California Nursing Certification and Licensing
Nursing Licensing in California
The state of California has two nursing boards. One is for Vocational Nurses (LVNs) and the other for Registered Nurses (RNs). California has a very large population and with the high amount of nursing applicants, licenses, and scope of practice- the state separated the board to better serve the public and nurses. The state is very progressive in most categories, but does not participate in the National Licensure Compact, yet. A nurse from another state that moves to California must apply for licensure by endorsement until the Compact is implemented.
California Nursing Mandatory Reporters
All nurses in California, as with most states, are mandatory reporters. This means that once a student has completed nursing school and passed the National Council Licensure Examination they are required to report any abuse or neglect they are aware of or strongly suspect due to proof presented. This includes when off-duty from work. Nurses may be found in many facilities throughout California, from schools to nursing homes. California is very strict with their nursing laws, as a recent change by former Governor Schwarzenegger replaced nearly all of the staff on the RN Board.
Online Nursing Courses for California Residents
Students may use online courses to fill prerequisites for certain courses in the LVN or RN programs. It is not possible to complete a full course on nursing with courses offered on the internet. No online college course has been approved to teach students everything that is needed to pass the National Council Licensure Examination, which includes tests on clinical training. Clinicals are designed to give nurses hands on training and this is not possible with online learning.
California Nursing Schools
California has two designations for nursing programs: accredited and approved. If a program has been accredited, it has passed all inspections by the board(s) and complies with all conditions set forth for nursing training. Approved means that the program is new and has yet to train the first class. During and after the first class, the board(s) will visit to ensure compliance. After the first graduating class has passed their courses and taken the NCLEX, the state will decide if the course should receive accredited status. Vocational training is a duration of about one year and RN training (for basic RN degree) is two years. The lengths may vary if the student needs to take classes on a part time basis.
California Licensing Fees
License applications in California are $150, as of October 2010, and the testing fees are $150. A license for both LVN and RN is good for two years and must be renewed at the end of that period.