Psychiatric Nursing

Psychiatric nurses educated at Saskatchewan Polytechnic are known for their high standards of practice, ethical behaviour, acceptance of diversity and compassion. Expert faculty and staff help prepare students for graduation and gratifying careers as registered psychiatric nurses.

Psychiatric nursing is a respected and distinct field of practice in western Canada. As a Saskatchewan Polytechnic psychiatric nursing student, you will be introduced to foundational knowledge and skills to prepare you to be an integral part of the interdisciplinary health care team. Faculty will guide you as you link theory with practice, demonstrating that caring is the foundation that provides a framework for psychiatric nursing. You will learn the importance of using a holistic approach to help clients reach their maximum potential.

If you want to play a vital role in the advancement of mental health and contribute meaningfully to the well-being of individuals, groups, families and communities, Saskatchewan Polytechnic's two-and-a-half-year Psychiatric Nursing advanced diploma program will appeal to you.

Year one of the program is offered in both Regina and Saskatoon and consists of theoretical courses, face-to-face mandatory simulated labs and two clinical practice education components (total 225 hours). Onsite face-to-face simulated labs help build a strong nursing foundation as you prepare to use your knowledge and practice your skills with clients at clinical practice education settings.

At present, the majority of theory is delivered virtually from the Regina site, with assistance and participation from Saskatoon faculty.  Students are encouraged to be present in a classroom at each site, but at times, they have the flexibility to participate in theory virtually from a home office. Regina and Saskatoon have a designated on-campus classroom for those students who wish to learn with their peers. Some courses have mandatory face-to-face components.

Year two of the program consists of courses delivered virtually, face-to-face labs, and three clinical practice education components (total 495 hours). You will be placed in an instructor led group at one of the following satellite sites (Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current and Yorkton).

Year three (four months in length) of the program consists of one clinical practice education experience with a preceptor (total 375 hours). It is a time that allows students to further hone their skills and explore an area of special interest. Students can identify their preference for the clinical practice education experience (in Saskatchewan only) and the program will accommodate student preferences (where possible).
The Psychiatric Nursing advanced diploma program meets the approval of the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan (RPNAS). Graduates are eligible to write the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination (RPNCE), which is required to become licensed as an RPN.

The program is also recognized by all other regulatory bodies for the profession in Canada. At present RPNs practice in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Students are required to complete 2,145 hours (143 credits) to meet the standards and competencies required of an RPN. Upon program completion, graduates receive an advanced diploma credential. The credential aligns to the Saskatchewan Polytechnic framework and recognizes the length and complexity of the program.
Many incoming students choose to take courses prior to being accepted to lighten their workload while in the program. You can take any/all the following courses (offered through our Centre for Continuing Education) and receive credit for them prior to being admitted in the program.
  • Anatomy and Physiology 1 (BIOL-102)
  • Anatomy and Physiology 2 (BIOL-103)
  • Culture/Diversity in Canadian Society (SOCI-171)
  • Critical Reading and Writing (ENGL-101)
Students should ensure courses they take from other post-secondary learning institutions are equivalent prior to starting the program. The program head can assist you with choosing the right courses if you are interested in lightening your workload.
Leverage your diploma into the Bachelor of Applied Management degree at Saskatchewan Polytechnic with only two years of additional study. Remote classes and part-time options are available.  
The program meets provincial and national standards set by the RPNAS. Below are the key guiding documents for the psychiatric nursing program:

For more information, visit the program’s frequently asked questions.

Career and salary information

Your career

Registered psychiatric nurses are in high demand and are qualified to work in a variety of settings.

You could work in a hospital, long-term care facility, correctional institution (forensics), community mental health setting, home care or with children and youth. This program provides you with a strong foundation in psychiatric nursing practice.

For more information, visit

Potential careers

Sample job title NOC classification
Psychiatric nurse Registered nurses & registered psychiatric nurses (31301)
Mental health nurse Registered nurses & registered psychiatric nurses (31301)
Mental health therapist Therapists in counselling & related specialized therapies (41301)
Addictions counsellor Therapists in counselling & related specialized therapies (41301)


Admission requirements

  • Grade 12 with a minimum overall score of 70% in the following five subjects (or their equivalents): English Language Arts A30, English Language Arts B30, Foundations of Math 30 or Pre-Calculus 30 Biology 30, Chemistry 30
  • English Language Requirement

Effective September 2024: English Language Requirement Specific to Psychiatric Nursing

The language of instruction and assessment for this program is English. In addition to the general admission requirements, if your first or primary language is not English and/or your country is not exempt, you must demonstrate an appropriate level of proficiency in English. English language proficiency will be based on submission of evidence for one of the following: Completion of studies at a Canadian or U.S. high school (secondary education) Completion of grades 10, 11, and 12 English, in sequence, as part of three full academic years in a high school using provincially accredited Canadian or state-accredited U.S. curriculum with a minimum grade of 70% in English Language Arts A30 and English Language Arts B30 or equivalent. English as a Second Language courses will not be considered. Completion of studies at an English-speaking post-secondary school Successful completion of a minimum of two full years (minimum 24 credits) from an accredited program at a recognized institution or a combination of accredited programs at institutions recognized by Saskatchewan Polytechnic, where English is the official language of instruction and examination with a grade point average of 60% or equivalent. If one of the above requirements is not met, evidence of one of the following English proficiency tests meeting the specified exam standards must be submitted:

IELTS (Academic): Must meet the minimum in each component shown below, and an overall minimum of 7

  • Writing – 6.5
  • Speaking – 7
  • Listening – 7
  • Reading – 6.5

CELBAN: For internationally educated nurses only

  • Writing – 7
  • Speaking – 8
  • Listening – 9
  • Reading – 8

TEF Canada

  • Reading – 4
  • Listening – 4
  • Writing – 4
  • Speaking – 5


  • Accepted applicants must provide proof of Standard First Aid and CPR Basic Life Support – Health Care Provider (BLS-HCP).
  •  Accepted applicants must submit a copy of a Criminal Record Check and a Vulnerable Sector Check. The cost of these requirements is the applicant’s responsibility.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide evidence of current N95 respirator mask testing prior to entry into the clinical practice education setting. The cost of N95 respirator mask testing is the applicant’s responsibility.
  • Applicants will need access to a computer for the entire program.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide evidence of 2015 WHMIS Globally Harmonized System (GHS) certification upon admission into the program. Recertification will be required every three years to remain current. The cost of WHMIS certification is the applicant’s responsibility.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide evidence of current (TLR®) certification. The cost of TLR® certification is the applicant’s responsibility.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide evidence of current Professional Assault Response Training (PART) - Advanced Level, prior to CLIN 214. The cost of PART certification is the applicant’s responsibility.

*Previous Saskatchewan mathematics requirement also accepted: 

  • one 30-level math (one of Math A30, Math B30, Math C30, Calculus 30, or General Math 30)

Admission method


The competitive admissions process is used for programs where the number of qualified applicants regularly exceeds the number of spaces available. In competitive programs, higher admission requirements and/or additional selection criteria may be required. The application period for this program is October 1 to February 15, each academic year. All supporting documentation is required by 4:30 p.m. (Saskatchewan time), March 1.

See Admission Processes for more information about this method of admission.

Selection criteria

Current High School Students: The competitive score is calculated from final grades provided by March 1. Conditional admission may be granted on this basis. Current high school students must order transcripts to be sent directly to Saskatchewan Polytechnic at the end of Semester 1 and the end of Semester 2 of the grade 12 year. The final grade 12 mark will be used when the course is completed. The final grade 11 mark will be used in the absence of the grade 12 mark in the same subject.

High School Graduates: The competitive scores are calculated from the final marks in high school courses required for admission to the program. The high school competitive score will be compared to any grade point score(s) (UGPA) presented for a minimum of 15 passed post-secondary credit units to a maximum of 30 of the most recent credit units from recognized post-secondary institutions – and the highest score will be considered for the applicant’s competitive score. Such applicants must be in good academic standing with the institution. Applicants are then ranked in the order of the highest score.

Tuition and fees

Estimates are based on current rates and are subject to change. Amounts for a program may vary by campus. Totals shown here include all mandatory fees as well as approximate cost for books and supplies. Visit the Tuition and Fees web page for a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program.

2023-24 academic year

Year 1 - $9,110
Year 2 - $10,240
Year 3 - $4,250


Get credit for what you know

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recognizes that adults learn in many different ways. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills through life and work experience or non-formal training.

Due to professional certification, licensing and/or regulation, some courses cannot be assessed through PLAR.

See the Candidate Guide below for this program’s PLAR offerings.

Transfer credit

Many Sask Polytech students benefit from transferring course credit. You may be eligible to transfer credit to Sask Polytech or to another college or university.

Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing

Continuing Care Assistant

Educational Assistant

Mental Health and Addictions Counselling

Practical Nursing

Youth Care Worker

Additional information