How to Become a Registered Nurse in California

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. In California, RNs earn an average annual wage of $120,560, higher than the national average. These statistics indicate a high demand for qualified RNs in California and the United States. The demand for qualified registered nurses in California is rising, with many job opportunities available in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and private homes. Becoming a registered nurse in California may be your right career path if you are passionate about helping others and committed to ongoing learning and development. Becoming an RN in California can be an exciting and fulfilling career path for those passionate about helping others and committed to ongoing learning and development. This blog post will discuss the steps in becoming a registered nurse in California, including education, licensure, and maintenance requirements.

What Does A registered nurse Do?

As a registered nurse in California, your responsibilities may include the following:
  • Providing direct patient care.
  • Monitoring patients’ health.
  • Administering medications.
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals.
  • Educating patients and their families about their health conditions—RNs in California work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and home care.
Here are the steps to become an RN in California:

Steps to Become an RN in California

  1. Obtain a high school diploma or GED
  2. Complete an accredited nursing program
  3. Apply for financial aid
  4. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam
  5. Apply for a California RN license
  6. Complete a national criminal background check
  7. Complete any additional requirements to maintain your California RN license.

Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma or GED

The first step in becoming an RN in California is to obtain a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate. This is the minimum educational requirement needed to enter into an accredited nursing program.

Step 2: Complete an Accredited Nursing Program

Once you have completed high school, you must enroll in an accredited nursing program. You have two options in California: a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs typically take 2-3 years to complete and can be found at community colleges or vocational schools. ADN programs focus on practical, hands-on nursing skills and are an excellent option for those who wish to start working as a nurse as soon as possible. On the other hand, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs take four years to complete and are offered by universities or colleges. BSN programs are more theoretical, and students are taught research, leadership, critical thinking, and practice nursing skills. Alternatively, you can enroll as an RN in California by taking the Entry Level Master’s Program in Nursing (ELM), The LVN 30 Unit Option, and the Military Corpsmen. The Entry Level Master’s Program in Nursing (ELM) is a specialized program designed for individuals with bachelor’s degrees in a non-nursing field who aspire to become registered nurses. The program duration varies from 1-2 years based on the number of nursing prerequisites the student has completed. Upon completing the program, the graduate is awarded a master’s degree. The LVN 30 Unit Option is a career advancement program designed explicitly for Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) in California who wish to become registered nurses. The program typically takes 18-24 months to complete and does not result in the award of a degree. However, it is essential to note that many states outside of California do not recognize this option and do not grant RN licenses to LVNs who have completed this program. Some LVNs prefer to complete an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program to obtain a degree and have the flexibility to obtain an RN license in other states. Many ADN programs also offer credit for the coursework completed during LVN training. In California, military corpsmen who have undergone RN-level education and clinical experience are eligible to take the national exam for RN licensure. This provision in California law enables military corpsmen to transition to civilian careers as registered nurses.
steps to become a registered nurse in California
7 steps of becoming an RN in California

Step 3: Apply for financial aid

For individuals needing financial assistance to pursue a nursing degree, various financial aid options are available, including scholarships, grants, and student loans. Researching and applying for these options as early as possible is recommended.

Step 4: Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

After completing an accredited nursing program, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain your license. The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is a national licensing exam measuring entry-level RNs’ competencies and knowledge. The exam covers the areas of patient care, safety, health promotion, and pharmacology.

Step 5: Apply for a California RN License

Once you pass the NCLEX-RN exam, you can apply for a California RN license through the California Board of Registered Nursing. The application process involves submitting your transcripts, NCLEX-RN scores, and other required documentation.

Step 6: Complete a national criminal background check

As a final step, you must undergo a national criminal background check to ensure that you meet the requirements for licensure. This process involves fingerprinting and submitting the prints to the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a criminal record check. This step is essential to protect patients’ safety and maintain the nursing profession’s integrity. Once the background check is complete, you will receive a notification from the California Board of Registered Nursing regarding your RN license application status.

Step 7: Complete Any Additional Requirements to Maintain Your California RN License

You must complete continuing education credits (CEUs) every two years to maintain your California RN license. You can earn CEUs by attending nursing conferences, taking courses, or publishing articles. Additionally, if you plan to specialize in a specific area of nursing, you will need to obtain a certification from a recognized nursing organization.

Become a registered nurse in California by using our Nursing Help Services

If you want to become a registered nurse in California, you may want to consider utilizing nursing help services that assist with nursing homework and research paper assignments. These services can provide the resources and support you need to succeed in your nursing studies and ultimately achieve your career goals. Whether you are struggling with a particular topic or need extra guidance and support, nursing homework help services can help you stay on track and meet your academic obligations. Additionally, nursing research paper assignments can be challenging and time-consuming. Still, with the help of a professional writing service, you can ensure that your work is well-researched, well-written, and meets all of the requirements. By taking advantage of these nursing help services, you can improve your chances of success in your nursing program and ultimately achieve your dream of becoming a registered nurse in California.
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