california nclex requirements

Licensure by Examination

Applicants must take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®) if they have never taken and passed the examination or been licensed as a registered nurse in another state or U.S. territory. All applicants must have completed an educational program meeting all California requirements. If you are lacking any educational requirements, you must successfully complete an approved course prior to taking the examination.

Licensure by Examination Instructions

The Board of Registered Nursing highly recommends that applicants apply online. If you have previously submitted a paper application, do not submit an electronic version as that could slow down the process.

Click to open the application instructions. Application instructions also include associated forms that may be attached to online application as needed.

How to apply online (see the Online RN Initial Exam Application Instructions) for a screen-by-screen walkthrough of the online application process):

1. Register for a BreEZe account, if you have not done so previously.

2. On your BreEZe account homepage, select “RN Initial Exam Application” from the dropdown menu below “Start a New Application or Take an Exam”.

3. At the end of the application process, you will have the opportunity to attach documents to the application. Please attach as much information as possible to reduce paperwork, speed the review process, and reduce the need for deficiency letters.

For students who need reasonable accommodations, you can scan and attach the Request for Accommodation of Disabilities form to your online application.

For students disclosing previous discipline on another healthcare license, you can attach:

  • Letter of explanation (signed and dated)
  • Letter(s) of recommendation/support
  • Out of state discipline documents
  • Any other rehabilitation information listed in section II “Reporting Prior Discipline Against Licenses” of the application instructions packet.

NOTE: See Important Notice Regarding Your Application for additional information for applicants with discipline on another healthcare license.

4. You must pay application fees with a valid credit card.

Submission of Transcripts

Graduating California students: California Board-approved nursing programs will submit your transcripts to the Board electronically upon completion of your program.

Out of State Nursing Programs: If you attended a nursing program in another State, you may have your transcripts sent to our Board electronically from a certified third-party electronic transcripts vendor such as Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse*, or directly from your school. Electronic transcripts must be sent to [email protected].

*If requesting transcripts via National Student Clearinghouse, please use these instructions to ensure proper delivery of your electronic transcripts to the Board.

International Nursing Programs: If you attended a nursing program in another country, you must have your official transcripts sent to the Board by mail.

Guide to Taking NCLEX in the Philippines

The United States is experiencing a growing shortage of qualified nurses. Many American healthcare organizations are turning to international nurses to meet patient care demands; especially nurses from the Philippines. 

Filipino nurses in the U.S. can expect greater job security and competitive pay. But before you can practice nursing in the US, you’ll need to pass the NCLEX first. 

If you’re wondering how to take NCLEX in the Philippines, here’s what you need to know.

Start your NCLEX prep with Health Carousel International

Steps Involved in NCLEX Application

The National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, is the standard professional nursing license exam in the United States. A passing grade for NCLEX-RN testing is a requirement for registered nurses and passing the NCLEX-PN is required for practical nurses, though each state has its own criteria.

To apply for NCLEX successfully, there are several steps you’ll need to follow. 

Decide Which State You Want to Apply

The state in which you apply for your NCLEX won’t necessarily be the same state you ultimately work as a nurse. While there are many appealing states to choose from, you should select the state in which you apply for the NCLEX based on the state board’s requirements for foreign nurses. Some requirements that might make it difficult for international nurses to apply for NCLEX include:

  • Social Security Number 
  • Clinical Experience
  • IELTS or TOEFL results

You can learn more about state NCLEX requirements on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.

Register for NCLEX Testing

Because NCLEX exam application processing can take several months depending on the state, it’s recommended to register for the NCLEX before submitting your application. You can register for your NCLEX online through the Pearson Vue website.

Gather Application Materials

After learning your state’s particular NCLEX exam application requirements, you’ll need to gather your application materials. This will include your personal information but may also include transcripts, photos, and fingerprint cards. Health Carousel International is happy to help guide you through the paperwork of the NCLEX application phase.

Submit Application

Submit your completed application to the state board of nursing of your choice. Expect processing time to vary depending on the state. Some NCLEX applications may only take a few weeks to process, while others can take six months or more. The expert team at Health Carousel can help Filipino nurses to review their applications before submitting for the highest chances of success.

Schedule Your NCLEX

Select the date and time of your NCLEX. After you’ve received your Authorization to Test (ATT), you can schedule an appointment for an in-person examination at an international test center.

What Are the Requirements for NCLEX Exam Application Processing?

Nurses trained outside of the U.S. will have some additional requirements when applying for the NCLEX. As previously mentioned, these requirements will vary from state to state. For the best chances of successfully applying, it’s useful to familiarize yourself with some possible NCLEX application requirements.

Credential Evaluation

Some state boards may require an evaluation of your credentials. Nursing school transcripts and other personal documents will need to be reviewed to determine your eligibility. This is typically done by a credential evaluation service (CES).

Language Test

An English language proficiency test may be required in some states. This shouldn’t be much of a problem for Filipino nurses, considering the Philippines are the third largest English-speaking country in the world. But a language test may still be required for international nurses.

Social Security Number

U.S. law requires applicants for professional licenses to have a social security number (SSN). International nurses won’t have a social security number, but instead, a visa or passport can be used in some instances.


Some states require fingerprinting along with your NCLEX application. This can be difficult if you are residing outside of the U.S. during the NCLEX application process.

Health Carousel International can help you to meet NCLEX application requirements in your chosen state. However, you can avoid the headaches of these requirements by applying for the NCLEX exam in a state with a more international-friendly application process.

Which is the Most Friendly State for Filipino Nurses to Apply for the NCLEX?

With fifty states and Washington DC, there are plenty of choices for Filipino nurses looking to work in the US. Every state is unique in its application process for aspiring nurses to take the NCLEX. But three states in particular rank as the easiest for Filipino nurses to apply.


The State of Illinois does not require a social security number for the NCLEX application. Illinois also allows international nurses to practice nursing in the state if they are licensed to practice in the Philippines and meet other requirements.

New York

New York does not require a social security number to take the NCLEX but does have some of the longest NCLEX processing times of any state. The State of New York is well-known for issuing nursing licenses to qualified foreign nurses who pass the NCLEX.


The Texas Board of Nursing accepts applications from Filipino nurses who don’t have a social security number. Like Illinois and New York, Texas has a large population and a high demand for qualified nurses.

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