Unapproved Nursing Programs

The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (Board) has become aware of an increasing number of unapproved nursing programs operating within California or claiming to be approved by the Board. Applicants and prospective nursing students should be aware that the Board will not qualify an applicant to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), or to be licensed, after completion of an unapproved nursing program. If any portion of the instruction is completed at or through an unapproved nursing program, it is considered unapproved.

In some cases, these unapproved programs have been or are operated by approved Continuing Education Providers that are operating beyond the scope of their approval.

The Board has not approved any distance learning programs. Even if a nursing school is appropriately approved by its own state or country, completion of a distance learning program and/or blended instruction will not qualify an applicant to sit for the NCLEX.

The Board cannot qualify an applicant to take the NCLEX, or to be licensed, after completion of an unapproved nursing program, even if the unapproved nursing program represented to the student that it was approved. Therefore, an applicant who attended one of these programs, found eligible by another state to take the examination, and successfully passed the examination is not eligible for licensure in California.

Indicators that the program may be unapproved or cannot be deemed equivalent:

  • The program is not listed on the DCA License Search or on the California Board of Registered Nursing website as an approved registered nursing program.
  • Lack of proof of approved in California (i.e., documentation from the Board verifying a specified period of approved).
  • Lack of a course syllabus for each course taught.
  • Lack of information regarding credentials for each program instructor that comply with the Vocational Nursing Regulations in California.
  • Representation of online, distance, and/or blended instruction.
  • Representation that transcripts and/or degrees will be issued by an out-of-state or international program rather than the program where instruction is provided.
  • Lack of concrete information regarding clinical instruction, such as the location of the clinical instruction or that clinical instruction is to be completed abroad.
  • Lack of concurrent instruction of theory and clinical practice.

To verify whether a nursing program is approved, please see the DCA License Search listing of approved programs. For further information, contact the Board at (916) 263-7843.