Continuing education (CEU) is required for licensure renewal by the nursing boards in most states, including California. There are only 13 states that do not mandate it (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin).
Course materials and required hours for completing nursing CEUs vary by state. In California, nurses are required to obtain 30 contact hours for license renewal per the California Code of Regulations. CEUs must be earned every two years for California nurses to keep their license.
In this article, we will provide some information on what the nursing CEU requirements look like in California.
What is a CEU?
Before working as a nurse in California, candidates must earn a nursing degree and pass the NCLEX-PN.
After earning their initial licensure, nurses must renew their credentials every two years. The only exception to this mandate is for the first two years after first earning their nursing license. That means nurses would not be required to complete CEUs in California until four years after their original license is approved. Then, California nurses must complete CEUs every two years for the duration of their nursing career unless continuing education laws change.
Most licensed professionals are subject to continuing education credits to maintain licensure. However, not all credits are created equally. Nursing CEU courses in California must meet specific criteria to count toward license requirements. Therefore, nurses should seek out CEU opportunities that:
- Enhance knowledge through learning experiences
- Incorporate scientific knowledge designed to augment job duties
- Focus on behavioral, physical, and social sciences
- Include advanced techniques in nursing care
Relevant CEU Courses
The California Board of Nursing has guidelines on acceptable and unacceptable CEU courses. The state of California approved continuing education courses that cover the following topics:
- crisis intervention
- the management of assaultive behavior (MAB).
Some courses are not eligible for inclusion, such as English Literature, History, and Economics courses.
All continuing education courses are led by nursing industry professionals. The California Board of Nursing reviews all CEU materials and educators. Nursing CEUs in California can be administered via:
- Educational articles that meet industry advancement criteria
- Online or in-person classes or other hands-on learning opportunities
- Instructional videos and webinars
Nurses who are nearing their license renewal deadlines should verify that the courses they intend to take meet these criteria.
Completing CEU Requirements in California
Like many countries, the U.S. is experiencing a nursing shortage. While nurses are required to complete continuing education credits in California every two years, it is imperative to find ways to meet the mandate without cutting into patient care times. For this and other reasons, finding CEU courses online is a best practice.
Flexibility is key with online courses, which allows them to fit nicely into busy nursing schedules. However, before signing up for an online program, be sure to verify that the program meets ANCC accreditation in California.