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Does California Accept a Florida RN License?

Although the job security associated with a career in nursing usually helps nurses find employment with less hassle than other occupations, moving across the country can pose a hassle for nurses because states administer licensure for registered nurses. The licensure requirements shouldn’t be reason to deter a move from Florida to California, however, as the state Board of Registered Nursing makes it relatively easy to transfer your license to California.

Licensure Basics

The California Board of Registered Nursing doesn’t honor nurses’ licenses granted by another state, so nurses licensed to work in Florida must seek licensure in California before taking a job in their new location. Nurses may concurrently hold licenses in multiple states, so those visiting California on a short-term basis don’t need to relinquish their Florida license if they intend to return to the East Coast after a brief stint working in California. Similar to all nursing licenses, registered nurses must meet the educational requirements to sit at a National Council Licensure Examination and pass a standardized test, either the NCLEX-RN or a state-administered test, before receiving a license in California.

Reciprocal Licensuer

To transfer your license from Florida to California, the license must still be valid in Florida, and you must present the Board of Registered Nursing proof of successful completion of the NCLEX-RN examination. Applicants without valid NCLEX-RN scores may prove their competency through the California State Board Test Pool Examination. You must complete official request for transcript forms from the board, authorizing the school to provide transcripts directly to the Board. Applicants must also provide a 2-inch-by-2-inch passport-style photograph. The board requires a $100 fee to transfer licensure from out of state.

Tempoary Licensure

Qualified nurses who wish to begin work immediately may apply for a temporary license as California processes and verifies the primary license. You must submit a temporary licensure application in addition to your full-time license, and provide verification of your Florida registered nurse’s license. Verification may come through a sealed envelope from the Florida Board of Nursing directly to the California Board of Registered Nurses, or through the National Council of State Board of Nursing’s Nursys licensure confirmation system. Allow seven business days for temporary licenses to be approved. A $50 is assessed for temporary licensure applications.

California Registered Nurses' Licensure

The California Board of Registered Nursing licenses registered nurses who have completed the educational requirements necessary to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and passed the exam or the equivalent state-administered examination. The first RN license issued from California is good for two birthdays – not two years – and then expires every two years. Nurses must complete 30 hours of continuing education to renew a license.


Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.