Become a Nurse in California – Licensure & Requirements

Nursing requirements change rapidly. Make sure to confirm licensing requirements with the California Board of Registered Nursing before applying for licensure. Last updated: 1/1/2020

Education Requirements for Nursing Licenses in California
Nursing Licenses in California Master’s Required?
Clinical Nurse Specialist Yes
Nurse Anesthetist Yes
Clinical Nurse-Midwife Yes
Nurse Practitioner Yes
Public Health Nurse No
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse No
Registered Nurse (RN) No

California Nursing Salary Average

California Nursing Salary Average
CA Nurse Career State-Wide Annual Mean Wage Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Annual Mean Wage Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade Annual Mean Wage San Diego-Carlsbad Annual Mean Wage
Licensed Practical Nurse $56,200 $54,000 $57,420 $56,820
Registered Nurse $106,950 $99,930 $120,530 $98,440
Nurse Midwife $139,990 $129,130 Not Available Not Available
Nurse Practitioner $133,780 $135,230 $130,040 $121,670
Nurse Anesthetist $212,210 $187,930 $233,940 Not Available

Careers as a nurse salaries above were retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates California in January 2020.

There are many paths to becoming 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 email us at info@nursinglicensemap.com!

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  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
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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 $400 fee. Completion of a nurse practitioner advanced pharmacology course worth three semester units is required. In order to furnish (prescribe) drugs and devices to patients, you must submit an application for a Nurse Practitioner Furnishing Number together with your nurse practitioner application.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in California

Education: Master’s degree in a clinical field related to nursing.

Fees: $500 Application Fee

Experience: Applicants must have a clinical supervisor complete a clinical nurse specialist clinical experience verification form.

Additional Information: An active registered nurse license is required for application.

Renewal: For CNSs, a renewal fee of $150 is required along with renewing your RN license that ensures your certificate as a CNS endorsement is also renewed.

Learn more on how to become a clinical nurse specialist.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) 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:

  • $500 Application Fee
  • $700 Certification Examination FeeExperience

Additional Information: An active registered nurse license is required for application.

Certification Required: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) from the NBCRNA

Renewal: For CRNAs, a renewal fee of $150 is required along with renewing your RN license that ensures your certificate as a CRNA endorsement is also renewed.

Learn more on how to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

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:

  • $500 Application Fee,
  • $500 Certification Examination Fee

Additional Information: An active registered nurse license is required for application.

Experience: Applicants who completed a nurse-midwife program more than one year ago and who do not hold national certification must provide proof of clinical work in the past five years.

Certification Required: Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) from the AMCB

Renewal: For nurse-midwives, a renewal fee of $150 is required along with renewing your RN license that ensures your certificate as a nurse midwife endorsement is also renewed.

Learn more on how to become a nurse midwife.

Nurse Practitioner (NP) in California

Education: Master’s degree or higher from an approved nurse practitioner program

Examination: Varies for Different Certifications

Fees: $500 Application Fee

Additional Information: An active registered nurse license is required for application.

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: For nurse practitioners, a renewal fee of $150 is required along with renewing your RN license that ensures your certificate as a nurse practitioner endorsement is also renewed.

Learn more on how to become a nurse practitioner.

Public Health Nurse (PHN) 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.

Fees: $300 Application Fee

Additional Information: An active registered nurse license is required for application.

Renewal: For public health nurses, a renewal fee of $125 is required along with renewing your RN license that ensures your certificate as a public health nurse endorsement is also renewed.

Learn more on how to become a public health nurse.

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse (PMH) in California

Education: Completion of an approved psychiatric/mental health nursing program (masters degree required for national certification option).

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

Fees: $350 Application Fee

Additional Information: An active registered nurse license is required for application.

Experience: Two years of clinical nursing experience (not required if certification requirement is met).

Certification Required: Psychiatric/Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (PMHCNS) from the ANCC

Renewal: PMH certificates are automatically renewed in conjunction with an RN license; there is no additional fee or continuing education required.

Learn more on how to become a psychiatric and mental health nurse.

Registered Nurse (RN) in California

Education: Completion of an approved registered nurse program.

Examination: NCLEX-RN

Fees:

  • $300 Application Fee by Examination – California Graduate
  • $350 Application Fee by Examination – Out of State Graduate

Renewal: Registered nurses must complete 30 contact hours from board-approved continuing education providers per renewal period. Renewal fees are $190.

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, and must pay an application fee and fingerprinting fee. Applicants may opt for on-site live scan fingerprinting, in which case fees will vary

Learn more on how to become a registered nurse.

Information for the nursing careers above was retrieved from the California Board of Registered Nursing – Publications, as of January 2020.

Fees for the above nursing careers in California were retrieved from the California Board of Registered Nursing – Fee Schedule, as of January 2020.

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

Sponsored

Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 19 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study

Earn your MSN online from USC’s Top-Ranked School of Social Work.

  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

Sponsored