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Nurse Practitioner Zone

California Nurse Practitioner Certification

In California, NPs are RNs who have obtained additional skills and preparation in order to diagnose, assess, and manage the illness and health of patients. There are a few different ways to earn your NP certification.

In general, you must be licensed as an RN by the state of California and then complete an advanced NP program, earning your master’s degree. The program must conform to the standards described in the California Code of Regulations by the California State Board of Registered Nursing. You may specialize in adult care, family care, gerontology, pediatrics, acute care, neonatal care, occupational health, women’s health, psychiatric or mental health, or school health.

If you did not attend one of these programs in California, you must have earned certification from a national certifying body recognized by the California State Board of Registered Nursing, such as the AANP, ANCC, or NCC. When you apply for California certification, you must provide evidence that you are certified by one of the approved national organizations and verify, by transcript, that you completed an NP program in another state.


If you earned your advanced degree from an NP program that does not conform to California’s standards, you must complete some additional steps. First, you must submit a form verifying that you completed an NP program and include transcripts as well as course descriptions. In addition, you and the physician you worked under must submit clinical competency and clinical experience forms.

Once you have obtained your certification as a California NP, you must complete 30 units of continuing education every 2 years to keep your certification active. You also can apply for a Nurse Practitioner Furnishing Number, which will permit you to dispense controlled substances to patients. The average NP salary in California is $92,000, which is one of the highest average salaries of all the states. Of course, salaries vary widely based on location, specialty, and experience.

California State University Family Nurse Practitioner Program Handbook

CA Board of Registered Nursing: Nurse Practitioner Certification Application

Nurse Practitioner Certification - Home

Last Updated: 05/19/2014