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Your Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Australia Answered

This article is sponsored by Charles Sturt University

Nursing has always been a highly respected career, but appreciation for the field reached a new level during the pandemic. In the face of this crisis, nurses have cared for us with courage, resilience and patience. 

Nursing will always be in high demand, and studying nursing in Australia will give you a strong foundation for a long career in the field. While studying nursing is a big commitment, the reward that comes from improving the lives of others is well worth it. So, if you’re thinking of studying nursing in Australia, here are all your questions answered. We break down how to become a nurse in Australia, course options, costs and career potential. 

What are the different types of nurses?

It might surprise you to learn just how broad the nursing industry is. The three main types of nurses in Australia are enrolled nurses (ENs), registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs). 

That said, the possibilities don’t end there. Graduates can go on to become midwives, mental health workers, paramedics, healthcare centre managers, nursing administration, or other healthcare professionals. 

It’s also possible to specialise in care for particular groups such as Indigenous communities, young people or the elderly. Of course, the skills you gain from a nursing qualification are easily transferable if you decide to change specialisations.

How long does it take to become a nurse in Australia?

Before starting your studies, it’s very common to wonder, “How long is a nursing degree?” The answer to this question depends largely on the type of nurse you’d like to become and the type of degree you need to achieve that goal. 

If you’re hoping to become an EN, you’ll need a Diploma of Nursing from a TAFE or VET provider. This type of degree typically takes between 18 months and two years of full-time study. 

If you want to become an RN, you will need to complete a Bachelor of Nursing. A bachelor’s degree usually takes three to four years of full-time study to complete. 

If you’d like to become an NP, you must get a Master of Nursing or a master’s degree in another relevant field. These courses are usually one to two years of full-time study. 

Other nursing specialisations may require additional training, which could prolong your journey even more. Be sure to check out the requirements for your desired career path to see how long it may take. 

Is Australia a good place to study nursing?

With 10 universities ranked in the top 50 nursing schools in the world, Australia is one of the best places to study nursing. Wherever you are in the country, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to nursing courses. 

In addition to theoretical instruction, nursing programs in Australia incorporate practical work placements. By gaining hands-on experience, you’ll feel more comfortable applying your knowledge in real-world scenarios. You’ll be supervised by top medical professionals and gain valuable insight into the industry. The skills you learn from studying in Australia can also be applied worldwide, should you decide to take your career global after graduation.

For international students, the main prerequisite for studying nursing in Australia is the completion of an Australian year 12 qualification or equivalent. If you’re not a native English speaker, you’ll also need to complete a test to ensure you meet the requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s (NMBA) English language registration standard. Depending on the university you choose, other prerequisites may also include certain vaccinations or the completion of subjects such as maths and science. 

How much does it cost to study nursing in Australia?

Just as course duration and structure vary across institutions, so do course fees. Generally speaking, international students can expect to pay between AU$27,000 and $38,000 in tuition fees per year for undergraduate courses. At the postgraduate level, international students will pay between AU$35,000 and $45,000 in tuition fees each year.

If you plan to move to Australia to study on campus, you may also need to factor in costs such as accommodation and general cost of living. There are some financial aid services available to help fund your studies, including general scholarship programs and scholarships offered through your education provider. You may also be eligible for education loans in Australia or your home country. 

How much do nurses earn in Australia?

Your annual salary will depend on your level of experience, nursing qualifications, specialisation and the setting of your work. For example, a nurse with five years of experience will likely earn more than a nurse with two years of experience. Similarly, a nurse working in a private hospital setting will typically earn more than those working in public hospitals. 

In general, graduate nurses generally earn between AU$60,000 and $65,000 per year. Where you fall in that range is sometimes even influenced by where you studied. For example, Charles Sturt University nursing graduates fall on the higher side, with a median salary of $64,700. Whatever specialisation you choose, wages typically increase annually in line with your career advancement. 

Is nursing hard?

Nursing can be physically and mentally challenging. Nurses must be caring, analytical, highly organised and adaptable to unpredictable scenarios. Nurses also often work long hours and sometimes care for patients suffering from severe or terminal illnesses. These scenarios require extreme resilience and emotional strength.

While it may present its challenges, there are many rewards that come with a career in nursing. Becoming a nurse is an opportunity to make tangible, positive impacts on your local community wherever you are in the world. 

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