How to Become a Registered Nurse in Oakland, California

Becoming a Registered Nurse in Oakland California

If you want to become a registered nurse (RN) in Oakland, California, congratulations, you are making an excellent career choice. The process will involve obtaining the necessary education and licensure to practice nursing in the state of California. Here is the process of becoming an RN in Oakland, California.

Excellent Career Outlook

The East Bay area has over 20,000 RNs. These health care professionals make some of the highest salaries in the field. With the average pay range between $73,000 and $170,000, Oakland’s nursing outlook is very promising. Area employers who hire RNs include UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital-Oakland, Oakland Mercy Hospital, St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital, and Oakland Regional Hospital. Working as an RN in Oakland, you will have the opportunity to treat patients for various conditions, perform diagnostic tests, establish care plans, and provide emotional support to patients’ families.


If you are a new high school or college graduate, the first step for you is to enroll in an entry-level nursing program. These programs include an associate degree in nursing (ADN), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and a direct entry Master of Science in nursing (MSN). Universities, colleges, vocational or technical schools, and community colleges have campus-based and online RN courses

For licensed vocational nurses with a background in patient care, there are LPN to RN programs available. These programs prepare you to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become an RN. Many schools in Oakland provide course credits to LVNs with experience, allowing them to graduate quicker.

An ADN program gives students baseline knowledge of nursing and an associate degree. These two-year programs will get you ready for entry-level jobs and prepare you for the NCLEX-RN exam. A direct-entry BSN program consists of three academic years and two summers. These programs can prepare you for work in various settings such as hospitals, community clinics, and long-term care facilities. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject, a direct-entry MSN program will allow you to complete your MSN and start a nursing career without having an ADN or a BSN degree. You can check out this listing of nursing educational programs for further information.

Obtaining Your RN License

To practice as an RN in the state of California, you will need a license from the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). To apply for your license:

  • Apply online or complete an application packet
  • Send application to the BRN at least 6-8 weeks before you graduate
  • Send transcripts to the BRN
  • Complete a fingerprint background check
  • Take and pass the NCLEX

Licensure in California is a time-consuming process, and the time can vary depending on how long it takes the board to review your documents. The typical processing time is between 10 – 16 weeks for an initial license and 2 – eight weeks for a renewal.

If you are currently a health care professional searching for a job in California, check out the opportunities at Power Personnel.


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