Nursing Career in Australia
April 24, 2017

A comprehensive guide on Nursing Program and Nursing Career in Australia

In recent times, Nursing has become one of the thriving career pathways for an International student to embark on. Nursing professionals are consistently well-paid and it is of the most bankable occupations in terms of graduate outcomes.  Adding to that, it is a well-respected job that serves the community.

But do you have what it takes to break in to this field? There are certain pre-requisite qualities one needs to become a nursing practitioner. A strong foundation in mathematics and/or biological sciences, a disposition to care, quick thinking and ability to work under fast paced-stressful environments are some of the basic necessities to pursue a career in Nursing.

This blog entry aims to educate aspiring students on nursing studies, the different types of specialisation within Nursing, university choices to study a Nursing course, points of entry to enter a Nursing study pathway and current local employment trends for Nursing.

Courses and Specialisations:

Most Nurses find employment in a clinical or hospital setting. However, there is a wide area of unexplored healthcare setting where nurses play an indispensable role. Many Nurses also find employment in community care, education, schools, pharmaceutical companies, health administration within the government as well NGO sector. There are also wide range of specialisation within the core clinical practice such as emergency care, aged care, midwifery and intensive care that one could specialise in by choosing the right majors within their course work. All courses are a mixture of theoretical course work and practical clinical placements which puts a perspective of what a job of a nurse is, in a real world industry setting.

Types of Nurses:

Nurses in Australia are broadly classified into two types.

  • Registered Nurse or RN
  • Enrolled Nurse or EN

Registered Nurse or RN:

An RN is required to complete a tertiary qualification at Bachelors level for duration of three years. A registered nurse is responsible for assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care for patients across community, residential or hospital settings. It requires a University level of education and certain amount of critical thinking and research skills at a Bachelors or Masters Level to perform this role adequately. Additionally, RN can play an active role in nursing administration by supervising and coordinating the work of Enrolled Nurses and other health care workers.

Enrolled Nurse or EN:

An EN is required to complete a Diploma level of education in Nursing for a minimum duration of 18 months to 2 years. An enrolled Nurse is educated at a Vocational Education and training sector (VET) level and hence they combine a more robust practical skill set with competent theoretical knowledge to provide care for patients. They normally work under RN’s and their job role can be described as  providing nursing care to patients in a variety of health settings under the supervision of Registered Nurses.

Entry points to enter a Nursing study pathway:

An aspiring learner can hope to break into a Nursing study pathway at three levels

  • Diploma
  • Bachelors
  • Masters

At a Diploma level:

Upon finishing year 12 or senior/ higher secondary level education in Australia or in your home country, one can apply to study Diploma of Nursing at TAFE’s and Universities across Australia. However, in many cases Nursing courses require a mature age entry. This means students have to be above 18 years of age. A special approval from the academic faculty has to be sought to enrol in a Nursing program when a course taker is less than 18 years of age. Another prerequisite in most cases is also mathematics taken as a compulsory unit in year 12 to gain entry at a Diploma level. If a student is less than 18 years of age, it is good to enrol in a CERT III in Individual support or ageing support as a precursor course before starting the Diploma program.

At a Bachelor’s level

An international student can enter a Bachelor of Nursing course upon completing year 12 in their home country. It is important that the student has a good grade point of average across STEM indicative subjects (Maths, Physics, Chemistry, biology, general sciences etc) and also have good English competency in the range of IELTS overall 7 with no individual score less than 7 or the equivalent scores set up the University for other tests such as OET, PTE etc to ensure a direct entry into the course.

At a Masters level:

A student can also study a Master of Nursing program at various Universities after coming from a non-graduate background where their majors at a Bachelors level is largely unrelated to Nursing. This allows students who have completed different courses at Bachelors level to become a Nursing practitioner by doing a two years Master’s program.

 An example of this scenario is when students who have completed Bachelor of Social work, Bachelor of community services, Bachelor of pharmacy, Bachelor of physiotherapy, Bachelor of dentistry or dental sciences or a Bachelor of science (biotechnology, microbiology etc)  gaining an entry to study a Master of Nursing program. This allows allied health professionals to transition into nursing field without undertaking a longer 3 year Bachelors’ degree to become an RN.

Some of the Universities offering Nursing programs at Masters Level include

  • University of Melbourne – Master of Nursing science
  • Monash University – Master of Nursing practice
  • University of New England – Master of Nursing practice

Average costs to study nursing program across various institutions:

InstitutionEstimated average tuition cost for international students
FED UNI$85,200
LA TROBE$87,210

(Data from reputable sources such as the good universities Confirm with University also  as figures only reflect an average)

Job market trends for Nursing:

Wages for Nursing vary according to location, qualifications, experience and seniority. Nurses tend to earn an average salary of AUD $61,000 per annum. Below chart throws light on nursing wages across all states in Australia depending on levels of career progression.

Enrolled Nurse Wages:

Career progressionVictoriaNSWQLDWATASACTNTSA
Entry level$50783$52380$57929$52213$53817$57635$55766$51242
At maximum seniority and or skill level$67018$59956$67169$62137$59600$62564$64649$61043

For EN, Victoria pays the least at entry level. QLD and NT offer the best overall wages (Data from job sites and Students can study Nursing courses at QLD or NT or move to QLD and Northern territory upon graduation to ensure maximum graduate outcomes

Registered Nurse Wages:

Career progressionVictoriaNSWQLDWATASACTNTSA
Entry level$58011$59394$64292$64727$59600$63584$63039$59923
At maximum seniority and or skill level$92260$83309$86316$86316$81563$84888$83401$81763

Trends continue along the same lines for RN with many crossing the AUD 100,000 mark as they gain expertise and seniority at administrative, managerial and operational levels

For more information on, university specific entry criteria and the best way to qualify for an entry, contact Education Team at Aussizz.

If you have any further queries, feel free to Contact Us!

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