PLA Nursing License – A Detailed Guide


A Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) provides comprehensive mental health services. To practice as a PMHNP, you must obtain a valid PLA nursing license. This license demonstrates your qualifications, knowledge, and skills to potential employers and clients. This article explains what a PLA nursing license is, its eligibility criteria, application process, costs involved, and tips for successfully obtaining it.

What is a PLA Nursing License?

A Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner License Authorization (PLA) allows PMHNPs to diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders. It is issued by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). The BRN regulates nursing education, licensure, practice and discipline. A PLA demonstrates that a nurse practitioner has met all California state licensing requirements. It permits them to practice under standard procedures developed through collaboration with physicians.

Eligibility Criteria for PLA

To qualify for a PLA, you must:

  • Hold a current California RN license
  • Have a graduate degree from an accredited NP program with psychiatric mental health specialization
  • Have national certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
  • Have a standardized procedure with a California-licensed physician
  • Carry malpractice insurance
  • Undergo a fingerprint and background check

How to Apply for a PLA

Follow these key steps to apply for a PLA with the BRN:

  1. Submit your application online through BreEZe, the BRN online licensing system. Create an account if you don’t already have one.
  2. Pay the non-refundable application fee of $500.
  3. Submit fingerprints using the Live Scan Fingerprint Background Check Form.
  4. Send notarized copies of graduate transcripts and national certification documents.
  5. Submit a signed, standardized procedure with your collaborating physician.
  6. Provide proof of malpractice insurance coverage.

The BRN will notify you once they’ve processed your application. You can then check the status online.

Costs for Obtaining a PLA

Below are the main costs involved in getting a PLA:

  • BRN application fee: $500
  • Live Scan fingerprinting fee: Up to $80
  • Transcript fees: $10 per transcript
  • Notary charges: Up to $15 per document
  • License issuance fee: $150

So you should budget around $800 for the entire PLA licensing process.

Tips for Getting a PLA Successfully

Follow these tips to ensure smooth processing of your PLA application:

  • Thoroughly read all instructions and requirements on the BRN website
  • Use the application checklist to collate all required documents
  • Ensure your collaborating physician reviews the standardized procedure
  • Make timely fee payments to avoid delays
  • Respond promptly to any requests for more information
  • Check application status regularly once submitted

Following the step-by-step process and tips above will help you get your PLA license efficiently.


A PLA license enables PMHNPs to provide much-needed mental health care. It shows that a nurse practitioner meets California state standards for knowledge and skills. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, costs and tips covered here you can successfully obtain your PLA license. This will qualify you to launch your career as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

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