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Moving from Canada to the U.S. as a Registered Nurse (RN): Your Questions Answered

  • Publish Date: Posted over 4 years ago
  • Author:by Kate Andrews

If you’re a nurse or nursing graduate in Canada, you may have considered embarking on a nursng career in the U.S. As you would imagine, there are many things to consider before such a move.

Each year, the Conexus team participates in a series of healthcare job events in Canada We’ve collated some of the top questions we get asked at these events and provided the answers below.

“Are There Different Opportunities For Nurses In The U.S.?” 

Yes. One of the most significant contributors for nurses leaving Canada is a lack of employment options and opportunities for advanced career development. By contrast, nursing demand in the U.S. is at an all-time high. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 203,700 new RNs are required each year up to 2026. It’s for this reason that US healthcare organizations are targeting foreign-educated nurses to help them tackle these shortages. 

So, whether you’re an experienced nurse looking to step up to management, or a graduate hoping to gain valuable experience, there’s an abundance of career options available. 

Additionally, there are many educational opportunities for nurses in the U.S., and because the demand is so high, nurses can progress their careers quickly in the U.S.

“What Are The Main Differences In Nursing Between Canada and the U.S.?”

While there are some differences in workplace culture, the biggest can be found in the structure of the two healthcare systems. For instance, in the U.S., healthcare is the country’s second-largest employer and looks set to take over as the biggest within the next decade. 

Unlike Canada’s Federal Government-funded healthcare system, U.S. residents fund their own healthcare insurance, along with their employer, as part of an individual’s employment benefits package. Insurance is a part of the individual’s employment where their employer will provide coverage as a key piece of the benefits package. 

“How Does The Standard Of Living in The U.S. Compare To Canada for Nurses?” 

As you would imagine, this comes down to a lot more than Tim Hortons vs. Starbucks! Right now, the U.S. dollar is particularly strong, meaning a lower cost of living, which will leave you with considerably more money in your pocket each month. 

While salaries range on a state-by-state basis, average U.S. salaries are higher at C$99,222 compared to C$75,680 in Canada. Plus, the cost of living can be significantly lower, with a one-bedroom city center apartment averaging C$2,125 in Toronto compared to C$960 in Jacksonville, NC, for example. 

“I Want To Make The Move! Where Do I Start?” 

The great news for Canadian citizens is that relocation to the US is quick and easy. 

Once you’ve passed your NCLEX-RN examination and have acquired your visa screen, your TN visa will usually be ready in a couple of weeks. Do remember that if you completed your nursing degree in a non-English speaking location (like Quebec), then you’ll also be required to take the academic version of the IELTS exam.

“How Can Conexus Help Nurses from Canada Practice to the U.S.?” 

Conexus has extensive experience in mobilizing Canadian nurses to live and work in the US. We sponsor the TN visa process and offer the opportunity to make your move to the U.S. permanent with a green card visa (EB-3). Additionally, our longstanding relationships with healthcare facilities across the United States means we have a broad range of opportunities available for nurses at all levels and for new nurses. 

Most importantly, we’re committed to developing your long-term career in the US. We won’t just place you in a role; we’ll provide all of the necessary education and development tools and support you need for a nursing career.  


Apply today to start your journey as a U.S. nurse.