Accredited Continuing Education for Nurses

March 28, 2017
Healthcare Education

Registered nurses, in the State of California, are required by law (Section 1451, Article 5, of the California Code of Regulations) to complete thirty (30) hours of continuing education (CE) every two years (in addition to paying the renewal fee), to maintain an active license. Continuing education courses must have been completed during the preceding renewal period (when renewing), or during the preceding two years (when renewing a delinquent or lapsed license, or going from an inactive to active license). Courses must be taken through a continuing education provider recognized by the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).

RNs are advised to go to the BreEZe License Verification section of this Web site and check the current status of the provider's CEP number to ensure it is still active. Courses are not eligible for contact hours when the provider number is in an expired status.

Acceptable Course Content

The content of all courses of continuing education must be relevant to the practice of nursing. Learning experiences are expected to enhance the knowledge of the registered nurse at a level above that required for licensure. Courses must be related to the scientific knowledge and/or technical skills required for the practice of nursing, or be related to direct and/or indirect patient/client care.

Courses related to the scientific knowledge for the practice of nursing include basic and advanced courses in the physical, social, and behavioral sciences, as well as advanced nursing in general or specialty areas. Content which includes the application of scientific knowledge to patient care in addition to advanced nursing courses may include courses in related areas, e.g. human sexuality; death, dying, and grief; foreign languages (conversational); therapeutic interpersonal relationship skills; pharmacology; and those related to specialty areas of nursing practice.

Courses in nursing administration, management, education, research or other functional areas of nursing relating to indirect patient/client care would be acceptable.

Homestudy Courses

There is no limit to the number of contact hours that can be completed through independent or home study courses.

Continuing Medical Education (CME Category 1)

Continuing Medical Education is acceptable for meeting RN continuing education requirements, as long as the course is Category 1, and has been taken within the appropriate time frames.

College Courses

Courses taken for college or university credit can be used for RN continuing education. To compute the number of units earned into contact hours use the following formula:

1 quarter unit = 10 contact hours 1 semester unit = 15 contact hours

The course(s) must be of an advanced level (above the knowledge required for licensure).

The following courses are acceptable:

Advanced courses in physical, social and behavioral sciences.


Physical sciences-pathophysiology courses related to subspecialties in nursing. Social sciences-physical or cultural anthropology, sociology of the family and social structure change. Behavioral sciences-psychology courses including abnormal psychology, child psychology and mental health. Required basic courses in physical, social and behavioral sciences for RNs who are obtaining a baccalaureate or graduate degree or specialty certification. Courses where the primary focus is recent scientific knowledge applied to direct or indirect patient care.

Content related to Direct Patient/Client care can include:

Advanced courses on any type of patient monitoring equipment (fetal, cardiac, respiratory, etc.). Patient education strategies Certification/re-certification skills such as: Advanced Life Support (ALS), audiology, etc. Skills courses (stoma care, etc.) Cultural and ethnic diversity Foreign languages (conversational) and sign languages Therapeutic interpersonal relationship skills with patients/clients Courses in any specialty area of nursing practice, including occupational health nursing, school nursing, office nursing, etc. Content related to Indirect Patient/Client care can include: Nursing administration or management, nursing education or nursing research Statistics Quality assurance Legal aspects of nursing Assertiveness Teaching multi-ethnic students and staff Retention of nurses in the health care delivery system, including cross training Current trends in nursing and health care Establishing a professional nursing business or independent practice Publishing for professional journals or books Instructor courses in CPR, basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS) Other courses: Courses that deal with grief, human sexuality, kinesiology, nutrition, crisis intervention, counseling, stress reduction, burnout syndrome, advanced nursing courses, advanced pharmacology, advanced EKG/dysrhyuthmia and advanced IV therapy

Courses Approved by Other Entities

Courses approved by appropriate state, regional and national health professional associations as well as other professional health and licensing boards in and out of California can be acceptable, so long as the content meets the Board's requirements as specified in Title 16, CCR, Section 1456. These courses must be developed for continuing education purposes.

The Importance Of Continuing Education For Nurses
The Importance Of Continuing Education For Nurses
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The Importance Of Continuing Education For Nurses In Canada
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The Purpose Of Continuing Education For Nurses
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