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October 20, 2023

How Often Do California Nurses Have to Take Continuing Education?

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A group of nursing students in a continuing education class.

As a nurse, your patient’s care and safety are your first priority. The State of California has continuing education requirements to help you ensure you’re treating your patients with the most up-to-date knowledge and practices. However, not every course will qualify as continuing education (CE), and there are specific requirements for how many hours you must take and when.

Learn more about how continuing education requirements impact your nursing license renewal.

How many hours of continuing education are you required to take in CA?

California nurses are required to take 30 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain an active nursing license. This requirement allows nurses to build on their scientific knowledge and technical skills or help them provide patient care.

If you’re within the first two years of holding your licensure, you’re also subject to an additional requirement to take an implicit bias course offered by an approved continuing education provider. This is in accordance with California’s AB 1407, which took effect on January 1, 2023.

What courses qualify for my CE requirements?

In order to meet your required 30 hours of CE, the courses you take must be relevant to the practice of nursing. This can include classes that help you develop scientific knowledge and technical skills and courses that relate to patient and client care.

You can find courses that meet these requirements from a variety of resources, including local colleges and universities or online educational resources such as Mandated Reporter Training.

To make sure the course you’re considering meets the requirements, use the EZLicense System to verify if the course’s license is still active.

A Note on College Classes: Relevant college and university courses can be counted towards a registered nurse’s continuing education requirements. For these classes, keep in mind that one quarter unit is equivalent to 10 hours towards your license requirement, and one semester unit equals 15 hours.

Whether you pursue your continuing education with a local college or an online platform with a valid continuing education provider (CEP) number, such as Mandated Reporter Training, there are many relevant fields of study you can opt for. These include:

  • Advanced courses in physical, social, and behavioral sciences
  • Courses that focus on recent scientific knowledge surrounding direct and indirect patient care
  • Advanced courses on patient monitoring equipment like respiratory and cardiac equipment
  • Patient education strategies
  • Cultural and ethnic diversity
  • Conversational foreign languages and sign languages
  • Therapeutic interpersonal skills with patients and clients

Which courses should I skip?

While there are a wide array of courses that could meet your continuing education requirements, not every class will count toward your license renewal. Which classes don’t count toward your CE hours? They can include:

  • Self-improvement courses like self-therapy and yoga
  • Courses intended for lay people
  • Economic courses for financial gain
  • Classes unrelated to patient care
  • Liberal arts courses like music, art, philosophy, etc., when not related to patient care

A Note on Taking the Same Class Twice: If you take a class with identical contents and objectives twice in the same renewal cycle, the hours will only be counted once. You may take classes more than once if you are repeating a course within a new renewal cycle.

What if I am audited for CE compliance?

As a registered nurse, you may be audited to ensure you are in compliance with continuing education requirements. Because of this, it’s vital to keep certificates and grade slips for four years after completing a course as proof of completion.

Because nurses are legally required to report suspected abuse, Mandated Reporter Training is a natural fit for your continuing education hours. The course will help you fulfill four of your 30 hours needed while preparing you for your duty as a Mandated Reporter so that you can help protect your patients and avoid the steep penalties of failing to report. Once you complete your training, you can download a certificate of completion in case of an audit.

Sign up for Mandated Reporter Training’s continuing education course now.

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