Part-time/Distance & Online Learning Advanced Certificate 680pascert


BCIT's in-depth, industry tailored Perioperative nursing specialty program combines innovative e-Learning with the high, quality, hands-on learning for which BCIT is known. If you are a registered nurse with an industry sponsor and want to advance your skills in perioperative nursing, our program is for you. We prepare registered nurses to work in this highly specialized area of patient care.

Working in operating rooms, perioperative nurses provide safe and compassionate care for patients undergoing surgery. In the pre-, intra-, and immediate post-operative periods, perioperative nurses are a main source of information and support for patients and their families.

About the program

  • Part-time, advanced certificate program that takes an average of two years to complete 
  • Option to study full-time and complete the program over four consecutive months
  • Distance and online learning options offer flexibility to learn at your pace
  • Three clinical experiences in a BC health authority 

Our program is for nurses who have an industry sponsor in place prior to registration. See Program Details for more information on course structure.

Who it’s for

This program is for registered nurses (RNs) who:

  • Want to work in the perioperative setting, obtain their perioperative certification, or complete their specialty Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in perioperative
  • Have an industry sponsor in place 
  • Have six or more months of relevant work experience in an acute care setting
  • Want to focus on patient care in a high tech, fast-paced environment 
  • Are able to work in a high performing team 

Are you an undergraduate BSN nursing student? Take our first two theory courses as part of your degree. You’ll be a step ahead in your studies if you choose to specialize in perioperative nursing after completing your BSN. See Program Entry to discover more about entry requirements and how to apply.

Your work experience matters

At BCIT, we value your work experience. If you’ve been working as a perioperative nurse, take advantage of our Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) process and fast track your advanced certification education.

What grads can do

Our grads work in operating rooms, providing care for patients through every step of their surgery. See Graduating and Jobs for details on perioperative nursing careers.

Program Entry

Entrance requirements

Note: Effective immediately, all health care workers who come into contact with patients at publicly-funded health care facilities or in the community, including at long-term-care facilities, will have to get the influenza vaccine or wear a mask during flu season. This policy affects all students who will be entering a clinical setting.

As such, you will be required to provide proof of your immunization or agree to wear a mask at all times prior to being placed in your clinical studies.

The following are requirements for program entry into Specialty nursing certificate and degree courses. Enforcement or waiving of any or all entry requirements is at the discretion of the Program Head.

If you have any questions about your experience or qualifications, please contact the Program Head to arrange program advising.

English Language Proficiency

Specialty Nursing courses are taught in the English language and require adequate English skills. To review BCIT’s requirements on English Language proficiency, please visit BCIT’s Admission and Registration page on English Requirements.

Work Experience

RNs or undergraduate students currently registered in an accredited RN or BSN program may start their Specialty Nursing Certificate by taking entry level theory courses. Applicants to the more advanced Specialty Nursing Certificate courses may require a minimum of 6 months to 1 year of relevant work experience in an acute care setting and a resume of work experience may be required to progress in the program. If you have questions about whether your work experience qualifies, please contact the Program Head.

If you are a long term or residential care nurse or an RN lacking current (within the last 2 years) acute care experience, Kwantlen College offers a Competency Assessment and Enhancement for Nurses course that provides a refresher in acute care principles.

This assessment involves an individual self assessment, multiple choice exam and practice simulation. This course may be required for admission in the Specialty Nursing programs. For more information on Kwantlen's offering please visit:

Once you have been assessed, you may be required to complete a tailored curriculum designed to meet BCIT's need for familiarity with acute care principles. This curriculum may include some of the following courses:

Requirements for clinical courses in Specialty Nursing:

Basic Cardiac Life Support Certification

All students participating in clinical courses must have current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Level C or Level Health Care Provider (HCP). The original certificate must be presented upon application to the clinical courses.

CRNBC Registration

As well as providing this information at the time of admission, BCIT requires students to provide proof of CRNBC membership (or Canadian provinvial equivalent) for each clinical course they enroll in. Without proper provincial registration, you will not be permitted to continue in the course.

Face Respirator Fit Testing

A face piece respiratory fit test is required before students are permitted to enter the clinical practicum. Upon successful completion of the fit test, the original certificate must be presented to the program and annual re-fitting is required. Students are expected to carry their certificate with them at all times during their practicum.

For the Respirator Fit Testing, fit testing with a N95 respirator (1860, 1860s or 1870) is required and must be performed, in accordance with CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z94.4-02. Fit Testing must also include, inspection, cleaning, maintenance and storage of protective equipment. Students will be given specific instructions in preparation for their fit testing by the provider they choose.

Costs & Supplies

Face respirator fit testing - approx $25 per year; annual re-fitting required.

Tuition fees

Please check the current availability of courses in the program matrix for individual course fees. You may find three different fees for the same course: one for Canadian citizens, one for international students, and one for re-registration.

Books and supplies

Core course books for the Advanced Certificate program: $454
(general estimated cost, subject to change).


Program matrix

Check current availability of courses for this program.

Required Courses: (25.0 credits) Credits
  NSPO 7100 Perioperative Theory 1: Developing Perioperative Partnerships 3.0
  NSPO 7250 Perioperative Theory 2: The Nurse in the Scrub Role 3.0
  NSPO 7350 Perioperative Clinical 1: Implementing the Scrub Nurse Role 5.0
  NSPO 7450 Perioperative Theory 3: The Nurse in the Circulating Role 3.0
  NSPO 7550 Perioperative Clinical 2: Implementing the Circulating Nurse Role 6.0
  NSPO 7750 Perioperative Clinical 3: Integrated Perioperative Nursing Practice 5.0
Total Credits: 25.0

Check current availability of courses for this program.

Transfer credit

Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.

Program Details

PLEASE NOTE - Independent (non-industry sponsored) students will not be able to complete the Advanced Certificate in Perioperative Nursing. At present the program accepts guided independent study (distance education) students, who are not sponsored by industry, into the following courses:

Enrolment into NSPO 7350: Clinical 1 and NSPO 7550: Clinical 2 is currently on hold to independent (not industry sponsored) students. PLAR for 7350, 7550 and 7750 is still available. Please contact the Program Assistant or Program Head if you have questions.

The BCIT Advanced Certificate in Perioperative Nursing prepares students to practice as novices in a variety of Perioperative settings. Students explore factors influencing Perioperative Nursing in today's changing health care environment:

  • Increasing numbers of same-day surgeries
  • Increased levels of acuity and complexity of patients
  • Development of minimally invasive surgical techniques and procedures
  • Rapid introduction and evolution of new technologies, equipment and techniques
  • Reduced health-care resources
  • Opportunities for Perioperative nurses to take expanded roles
  • Population and work-force changes

Students also integrate a broad range of knowledge and skills:

  • Preparing, managing and monitoring the work environment to minimize risks and provide comfort for diverse patient populations
  • Working efficiently, effectively and collaboratively as a member of a multidisciplinary perioperative team
  • Assessing the needs and personalizing the care of individuals throughout the phases of their perioperative experiences
  • Managing complex technology and competently performing diverse perioperative care activities
  • Relating competently in a diverse range of interpersonal interactions with individuals and groups
  • Managing change in a fast-paced, highly technical work setting

To be successful in perioperative nursing, students need:

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Self-direction, energy, and initiative
  • Ability to work in a close-knit team
  • Flexibility in managing rapidly-changing patient situations
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Tolerance for a climate of constant change, fast-paced activities, and diverse responsibilities
  • Physical stamina and the ability to stand for extended lengths of time

For more information on, including professional bodies that regulate perioperative nurses and nursing, please visit the following links:

  • Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) is the US professional organization of perioperative registered nurses supporting registered nurses in achieving optimal outcomes for patients undergoing operative and other invasive procedures.
  • Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) has the mission of advancing the quality of nursing in the interest of the public. Toward this end, it promotes high standards of practice, education, research and administration. The CNA is a federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations representing more than 115,000 registered nurses.
  • Health Canada is the federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health.
  • Ministry of Health Services (MHS) is responsible for renewing the healthcare system, developing innovative solutions and putting a priority on meeting patients' needs.
  • Operating Room Nurses Association of Canada (ORNAC) is an organization of Registered Nurses dedicated to promoting and advancing excellence in perioperative patient care as well as the professional and personal enhancement of operating room nurses.
  • College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC) is the professional organization of all registered nurses and licensed graduate nurses in the province. Everyone wishing to practice as a Registered Nurse in British Columbia must be a member of the Association. Founded in 1912, CRNBC's mandate is to serve and protect the public.

Program length

The length of the program varies, as it is offered in a variety of formats:

  • BCIT offers theory and some clinical courses by part-time, independent study. We deliver theory courses over a 12-week term using guided-learning modules and online tutor support. If you work full-time, you would generally register for one theory course per term, although this can vary depending on your additional commitments.

  • Through independent study, learn in your own community and structure your learning schedule in a manner that is most convenient for you. Complete full-time clinical courses at clinical sites throughout BC, over 3 to 4 weeks. If you live outside BC, clinical placements may be negotiated.

  • Most Specialty Nursing programs arrange special offerings of courses as "Compressed time frame programs". Offered in full-time study formats, they enable you to take several courses over a specified period of time. If you are interested in this option of study, contact the program assistant for more information and program start dates.

  • Nurses with relevant experience and/or previous courses can request assessment for appropriate placement within the program.

Maximum program length for either the Advanced Certificate or the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is seven years.

Graduating & Jobs

Our grads are ready

We prepare perioperative RNs to be part of an integrated, interprofessional team who work together to support patients during elective and emergency surgeries. Our program is designed to meet the needs of students who are sponsored by health authorities. We are known for preparing students to succeed in perioperative nursing.

Career opportunities

Apply your skills to your existing career or transition to the field of perioperative nursing. Most careers begin with entry-level positions in hospitals. Salaries start at $32 per hour. Opportunities include:

  • Work with patients ranging from infants to the elderly
  • Provide care for patients undergoing a variety of surgeries 
  • Work in rural and tertiary care facilities, in acute or ambulatory care settings

Keep learning

Looking to get your BSN? Use your advanced certificate toward completing our Bachelor of Science, Specialty Nursing degree.

Health Match BC

Health Match BC is a new service that helps recent specialty nursing graduates find work within BC. Funded by the provincial government, Health Match BC prioritizes the hiring of BC nursing graduates. For more information, download the Health Match BC [PDF].

Apply for graduation

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, complete an Application for BCIT Credential [PDF] and submit to Student Information and Enrolment Services.

Allow approximately six to eight weeks for processing.

All financial obligations to the Institute must be met prior to issuance of any credential.

Professional associations

CNA certification program
Graduates of the BCIT program, with one year experience, are eligible to write the Specialty Nursing Exam for Perioperative Nurses through the CNA Certificate program.

Faculty, Advisors & Staff

Karen Sheehan
Program Head
Toll-free: 800-663-6542 x 7079

Sheila Torgerson
Program Assistant
Toll-free: 800-663-6542 x 7102

Contact Us

Karen Sheehan
Program Head
Toll-free: 800-663-6542 x 7079

Sheila Torgerson
Program Assistant
Toll-free: 800-663-6542 x 7102

Questions or comments?

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The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy.

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