Navigating the Nursing Profession in California

Updated: Sep 1



Let us help you land on your dream job here in California! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in California, and more!

 

Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in California

  • Popular hospitals in California

  • Nursing associations in California

  • Contact details


 

Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. You can also visit CA.gov for more details.



*Fees may change without any notice.

Uniquely, California waives the renewal fee, CEUs, and other fees for any military member that is deployed. If you or your spouse is in the military and are applying for a nursing license, you can avail of this discount.

In the future, California could potentially become a nursing compact state. At the time of writing, they are not and do not accept multi-state licenses as a result.

 

Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the California Board of Nursing website. California has a Verification page for you to verify your license. If it is your first time to have a California RN license, it is issued for two birthdays, not two years, and it will eventually expire on the last day of the month after the date of your birth. From that date on, it expires every two years.

  2. Complete all your continuing education requirements BEFORE your license expires

  3. Apply for your renewal process by going to the California Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information.


 

Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

The following are the Continuing Education Requirements for nurses in California:

  • 30 contact hours every 2 years for RN/LPN/APRN

The California Board of Registered Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.

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Licensing and Certification


Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. These programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. If you have an ADN but you wanna pursue your bachelor’s, there are certain programs that let you earn your BSN in 12 to 18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. Said programs let you save on time and money as you work towards advancing your career.


Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1) health promotion and maintenance; (2) safe and effective care environment; (3) physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.


Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.

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Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in California

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is currently $124,000.


Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if California is the right place for you.

 

Popular Hospitals in California

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in California or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state (all of which are members of the Magnet Recognition Program®) will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in California. Here are some of them:

  • UCLA Medical Center – (Los Angeles, CA):

  • Regionally ranked #1 in California and in Los Angeles

  • Ranked #3 in US News Best Hospitals Honor Roll

  • Nationally ranked in 14 adult and 6 pediatric specialties

  • Rated high performing in 17 adult procedures and conditions

  • A general medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

  • Level 1 trauma center in the heart of Los Angeles

  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center – (Los Angeles, CA):

  • Regionally ranked #2 in California and in Los Angeles

  • Ranked #6 in US News Best Hospitals Honor Roll

  • Nationally ranked in 11 adult specialties

  • Rated high performing in 1 adult specialty and 17 procedures and conditions

  • A general medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

  • Rated High Performing in nearly all procedures and conditions

  • UCSF Medical Center – (San Francisco, CA):

  • Regionally ranked #3 in California and #1 in San Francisco

  • Ranked #9 in US News Best Hospitals Honor Roll

  • Nationally ranked in 14 adult and 10 pediatric specialties

  • Rated high performing in 14 adult procedures and conditions

  • A general medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

  • The best in the country in Neurology & Neurosurgery, and nationally ranked in the top 5 in Ear, Nose & Throat and Neurology & Neurosurgery

  • Stanford Health Care – (Stanford, CA):

  • ✔regionally ranked #4 in California and #1 in San Jose

  • ✔ranked #12 in US News Best Hospitals Honor Roll

  • ✔nationally ranked in 11 adult specialties

  • ✔rated high performing in 1 adult specialty and 16 procedures and conditions

  • ✔a general medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

  • ✔rated High Performing in nearly all procedures and conditions

  • Keck Medical Center of USC – (Los Angeles, CA):

  • Regionally ranked #5 in California and #3 in Los Angeles

  • Nationally ranked in 12 adult specialties specialties

  • Rated high performing in 14 adult procedures and conditions

  • A general medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

  • Specialize in Cancer, Cardiology and Heart Conditions, Diabetes and Endocrinology, ENT, Gastroenterology and GI surgery, and many more.

*The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) awards Magnet Status to Hospitals that apply and meet certain criteria. This award is also considered as the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care.

 

Nursing Associations in California

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in California.

Golden State Nursing Foundation - “This institution of nurses is committed to promoting educational programs for nurses that improve patient care. It is stated in their website that they also provide scholarship programs to nurses for their improvement in patient care delivery.”

Association of California Nurse Leaders - “This association’s mission is to provide lifelong learning opportunities to meet the needs of current and emerging nurse leaders and serve as the primary resource for nurse leaders regarding health care issues.”

California Emergency Nurses Association - “The California Chapter of this association envisions becoming a voice for emergency nurses in the state of California, as well as to provide a variety of continuing education opportunities and networking events to share the latest in evidence-based nursing practice.”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


 

Contact Details

California Board of Registered Nursing

Phone: (916) 322-3350

Website: https://www.rn.ca.gov/

Mailing address

Board of Registered Nursing

PO Box 944210

Sacramento, CA 94244-2100

Physical address

1747 N. Market Blvd

Suite 150

Sacramento, CA 95834-1924


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