While the Philippines is known for filling hospitals in other countries with its nurses, there is a significant local demand, so much so that the country limits the number of nurses who can go abroad to work in a year. If you’re a nurse or are studying to be a nurse, this is a country you might want to consider working in.

Working in the Philippines has several advantages. One is the lack of a language requirement: most people in the country speak English as a second language, so you’ll have no problem communicating with doctors and patients. The work culture here also encourages collaboration: if you’re a newbie, your more experienced colleagues will be more than happy to help you settle in. Besides this, you get to enjoy the country’s famous beaches and cuisine.

The biggest challenge you’ll face is finding a job, as there are already plenty of nurses in the country. However, with some patience, it can be done. Whether you’re a foreigner or a local, having a degree from a university overseas will give you additional clout on the job market.

This guide will set you on your way as we talk about the basic steps on how to become a nurse in the Philippines.

Helpful Posts

Related Scholarships

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in the Philippines

1. Get a Degree in Nursing

As with almost every other country, getting a relevant college degree is the first step to becoming a nurse in the Philippines. If you’d like to study in the Philippines, look for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Some universities you can consider are the University of Santo Tomas, the University of the Philippines, and Far Eastern University.

Nursing programs in the Philippines almost always require you to complete a related learning experience (RLE). An RLE involves getting practical training from practicing nurses and working in actual hospitals. This trains you to use the skills you’ve learned in class in real-life situations while still under careful guidance. You can think of it as an internship.

Degrees from foreign universities are also accepted. While there is no defined list of accredited institutions or programs, any three- or four-year course that trains you in nursing should suffice. These programs normally cover topics such as patient care, psychology, anatomy, etc.

Further studies such as a master’s degree are not required but can help you stand out when looking for a job and help you reach higher positions.

2. Take the Nursing Licensure Exam

The Nursing Licensure Exam (NLE) is the Philippines’ licensure exam for aspiring nurses. It is administered by the Professional Regulation Commission, which is the government body responsible for standardizing and regulating the various professions in the country. The test is held annually and can be taken in a number of public venues.

While the vast majority of test takers are Filipino, the NLE is open to foreigners from countries that allow Filipino nurses to work within their territories and have similar standards for becoming a registered nurse as the Philippines. This requirement can be confusing, so it’s best to check with the Professional Regulation Commission to see if you’re eligible.

The exam covers subjects like mental health, caring for patients at various stages in life, infectious disease, and more. Reviewers are available both online and in print. The test is made up of five hundred multiple-choice questions. Every year, slightly more than half of all test takers pass.

3. Find a Job

While there are lots of nurses in the country, there are still plenty of jobs up for grabs. To become a nurse in the Philippines, most fresh graduates start with on-the-job-trainings (OJTs) or internships at hospitals. These are often unpaid but give you the experience to find full-time work either elsewhere or at the same organization.

If you study in the Philippines, your best bet for finding employment is through your university’s job board or your professors. Universities often have ties with hospitals. You can also apply directly to companies through sites like JobStreet, PinoyJobs, and Indeed.

Many kinds of organizations hire nurses. The most obvious are hospitals. These include public and private hospitals, with the latter usually offering better-paid positions. Besides this, you can also work for NGOs, nursing institutions, or even set up your own practice and be an independent nurse.

4. Get a Visa (For Foreigners)

If you’re a foreigner who wants to work as a nurse in the Philippines, you’ll need to get your visas sorted out. This normally happens once you’ve already secured a job as your employer will need to sponsor you.

There are several steps to acquiring work authorization in the Philippines. The first is to apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP). This permit allows foreign nationals to work in the country and is only issued when there is a local shortage of manpower in a particular job. You’ll need to apply for it within the Philippines. An AEP usually takes two to three months to process, but if you need to start work within that time, you can get a Provisional Work Permit (PWP).

After getting an AEP, you can apply for a 9(g) or a Pre-Arranged Employee Visa. This allows you unlimited entries and departures and normally lasts as long as your contract with the company. There is a commercial and a non-commercial version of this visa. The latter is for those involved in social work and usually lasts a year.

Please note that it is extremely rare for foreign nurses to be employed full-time in the Philippines, as there is a glut of domestic manpower.

Also, note that the COVID situation may make it more difficult to secure a work visa, so it’s best to check the website of the Philippine embassy in your country for details.


I hope that you found this article on how to become a nurse in the Philippines informative and helpful. Do visit the Asia Scholarships Page to find out more about universities and scholarships in Asia!