From 1980 to 2008, the number of registered nurses working in California almost doubled, although the state’s ratio of RNs per capita continued to fall well short of the national rate, the California Healthcare Foundation reported.
Today, the state is home to an estimated 310,000 actively licensed RNs, the vast majority of whom work in hospital settings.
In 2011, the California Board of Registered Nursing reported that the RN shortages of the mid-2000s had all but disappeared. The board forecast that the state’s supply of RNs may outpace demand through 2030, although it was possible another shortage could develop, potentially because of falling RN graduation rates.
Nationally, meanwhile, the employment rate for RNs is expected to increase 26% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition. The growth is expected to be faster in traditional hospital settings, as well as in nonhospital settings such as physicians’ offices, home healthcare services and outpatient care centers.
The demand for registered nurses in the United States is likely to be accompanied by a rising need for employees with higher educational qualifications.
The Institute of Medicine has called for the proportion of nurses with bachelor’s degrees to increase to 80% nationally by 2020. The national institute’s 2011 report pointed to RN to BSN degree programs and online learning as among the ways to meet that goal.
The median annual wage of registered nurses in the United States was $64,690 in 2010, according to the BLS.
In the Golden State, RN incomes jumped more than 50% in the period between 1990 and 2008, the California Healthcare Foundation reported. By 2011, the average salary for nurses in California was almost $91,000, according to a survey by Advance for Nurses.
Applicants to become a licensed RN in the state of California must have passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and successfully completed a state-approved educational program.
RNs who have an active and current license in another U.S. state or Canada can seek licensure by endorsement in California if they have completed a state-approved educational program and passed the NCLEX-RN or the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE).
In California, RNs must renew their license every two years, during which time they must complete 30 hours of approved continuing education (CE) courses. The course provider must be recognized by the state’s Board of Registered Nursing.
It’s important to note that nursing licensure requirements and fees can change. For the most up-to-date information contact the California Board of Registered Nursing at:
Mailing address:1747 North Market Boulevard, Suite 150, Sacramento, CA 95834