New Assessment Service Evaluates Competence of Internationally Educated Health Practitioners

January 04, 2017

January 4, 2017 marked the launch of the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS), a new assessment service that evaluates the competence of internationally educated health practitioners (IEPs) applying to register in British Columbia. 

Effective immediately, the NCAS assessment replaces the Substantially Equivalent Competence (SEC) assessment used by CRNBC for RN applicants.
NCAS increases the capacity for competence-based assessment in the province and enables the nursing partners to consistently evaluate IEP applicants’ skills against competencies required for entry-level practice. If gaps are identified, it will assist in determining what education is required to transition to practice in B.C. NCAS is a collaborative effort by:

  • BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry (the “Registry”)

  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of BC (CLPNBC)

  • College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC)

  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC (CRPNBC), and

  • Ministry of Health

NCAS provides competence-based assessments so that the nursing partners can evaluate IEP applicants’ skills against competencies required for entry-level practice in the province. If gaps are identified, the assessment assists in determining what transitional education is required.

The NCAS assessment process

The NCAS assessment process, provides IEPs with the opportunity to demonstrate their current nursing experience and competencies that may not be reflected in an assessment solely based on their education.  The assessment has three components:

  • Computer-based assessment

  • Simulation lab assessment and oral assessment

The computer-based component can be written in more than 100 countries around the world, while the simulation lab and oral assessments are both offered at Langara College in Vancouver. For information about the three components, please see

Dual-role assessment

NCAS is the only competency-based assessment service that allows an applicant to have their skills and competencies assessed for two different health care roles at the same time. This means a registered nurse applicant can be assessed for competency as a licensed practical nurse and a licensed practical nurse applicant can be assessed for competency as a health care aide (there is no dual-role assessment available for the registered psychiatric nurse role).
The dual-role assessment may allow an IEP to enter the B.C. workforce faster by identifying the profession that best meets their current competence.