CALIFORNIA NURSING LICENSE

Important Note: Nursing licensure and practice requirements are subject to change. Nursing License Map makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official source is the State Board of Nursing. Make sure to confirm licensing requirements with the California State Board of Nursing before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 1/20/2015

Education Requirements for Nursing Licenses in California
Nursing Licenses in California Master's Required?
Clinical Nurse Specialist Y
Nurse Anesthetist Y
Clinical Nurse-Midwife Y
Nurse Practitioner Y
Public Health Nurse N
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse N
Registered Nurse (RN) N

California Nursing Salary Average

Licensed Nursing Assistant: $29,910
Licensed Practice Nurse: $51,800
Registered Nurse: $96,980
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse: >$80,000*
 
*Advanced practice nursing salary in California can vary widely based upon specialization. Learn more about California nursing salary.

Learn about financial aid options for nurses on our nursing scholarships and grants page.

There are many paths to become a nurse in California. The path you take will mostly depend upon the type of nurse you’d like to become and your current or prospective level of education. The higher your level of education, the more opportunities you’ll have to choose where and how you pursue your career in nursing.

In addition to nursing salaries in California, you’ll find information on acquiring and maintaining several types of California nursing licensure. We’re constantly making updates, but with the speed of change in the healthcare sphere it’s difficult to stay current. If you have any comments or suggestions for our information on nursing in California, please let us know!

Compact State Status

California is not a Nursing Licensure Compact State.

Prescriptive Authority in California

Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners may apply for prescriptive authority for Schedule II-V drugs in collaboration with a physician for a $50 fee. Completion of a Nurse Practitioner Advanced Pharmacology course worth 3 semester units is required.

Clinical Nurse Specialist in California – Option 1


Education
Master’s Degree in Nursing

Examination
None

Fees
$75 Application Fee, $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

Experience
Applicants Must Have a Clinical Supervisor Complete a Clinical Nurse Specialist Clinical Experience Verification Form

Certification Required
None

Renewal
License renewal is required through the California Board of Nursing every two years by the last day of the month following the nurse’s birth month. Any national certifications also need to be maintained in addition to paying the registered nurse (R.N.) renewal fees. Appropriate course content for continuing education units (CEUs) may be accessed online through the California Board of Nursing website. Nurses may find CEUs through their employer’s employee education department, CEU companies that offer both online and printed CEU materials, and professional nursing organizations to which the nurses may belong.

Additional Information
An Active California Registered Nurse License Is Required for Application

FEATURED ONLINE HEALTHCARE PROGRAMS


Nursing@Georgetown

Nursing@Georgetown is an academically rigorous, evidence-based program that culminates in a Master of Science degree in Nursing, delivered online by Georgetown University’s nationally ranked School of Nursing & Health Studies.

Nursing@Simmons

Nursing@Simmons is an online Family Nurse Practitioner program designed for currently licensed RNs who are at various stages of their career.

Nursing@USC

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing offers an online Master of Science in Nursing program for aspiring family nurse practitioners through Nursing@USC.

MPH@Simmons

MPH@Simmons, the online Master of Public Health from Simmons College, is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global level.

MPH@GW

An innovative online Master of Public Health program offered by the top-ranked Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

MHA@GW

Offered by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, this online Executive Master of Health Administration program is designed for healthcare professionals who aspire to become leaders in their field.

HealthInformatics@GW

This online Master of Science in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University enables graduates to improve the efficiency of health care organizations through the use of data and technology.

Sponsored Programs

Clinical Nurse Specialist in California – Option 2

Education
Master’s Degree in Nursing

Examination
Varies for Different Certifications

Fees
$75 Application Fee, Certification Examination Fee (Varies for Different Certifications), $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

Experience
None

Certification Required
Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), or the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)

Renewal
License renewal is required through the California Board of Nursing every two years by the last day of the month following the nurse’s birth month. Any national certifications also need to be maintained in addition to paying the registered nurse (R.N.) renewal fees. Appropriate course content for continuing education units (CEUs) may be accessed online through the California Board of Nursing website. Nurses may find CEUs through their employer’s employee education department, CEU companies that offer both online and printed CEU materials, and professional nursing organizations to which the nurses may belong.

Additional Information
An Active California RN License Is Required for Application

Clinical Nurse Specialist in California – Option 3

Education
Master’s Degree in Nursing

Examination
None

Fees
$75 Application Fee, $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

Experience
Coursework Related to Clinical Practice (Subject to Board Review)

Certification Required
None

Renewal
License renewal is required through the California Board of Nursing every two years by the last day of the month following the nurse’s birth month. Any national certifications also need to be maintained in addition to paying the registered nurse (R.N.) renewal fees. Appropriate course content for continuing education units (CEUs) may be accessed online through the California Board of Nursing website. Nurses may find CEUs through their employer’s employee education department, CEU companies that offer both online and printed CEU materials, and professional nursing organizations to which the nurses may belong.

Additional Information
An Active California Registered Nurse License Is Required for Application

Nurse Anesthetist in California

Education
Master’s Degree or Higher from a Nurse Anesthetist Program Accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

Examination
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Exam from the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)

Fees
$75 Application Fee, $725 Certification Examination Fee, $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

Experience
None

Certification Required
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) from the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)

Renewal
License renewal is required through the California Board of Nursing every two years by the last day of the month following the nurse’s birth month. Any national certifications also need to be maintained in addition to paying the registered nurse (R.N.) renewal fees. Appropriate course content for continuing education units (CEUs) may be accessed online through the California Board of Nursing website. Nurses may find CEUs through their employer’s employee education department, CEU companies that offer both online and printed CEU materials, and professional nursing organizations to which the nurses may belong.

Additional Information
An Active California Registered Nurse License Is Required for Application

Clinical Nurse-Midwife in California

Education
Master’s Degree or Higher from a Nurse-Midwife Program Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education

Examination
Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) Exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)

Fees
$75 Application Fee, $750 Certification Examination Fee, $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

Experience
Applicants Who Completed a Nurse-Midwife Program More than 1 Year Ago and Who Do Not Hold National Certification Must Provide Proof of Clinical Work in the Past 5 Years

Certification Required
Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) from the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)

Renewal
Nurse midwives must renew by the last day of the month following the midwife’s birth month. Renewal fees are $75 per renewal period as well as a fee of $50 if the clinical nurse midwife has prescriptive ability. These fees are in addition to renewal of the R.N. license and education required for renewal. Any national certifications also need to be maintained.

Additional Information
An Active California Registered Nurse License Is Required for Application

Nurse Practitioner in California

Education
Master’s Degree or Higher from an Approved Nurse Practitioner Program

Examination
Varies for Different Certifications

Fees
$75 Application Fee, Certification Examination Fee (Varies for Different Certifications), $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

Experience
The Education Requirement May Be Waived If Applicants Prove Clinical Competency Through Experience, Additional Experience Requirements May Be Needed for Some Certifications

Certification Required
Nurse Practitioner Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), or the National Certification Corporation (NCC)

Renewal
Nurse practitioners must renew by the last day of the month following the nurse’s birth month. Renewal fees are $75 per renewal period as well as a fee of $50 if the nurse practitioner has prescriptive ability. These fees are in addition to renewal of the R.N. license and education required for renewal. Any national certifications also need to be maintained.)

Additional Information
An Active California Registered Nurse License Is Required for Application

Public Health Nurse in California

Education
Bachelor’s Degree or Higher from a Nursing Program Approved by the National League for Nursing, Which Must Either Include Or Be Supplemented with Child Abuse Training

Examination

Fees
$75 Application Fee, $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

Experience
None

Certification Required
None

Renewal
License renewal is required through the California Board of Nursing every two years by the last day of the month following the nurse’s birth month. Any national certifications also need to be maintained in addition to paying the registered nurse (R.N.) renewal fees. Appropriate course content for continuing education units (CEUs) may be accessed online through the California Board of Nursing website. Nurses may find CEUs through their employer’s employee education department, CEU companies that offer both online and printed CEU materials, and professional nursing organizations to which the nurses may belong.

Additional Information
An Active California Registered Nurse License Is Required for Application

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse in California

Education
Completion of an Approved Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Program (Masters Degree Required for Natioanl Certification Option)

Examination
Psychiatric/Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (PMHCNS) Exam from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Fees
$75 Application Fee, $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

Experience
2 Years of Clinical Nursing Experience (Not Required If Certification Requirement Is Met)

Certification Required
Psychiatric/Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (PMHCNS) from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Renewal
License renewal is required through the California Board of Nursing every two years by the last day of the month following the nurse’s birth month. Any national certifications also need to be maintained in addition to paying the registered nurse (R.N.) renewal fees. Appropriate course content for continuing education units (CEUs) may be accessed online through the California Board of Nursing website. Nurses may find CEUs through their employer’s employee education department, CEU companies that offer both online and printed CEU materials, and professional nursing organizations to which the nurses may belong.

Additional Information
An Active California Registered Nurse License Is Required for Application

Registered Nurse (RN) in California

Education
Completion of an Approved Registered Nurse Program

Examination
NCLEX-RN

Fees
$150 Application fee, $200 Examination Fee, $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

Experience
None

Renewal
Nurses must complete 30 contact hours from board-approved continuing education providers per renewal period. Renewal fees are $140.

Additional Information
None

Endorsement
Individuals Licensed as Registered Nurses in Other States May Apply for Licensure through Endorsement. To Qualify for Endorsement, Applicants Must Have Completed an Educational Program Meeting All California Requirements, Have Passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) or the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE), and Must Pay a $50 Application Fee and $49 Fingerprinting Fee. Applicants May Opt for On-Site Live Scan Fingerprinting, in Which Case Fees Will Vary

FEATURED ONLINE HEALTHCARE PROGRAMS


Nursing@Georgetown

Nursing@Georgetown is an academically rigorous, evidence-based program that culminates in a Master of Science degree in Nursing, delivered online by Georgetown University’s nationally ranked School of Nursing & Health Studies.

Nursing@Simmons

Nursing@Simmons is an online Family Nurse Practitioner program designed for currently licensed RNs who are at various stages of their career.

Nursing@USC

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing offers an online Master of Science in Nursing program for aspiring family nurse practitioners through Nursing@USC.

MPH@Simmons

MPH@Simmons, the online Master of Public Health from Simmons College, is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global level.

MPH@GW

An innovative online Master of Public Health program offered by the top-ranked Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

MHA@GW

Offered by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, this online Executive Master of Health Administration program is designed for healthcare professionals who aspire to become leaders in their field.

HealthInformatics@GW

This online Master of Science in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University enables graduates to improve the efficiency of health care organizations through the use of data and technology.

Sponsored Programs