Last week I felt like I had hit the jackpot. This is because my California licenses finally came through! California is known for taking several months to approve licensure applications. There are reports that an RN license alone can take up to 8 months to obtain.
When starting travel nursing or locum tenens work, I know many people who have California at the top of their list. They are quite disappointed when they learn that it will unlikely be their first destination due to the time frame of licensing.
Many nurses fly to Sacramento, California just to do the live scan fingerprinting. The live scan fingerprinting speeds up the application process in comparison to fingerprint cards (for those of us that live outside of California).
California offers a temporary license that allows you to practice while pending your permanent license. Unfortunately, the temporary license is not free like in some states, and some agencies do not want to pay or reimburse for the temporary license. A few of my friends from Florida flew to California to do their fingerprints there, and the following month they received their temporary licenses. This is a great option for people who are trying to get to California as soon as possible.
After doing my research, I was well aware that going to California would not happen quickly. So when I applied for my license I was in no rush. I used the standard fingerprinting card path, and my RN license was approved a little before 3 months. It could have happened more quickly had I used priority mail. I noticed that it took 3 weeks just to open my application. I did not know that mailing something from the east coast to the west coast could take 2 weeks long. I was able to see when they opened my application by the date they cashed my check for the application fee.
Next was the wait for my CA ARNP license. This only took 1 month-long (upon receipt of application and supporting materials). Lastly, I just submitted my application for the CA furnishing license to be able to prescribe. I am assuming it will take 1 month or less to obtain since the paperwork is minimal. Notice that the RN license took the longest which is most likely because of the fingerprinting process and the amount of RN applications the board receives.
That being said, do not lose hope about working in California soon. If you are optimistic, you can possibly have all 3 licenses in 3 months. You can actually submit your CA ARNP application together with your CA RN application (some states require you to wait until you have an RN license number). I slacked off and submitted my ARNP application the week before I received my RN license. Had I submitted them together, I am confident I would have received them both by the 3 month mark.
California has now officially joined my list of options for possible placements in the New Year. Let the assignment search begin!