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Registered Nurse License

To practice as an RN in California, you must be licensed by the California State Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). You must meet educational requirements, pass a criminal background check, and pass the national licensing examination.

To apply for licensure:

  • Obtain an application package and detailed instructions online at the BRN website or by contacting the BRN.
  • Send your application to the BRN at least 6-8 weeks before graduation.
  • Have your school send the BRN your transcripts.
  • Complete a fingerprint background check.
  • Take and pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX). The exam is computerized and given continuously 6 days a week. (New graduates are advised to take the exam soon after graduation because research has shown that there is a higher success rate for early test takers compared with those who wait several months.)
  • Apply for an Interim Permit if you wish to work in a supervised nursing capacity while awaiting the results of your examination.

Further information on becoming licensed may be obtained on the California State Board of Registered Nursing website,



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