January 16, 2022

About Nursing Schools in California

There are many great reasons to become a nurse in California. While the state is experiencing one of the worst nursing shortages in the country, this emphasizing the importance of attracting a new generation of qualified nurses to address the issue.

Nurse are cared for 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.

The University of California (UC) system is home to some of the best nursing programs in the country, so it is no surprise that 19 of the top 100 nursing schools in the country are in California.

Overall, California offers 133 nursing schools with 17 private schools and 98 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.

Online Nursing Programs Liked by California Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities beloww.

Number of Degree Types Offered by California 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
  • Nurse Anesthesia: 2
  • Administration, Research or Clinical Nursing: 2
  • Adult Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Research or Clinical Nursing: 2
  • Administration: 2
  • Nurse Midwife: 1
  • Nursing Administration: 1
  • Nursing Informatics: 1
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing: 1
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 1

Number of Degree Types Offered by the Top 20  California 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 California including Campus, Online and Hybrid.

California RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs8644
Average NCLEX Passing Rate88.72%87.43%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range67.27% to 100.00%56.96% to 97.15%
Average Net Price$8,456.88$18,391.28
Average Net Price Range$2,695.00 to $27,925.00$2,791.00 to $39,870.00
Average Student Loan$7,205.45$20,192.08
Average Student Loan Range$3,500.00 to $24,000.00$11,666.00 to $42,032.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for California StateBSN Rankings for California State

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.

Best Ranked Nursing Schools in California

Best Ranked RN Programs in California

To help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both California and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 83 ADN degree programs and 36 BSN degree programs in California. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in California to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

Best Nursing Schools (BSN) in California

#1

California State University-Long Beach

  • 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA - 90840-0115
  • (562) 985-4111
  • Grade: (A) 99.49%
  • Programs: Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
California State University Long Beach is a public institution. The campus is the second largest of the 23-state university system. With over 50 years of experience, the School of Nursing at California State University Long Beach is nationally and internationally recognized for its excellence in nursing education and the quality
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#2

California State University-Sacramento

  • 6000 J St, Sacramento, CA - 95819-2694
  • (916) 278-6566
  • Grade: (A) 98.18%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
California State University Sacramento School of Nursing (SON) prepares nurses to lead diverse individuals, families, and communities in achieving optimal health through nursing science, collaborative practice, advocacy, and service. Degree types include Registered Nursing, and the school provides it offerings to students via campus formats. The level of nursing programs
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#3

Sonoma State University

  • 1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, CA - 94928-3609
  • (707) 664-2880
  • Grade: (A) 97.78%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
Sonoma State University is located in Rohnert Park, California.  Sonoma State University offers "pre-licensure BSN" and "post-licensure" BSN programs. The pre-licensure program is designed for traditional BSN students, where as the post-licensure BSN program is designed for students who hold an ADN degree and their RN license. Sonoma State University,
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#4

California State University-Channel Islands

  • One University Dr, Camarillo, CA - 93012
  • (805) 437-8400
  • Grade: (A) 97.56%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
California State University-Channel Islands’ nursing school is a public institution located in seaside Camarillo that receives top ranking in the state. The school provides it offerings to students via campus formats. CI Nursing Department faculty and staff have the mission of preparing students for professional practice so they continuously grow
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#5

California State University-Stanislaus

  • One University Circle, Turlock, CA - 95382-0299
  • (209) 667-3122
  • Grade: (A) 97.40%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN
Turlock, a scenic town in Central California, is home to Stanislaus State University that operates as an open university with two campuses. The pre-licensure nursing track leads to the Bachelor of Science degree. School of Nursing-bound students indicate “Nursing (Pre-Nursing)” when applying. It is a competitive program with a supplemental
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#6

San Diego State University

  • 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA - 92182
  • (619) 594-5200
  • Grade: (A) 96.83%
  • Programs: Nursing Leadership, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN
The School of Nursing was established as a baccalaureate program within San Diego State University in 1953, with a Master’s program being added in 1982. The faculty is committed to providing excellent learning opportunities for students within an intellectually stimulating environment incorporating clinical practice, research, and service to the University
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#7

California State University-Chico

  • First and Normal Sts, Chico, CA - 95929-0150
  • (530) 898-6116
  • Grade: (A) 96.52%
  • Programs: Nurse Educator, Nursing Leadership, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN
California State University-Chico nursing school is a public institution located in Chico, in northern California. Its nursing programs are CCNE accredited. The Bachelor, LPN to BSN, Master, and RN to BSN degrees granted include Registered Nursing offered via campus and online format. Of note, Chico State's RN-BSN Program ranks #5
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#8

University of California-Los Angeles

  • 405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA - 90095-1405
  • (310) 825-4321
  • Grade: (A) 96.48%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursingg, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated MSN, Bachelor, BSN to PhD, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
The UCLA School of Nursing Prelicensure program for undergraduate study leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Nursing graduated its first class in 1954. When it is time to pursue a master’s in nursing, UCLA offers several options. Located in the heart of trendy Westwood, the school attracts students
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#9

Simpson University

  • 2211 College View Drive, Redding, CA - 96003-8606
  • (530) 224-5600
  • Grade: (A) 96.36%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
Simpson University is a private not-for-profit institution located in Redding, California. It is California’s only Christian university north of Sacramento, offering undergraduate, adult, and graduate studies, seminary, and credential programs. The Betty M. Dean School of Nursing programs are CCNE accredited. Undergraduate degrees are offerings to students via campus formats
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#10

California State University-San Marcos

  • 333 S Twin Oaks Valley Rd, San Marcos, CA - 92096-0001
  • (760) 750-4000
  • Grade: (A) 96.27%
  • Programs: CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
The nursing journey starts at SCUSM School of Nursing in Riverside, California, a dynamic leader in the art and science of nursing. It seeks to educating ethically and culturally-sensitive nursing students with the goal of alleviating suffering while promoting, preserving, and restoring dignity for all patients. The level of nursing
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#11

California State University-Bakersfield

  • 9001 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield, CA - 93311-1099
  • (661) 654-2782
  • Grade: (A) 96.26%
  • Programs: Administration, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwife, Registered Nursing, Research or Clinical Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
California State University - Bakersfield is locate in Bakersfield, California.  The BSN degree has been offered at CSUB since 1970, when the university was founded.  Since that time, over 3,000 nurses have graduated from their nursing program.  Their nursing program expanded in 1987, and began a master's in nursing administration
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#12

California State University-Los Angeles

  • 5151 State University Dr, Los Angeles, CA - 90032
  • (323) 343-3000
  • Grade: (A) 95.92%
  • Programs: Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
California State University Los Angeles, founded in 1947, boasts that they are ranked on US News & World Report’s Best Nursing Schools: Master’s list. The  Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing (PACSON) offers a traditional BSN program, an accelerated BSN program, an ADN to BSN program and multiple post-graduate options.
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#13

California State University-Fullerton

  • 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA - 92831-3599
  • (657) 278-2011
  • Grade: (A) 95.02%
  • Programs: Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Educator, Nursing Leadership, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP
California State University Fullerton School of Nursing is within the College of Health and Human Development. The special programs in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse Anesthesia (offered in partnership with Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia) were ranked Best by U.S. News and World Report in 2017 and 2016. Conveniently located in northern
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#14

Concordia University Irvine

  • 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA - 92612-3203
  • (949) 854-8002
  • Grade: (A) 94.22%
  • Programs: Nurse Educator, Nursing Leadership, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN
Concordia University, a noted Christian institution, believes in caring, compassionate, and competent nursing. Toward this end, the Nursing Program is a contemporary, comprehensive program designed for students to learn the requisite information and acquire the advanced skills for excellent nursing care. The Department of Nursing is committed to educating a culturally
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#15

University of San Diego/Hahn

  • 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA - 92110-2492
  • (619) 260-4600
  • Grade: (A) 93.80%
  • Programs: Adult Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated MSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP
As leaders in graduate nursing education for over 40 years, the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Science Health knows the importance of compassion toward our patients and one another. The Hahn School of Nursing is a beautiful campus at Alcala Park overlooking the sensation Pacific Ocean.
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#16

Samuel Merritt University

  • 3100 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA - 94609
  • (510) 869-6511
  • Grade: (A) 93.75%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Accelerated MSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
Samuel Merritt University College of Nursing in Oakland, California prides itself on preparing nurses for more than a century - since 1909. The mission of the Nursing School is to provide compassionate and skilled clinicians and nurse leaders. The faculty is known for its large number of graduates who enter
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#17

California State University-San Bernardino

  • 5500 University Pky, San Bernardino, CA - 92407-2397
  • (909) 537-5000
  • Grade: (A) 92.93%
  • Programs: Nurse Educator, Nursing Leadership, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN
The Department of Nursing at California State University San Bernardo knows that professional nursing is a dynamic career with many opportunities. Registered Nursing is a prime occupation for job and professional growth and RNs are always in demand in California and other states. CSUSB offers what is needed the most
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#18

California State University-Fresno

  • 5241 N Maple Ave, Fresno, CA - 93740
  • (559) 278-4240
  • Grade: (A) 92.19%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP
The accredited nursing program at California State University Fresno aspires to empower the next generation of healthcare leaders. It boasts being the largest university in the Central San Joaquin Valley – the heartland of the state - with a school of nursing that is fully equipped with simulation labs and
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#19

Loma Linda University

  • 11139 Anderson Street, Loma Linda, CA - 92350
  • (909) 558-1000
  • Grade: (A) 92.10%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
Since 1905, Loma Linda University School of Nursing in Southern California has continued to educate, nurture and mentor students with a commitment to provide a quality Christian education with a focus on whole person care. Of note, there is a program called SIMS, standing for Students for International Mission Service.
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#20

American University of Health Sciences

  • 1600 East Hill St, Signal Hill, CA - 90755-3612
  • (562) 988-2278
  • Grade: (A) 91.41%
  • Programs: Administration, Research or Clinical Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
American University of Health Sciences is a Christian-based, minority serving university, located in Signal Hill within the greater Los Angeles area in California. The goal is to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals. Through an ongoing series of AUHS sponsored events, our students participate in improving the lives of
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#21

The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San Jose State University

  • 1 Washington Sq, San Jose, CA - 95192-0001
  • (408) 924-1000
  • Grade: (A) 91.22%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP
The Valley Foundation School of Nursing is within the College of Health and Human Science at San Jose State University. VFSON programs are all accredited, or are in the process of accreditation, by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The school is known to provide educational excellence in the
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#22

West Coast University

  • 12215 Victory Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA - 91606
  • (818) 299-5500
  • Grade: (A) 91.21%
  • Programs: Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Nursing Informatics, Nursing Leadership, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN
Working adults can advance their careers in nursing at West Coast University. For over 100 years, WCU has supported passionate people and professionals in the healthcare industry. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing, health administration and public health to help prepare students for career paths in the
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#23

California State University-Northridge

  • 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA - 91330
  • (818) 677-1200
  • Grade: (A) 90.73%
  • Programs: Nurse Educator, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor
California State University Northridge is conveniently located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. Students chose it for its long history of commitment and dedication to nursing. CSUN School of Nursing offers innovative programs geared specifically to the needs of the local community. The mission of
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#24

National University

  • 11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA - 92037-1011
  • (800) 628-8648
  • Grade: (A) 90.39%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Associate, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
National University is a veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, the mission of the school has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. It educates students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 180,000 alumni worldwide. National University is proud to expand the pool
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Best Nursing Schools (ADN) in California

#1

Monterey Peninsula College

  • 980 Fremont St, Monterey, CA - 93940-4799
  • (831) 646-4000
  • Grade: (A) 100.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Monterey Peninsula College’s nursing school is a public institution located in picturesque Monterey, California. Its nursing programs are ACEN accredited. In addition, the school is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). The College has multiple campuses in the state at Oceanside, Monterey and Seaside. The Maurine Church Coburn
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#1

Chabot College

  • 25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA - 94545
  • (510) 723-6600
  • Grade: (A) 100.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Chabot College nursing school is located in the Bay Area of northern California in the city of Oakland. It offers an AND degree in Nursing that is fully accredited. The program takes place on campus. The public institution boasts that the faculty has 20 or more years of experience. The
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#2

Victor Valley College

  • 18422 Bear Valley Rd, Victorville, CA - 92395-5850
  • (760) 245-4271
  • Grade: (A) 99.46%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Victor Valley College is located in Victorville in southern California. The nursing program is housed under the Dr. Prem Reddy School of Health Sciences Department. They offer an RN degree and an LVN to RN option. The nursing program prepares students for an entry-level position in nursing practice. The structure
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#3

Sierra College

  • 5000 Rocklin Road, Rocklin, CA - 95677-3397
  • (916) 624-3333
  • Grade: (A) 99.20%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Sierra College is located in Rocklin, a town in Placer County, California, approximately twenty-two miles from Sacramento and about 6.1 miles northeast of Roseville in the Sacramento metropolitan area. It shares borders with Granite Bay, Loomis and Lincoln. Of note, the school occupies the unceded land of the Nisenan and Miwok peoples. The Secret Ravine,
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#4

Los Angeles Harbor College

  • 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington, CA - 90744-2397
  • (310) 233-4000
  • Grade: (A) 99.09%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Los Angeles Harbor College is a public institution located in Wilmington, California in the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area. It serves the diverse local community by providing access to associate and transfer degrees, certificates, economic and workforce development, and adult and noncredit instruction. The mission is promote equity, diversity, and student
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#5

Grossmont College

  • 8800 Grossmont College Dr, El Cajon, CA - 92020-1799
  • (619) 644-7000
  • Grade: (A) 99.06%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Grossmont College is located in El Cajon, California.  They offer an RN, LVN to RN, and now offer an RN to BSN program, with the assistance of a local university, Point Loma Nazarene University.  The RN classes must be completed at Grossmont College, and then the BSN classes are competed
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#6

Merritt College

  • 12500 Campus Dr, Oakland, CA - 94619-3196
  • (510) 531-4911
  • Grade: (A) 98.98%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Merritt College in located in Oakland, California offers a nursing program for the ADN degree. The College’s mission is inspires students to create meaningful lives including fulfilling careers, community participation, self-expression, and a love of learning. The faculty strive to create a student-centered learning environment that leads to student retention, persistence
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#7

San Diego City College

  • 1313 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA - 92101-4787
  • (619) 388-3400
  • Grade: (A) 98.92%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
San Diego City College is located in sunny San Diego on the California shore. Since nursing encompasses has multiple facets including health promotion, health maintenance, health care during illness, injury, and rehabilitation, the program has certain prerequisites. Graduates work in the field, applying their knowledge from the biological, physical, behavioral and
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#8

Mira Costa College

  • One Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA - 92056-3899
  • (760) 757-2121
  • Grade: (A) 98.57%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
MiraCosta College in southern California has two campuses: picturesque Oceanside and Cardiff on the coast. The mission of the Nursing Program is to educate a diverse population of qualified students to become safe, competent, and caring registered nurses who  provide care in a variety of settings throughout the community. The program
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#9

Cuesta College

  • Highway 1, San Luis Obispo, CA - 93403-8106
  • (805) 546-3100
  • Grade: (A) 98.17%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
You are close to the glorious California when enrolled at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. Cuesta College is a member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). The Cuesta College Associate Degree Nursing program is approved by
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#10

Ohlone College

  • 43600 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA - 94539-0390
  • (510) 659-6000
  • Grade: (A) 98.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#11

Moorpark College

  • 7075 Campus Rd, Moorpark, CA - 93021-1695
  • (805) 378-1400
  • Grade: (A) 97.98%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Moorpark College is located in Moorpark, California.  They offer an RN program.  LVNs can apply for advanced placement into the program; this accepts the LVN into the second or third semester of the program.  While they do not have a specific LVN to RN program, this allows the LVN to
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#12

Mt. San Jacinto College (Mt San Jacinto Community College District)

  • 1499 N. State St., San Jacinto, CA - 92583-2399
  • (951) 487-6752
  • Grade: (A) 97.81%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Mt. San Jacinto Community College has campuses in San Jacinto, California and Menifee Valley, California.  They offer an RN and an LVN to RN program.  Their nursing department philosophy, "focuses on the individual needs of the students and patients (persons), within the context of families, communities and environments who exist on
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#13

Saddleback College

  • 28000 Marguerite Pky, Mission Viejo, CA - 92692-3635
  • (949) 582-4500
  • Grade: (A) 97.69%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Saddleback College is located in Mission Viejo, California.  They offer a generic RN program and an LVN to RN program.  They also have a "Southern California New Graduate RN Transition Program" that is open to Orange County community college nursing graduates who have graduated within the past year; it is
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#14

Chaffey College

  • 5885 Haven Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA - 91737-3002
  • (909) 652-6000
  • Grade: (A) 97.64%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Chaffey College is located in Rancho Cucamonga, California.  Their nursing program was founded in 1957 and was one of the first five associate's degree nursing programs in California.  They offer an RN program, a VN to RN program and a VN to RN (non-degree option).
#15

Glendale Community College

  • 1500 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA - 91208-2894
  • (818) 240-1000
  • Grade: (A) 96.80%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Glendale Community College is located in Glendale, California.  Glendale Community College offers an RN and an LVN to RN program.  Unique to Glendale Community College is their Foreign Nurse Graduate program.  This program is designed for foreign nurse graduates who have a deficiency in their education that is preventing them
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#16

Bakersfield College

  • 1801 Panorama Dr, Bakersfield, CA - 93305-1299
  • (661) 395-4011
  • Grade: (A) 96.68%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Bakersfield College is located in Bakersfield, California.  They offer an RN program, an LVN to RN program and the 30-unit option program.  Bakersfield College also has a partnership with Cal State University Bakersfield (CSUB), where their graduates can easily transfer into an ADN to BSN program.
#17

Rio Hondo College

  • 3600 Workman Mill Rd, Whittier, CA - 90601-1616
  • (562) 692-0921
  • Grade: (A) 96.47%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Rio Hondo College is located in Whittier, California.  They offer an RN and an LVN to RN program.  They also offer a Psych Tech (PT) to RN program.  The programs for the LVN to RN and the PT to RN are similar.
#18

Hartnell College

  • 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA - 93901
  • (831) 755-6700
  • Grade: (A) 96.20%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Hartnell College is located in Salinas, California.  Their nursing curriculum "is evolving and embraces new ideas and technology, yet is guided by foundational elements of safety, quality, and ethical-legal standards."  Their ADN program is four semesters (or two years) after completion of about a year of prerequisites.
#19

Imperial Valley College

  • 380 E. Aten Road, Imperial, CA - 92251-0158
  • (760) 352-8320
  • Grade: (A) 96.10%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Imperial Valley College is located in Imperial, California.  Imperial Valley College offers an LVN, an RN and an LVN to RN program.  Their LVN to RN program is broken down into "track 1" and "track 2" - track 1 is for students who seek the ADN degree.  Track 2 is
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Additional Listings of the Top California Nursing Programs

Grade
University
California Rank
Degree
93.42 Mendocino College 51 ADN
93.39 Antelope Valley College 52 ADN
92.95 College of San Mateo 53 ADN
92.93 Los Angeles Valley College 54 ADN
92.78 College of the Desert 55 ADN
92.66 Palomar College 56 ADN
92.61 El Camino College (El Camino Community College District) 57 ADN
92.27 Santa Ana College 58 ADN
92.21 Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health 59 ADN
92.02 Los Angeles City College 60 ADN
91.89 San Joaquin Delta College 61 ADN
91.86 Butte College 62 ADN
91.79 Citrus College 63 ADN
91.53 Contra Costa College 64 ADN
91.51 City College of San Francisco 65 ADN
91.44 Solano Community College 66 ADN
91.19 Cypress College 67 ADN
90.44 Shasta College 68 ADN
90.29 Porterville College 69 ADN
89.97 Copper Mountain College (Copper Mountain Community College) 70 ADN
89.96 Gavilan College 71 ADN
89.87 Los Medanos College 72 ADN
89.69 College of the Redwoods 73 ADN
89.62 El Camino College-Compton Education Center 75 ADN
89.39 Cerritos College 76 ADN
89.22 Unitek College 77 ADN
89.18 Golden West College 78 ADN
87.83 Merced College 81 ADN
87.61 College of the Canyons 82 ADN
87.60 Yuba College 83 ADN
87.35 Allan Hancock College 84 ADN
86.97 San Bernardino Valley College 85 ADN
86.59 CNI College 86 ADN
85.80 Southwestern College 87 ADN
84.62 San Joaquin Valley College-Visalia 89 ADN
84.45 Fresno City College 90 ADN
83.52 Los Angeles Trade Technical College 92 ADN
82.92 Cabrillo College 93 ADN
77.25 Los Angeles Southwest College 94 ADN
77.11 Mission College 95 ADN
75.58 Carrington College 96 ADN
73.94 East Los Angeles College 97 ADN
61.63 Mount St Mary's University-Los Angeles 99 ADN
92.19 California State University-Fresno 9 BSN
92.10 Loma Linda University 10 BSN
91.21 West Coast University 11 BSN
90.39 National University 12 BSN
89.38 University of San Francisco 13 BSN
88.25 California Baptist University 14 BSN
88.09 Mount St Mary's University-Los Angeles 15 BSN
85.22 San Francisco State University 16 BSN
84.47 Azusa Pacific University 17 BSN

Online RN Programs in California

Today there are very few disadvantages to earning an online RN degree in California. With advances in online learning coupled the need to educate more nurses because of the nursing shortage, many nursing schools are offing online nursing programs.

For nurses needing to complete clinicals, nursing programs usually help a nurse to find one.

Be sure to choose an accredited program that meets quality standards set by either the ACEN or CCNE accrediting agencies. An accredited online RN Nursing program will help ensure that your units pass can transfer to another accredited college and help you in gain employment. Learn more about online RN programs.

Nurse Practitioner Programs in California

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 California offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Online NP Programs Recommended by Our Education Experts

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

California RN Licensing Requirements

RN License by Endorsement

Candidates who are licensed in one of the other 50 states can obtain licensure by endorsement. They must also meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of an approved education program meeting all requirements as set by California
  • Obtaining a passing score on the NCLEX or State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE).
  • Appropriate fees
  • Completed endorsement application
  • Completed fingerprints using either Live Scan or the Applicant Fingerprint Card
  • A recent passport-type photography
  • Verification of License

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Candidates who have studied abroad also have the opportunity to gain licensure through the state of California. In order to complete this the following documentation must be provided:

  • Passing an exam to prove comprehension in the English language
  • Curriculum similar to that of a California college
  • Application for licensure

California State Board of Vocational Nursing

2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 205
Sacramento, CA 95833
Phone: (916) 263-7800

RN Salaries in California

The RN-BSN Programs are known as bridge programs or BSN completion programs. They are designed to give credit to experienced RNs based on the knowledge they already have. The experience they gained working, as an RN will help move them towards a Bachelor’s degree. Courses in humanities and medical ethics can prepare even the most well informed professional nurse to seek out a career in advanced practice. A typical nursing school in California offers RN to BSN programs that include curriculum such as:

  • Developmental psychology and sociology
  • Algebra
  • Nursing management of complex health issues
  • Foundations in nursing informatics
  • Health assessment and diagnostic reasoning
  • Pathophysiology concepts for nursing

California Registered Nursing Salaries by City

California is one of the best states to work as a nurse owing to the population size, the demand for nurses and average salary of $122,838 per year. It is estimated that almost 307,060 nurses are currently working in this state and those with minimum or no experience earn $76,180 while those with more than 20 years of experience earn more than $173,000 per year. It is predicted that the state will need 373,200 nurses by the year 2028, the average annual opening for RNs of  23,850 RNs further proves why this state is one of the states with highest nursing vacancies in the nation. 

The Los Angeles area has the most registered nursing, but they are paid the highest annual median wage in all of the metropolitan areas in the state of California. However, the Oakland metropolitan area has the highest hourly mean wage.

CityEmploymentHourly WageAnnual Salary
Bakersfield5,280$46$95,960
Chico2,020$43$89,450
California Nonmetropolitan960$49$101,000
El Centro850$42$87,810
Fresno7,610$53$110,330
Hanford-Corcoran-$53$110,970
Los Angeles109,790$54$113,120
Merced820$50$104,180
Modesto4,720$58$121,090
Napa1,940$53$110,140
North Coast Region1,830$45$92,760
North Valley Region1,290$50$103,890
Ventura4,690$52$107,830
Redding1,650$54$111,860
San Bernardino30,200$53$109,830
Sacramento21,920$65$134,350
Salinas2,910$64$132,160
San Diego24,840$54$111,620
San Francisco40,600$72$149,200
San Jose17,750$71$146,870
San Luis Obispo1,790$51$106,390
Santa Barbara3,480$53$110,200
Santa Cruz1,490--
Santa Rosa3,640$60$124,840
Stockton4,780$56$115,860
Vallejo3,690$68$142,140
Visalia-$41$86,250

California Nursing Salaries by Experience Level

OccupationEmployment1 to 4 Years5 to 9 Years10 to 19 Years20+ Years
Registered Nurses307,060.00$76,180$93,970$147,830$173,370
Nurse Anesthetists1,710.00$63,880$134,760--
Nurse Midwives1,010.00$94,940$135,430$196,460-
Nurse Practitioners15,100.00$107,310$118,220$165,140-
LPN / LVN71,320.00$45,130$53,110$75,460$85,710
Nursing Assistants97,970.00$28,900$32,270$44,610$52,650

Projected Need for Nurses In California

Occupation20182028Change%ChangeAvg. Annual Openings
LPN / LVN76,60088,20011,60015.17,440
Nurse Anesthetists1,3001,70040030.8120
Nurse Practitioners15,10019,7004,60030.51,390
Nursing Assistants76,00086,90010,90014.310,220
Nursing Instructors4,9006,2001,30026.5590
Registered Nurses319,800373,20053,40016.723,850

Take the next step toward your healthcare future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you're interested in, and start learning today.

Nursing Schools in California Cities

California has 95 cities offering nursing schools including Anaheim, Angwin, Aptos, Arcata, Bakersfield, Calexico, Chula Vista, Compton, Costa Mesa, Cupertino, Cypress, Eureka, Fairfield, Fremont, Fremont, Fresno, Gilroy, Glendale, Glendora, Hayward, Huntington Beach, Imperial, Irvine, Joshua Tree, Kentfield, La Mirada, Lancaster, Lemoore, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Marysville, Merced, Mission Viejo, Modesto, Monterey Park, Moorpark, Napa, Norwalk, Oakland, Ontario, Orange, Oroville, Palm Desert, Pittsburg, Porterville, Rancho Cucamonga, Redding, Reedley, Riverside, Sacramento, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jacinto, San Jose, San Marcos, San Mateo, San Pablo, San Rafael, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Clarita, Santa Maria, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Torrance, Ukiah, Valley Glen, Ventura, Visalia, Walnut, Weed and Woodland Hills

 

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