Advanced Practice Registered Nursing in California – License Requirements

Advanced Practice Registered Nursing in California

In the state of California, the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) has jurisdiction over the advanced practice nurses.

Similar to other states, to become an advanced practice nurse in California, you first have to be licensed as a registered nurse.

The BRN recognize five specialty areas of graduate-level advanced nurses:

  • Nurse Anesthetist (NA),
  • Nurse Midwife (NMW)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Psychiatric/ Mental Health Nurse (PMH)

Nurse anesthetists have only one way to earn a certification, and the Board has specific education and certification requirements.

Nurses specialized in other areas have multiple certifying organizations and education to choose from and earn their certificates.

Nurse Anesthetist Requirements

To become eligible for the license, aspiring nurse anesthetists need to complete a program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

Next, nurse anesthetists are certified through the Council on Certification/Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists.

You can find the complete list of accredited programs for nurse anesthetists in California on the BRN website.

Nurse Practitioner Requirements

There are a few steps aspiring nurse practitioners need to complete to earn their license.

The first one is to complete an in-state program, approved by the Board.

Next, NPs need to obtain their certification through one of the approved organizations or to complete an equivalent program.

The list of approved nurse practitioner program is available on the Board website.

Unlike nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners in California can choose between several certifying organizations.

Those are:

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • National Certification Corporation for the Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing Specialties (NCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

To be certified based on an equivalency, a nurse needs to verify experience and competency in providing primary care.

Clinical competency needs to be verified by licensed physicians and licensed nurse practitioners.

Additionally, a nurse needs to submit documentation related to education, including course description.

Nurse-Midwife Requirements

To qualify for the license of a nurse-midwife in California, a registered nurse needs to complete one of the approved educational programs in California.

Additionally, State regulation, Section 1462 describes the requirements for the nurse-midwives’ educational program.

The certification needs to be earned through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).

The Board also has the list of suitable educational programs, and three programs in California fulfill all the criteria.

Aspiring nurse midwives need to submit a recency form that will verify their relevant clinical experience in the last five years.

Recent graduates are exempted from this rule.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Requirements

The requirements for the clinical nurse specialist include holding a master’s degree in clinical nursing, or a master’s degree in any related clinical field.

In cases then master’s program meets the standards set by the Board, the student needs to verify education and clinical experience.

A nurse needs to provide verification through a licensed professional that is familiar with the role of the clinical nurse specialists.

Additionally, the verifying professional must have observed the application in performing duties in five advanced nursing areas.

Those are expert clinical nursing practice, clinical leadership, research, education, and consultation.

Those who qualify on the base of equivalency need to submit proof f the coursework in the five areas and relating clinical experience.

Currently, aspiring clinical nurse specialists in California have three appropriate certifying agencies.

Those are:

  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
  • Psychiatric/ Mental Health Nurse Requirements

Future psychiatric/mental health nurses might need to complete a master’s degree educational program in California to earn advanced credentials.

Additionally, the nurse is eligible if he or she completes an MSN nursing program with a specialization in mental health nursing and earns two years of clinical experience.

One year needs to be at the post-master level.

Earning a national certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center also allows mental health nurses to achieve PMH status.

However, having a PMH status doesn’t change the scope of practice of the mental health nurse.

The Application Process

You can download all the application forms from the BRN website.

All specialty areas have separate application packets.

Moreover, aspiring licensed nurse anesthetists can submit their application online.

All applicants need to include a passport-style photo and documentation of eligibility.

The educational institution needs to fill out the verification form and provide transcripts.

Additionally, some applicants need to submit extra documentation.

All applicants need to pay a fee of $75.

Prescriptive Authority

Nurse-midwives need to complete a pharmacology course on a master’s or post-masters level.

The standards for the course are described in the application packet, and the Board can accept the course completed at any national accredited nurse practitioner program.

The application fee for prescriptive authority is $50.

Further, if the nurse has completed the course in the last five years, he or she will need to submit additional documents to support its qualifications.

Out-of-State Nurses

Nurses who hold an RN license in other states, need to submit RN endorsement applications.

The temporary permit for these nurses is also enabled, so they can start working sooner.


Advanced certificates need to be renewed at the same time as RN license.

The requirement for the renewal of advanced credentials doesn’t include continuing education beyond requirements for the RN license.

Also, renewal can be automatic.

Besides, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse midwives need to pay extra fee for the renewal of furnishing numbers.


There is a large number of schools in California that offer appropriate and approved nursing education programs.

For example, DNP programs are available at the University of California in Irvine, Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, Loma Linda University, and Brandman University in Irvine.

Online MSN programs are available at Western University in Pomona, Sonoma State University in Rohnert park, etc.

If you are interested in campus MSN programs, you can apply to the University of California San Francisco, which has a wide range of programs with different specialization tracks.

Check the table for more information.

School NameAddress
Azusa Pacific University901 E. Alosta Ave. Azusa, CA 91702, (626) 969-3434
Brandman University16355 Laguna Canyon Road Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 341-9800
Cal State LA5151 State University Drive Los Angeles, CA 90032, (323) 343-3000
California Baptist University8432 Magnolia Avenue Riverside, CA 92504, (877) 228-3615
California State University Bakersfield9001 Stockdale Highway Bakersfield, CA 93311, (661) 654-2782
California State University Dominguez Hills1000 E. Victoria Street Carson, CA 90747, (310) 243-3696
California State University Fullerton800 N. State College Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92831, (657) 278-2011
California State University Long Beach1250 Bellflower Boulevard Long Beach, CA 90840, (562) 985-4111
California State University San Marcos333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd San Marcos, CA 92096, (760) 750-4000
Fresno State University2345 E. San Ramon Fresno, CA 93740, (559) 278-2041
Loma Linda University11262 Campus St. Loma Linda, CA 92350, (909) 558-4923
Mount Saint Mary's University- Los Angeles10 Chester Place Los Angeles, CA 90007, (213) 477-2500
National University9388 Lightwave Ave San Diego, CA 92123, (800) 628-8648
Samuel Merritt University3100 Telegraph Ave Oakland, CA 94609, (180) 060-7637 x7
San Diego State University5500 Campanile Dr San Diego, CA 92182, (619) 594-5200
San Francisco State University1600 Holloway Avenue San Francisco, CA 94132, (415) 338-1111
San Jose State UniversityOne Washington Square San Jose, CA 95192, (408) 924-1000
Sonoma State University1801 East Cotati Ave Rohnert Park, CA 94928, (707) 664-2466
Touro University California1310 Club Drive Vallejo, CA 94592, (707) 638-5200
UC Davis4610 X Street Suite 4202 Sacramento, CA 95817, (916) 734-2145
United States University7675 Mission Valley Road San Diego, CA 92108, (619) 876-4250
University of California San FranciscoUCSF Box 0602 San Francisco, CA 94143, (415) 476-1435
University of California, Irvine106 Berk Hall Irvine, CA 92697, (949) 824-1514
University of San Diego5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110, (619) 260-4600
University of San Francisco2130 Fulton Street San Francisco, CA 94117, (415) 422-6681
University of Southern CaliforniaUniversity of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90007
Western University309 E. Second St. Pomona, CA 91766, (909) 623-6116


California is one of the top-paying states for all nursing specialists, including advanced nursing roles.

An average yearly salary of a nurse practitioner in California is $122.235.

However, the salary depends on the specialty, certifications, education, city, and employer.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Los Angeles$123,187
San Diego$117,657
San Jose$137,336
San Francisco$137,117
Long Beach$122,016
Santa Ana$122,125

Regional Salary in California

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA420$144,290$69.37$192,940$115,980
Chico, CA110$144,190$69.32$170,310$104,240
El Centro, CA60$152,370$73.26$179,330$112,470
Fresno, CA430$151,700$72.93$188,740$105,340
Hanford-Corcoran, CA50$139,470$67.05$165,240$96,430
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA6,190$149,110$71.69$203,820$103,890
Madera, CA80$152,110$73.13$170,990$130,580
Merced, CA120$122,040$58.67$165,540$83,200
Modesto, CA250$146,480$70.42$197,650$94,220
Napa, CA70$189,190$90.96$223,050$143,270
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA200$151,530$72.85$197,200$105,280
Redding, CA90$143,730$69.1$182,800$100,910
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA1,920$145,900$70.15$185,780$95,700
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA1,350$157,810$75.87$220,460$110,610
Salinas, CA120$156,920$75.44$199,410$125,120
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA2,030$149,960$72.1$192,400$104,180
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA2,680$190,070$91.38$230,030$134,740
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA1,170$199,630$95.98$232,800$144,150
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA130$157,490$75.72$190,470$111,750
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA150$149,390$71.82$199,160$106,490
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA240$141,860$68.2$170,210$119,560
Santa Rosa, CA250$146,130$70.26$207,360$93,100
Stockton-Lodi, CA170$146,460$70.41$178,250$100,470
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA110$180,990$87.01$#$107,380
Visalia-Porterville, CA250$138,300$66.49$181,160$82,770
Yuba City, CA50$161,690$77.74$220,060$129,290
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Nurse Practitioners, OCC Code 29-1171, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

USA Nurse Practitioner by State

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