California Board of Nursing

California Board of Nursing – Overview

The California Board of Registered Nursing ensures the health, safety and well-being of the public by fair and consistent enforcement of regulations governing nursing education and practice within the state.

The Board is responsible for conducting licensing exams and issuing licenses to practice different types of certified nursing professionals.

RN License From the California Board of Nursing

California Board of Nursing – Becoming a Registered Nurse

Here are the steps to becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) in the state of California:

Step 1 – Take college prep classes in high school

The Board’s Section 1412 requires the completion of an approved nursing program.

Apart from this, the candidates should also take the following classes during their high school education to get a head-start for their nursing prerequisites at college:

  • English – 4 years
  • Math – 3 – 4 years (including geometry and algebra)
  • Science – 2 – 4 years (including chemistry, biology, physics, and computer science)
  • Social studies – 3 – 4 years
  • Foreign language

Next, you should check out the specific prerequisites at the college you are considering enrolling in. You need to understand that different nursing schools have different course prerequisites.

Hence, you should consult your high school guidance counselor and check the Board’s official website for specific requirements at

Step 2 – Choose a nursing school

In the state of California, you can apply for one of three different pre-licensure nursing programs that offer two alternative paths to becoming an RN:

ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing)

You can take 2 – 3 years of ADN, which is offered at numerous community colleges. This degree prepares you to provide registered nursing care in different healthcare settings.

BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a 4-year baccalaureate degree program offered by universities and colleges. This program trains you to provide registered nursing care in various healthcare settings.

This program may also help you progress your career to leadership and administrative positions.

ELM (Entry Level Master) Program in Nursing

This program is advisable for candidates with a baccalaureate degree in another field but wish to become a registered nurse.

Entry-level Master’s (ELM) programs in nursing vary in length depending on the curriculum and prerequisites. They lead to a Master’s degree in nursing. Upon graduating from the ELM program, you receive a Master’s degree.

Step 3 – Choose a college and apply for admission

Make sure to visit the campuses and websites of nursing colleges in your area. This website,, allows you to choose from more than 140 nursing schools in California. Find out if the college you seek admission to requires you to pass an entry exam.

It is advisable to apply at multiple colleges to give yourself better chances of getting admission, as many colleges have limited seats in their nursing programs.

Step 4 – Apply for financial aid

Nursing schools, like medical schools, can be quite expensive. If you cannot afford the high fees and expenses, you should seek scholarships, student loans, and loan forgiveness programs to pursue your nursing education.

Step 5 – Get an RN License

To work as an RN in California, you must get a license from California’s Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). Ensure you fulfill all education and other requirements and pass the licensure exam.

To learn the details of applying for an RN license in California, visit the official website at


The California Board of Registered Nursing regulates the practice of registered nurses within the state across all healthcare settings. This license is mandatory for all registered nurses to practice their skills in California, and it is an incredible way to boost your chances of promotion in the nursing field.

See Also

Virginia Board of Nursing

Oklahoma Board of Nursing

Florida Board of Nursing

Texas Board of Nursing

Ohio Board of Nursing

Pell Grant in California

Current Version
April 5, 2024
Updated By
Tim Bevelacqua, MN, RN
July 10, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover

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