Download our guides Your Next Career Accommodation Money and banking Cost of living Visas Employment Health and safety Language Life in Australia Studying Getting around Travel Advertise

What do I Need to Study Nursing in Australia?

This article is sponsored by Charles Sturt University

Given the high demand for nurses, a career in nursing has the potential to be a long one. Studying nursing in Australia can provide you with a strong foundation to pursue a rewarding career of helping others. But you may be wondering: what prerequisites and skills do you need to study nursing in Australia?

We had a chat with Charlize, who came to Australia three years ago from the Philippines. After taking a gap year following high school, she decided to pursue a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Sturt University’s Bathurst campus.

“I wanted to contribute to the community, and since my parents are nurses, they have always provided me with insights into this field of work,” says Charlize. “Moreover, working as a dental nurse in rural areas during my gap year made me realise I wanted to make a contribution to the rural healthcare field.”

Below, Charlize offers her firsthand insights on what you’ll need to study nursing in Australia if you’re hoping to pursue this career path.

A Year 12 qualification or equivalent

To study nursing in Australia, one of the main prerequisites is the completion of an Australian Year 12 qualification or equivalent international secondary school qualification. This will be required whether you choose to study at a TAFE or VET institute or at a university.

Charlize applied directly to Charles Sturt University using her ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank), a rank given to Australian secondary school students on a range from 0 to 99.95. The ATAR demonstrates how you performed in your studies compared to other students completing Year 12 in the same year.

The minimum ATAR (or equivalent) you will need for admission to a nursing course may vary between education providers. As an example, a minimum ATAR of 65 is required for nursing at Charles Sturt University.

English language proficiency 

If you’re wondering how to become a nurse in Australia, proof of English language proficiency is a key step in the process. More specifically, it’s a required component of enrolling in many nursing programs. 

As an international student, you may need to demonstrate English Language Proficiency (ELP) by doing any of the following*:

  • Providing evidence of having completed a sufficient standard of study in English
  • Providing evidence in Academic IELTS within the last two years with a minimum overall score of 6 and/or no individual score below 5.5
  • Obtaining a qualification deemed to be equivalent to Academic IELTS and its minimum scores. For example, most universities require an IELTS 7.0.

*Keep in mind that the exact English language requirements may vary between institutions, so be sure to do your research.

Read more: Different English Tests Explained

Sufficient funds

You may be wondering: how much does it cost to study nursing in Australia? The answer can vary depending on a few factors, including your unit selections and any concessions the institution offers. 

To give you an approximate idea of what to expect, one year of full-time equivalent fees for a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Sturt University in 2022 sits at $29,392. However, with the help of scholarships and grants (both nationwide and institution-specific), you can ease your financial burden. 

A wide range of soft skills

According to Charlize, it takes a lot of patience and discipline to pursue a nursing degree. 

“There’s a lot of trial and error to get to the level of working independently and practising nursing in real life contexts,” she explains. 

The nature of the profession involves unpredictable scenarios and inevitable challenges. As a result, you need to be ready to tackle problems head-on and not be discouraged when things get hard. 

“Know that you are able to go through the challenges in this challenging field and eventually make a difference in the lives of others,” says Charlize.

Because nursing is a highly patient-centred and demanding profession, you also have to be capable of dedicating much of your time and effort to helping others. Nurses must be resilient, headstrong, and have a great level of emotional intelligence.

A willingness to learn the technical skills

Nursing qualifications offer both theoretical and practical learning, enabling students to become skilled in the profession and decide what type of nurse they would like to be.

Charlize says that she gets to participate in practical training in a real workplace at Charles Sturt University. 

“We need to conduct lab practicals every week that prepares us for work placement which is a requirement to complete the degree,” she explains. “Our practical training lasts two hours a week, which prepares us for 40-hour placements at an aged care and 80-hour placements in general nursing care.”

She adds that these hands-on exercises also allow her to work with and learn alongside her peers. 

“We make use of mannequins and conduct real-life simulations, and get to collaborate with fellow nursing students. We are able to learn and practice in a safe learning space through these practicals before going to the real workplace,” says Charlize.

Advice for future students

Charlize is an international student ambassador at Charles Sturt University, providing extra support for students hoping to study in Australia.

“I collaborate with fellow ambassadors to help other international students to apply to university, share with them our experiences studying at Charles Sturt University with all honesty and their best interest at heart. We’ve been in their place before so it feels very rewarding when I’m able to support and encourage them when they are starting out,” she says. 

Charlize advises prospective students hoping to study nursing, particularly those from overseas, to focus on other things besides academics. She says to make time for relaxation to reduce burnout.

Above all else, Charlize highlights that resilience is a key ingredient to any nursing student’s success: “Once you sign up, keep on persevering and do everything that you can to the best of your abilities and that’ll get you through it.”

Read more: Your Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Australia Answered

Start your nursing journey today

Charles Sturt University’s School of Nursing, Paramedicine and Healthcare Sciences specialises in preparing students for a career in nursing, including completion of workplace learning as an essential and exciting part of all their courses. With 97 per cent of nursing graduates gaining full-time employment within four months of completing their studies, Charles Sturt University is the perfect place to set yourself up for success.

Ready to take the first step in your nursing career? Learn more about Charles Sturt University’s nursing courses to get started.

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. Charles Sturt University CRICOS Provider Number: 00005F. CRICOS Code for Nursing: 0101019 (Port Macquarie), 010599C (Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga).