 7 for IELTS or B for OET.   


What is OET?

OET stands for Occupational English Test, specifically designed for healthcare professionals. If you are a healthcare professional, it’d be to your advantage if you use an OET score when applying for a nursing programme in Australia.


What is tested in OET? How to prepare for it?

Like IELTS, OET tests your skills in reading, listening, writing and speaking. 



There will be 4 articles on healthcare topics and technical terms in them. You will need to fill in some blanks. 



The listening test is the hardest part of this exam and, hence, more difficult to ace. You need to work hard on your listening skills. 



You will be tasked to write a notification letter about healthcare topics. It is considerably easier than the IELTS writing test, in which you have to write 2 short essays.



The speaking part mostly focuses on conversations between healthcare professionals and patients. It’d be easy to get a good mark if you use medical jargon properly and pronounce each word clearly in a gentle manner and with a smile.     


Grades and Salaries of Nurses in Australia

Australian nurses can be divided into 12 grades. As you move up, your annual salary also rises. A fresher nurse’s salary in Australia is approximately 85 thousand AUD, which is about 4.5 million Indian rupees.   


It’s quite exciting, isn’t it? Earning 4.5 million as a fresher. The following list shows each grade of nurses and the annual salary. 


  • Grade 1: Assistant in Nursing (AIN) annual salary: 60 thousand AUD
  • Grade 2: Undergraduate Student Nurses/Midwife   
  • Grade 3: Enrolled Nurses (EN) annual salary: 70 thousand AUD
  • Grade 4: Enrolled Nurses Advances Practice   
  • Grade 5: Registered Nurse/Midwife (RN) annual salary: 85 thousand AUD
  • Grade 6: Clinical Nurse/Clinical Midwife (CN) annual salary: 100 thousand AUD 
  • Grade 7: Clinical Nurse Consultant/Nurse Manager, Nurse Unit Manager, Nurse Educator, Nurse Research, Public Health Nurse, Nurse Practitioner Candidate    
  • Grade 8: Nurse Practitioner (NP) annual salary: 120 thousand AUD
  • Grade 9: Assistant Director of Nursing/Nursing Director   
  • Grade 10: Director of Nursing annual salary: 200 thousand AUD
  • Grade 11:District Director of Nursing   
  • Grade 12:Executive Director of Nursing  

To immigrate to Australia, you need to be at least a grade 5 Registered Nurse/Midwife.   

We compare ENs (grade 3) and RNs (grade 5) and their requirement and responsibilities for your reference.   


Enrolled Nurse: requirement and responsibilities 

Requirement: Diploma of Nursing  

Responsibilities: work under an RN  

  • Taking patient vital signs and measurements and reporting to RNs and doctors when noticing changes in the patient's condition  
  • Assisting patients with daily activities, such as showering, dressing and having meals  
  • Helping educate patients on health topics 

Registered Nurse: requirement and responsibilities

Requirement: a Bachelor's or Master’s in Nursing  

Responsibilities: Assess the patient’s condition independently  

  • Working with the medical team to create a nursing care plan and evaluating it  
  • Managing medications and assessing their effectiveness  
  • Providing the patient with mental support  
  • Mentoring and supervising ENs and newly recruited RNs  

Create your study abroad plan with Intake

Now that you know why studying nursing and becoming an RN in Australia is a good idea, why not start planning now? Contact us now for free 1 on 1 advising sessions. Let us be there for you through every step and help you fulfil your vision!


Study in Australia

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At Intake, we are all about giving great advice to each individual, to help you find the right path forward to reach your goals. Get in contact today to see where you could go in future!