IELTS requirements for nurses working in the UK

Today we are going to look at some frequently asked questions about the IELTS requirements for overseas nurses who wish to work in the UK.

What is IELTS?

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is an internationally recognised English exam, which tests your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.


What score do I need if I want to work in the UK?

Nurses from outside the EU need a score of 7.0 or above in Speaking, Listening ,Reading and 6,5 in Writing.


Why do I need an IELTS score?

It is a requirement of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The NMC is the regulator for all nurses and midwives in the UK. All nurses and midwives who want to work in the UK must register with the NMC, who will give you a PIN number. Nurses from outside the EU will not get a PIN number unless they have an IELTS level 7.0 or above in Speaking, Listening ,Reading and 6,5 in Writing. Without a PIN number you cannot work as a nurse or a midwife in the UK.


There are two versions of the test: Academic and General. Which one should I take?

You must take the Academic IELTS test to meet the requirements of the NMC. The NMC will not accept the General Training IELTS.


Where can I take the IELTS test?

The IELTS test is available in 140 countries at over 1,000 test centres. A full list of test centres is available on the IELTS website:


Do I need to study for the IELTS test?

Almost certainly, yes! You will need a very good level of English to get a score of 7.0 on the IELTS exam. You will probably need to attend English lessons in order to improve your level of English, as well as learn how to do the IELTS exam. IELTS lessons are available in most countries. You can also study IELTS in many locations in the UK. Studying IELTS in the UK is the best option if you can afford it, as you will be immersed in the English language and so will improve rapidly.


I have an IELTS level 7.0 overall, but I only got a 6.5 in the writing part. Is that OK?

YES. You have achieved a level 7.0 in all three areas (listening, speaking, reading) as well as a 6.5 in Writing.


I took my IELTS three years ago, will that still be OK?

Probably not. Your IELTS score is only valid for two years. If you achieved your level 7.0 more than two years ago, the NMC might accept it as evidence of your current level of ability, but only if the you can prove to them that you have actively used or improved your English since then. If your test is more than two years old you should contact the NMC for further guidance, but be aware that you may have to retake the test.


Do all nurses need to take the IELTS test?

No. Nurses from the UK and the rest of the EU do not need to take an IELTS test. Only nurses from outside the EU need to take the test.

So if I am from an EU country, my level of English doesn’t matter?

No – it matters a lot! You still need a very good level of English to work as a nurse in the UK. If your level of English is not good enough, this will be noticed at interview stage and you will not get the job. If you are a nurse from the EU and you want help to improve your level of English,


I am a native English speaker so I don’t need to take the test, right?

Even if you are a native English speaker from an English speaking country outside the EU such as Australia, Canada, the USA, New Zealand or South Africa, you still need to take the IELTS test.


I am a native English speaker: the exam will be easy for me, won’t it?

Unfortunately, no. Achieving a score of 7.0 on the IELTS exam is actually quite difficult, even for native speakers. You should at least look at the IELTS website and buy a self-study book to work through for practice before you attempt the exam. The exam is very time pressured and you will need to do lots of practice to make sure you can get the exam done in the time you are allowed.


Where can I get more information?

For more information about the IELTS test go to

For more information about the NMC’s IELTS requirements go to:

I already have my IELTS 7.0, how can I get a job in the UK?

Congratulations! The next step would be to apply for a PIN number from the NMC. For more information about this, send the following documents.

Once you meet the criteria to register with NMC then you can register with NSS for employment opportunities in the UK.

The documents that we require from you include

  1. An Updated CV
  2. Nursing Council Registration Certificate
  3. Your Nursing Degree Result and Transcript
  4. Your Skype ID and Skype Name
  5. Copy of IELTS Academic result with a minimum score of 7
  6. A Confirmation email from NMC to write CBT or CBT result
  7. Copy of you International Passport

Please complete form below and email all information to