Department of Health

Becoming a nurse or midwife

Sign up for a nursing career that offers diverse roles, a chance to work anywhere and flexibility to work your own hours.

Nursing and midwifery are professions with plenty of diversity, allowing you to match your career with your lifestyle.

Varied working hours with the flexibility of shift work means that nurses and midwives can choose to work full time or part time, leaving time for family commitments, travel or other interests.

How do you become a nurse or midwife

In Australia there are 2 levels of registration:

  1. Enrolled nurses hold a minimum diploma from the vocational education and training (VET) sector.
  2. Registered nurses and midwives are degree-qualified through the tertiary education sector.

Enrolled nurses

As an enrolled nurse you can work in many different practice areas such as:

  • emergency departments
  • perioperative
  • mental health
  • palliative care
  • mother, birthing parent and baby care.

An enrolled nurse is required to complete a Diploma of Nursing qualification to enter the workforce. Entrance requirements vary between education providers and prospective students may be required to satisfy the pre-course requirements.

Enrolled nurses can also upgrade their skills and qualifications by completing single units or clusters of units from the diploma and the advanced diploma qualifications in different areas of practice such as acute care, palliative care and mental health. They may also be eligible for scholarships to transition to become registered nurses or midwifes through further training.

Registered nurses and midwives

Registered nurses can work in many differents settings, including medical or surgical areas and specialties such as:

  • intensive care
  • coronary care
  • emergency
  • special care nursery
  • oncology
  • transplant care.

Midwives can work in many different practice areas, including:

  • public or private maternity services
  • as private practice midwife
  • lactation services
  • perinatal clinics.

To become a registered nurse or midwife you need to complete a degree through the tertiary education sector. Entrance requirements vary between education providers and prospective students may be required to satisfy the pre-course requirements.

There are also scholarships you may be eligible for, see Undergraduate (entry-to-practice) nursing and midwifery scholarships.

Starting your nursing and midwifery course

Courses for nursing and midwifery combine theory with clinical experience.

Here are some resources for finding nursing or midwifery courses:

More resources

Other ways to find out about becoming a nurse or midwife:

  • find information about Year 10 or 11 pre-requisite subjects on the VTAC websiteExternal Link or you can look at your preferred university’s website
  • find a nurse or midwife to discuss their work and health career by contacting your local hospital and ask to speak to the education office
  • ask your local:
    • council (especially in rural areas) – they are involved in promoting health careers in their regions
    • university or TAFE provider – they may have opportunities to meet with nurses or current nursing students.

Find out about how you can work while you are studying to be a nurse or midwife, see Undergraduate student employment programs.


  • 07 December 2016
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  • 16 November 2016
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  • 07 December 2016
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Reviewed 22 November 2023


Contact details

Nursing and Midwifery Workforce

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