Nursing in Australia: Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions

As a nurse in the USA, you’re very familiar with the variety of certifications, qualifications, degrees, exams, and everything else that goes into becoming a great nurse. But do you know what other countries require of their nurses? If you’ve ever considered moving out of the US to practice nursing elsewhere, there are a few things you’ll need to know about getting a visa and getting a job. Today we’ll be looking at what nursing is like in the great country of Australia!

What type of nurses can work in Australia?

If you’re thinking of making an intercontinental move to practice as an RN in Australia, you’ll need to be a nurse, midwife, nurse practitioner, or a mental health nurse. Your training should come in the form of an undergraduate degree, similar to Australia’s university training.

Is it easy to get a work visa for Australia?

If you are a qualified nurse and have been working in your home country, it should be pretty straightforward to get a visa to work in Australia as a nurse. However, you will need to have a look at the websites for the state that you will want to work in for the specific criteria they require. But once you do arrive, you will be able to get your Australian Nursing Registration, which permits you to practice nursing in any state or territory.  Because Australia is such a huge country, there are a lot of roles and positions available for foreign nurses.

Which state needs nurses most?

Want to go where you are most needed? New South Wales is the place for you. They have the largest nursing population, but, ironically, they also have the largest shortage of nurses. This is mostly due to the fact that the overall population of NSW is so high. Thus, the demand for healthcare workers is on the rise. Additionally, Queensland is the state that takes in most nurses from overseas, so that may be a good option for you as well.

How do I get there?

Finding a job overseas is always a bit confusing, no matter what country you’re looking at. You may be wondering if you should apply for a visa first and find a job when you arrive or find a job first and then work on the visa.

First of all, you should check your eligibility for nursing registration in Australia. If there is something lacking in your qualifications, work on this first and get yourself ready to be registered there.

Secondly, start looking for jobs. As long as you are certain that you’ll be eligible for registration, and for a visa in general, finding a job is the next task. There are a lot of online forums and job boards you can check out that will help you find the right position.

Finally, once you’ve received a job offer, your new employer will help you obtain a work visa, usually through some type of sponsorship. This means that they will vouch for you when you enter the country and assure officials that you have employment.

What’s the pay like?

Currently, the average salary for a registered nurse in Australia is around $26 to $45 AUD per hour.  Of course, as with any job, this will depend on your qualifications and experience. This is also for general registered nursing positions, not for managerial or supervisory roles.

Final Thoughts

Taking your nursing expertise abroad could open up a wonderful world of opportunity for you. A change of pace could offer a more fulfilling life experience and could even lead to career opportunities that you hadn’t considered before. While moving all the way to Australia sounds daunting, the process is generally straightforward, and as long as you’re able to secure a job before you go, three’s really not much to lose!