California Rn License Education Requirements

Are you interested in becoming a registered nurse in California and you want to know about the requirements to get your license? You are at the right place. Here on college learners, we will take you through all the information you need as regards this. We will also be giving you first hand information about RN prerequisites California, how long it takes to become a nurse in California as well as California board of nursing requirements for foreign graduates.

California Rn License Education Requirements

In California, registered nurses must complete 30 contact hours of continuing education every two years in addition to paying the renewal cost to keep their license active (California Code of Regulations, Section 1451, Article 5). When renewing, continuing education courses must have been completed within the previous renewal period, or within the previous two years (when renewing a delinquent or lapsed license, or going from an inactive to active license). Courses must be taken through a Board of Registered Nursing-approved continuing education provider.

The content of all courses of continuing education must be relevant to the practice of nursing. Learning experiences are expected to enhance the knowledge of the registered nurse at a level above that required for licensure. Courses must be related to the scientific knowledge and/or technical skills required for the practice of nursing, or be related to direct and/or indirect patient/client care.

Courses related to the scientific knowledge for the practice of nursing include basic and advanced courses in the physical, social, and behavioral sciences, as well as advanced nursing in general or specialty areas. Content which includes the application of scientific knowledge to patient care in addition to advanced nursing courses may include courses in related areas, e.g. human sexuality; death, dying, and grief; foreign languages (conversational); therapeutic interpersonal relationship skills; pharmacology; and those related to specialty areas of nursing practice.

Courses in nursing administration, management, education, research or other functional areas of nursing relating to indirect patient/client care would be acceptable.

rn prerequisites california

In California, education is the first step toward a career as a nurse. To be eligible for licensing, aspiring RNs must obtain an approved degree, as accreditation assures that academic programs provide students with a high-quality education. Only candidates with accredited degrees are considered by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).

A nursing degree can take anything from 2-4 years to finish, with part-time students taking longer. Candidates must take the National Council Licensing Examination after graduation (NCLEX). Candidates can apply for BRN licensing after completing this exam.

How to Become a Registered Nurse: A Step-by-Step Guide
While every RN must go through the same stages to obtain licensure, the regulations differ by state. In some places, such as New York, RNs must have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The steps to becoming a registered nurse are outlined in the following list.

1. Complete Prerequisites for an ADN or a BSN.

Whether nursing students choose an ADN or BSN degree, they must complete liberal arts, math, and science prerequisites. Common prerequisites for nursing school include basic anatomy, physiology, biology, psychology, and anatomy. Nursing schools often require that incoming students earn a minimum “C” grade in these courses.

2. Earn a BSN or an ADN Degree.

A four-year BSN degree offers an in-depth education in multiple disciplines and training in leadership, interpersonal communication, and clinical nursing. A two-year ADN degree covers nursing fundamentals and offers the fastest track to becoming a registered nurse, aside from an accelerated BSN program which lets those who hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field graduate in as little as one year.

3. Pass the NCLEX Exam.

About six weeks before graduating, students can apply for licensure and then register for the NCLEX-RN. This computerized test requires test-takers to complete a minimum of 75 questions. They have up to six hours to finish the exam. Find Employment.

No matter your education path, be proactive in your career search. That means activating your college network and job resources before graduating. While the nursing field continues to grow, graduates must make an impression during clinical rotations with potential healthcare employers.

5. Earn Board Certification.

RNs who want greater recognition in their careers (and more money) become board certified. To qualify, RNs usually need about two or more years of clinical experience in a specialty focus and must pass an exam.

how long does it take to become a nurse in california

approximately 18-24 months. Designed as a career ladder for California Licensed Vocational Nurses wishing to become registered nurses. Takes approximately 18-24 months.

california board of nursing requirements for foreign graduates


The BRN receives applications from persons seeking RN licensure per BPC 2736(b) who have
completed their nursing education in a nursing program located in countries other than the United
States. Due to not meeting required or equivalent curriculum, per CCR 1426, applicants may be
found not eligible for RN licensure.

This guideline provides information for graduates of international nursing programs seeking
California RN licensure and addresses questions related to the most common applicant situations.
There may be specific situations where other laws and rules may apply and requires individual
consultation by Licensing staff.

An applicant who has received his or her training from a school of nursing in a country outside the
United States and who has complied with the provisions of subdivision(a), or has completed
training equivalent to that required by subdivision (a), shall qualify for licensure by successfully
passing the examination prescribed by the board.

An applicant for licensure as a registered nurse shall comply with each of the following:

(1) Have completed such general preliminary education requirements as shall be determined by the

(2) Have successfully completed the courses of instruction prescribed by the board for licensure, in a
program in this state accredited by the board for training registered nurses, or have successfully
completed courses of instruction in a school of nursing outside of this state which, in the opinion of
the board at the time the application is filed with the Board of Registered Nursing, are equivalent to
the minimum requirements of the board for licensure established for an accredited program in this

(3) Not be subject to denial of licensure under Section 480.

(a) An application for a license as a registered nurse by examination shall be submitted on an
application form provided by the Board, and filed with the Board at its office in Sacramento. An
application shall be accompanied by the fee and such evidence, statements or documents as
therein required including evidence of eligibility to take the examination. The applicant shall submit
an additional application and fee for the examination to the Board or to its examination contractor,
as directed by the Board. The Board shall provide the contractor’s application to the applicant.
No license shall be issued without a complete transcript on file indicating successful
completion of the courses prescribed by the Board for licensure or documentation deemed
equivalent by the Board.

When the Board has reasonable doubt of an applicant’s ability to comprehend the English
language to a degree sufficient to permit him to discharge his duties as a Professional Nurse in this
State with safety to the public, the Board shall require him to pass an examination to demonstrate
such ability.

This section requires the following to be included in the curriculum:

A. Prelicensure content: not less than 58 semester units (87 quarter units)

• Nursing: Theory – 18 semester units (27 quarter units)
Clinical – 18 semester units (27 quarter units)

• Communications: Oral, Written, and Group 6 semester units (9 quarter units)

• Behavioral and Natural Sciences: 16 semester units (24 quarter units). Usual
courses include: Anatomy with lab, Physiology with lab, Microbiology with lab, and
behavioral and social science courses, such as sociology, psychology, cultural

B. Courses include five content areas: Medical-Surgical, Obstetrics, Pediatrics,
Geriatrics, Psychiatric-Mental Health.

• Theory instruction and clinical practice for each of the content areas (Medical Surgical, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Geriatrics and Psychiatric-Mental Health) must be
completed concurrently, i.e., both classroom and clinical experience must occur
during the same instructional period.

• Instructional outcomes will focus on delivering safe, therapeutic, effective, patient centered care; practicing evidence-based practice; working as part of
interdisciplinary teams; focusing on quality improvement; and using information
technology. Instructional content shall include, but is not limited to, the following:
critical thinking, personal hygiene, patient protection and safety, pain
management, human sexuality, client abuse, cultural diversity, nutrition (including
therapeutic aspects), pharmacology, patient advocacy, legal, social and ethical
aspects of nursing, and nursing leadership and management.
• Content to integrate: Nursing process; Basic intervention skills, Human
development (birth to aged); Communication and interpersonal skills; Cultural
patterns and diversity issues; Health and Illness concepts [CCR 1426(e)].
C. Hours of instruction: Minimum hours for nursing curriculum [CCR 1426(g)]:
The course of instruction shall be presented in semester or quarter units or the
equivalent under the following formula:

  1. One (1) hour of instruction in theory each week throughout a semester or quarter
    equals one (1) unit.
  2. Three (3) hours of clinical practice each week throughout a semester or quarter
    equals one (1) unit.
    • Nursing Theory (For example 18 semester units – 16 wk semester) = 288 hrs.
    • Nursing Clinical (For example 18 semester units – 16 wk semester) = 864 hrs.
  3. Application for Licensure by Examination form and all required documentations per
    instruction – Refer to
    a. Fingerprint Clearance
    b. Social Security Number and Tax Information: Required
    • Disclosure of your social security number is mandatory. Section 30 of the
    Business and Professions Code and Public Law 94-455 (42 USCA 405 (c)(2)(C))
    authorize collection of your social security number. Your social security number
    will be used exclusively for tax enforcement purposes, for purposes of compliance
    with any judgment or order for family support in accordance with Section 11350.6
    of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or for verification of licensure or examination
    status by a licensing or examination entity which utilizes a national examination
    where licensure is reciprocal with the requesting state.
    • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is accepted in place of SSN
    effective April 1, 2015.
    c. Official Transcript from the graduating nursing school is required
    • Transcripts must be in English and in original language. If transcript is received
    from the school only in a foreign language, it will require an English translation by
    a certified translator or translation service. (See Translation of International
    Academic Credentials instructions.)
    • Completed Breakdown of Educational Program for International Nursing
    Programs form and the Request for Transcript form by the nursing school.
    Note: Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
    Passing the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
    examination is not required to be licensed in California. However, the Board will
    accept official copies of your nursing transcripts (including the clinical portion of
    your training) from this organization.
    d. Copy of RN license or diploma from the country where you were educated, if
    applicable, that allows you to practice professional nursing in that country. Provide
    copies of additional professional certificates, if applicable.
  4. CCR 1413: English comprehension requirement
    When the Board has reasonable doubt of an applicant’s ability to comprehend the English
    language to a degree sufficient to permit him to discharge his duties as a Professional
    Nurse in this State with safety to the public, the Board shall require him to pass an
    examination to demonstrate such ability.
    In many cases, the Board may require additional information from the school in order to
    clarify course content and/or curriculum requirements. We may also request clarification for
    the amount of theory and clinical training completed. Additional processing time is needed
    for the evaluation of a curriculum from a nursing school in an International country. Non responsiveness of the International nursing school to the Board’s request adds time to
    application evaluation. The Board may request that the applicant submit the school
    curriculum, catalog, and course materials to establish that the applicant meets CCR 1426
  5. Applicant will receive a letter of eligibility, a letter of deficiency or a letter of non-eligibility.
  6. When an applicant is determined to be eligible, the applicant will register to take the NCLEXRN Exam following the instructions on the letter of eligibility. An application is deemed
    abandoned if the applicant does not register for the examination within a two-year period
    from the date of the written notice of eligibility to take the exam [CCR1410.4(a)]
  7. When an applicant is found deficient, a letter identifying specific areas of deficiencies is
    provided to the applicant. The applicant must correct the deficiencies and meet the
    requirements before the application period expires. An application is considered abandoned
    if the applicant does not submit evidence that shows specified deficiencies were removed
    within a three-year period from the date of the written deficiency letter [CCR1410.4(b)].
    BRN Recommendations:
  8. Submit licensure application to the Board, ensuring completeness of your application and
    required documentation.
  9. Keep a timeline and remember that the processing time for the Board to review your
    transcript may be longer. All transcripts must be sent directly from the school of nursing, as
    an official transcript from the institution. To expedite this review process, ensure that all
    foreign language transcripts are translated into English.
  10. If you are found to be deficient in any content area, there are steps that can be completed to
    remove these deficiencies.
    How to Correct Deficiencies:
  11. Contact a California Board-approved nursing program in your area for assistance.
    ( Speak with the Director of the nursing
    program to ask if the school has room for you to take the course(s) identified as deficient. It
    is usually easier to make up a specialty course, such as Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, or
    Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing. You may be required to take multiple courses if the
    deficiency is in an area of Medical-Surgical Nursing, as the missing content may be covered
    over several classes, semesters, or quarters.
  12. Each school follows policies and procedures for handling applicants who are working on
    correcting deficiencies that have been identified by the Board. Board-approved nursing
    schools are not required to admit those applicants trying to correct these deficiencies.
  13. Register and complete the required theory and clinical course(s).
  14. Submit the documentation of completion of deficiencies, such as a transcript from the
    California Board-approved pre-lic