California State Nursing Profile

California NursingCalifornia Nurse Licensure Requirements

The process for nursing licensure in Californiabegins by completing a Registered Nurse program and taking the NCLEX-RN examination. To become a licensed nurse in California, applicants must successfully complete the NCLEX-RN examination, pay a $326 application fee, pass an additional exam, and a fingerprinting test. Beyond these requirements, nurses who complete a master’s degree and meet other requirements will be eligible to earn higher levels of certification. Examples of advanced certification include nurse-midwifery, nurse anesthesia, or nurse education.

California Nurse Government Oversight

Nursing regulations are enforced by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). The BRN is responsible for investigating claims of nurses behaving in a manner that puts the public at risk and for taking disciplinary action when appropriate. Disciplinary action can include issuing fines, placing a nurse’s license on probation, or even revoking a nurse’s license. It is recommended that all nurses familiarize themselves with the relevant regulations to ensure public safety and professional success.

Demand for Nurses in California

California currently faces an increasingly severe shortage of nurses, with 80,000 projected vacancies by 2015. The state falls about 20 percent short of the national average of 825 nurses per 100,000 citizens. A shortage of nursing faculty also means that many nursing programs are unable to educate enough new nurses to address the shortage fully.

California Nursing Salaries

California boasts the highest nursing salaries in the nation, according to Alliance Healthcare Jobs. Licensed Nursing Assistants receive an average annual salary of $27,450 and Registered Nurse Specialists earn over $80,000 annually. Location is also a factor that can affect nursing salaries within the state. The highest salaries are found in northern cities including San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland.

California Nursing Associations

Three major organizations serve nurses and nursing students in California. The California Nurses Association (CNA) is a union that has negotiated many agreements for nurses in the United States. The CNA also sponsored California’s RN-to-patient ratio law, which aims to ensure better health care for patients and increase job opportunities for RNs. The American Nurses Association of California fights for the interests of nurses in legislative, regulatory, and political contexts. The California Nursing Students Association serves students through education, activism, and professional development.


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