Summary of Requirements for Licensure as a Vocational Nurse


Section A
Section B
Graduate of a California Approved School of Vocational Nursing
Graduate of an Out-Of-State School of Practical/Vocational Nursing
Equivalent Education and/or Experience
Nursing Service in the Medical Corps of any Branch of the Armed Forces of the United States
4-Year Expired California Licensed Vocational Nurse

Section A

  1. Minimum Age - 17 Years.
  2. Completion of the 12th Grade of schooling or its equivalent (furnish proof).
  3. Complete and sign the "Application for Vocational Nurse Licensure".
  4. Submit the required Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprints.  (see "Important Fingerprint Information.")  Note: A License will not be issued until the board receives the background information from DOJ.
  5. Attach the appropriate nonrefundable fee made payable to the "BVNPT".
  6. Successful completion of a written examination titled the National Council Licensing Examination for Practical (Vocational) Nursing (NCLEX) or the National League for Nursing Test Pool Practical Nursing Examination (NLN). A passing score on a Registered Nurse examination will not satisfy this requirement.
  7. When the requirements of Steps 1-7 have been met, the Board will advise you of the Initial License Fee to be paid. This fee is in addition to the application fee. It takes 4-6 weeks to process your license.

Section B

  1. Graduate of a California Approved School of Vocational Nursing.
    Successful completion of a California Approved Vocational Nursing Program. Contact your program director for application forms and instructions.
  2. Graduate of an Out-Of-State School of Practical/Vocational Nursing.
    The school of practical/vocational nursing from which you graduated must have been approved by the Board of Nursing in the State in which it is located.

    (Licensure in another state does NOT entitle you to practice as a Licensed Vocational Nurse in California. In order to practice as a Licensed Vocational Nurse in California, you must be licensed by the California State Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.)
  3. Equivalent Education and/or Experience.
    This method requires you to complete within ten (10) years prior to the date of application not less than fifty-one (51) months of paid general duty bedside nursing experience in a general acute care facility approved by the Board, at least half of which shall have been within five (5) years prior to the date of application. In addition to this experience, you must also complete a pharmacology course of at least 54 theory hours that covers the following content:
    1. Knowledge of commonly used drugs and their action
    2. Computation of dosages
    3. Preparation of medications
    4. Principles of administration

    The 51 months of experience shall include a minimum of each of the following:
    1. 48 months medical/surgical nursing
    2. 5 weeks maternity or genitourinary nursing
    3. 5 weeks pediatric nursing

    Experience in any of the following areas may be substituted for a maximum of eight (8) months of medical/surgical experience:
    1. Communicable Disease Nursing
    2. Public Health Nursing
    3. Industrial Nursing
    4. Office Nursing (M.D.)
    5. Psychiatric Nursing
    6. Operating Room Nursing
    7. Hemodialysis
    8. Private Duty Nursing (In a general acute care facility)
    9. Emergency Room Nursing
    10. Geriatric Nursing
    11. Recovery Room Nursing
    12. Out-Patient Clinic

    Experience must be verified by the employer showing specific dates of employment and shall include certification from the R.N. Director or Supervisor that the applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated the following knowledge and skills:
    1. Basic Bedside Nursing
      1. Ambulation Techniques
      2. Intake and Output
      3. Bedmaking
      4. Neurological Check
      5. Catheter Care
      6. Personal Hygiene and Comfort Measures
      7. Collection of Specimens
      8. Positioning & Transfer
      9. Diabetic Urine Testing
      10. Range of Motion
      11. Enema
      12. Skin Care
    2. Aseptic Technique (May be demonstrated in classroom, lab, and/or patient care settings)
      1. Urinary Catheterization
      2. Sterile Dressing Change
      3. Sterile Irrigations

      Applicants with formal nursing education may submit official transcripts for evaluation for possible credit in lieu of paid bedside nursing experience. The transcripts must be submitted to the Board directly from the school and must show theory and clinical hours completed.

    3. Nursing Service in the Medical Corps of any Branch of the Armed Forces of the United States. This method requires you to:
      1. Submit proof of having at least twelve (12) months service on active duty in the medical corps of any of the armed forces rendering bedside patient care. The proof submitted must show date(s) and wards assigned.
      2. Submit proof of having completed a basic course of instruction in nursing while in the armed forces.
      3. Submit proof that service was honorable (DD-214).
      4. Note: A combination of military and nonmilitary experience is not acceptable under this method. Proof of 12th grade education is not required under this method.
    4. 4-Year Expired California Licensed Vocational Nurse.
      Section 2892.1 of the Business and Professions Code specifies that a license which is not renewed for 4 years shall expire. An expired license cannot be renewed, re-issued or reinstated. The licensee is required to submit a new application and retake the licensure examination to receive a new license.

      Applicants under this method must submit evidence of prior licensure with this Board (i.e., copy of expired license or license number, original issue date and expiration date.)

Please Note: State Boards of Nursing in many states require graduation from an approved school of nursing. Please be aware that if you are deemed eligible for licensure in California using another method of qualifying (i.e., military experience or equivalent education and experience) you may not be eligible for licensure by endorsement in other states.