About Nursing Schools in California

Nurses in California are in high demand for a variety of reasons. In a state experiencing one of the worst nursing shortages in the country, attracting a new generation of qualified nurses is crucial to addressing the issue.  This is one reason why nurses are treated well in California.

The state has a stringent nurse-to-patient ratio legislation in place. There must be a minimum of one nurse for every five patients (1:5), and within Intensive Care Units, there should be a ratio of one to two (1:2). This helps ensure enhanced patient care outcomes and helps nurses to avoid burnout. California has the highest average registered nurse salary in the United States. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs earn an average salary of $122,838 in California, and California has by far the most RNs in the country, with over 373,200 nurses employed there.

Nursing Schools In California

Nursing Schools in California

Overall, California offers 160 nursing schools with 30 private schools and 103 public schools.

Not only do RNs have a robust employment environment in California, Nurse Practitioners also have a promising career outlook with the average annual wage of NPs amounting to $107,310 with the ones with more than 20 years of experience earning $208,000 annually and average annual opening of 1,390 NPs in the entire state. It has been predicted that this sunny state will need 19,700 NPs by 2028 to provide advanced nursing care to the patients while contributing to research and policy making.

There are currently 15,100 NPs working in California who have Restricted Practice when it comes to practicing in the state. Restricted Practice essentially means that the state practice and licensure laws restrict the ability of NPs to engage in at least one element of NP practice. In addition to that, the law also requires career-long supervision, delegation or team management by another healthcare provider for the NP to provide patient care. 

California is a great destination for RNs and NPs alike who are seeking to advance their career and provide quality healthcare in a variety of settings. Since the state is currently experiencing an extreme shortage in nurses, and the number is only expected to rise, it is the perfect time to consider California as a place to work and enjoy the perks that come with working here.

Find the best BSN nursing schools in California, the best ADN nursing schools in California, the best 100 BSN schools, the best 100 ADN schools, or state-by-state rankings?

State-Wide Information on Nursing Schools in California

  • There are 160 nursing schools in California . The CCNE accredits 53 nursing schools and the ACEN accredits 48 schools in California .
  • Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, and a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will take about 4 years to complete.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for ADN students in California is between 63.11% and 100.00%.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for BSN students in California is between 73.44% and 98.51%.
  • The average annual salary for registered nurses is between $78,070 to $165,620 a year.
  • Registered Nurses (RN) in California can expect a favorable job growth of 10.8% from 2020 to 2030 whichmuch faster than the average for all occupations.

Number of Degree Types Offered by Nursing Schools

  • Registered Nursing: 132
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: 24
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 9
  • Nurse Educator: 8
  • Nursing Leadership: 6
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 6
  • CNL: 6
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 5
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 4
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner: 3
  • Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 3
  • Research or Clinical Nursing: 2
  • Administration, Research or Clinical Nursing: 2
  • Adult Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Nurse Anesthetist: 2
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Nursing Informatics: 1
  • Nursing Administration: 1
  • Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing: 1
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Nurse Midwife: 1

Number of Degree Types Offered by the Top 20  Nursing Schools

Options for earning your nursing degree in California have never been more flexible. California nursing schools have become adept at offering effective alternatives for you to earn your nursing degree, no matter your life situation or schedule. You will find 3 different paths to earn your nursing degree in including Campus, Online and Hybrid.

Nationwide ADN vs. BSN Program Comparisons

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs1,031937
Average NCLEX Passing Rate90.77%89.46%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range63.11% to 100.00%73.44% to 98.51%

There are many different options available for those who want to become nurses, and we will explore all of them. No matter what your choice is, we’ve outlined many of the important factors needed to choose the best nursing school for your career aspirations.

To ensure that California nurses have best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate’s degree in nursing or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Nurse Practitioner Programs in

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in  offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Nursing Schools in California Cities

California has 103 cities offering nursing schools including Anaheim, Angwin, Aptos, Arcata, Azusa, Bakersfield, Calexico, Camarillo, Carson, Chico, Chula Vista, Compton, Costa Mesa, Cupertino, Cypress, El Cajon, Eureka, Fremont, Fresno, Fullerton, Gilroy, Glendora, Hayward, Huntington Beach, Imperial, Irvine, Joshua Tree, Kentfield, La Jolla, La Mirada, Lancaster, Lemoore, Loma Linda, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Marysville, Merced, Mission Viejo, Modesto, Monterey, Monterey Park, Moorpark, Napa, North Hollywood, Northridge, Oakland, Oceanside, Orange, Oroville, Palm Desert, Porterville, Rancho Cucamonga, Redding, Reedley, Riverside, Rocklin, Rohnert Park, Sacramento, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jacinto, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, San Marcos, San Mateo, San Pablo, San Rafael, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Clarita, Santa Maria, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, Signal Hill, Stockton, Torrance, Turlock, Ukiah, Valley Glen, Ventura, Victorville, Visalia, Walnut, Weed and Woodland Hills



BSN Table

ADN Table

California Rank
89.21 Golden West College 62 ADN
88.68 San Joaquin Delta College 63 ADN
88.38 Cypress College 64 ADN
88.12 Merced College 65 ADN
87.77 Citrus College 66 ADN
84.84 San Bernardino Valley College 68 ADN
84.43 Los Medanos College 69 ADN
84.36 El Camino College-Compton Education Center 70 ADN
83.52 Allan Hancock College 71 ADN
82.23 Los Angeles Trade Technical College 72 ADN
80.58 Los Angeles Southwest College 73 ADN
78.68 Cabrillo College 74 ADN
76.30 Mission College 76 ADN
70.20 East Los Angeles College 77 ADN
65.51 Mount St Mary's University-Los Angeles 78 ADN


Nursing Schools In California

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