How do I get a nursing license in California?

To become a licensed nurse in California, you must meet the educational and professional requirements established by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).

Preliminary Education and Examination Requirements


Once you have met the preliminary education and examination requirements, you may apply or request endorsement for a license through the California BRN.

You will be required to submit proof of education, licensure examination results, and payment of application or endorsement fee. Additionally, as part of the application/endorsement process, you will be required to undergo a fingerprint and background check.

Requirements may vary based on the original licensing state and additional information may be required.

Response Time

All necessary information and documentation must be provided and your contact information must be accurately maintained with California BRN to prevent any delays in response time. 

You are guaranteed to hear within 90 days, but it typically is within 4-8 weeks. Response times may vary depending on the current volume of applications.

After approval, licenses are physically mailed with an expected delivery of approximately 2-4 weeks.

Temporary License

Endorsement candidates may apply for a 6-month temporary license to work as an RN in California while awaiting fingerprint and background check results. However, issuance is discretionary and not extendable.

Continuing Education

The California BRN requires 30 hours of continuing education (CE) courses every two years to maintain a nursing license in California. 

Learn more about how to complete your continuing education units (CEUs) right here on Gifted's Unwrapped Info Center.