WA STATE NEW GRAD: Should I Transfer License To CA or Take CA NCLEX?


Hi California nurses/anyone,

I am currently a nursing student in Washington, I will be graduating in August 2021.

I am still a CA resident and planning going back to CA to be a nurse. I am trying to see if anyone knows if its better to take my NCLEX in Washington and then transfer my license to CA or just take my NCLEX into California? I am wondering how long this process takes, I know that CA is notorious for taking a long time, I just want to see how many months and what path is easier/shorter time. 

I was on hold for 1.5 hours today with NCLEX CA to get more information (eventually hung up) because there is not enough information on their website. Thank you for any help or suggestions about this topic!

Edited by Marin520
Update title

Sorry I'm definitely not an expert but from what I know, you apply for a license in the State you want to work in. You take the NCLEX in whatever location is convenient (since it's a national exam you can take it in any State). I think it takes longer to switch a license rather than applying for one. Mine only took ~1 month when I applied in California but I know some people when trying to transfer took much longer than a month. 

KrysyRN, BSN

Has 31 years experience. 284 Posts

I would recommend requesting the California license to be your initial license when you request authorization to take the NCLEX.  If you request WA first, and then apply for endorsement into CA, it will add at least a month (but probably months) to get your CA license.


Specializes in ICU / PCU / Telemetry. Has 10 years experience. 3,445 Posts

You probably already took your NCLEX by now, but I was going to recommend getting licensed in WA first and endorse to CA. The reason I say this is in the event that you would want to do travel nursing, you will be required to endorse your original state of licensure to the new state. If this happens to be CA, then it sucks because you would have to complete a paper request, pay $100 and wait months for the request to be sent to the new state. If it is WA, you could just verify online to the new state instantly via NURSYS for $30.