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Moving from Canada To The US: Your Questions Answered

If you’re a nurse or nursing graduate in Canada, you may have considered embarking on a new life and career in the US. The question is, how viable is this route? 

As you would imagine, there are many things you need to do before such a big move, which is why starting the process as early as possible will make sure your transition to the land of opportunity runs as smoothly as possible.

Each year, the Conexus team runs a series of events in Canada, aimed at nurses who are ready to take the first steps to become a US RN. Here, we’ve collated some of the top questions we get asked at these events and provided the answers. 

“Are There More Opportunities For Nurses In The US?” 

Yes. One of the most significant contributors for nurses leaving Canada is a lack of employment options and opportunities for career development. By contrast, nursing demand in the US 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 level, or a graduate hoping to gain valuable experience in lower acuity, there’s an abundance of career options available. 

Additionally, there are far more educational opportunities for nurses in the US compared to Canada and, because the demand is so high, nurses can change jobs and progress their careers a lot more quickly. 

“What Are The Main Differences In Healthcare That I Need To Know?”

While there are some differences in workplace culture, the biggest can be found in the structure of the two healthcare systems. For instance, healthcare is more economically vital in the US as it’s the country’s second-largest employer and looks set to take over as the biggest within the next decade. By contrast, in Canada, the Federal Government, followed by the retail and energy sectors, are the top employers. 

Unlike Canada’s Federal Government-funded healthcare system, US 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 US Compare To Canada?” 

As you would imagine, this comes down to a lot more than Tim Hortons vs. Starbucks! Right now, the US 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 US 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 Me?” 

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 US 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.  

"Where Can I Find Out More?" 

Coming Soon: Our free guide “The Land of Opportunity: Why Canadian Nurses Are Relocating To The US (And How You Can Too!).

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