If you want to work somewhere with beautiful sceneries and fantastic cuisine, there are few better choices than Italy. The southern European country is famed for its pizza, pasta, and risotto, as well as Venice, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast. The Italian language is also one of the most beautiful in the world and learning it through immersion is definitely a perk of working in the country.

As a nurse, practicing in Italy brings plenty of important benefits, one being the high salary. On average, nurses can earn upwards of $30,000 per year. Demand for healthcare workers is also high at present, so finding a job shouldn’t be too difficult, so long as you’re qualified.

Note that there is currently some confusion as to whether those who are not EU citizens, relatives of EU citizens, or long-term residents of Italy can work in most public health roles. This rule has undergone some changes due to COVID, so it’s best to check with the relevant government agencies before you start your application.

The process of being a foreign nurse in Italy is complicated and highly dependent on which region or even hospital you want to work in. A lot of the information available for becoming a nurse is available only in Italian, so you’ll need a decent grasp of the language or a good digital translator. It also changes relatively often. However, there are several important guidelines to follow. This article provides the general steps you need to become a registered nurse in Italy.

How to Become a Nurse in Italy

1. Get a Nursing Education

Nursing is a registered profession in Italy. In order to qualify, the first step to become a nurse in Italy is that you’ll need a college degree equivalent to an Italian one. Whether or not you received your diploma in the EU, you’ll need to have it assessed by an Ordine delle Professioni Infermieristiche or OPI. OPIs are regional offices, so you’re best off applying in the region you plan to work in. Criteria for assessment include the university you went to, type of degree, grades, etc.

If you’re not from the EU, the OPI may determine that your degree is relevant but insufficient. If this is the case, you’ll need to study for a period of time in an Italian university. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Of course, the simplest way to qualify as a nurse in Italy is to study in the country. Italy is home to some of the best universities in the world, and aspiring nurses can consider the Sapienza University of Rome, the University of Parma, and the University of Padua. While most programs are taught in Italian, you may be able to find one in English if you aren’t confident in your language skills.

2. Learn Italian

To work in an Italian hospital, the next step to becoming an a nurse in Italy is that you will generally need a good command of the local language. Foreigners who want to be registered nurses need to take an Italian language exam. This test is administered by the regional Infermieri Professionali Assistenti Sanitari Vigilatrici Infanzia, or IPASVI. IPASVI colleges are responsible for regulating the nursing industry in the country, but more on this later.

It’s important to note that certain hospitals may have additional Italian language requirements, so it’s best to check with the place you want to work.

While most jobs require you to speak Italian, English speakers may be able to find employment in an English-speaking hospitals such as the Rome American Hospital, the Mauro Leonardis Hospital, and the Salvator Mundi Hospital.

3. Take the Nursing Board

Italy requires its nurses to pass a board exam to ensure consistency in health services throughout the country. That is the next process of being a nurse in Italy. This exam is administered entirely in Italian, so you’ll need a good grasp of the language before you start. Like the language exam, it is administered by regional IPASVI colleges. There isn’t much information available on the contents of the exam, but your nursing degree is a solid starting point in terms of preparation.

4. Register as a Nurse

The healthcare profession in Italy is highly regionalized. Each province has its own regulatory office and may even have its own rules. For you to become an official nurse in Italy, you have to be a registered nurse.

To register, you’ll need to go through an IPASVI college, which are independent bodies that work closely with OPIs. As mentioned, they administer board exams, and language exams, and are also responsible for evaluating foreign credentials. You can find one in every region. The most straightforward path to working in Italy is applying to one in the area you intend to work in.

For a full list of requirements, you’ll need to check out the IPASVI website. In some cases, you may need to find employment prior to receiving your nursing license.

5. Find a Job and Apply for Permission to Work

To find a nursing job in Italy, most people go through a recruitment agency. Finding a job in Italy is the next important step to become a nurse in the country. These businesses have contacts in the healthcare industry and charge a small fee for connecting applicants with employers. If you want to try your luck, you can also apply through an online job ad.

You’ll need your employer to sponsor you for a work permit, so make sure you have a job lined up before applying. They will need to make an application on your behalf with an immigration office before you’re allowed to enter the country.

This step can be taken before taking the board exam and registering as a nurse, although hospitals might be reluctant to employ you if you aren’t registered yet.

EU citizens can work freely without a permit.


I hope that this article on Steps to Become a Nurse in Italy was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!