After graduation I moved to California, and one of the biggest challenges I had was trying to figure out the process of getting an NP license in California with an out of state degree. This, and other similar conundrums, was actually the seed of this website because I couldn’t figure out what in the world I was supposed to do and in what order. Now that I’m fully licensed and working, here’s my step-by-step guide to getting through the California NP license process. I placed it in an order that I believe is the most efficient way to get everything done.
Step 1: The RN application
Get your California RN license. We’re doing this MONTHS before you move to California, if you can plan that early. I’m assuming you’ve already taken the NCLEX years ago and have an active RN license in whichever state you are in, so we’ll start with form #1: RN by Endorsement
Step 2: Get Fingerprinted + Selfie
If you’re already living in California or are visiting for a couple of days, do Live Scan. If you can’t make it to California a couple months before you’re final move, I would just request the Fingerprint Card (see below). The entire process takes too long to delay it just for fingerprints.
If you’re not in California, you will need to complete a Fingerprint Card (request them to be mailed to you here). I received mine pretty quickly but I would still request one early so that you’re not stuck on this step. After receiving your Fingerprint Card you can either get yourself fingerprinted at your local law enforcement office (call beforehand to see if they do this), or Yelp or Google “fingerprinting service” around your area to find a place that provides this service. I went to a place in the Chicago Loop that was fantastic – A Fingerprinting US Photo. They also did my 2×2 passport photo which you need to send along with your application.
Step 3: Send Transcripts
This could take awhile depending on which school you went to, so I recommend you do this step next so that your application doesn’t get hung up on this step. I ended up having to send my transcript twice, because paper gets lost. It’s best if you can have your RN school to send your transcript along with this form:
Step 4: License Verification
California wants to make sure you really are an RN, and in this guide we are assuming you already have an active RN license in another state. Thus you need to verify your license using either the very simple Nursys system (and pay $30), or if your board of nursing (BON) is one of the unfortunate ones that do not participate in the Nursys system, then you have to request for them to fill out the License Verification form.
This is the form if your BON doesn’t participate (Quick Reference: the ones that do not participate as of the date of posting are Alabama, California (hah!), Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, West Virginia)
If you don’t know how to contact your BON, here’s a handy guide.
On to part 2.. The NP Application (finally!)