Frequently Asked Questions

  • Education

    • The Board has sent me an audit letter regarding completion of my continuing education (CE). Who do I talk to about this issue?

      Contact the CE Audit Desk at the telephone number provided in the letter or call the Board's main telephone line at (916) 263-7800 and ask for the CE Audit desk.

    • How many hours of continuing education (CE) must I have to renew my license?

      Licensees must complete 30 contact hours of Continuing Education every two years in order to renew their license with an active status.

      The 30 hour CE requirement does not apply to the first license renewal following the initial issuance of a license. However, if the license has been delinquent for more than one complete renewal cycle (i.e., more than 24 months) then CE is required.

      Licensees are required by law to retain the original copies of their CE Certificates for a period of 4 years and if audited, they must furnish the Board copies of all relevant documents.

      The following courses are acceptable for continuing education:

      Courses which are prerequisite to or part of a registered nursing program. Such courses include but are not limited to the following:

      Anatomy & Physiology
      Art Therapy
      Basic Interviewing Skills & Patient Education
      Basic Mathematics, including algebra, geometry & statistics
      Cultural Anthropology
      English - analysis and composition
      Foreign Languages
      Government/Legislative Process/Health Care Policy
      Health Care Administration
      Health Care Marketing
      Human Genetics
      Human Sexuality
      Medical Terminology
      Music Therapy
      Normal Growth & Development
      Nursing Sciences, including psychiatric nursing
      Physical Education
      Religious Studies
      Speech - public speaking
      Supervision & Leadership

      Continuing education courses approved by nursing licensing agencies of this or of other states, or nursing organizations of this or other states, or courses considered comparable by the Board (related to the scope of practice of the licensee.) Such courses include but are not limited to the following:

      Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) & Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
      Behavior Management
      Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (One Time Only)
      Chemical Dependency/Substance Abuse
      Course work for a Teaching Credential
      Crisis Intervention
      Death & Dying
      Eating Disorders
      Infection Control
      Mental Disorders
      Management of Assaultive Behavior (MAB)
      Sexual Addiction
      Sign Language
      Therapeutic Massage

      The following courses are NOT acceptable for continuing education:

      Advanced Mathematics - Includes: Calculus & Trigonometry
      English - Literature

    • As a potential VN or PT student, what should I look for in a program to be sure that I receive a quality education?

      An individual who is considering enrollment in a VN or PT program should learn as much about the program as possible before making any commitments to the program.

      Make sure that the program is approved by the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians. You can do this by checking the Board's website (Applicants > Approved Schools) or by calling the Board at (916) 263-7843. Please note that the term "approval" is not used for a new program that has been approved by the Board to admit its first class. The program status at this point is called "approved". Prior to graduation of the first class, a Board representative will visit the program to ensure that it is still in compliance with applicable regulations. If compliance is evident, the representative will submit a report to the Board. In turn, the Board will approve the program. The approval will be retroactive to the start date of the first class.

      Check the program's licensure examination pass rates for previous years. Go to the Board's website (Applicants > School Pass Rates).

      Talk to students who are attending or have graduated from the program.

      Talk to nursing staff in clinical facilities that the program uses for clinical experience. Ask the staff if they would hire these students after graduation.

      If you will need financial assistance, ask the program if they have resources for grants, scholarships and other types of financial aid.

      Disclaimer on Unapproved Nursing Programs

    • What is the Board's role in approval of vocational nursing and psychiatric technician programs statewide?

      The Board must ensure that:

      Each vocational nursing program complies with the Vocational Nursing Practice Act, and

      Each psychiatric technician program complies with the Psychiatric Technicians Law.

      The Board ensures that institutions develop curricula that will prepare students with the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to be successful on the licensure examination. As a result, the licensees are able to provide safe, competent entry level care.

      In accordance with Business and Professions Code sections 2880 - 2884 (VN) and 4530 - 4532 (PT), the Board reviews each program to ensure that:

      • Faculty meet education and experience requirements;
      • The curriculum flows from simple to complex and demonstrates a progressive mastery of competency-based objectives;
      • Theory and clinical objectives are measurable;
      • Clinical facilities have an adequate patient census and provide a variety of experiences to enable students to meet their learning objectives;
      • The instructor to student ratio does not exceed 1:15 in the clinical setting; and
      • The ratio of theory to clinical hours provides balance to enhance learning.
    • What is the role of the nursing education consultant in the approval of vocational nursing and psychiatric technician programs?

      The role of the nursing education consultant (NEC) is to approve and ensure that the Board-approved director accomplishes curriculum development, development of school policies, procurement of faculty and clinical facilities and other required documents in accordance with Article 5 of the Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technician Rules and Regulations. Section 2529(b) states, "Each vocational nursing program shall have one faculty member designated as director who meets the requirements [for director], who shall actively administer the program." The director is responsible for compliance with all regulations in Chapter 1, Article 5 (commencing with Section 2525 et seq.). Section 2584(b) states, "Each psychiatric technician program shall have one faculty member designated as director who meets the requirements [for director], who shall actively administer the program." The director is responsible for compliance with all regulations in Chapter 2, Article 5 (commencing with Section 2580 et seq.). This means that the proposed curriculum must be submitted by the approved director.

      The NEC will provide a final assessment of the total curriculum package before it is placed on the agenda for Board consideration. The Board requires submission of all documents in final form. Two copies of the final curriculum proposal must be submitted to the Board's Sacramento headquarters by the fifteenth day of the second month that precedes the month of the Board's review. During its review, the Board may grant initial approval and authorize commencement of one class.

    • How long does it take to receive the Board's approval to begin a new VN or PT program?

      The complete approval process takes a minimum of nine months. The time spent on curriculum development and review may be significant depending on the expertise of the writer. After approval of a program director who meets the qualifications delineated in regulation, the assigned NEC meets with the director for a comprehensive orientation to the respective practice act and rules and regulations. Written guidelines are given to the program director to assist in developing a curriculum that complies fully with Article 5 of the Rules and Regulations. A realistic timeline for submission of program materials is suggested based upon the program director's projected date to start the initial class. The entire curriculum package must be initially submitted for review far enough in advance to afford review by the NEC and for revisions as necessary. The curriculum packet must be submitted in FINAL FORM to the NEC by the 15th day of the second month PRIOR to Board consideration of the proposal. Submission of materials after the deadline will cause the program proposal to be deferred to a later date for Board consideration. The Board encourages the allowance of enough time for the development of a comprehensive quality curriculum.

    • Why do faculty and facility approval forms have to be submitted in duplicate as stated on the form?

      The original form, Faculty Approval Application or Clinical Facility Approval Application, with attached substantiating documentation is approved by the NEC and retained in the Board's school files. The duplicate of the form is annotated with the Board approval status and sent back to the school for its records.

    • What steps are taken to ensure that programs continue to provide students with quality education?

      Initial Survey

      The Board grants approval for commencement of an initial class within a program. Prior to graduation of the first class, an on-site visit is conducted to evaluate student progress and determine continued compliance with applicable rules and regulations in Article 5. If the program is in compliance, the Board may grant approval for a four-year period.

      Survey for Continued approval

      A Board representative conducts surveys of programs every four years to determine each program's compliance with Article 5 of the applicable Rules and Regulations. Following a report of the survey to the Board, the Board may grant approval for an additional four years.

      Special Visits

      The Board may conduct special visits to programs at any time to ensure that the approved curriculum is being taught and/or investigate allegations of program deficiencies.

    • What occurs during a formal survey visit of the program?

      The Board conducts survey visits to determine compliance with the law. Each program is reviewed to ensure that, at a minimum:

      The program is in compliance with Board statutes and regulations;
      The program director is in charge of all educational activities;
      The approved instructional plan is followed;
      Theory is correlated with clinical assignments;
      Instructors are available for student supervision;
      Student progress is evident;
      Clinical sites offer a variety of learning experiences; and
      Program grants credit for previous education/experience.

    • If I have a question about VN or PT scopes of practice or about nursing education, how can I contact the Board for a response?

      Scope of practice and nursing education questions are generally answered by the nursing education consultants (NEC) in the Board's Education Unit.

      You may call the Education Unit secretary directly at (916) 263-7843 and ask to speak to an NEC;

      Mail your inquiry to the Board's Sacramento office at
      Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
      2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 205
      Sacramento, CA 95833

      E-mail the Education Division at; NOTE: If you e-mail your inquiry, please provide your full name and mailing address in addition to your e-mail address.

  • Endorsements

  • Enforcement

  • Examinations

    • How do I apply or obtain an application for the Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) or Psychiatric Technician examination?

      If you have never taken the test before, obtain the application forms from the Board's website at Application for Vocational Nurse Licensure by Examination; or Application for Psychiatric Technician Licensure by Examination, or the Board can send an application. An application can be requested by calling the Board's main telephone number at (916) 263-7800 or by sending a request by email to

      If you have previously applied in California, contact the Board to obtain the required re-examination application materials. Applications are deemed abandoned and destroyed after two years of inactivity. If it has been more than two years, the applicant will need to obtain a new application and submit all required documentation to establish eligibility.

    • I sent in my application but haven't heard anything from the Board. Did you receive my application?

      Applications are processed in the order they are received from California approved schools. School Applications take about 4-5 weeks to process.

      All other applications for examinations take approximately 8 weeks to be evaluated.

      Reciprocity applications take approximately 4 weeks for processing, however it may take as long as 12 weeks (as the state of original licensure must submit verification of licensure under separate cover).

      Additionally, the Board must ensure that a fingerprint clearance report is received from the Department of Justice (DOJ) prior to licensure.

      A self-addressed postcard is included as part of the application package. If the applicant affixes the appropriate postage and submits the postcard with the application as indicated in the instructions, the postcard will be date stamped and returned to the applicant.

    • How do I obtain an interim permit?

      Interim Permits can only be issued to the graduate of a California approved school and are only valid while the candidate is awaiting results from his/her first licensing examination.

      To obtain an IP, the applicant must have been approved to test, and their DOJ fingerprints must have cleared. An IP cannot be issued to an applicant if their file is in enforcement.

      With year-round computerized testing, the candidates typically take their examination before an IP is needed.

      If the candidate still wants to apply for an IP (because he/she is eligible but does not plan on taking the exam right away), contact the Board to request and Interim Permit application at (916) 263-7800 and ask to speak to an evaluator or by sending an email to

      The fee for an IP is $20.00 for Psychiatric Technician and $20.00 for Vocational Nurse and takes 3-4 weeks to process.

    • I have just taken the LVN test. Can you tell me the results? How long before I am mailed my examination results?

      Under no circumstances shall examination results be given over the telephone. The applicant must wait to receive his/her results in the mail.

      It takes a minimum of 3-4 weeks for the results to be mailed out.

      Examination results are produced by the NCSBN and sent to the Board for processing. NCSBN does not always send the exam results in the order the exam was administered. Applicants must wait at least 3-4 weeks to obtain their official results.

    • I already paid $220.00 to the Board. Do I have to pay the NCSBN $200.00 to take the NCLEX-PN also?

      Yes, there are two fees involved each time you take the exam.

      The $220 fee is for the application review and processing.

      The $200 fee which goes directly to the NCSBN is for the examination.

      An initial licensing fee will be charged to obtain the license after successful completion of the licensing examination.

    • Does the Board accept examination eligibility information from the Board of Registered Nursing (i.e., interim permits, examination results, etc.)?

      The Board cannot determine acceptability until it actually reviews the documentation.

      The applicant may request the RN Board to send a copy of their educational transcripts to the Board. No other information may be accepted from the RN Board (i.e., fingerprints, fees, etc.)

    • How many times can I take the NCLEX-PN in a year?

      An applicant may take the NCLEX exam 8 times a year or every 45 days. As long as he/she applies each time and pays the applicable fees ($220.00 retake application fee and the $200.00 NCLEX fee).

  • General

    Address and/or Name Changes

    Address and/or name changes cannot be accepted by telephone or via e-mail. The Board must receive a document which bears the applicant's/licensee's signature and date in order to change an official address of record. This requirement protects the applicant/licensee from fraudulent changes made by unknown individuals. A faxed letter is acceptable.

    • Address Changes -- How do I change my address?

      Address changes must be submitted, in writing, to the Board.

      The letter should state "address change request", be signed by the applicant/licensee, AND specify the following:

      Full name
      VN or PT license number or file number
      Social security number (optional)
      Old address
      New address
      Daytime telephone number, (in case the Board has questions)

    • Name Changes - How do I change my name?

      NAME changes must be submitted, in writing, to the Board.

      The letter should state "name change request", be signed by the applicant/licensee, AND specify the following:

      Full name
      VN or PT license number or file number
      Social security number (optional)
      Former name
      New name
      Daytime telephone number (in case the Board has questions)

      And the letter must be accompanied by a copy of the legal documentation to verify the name change (e.g., marriage license, divorce decree, court order, or a copy of the new driver's license)

    • Board Members & Board Meetings
    • Fees Schedules
    • Live Scan - What is the process or status?

      All applicants residing in California must have their fingerprints processed via Live Scan by:

      Obtaining a pre-printed form from the Board.

      The applicant must present a valid photo ID at the Live Scan site and pay the applicable processing fees (i.e., $49.00 plus the Live Scan Site rolling fee which can be $0 - $25.00).

      A list of Live Scan sites can be found at the Department of Justice internet site at Select "contact information."

      The Live Scan site information is updated weekly and candidates should check the internet site to find out the most current information and fee assessments.

      Live scan fingerprint clearance reports will be processed by DOJ within 72 hours of receipt unless there is a problem with the fingerprints that results in a delay or reject. If the fingerprints are rejected, the applicant will be required to be reprinted.

      Applicants living outside California must complete "hard card" fingerprint cards and pay a $49.00 non-refundable fee to "BVNPT" as Livescan is only available in California.

  • Intravenous/Blood Withdrawal/Continuing Education

    A licensed vocational nurse must be certified by the Board to perform intravenous therapy or blood withdrawal.

    A licensed psychiatric technician can only be certified in blood withdrawal (not intravenous therapy). A PT must be certified by the Board to perform blood withdrawal.

    If a licensee is certified by the Board, the certification should show on the license.

  • License & Renewal Issues

  • Public Information