Online Nursing Also Liked by California Nurses

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

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 $116,230 in California, and California has by far the most RNs in the country, with over 307,060 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.

California has 95 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, Fairfield, Fremont, Fremont, Fresno, Fullerton, Gilroy, Glendale, 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, Norwalk, Oakland, Oceanside, Ontario, Orange, Oroville, Palm Desert, Pittsburg, Porterville, Rancho Cucamonga, Redding, Reedley, Riverside, Rocklin, 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, Wilmington and Woodland Hills.

Number of Degree Types Offered by California Nursing Schools

  • Registered Nursing: 132
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: 20
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 7
  • CNL: 6
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 6
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 5
  • Administration, Research or Clinical Nursing: 3
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 3
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner: 3
  • Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner: 2
  • Adult Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Nursing Administration: 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: Accelerated BSN, Accelerated MSN, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate

California State University - Long Beach is located in Long Beach, California.  For BSN nursing, they offer a traditionl nursing program, designed for students without a prior nursing license, and a "registered nurse student" program which is designed for students already holding an RN license.  They also offer a DNP program.

#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 is located in Sacramento, California.  They offer a variety of BSN programs - a traditiona BSN program, an RN to BSN program and an LVN to RN 30-unit option, non-degree program.  The non-degree program serves the LVN who wants to work as an RN but may not have time to complete an ADN or BSN degree.

The Master of Science in Nursing is intended to educate registered nurses with baccalaureate degrees for more advanced nurse practitioner, nursing educator, administrative, family and community, and adult clinical occupations. School nurses are also eligible for the program. The curriculum emphasizes the study of professional nursing practice and preparation for a leadership position.

The baccalaureate degree in nursing program and master's degree in nursing program at California State University, Sacramento are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

#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.

The SSU Department of Nursing offers bachelors and master's degrees in a variety of formats that are both fully accredited by The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education(CCNE) and licensed by the California Board of Registered Nurses.

The Family Nurse Practitioner Program is offered in both full-and part-time format is offered in the geographic service areas of Sonoma State University, Chico, Redding and Turlock, Modesto, Stockton and Merced.

Sonoma State University, a forward-thinking institution, understands the importance of educating nursing students about climate and health. They've partnered with the Nurses Climate Challenge - a national movement aimed at getting nurses to get involved and educate healthcare professionals and students about global warming.

#4

California State University-Channel Islands

  • One University Dr, Camarillo, CA - 93012
  • (805) 437-8400
  • Grade: (A) 97.56%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#5

California State University-Stanislaus

  • One University Circle, Turlock, CA - 95382-0299
  • (209) 667-3122
  • Grade: (A) 97.40%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN
#6

San Diego State University

  • 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA - 92182
  • (619) 594-5200
  • Grade: (A) 96.83%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN
#7

California State University-Chico

  • First and Normal Sts, Chico, CA - 95929-0150
  • (530) 898-6116
  • Grade: (A) 96.52%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN
#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
#9

Simpson University

  • 2211 College View Drive, Redding, CA - 96003-8606
  • (530) 224-5600
  • Grade: (A) 96.36%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#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
#11

California State University-Bakersfield

  • 9001 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield, CA - 93311-1099
  • (661) 654-2782
  • Grade: (A) 96.26%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered 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 2000 nurses have graduated from their nursing program.  Their nursing program expanded in 1987, and began a master's in nursing administration program.  It has since expanded and now includes family nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, clinical nurse leaders, and nurse educators.

#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: Accelerated MSN, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate

California State University - Los Angeles is located in Los Angeles, California.  They have the ability to boast that they are ranked on US News & World Report's Best Nursing Schools: Master's list.  Their nursing department offers a traditional BSN program, an accelerated BSN program, an ADN to BSN program and multiple post-graduate options.  In addition, they have collaborative agreements with various community colleges, allowing ADN graduates to segue into their programs easily.

#13

California State University-Fullerton

  • 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA - 92831-3599
  • (657) 278-2011
  • Grade: (A) 95.02%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP
#14

Concordia University Irvine

  • 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA - 92612-3203
  • (949) 854-8002
  • Grade: (A) 94.22%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN
#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
#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
#17

California State University-San Bernardino

  • 5500 University Pky, San Bernardino, CA - 92407-2397
  • (909) 537-5000
  • Grade: (A) 92.93%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN
#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
#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: Accelerated BSN, Associate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
#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
#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: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP
#22

West Coast University

  • 12215 Victory Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA - 91606
  • (818) 299-5500
  • Grade: (A) 91.21%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor

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 has multiple campuses - in Oceanside, Monterey and Seaside, California.  The Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing offers an RN degree with an LVN to RN option  Unique to the Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing is the Men in Nursing Program, which promotes and recruits men in the nursing program, then works towards male retention in nursing.

#1

Chabot College

  • 25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA - 94545
  • (510) 723-6600
  • Grade: (A) 100.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Chabot College is located in Hayward, California.  They boast that their faculty has 20 or more years of experience.  Also, the majority of their RN graduates move on to pursue their BSN degree at CSUEB bridge program.  They also have incredible NCLEX-RN pass rates - over the past 5 years, pass rates have ranged from 96.3% to 100%.

#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, 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.  Their nursing program "prepares students for an entry-level position in nursing practice. The structure of this program promotes professional and personal growth, including continuing education, and provides upward and lateral mobility for career options."

#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, California.  They offer three track to become a Registered Nurse (RN)

The LVN to RN Upward Mobility program is a one-year or one and a half year, full-time course that starts when there is an opening and takes place at the same time as the two-year Associate Degree Nursing program. It's designed for students who are already licensed vocational nurses. If they successfully complete the program, they are likely to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

The Associate Degree Nursing Program at Sierra College is a two-year, full-time program. They provide pre-licensure education that will prepare you to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and to work as an RN in most hospital settings

Through their partnership with California State University Sacramento (CSUS), selected Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) students can pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree concurrently for an accelerated completion.

#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 located in Wilmington, California.  They offer an RN program and an LVN to RN program.

#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 at Grossmont College as well, but are taught by PLNU faculty on-campus

#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 is located in Oakland, California.  Their nursing program is an ADN program.  Merritt nursing students also have the option to elect an ADN to BSN option, by enrolling in the Cal State East Bay BSN (CSUEB) program, which is a transfer bridge program to a neighboring university.

#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 San Diego, California.  They offer an RN program, an LVN to RN program, and a 30-unit option program.  ADN graduates who seek to further their education also have the benefit of San Diego City College's collaboration with San Diego State University; this allows the nursing graduate to continue for their BSN degree while working as an RN.

#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 has two campuses in Oceanside, California and a campus in Cardiff, California.  Their nursing program offers a CNA program, a home health aide program, an LVN program, an RN program and an LVN to RN program.  MiraCosta College has several partnerships with neighboring universities so that their graduates may easily obtain their BSN after graduation, should they so choose - Chamberlain College of Nursing, California State University College of Nursing and Brandman University, which also discounts the price for MiraCosta students..

#9

Cuesta College

  • Highway 1, San Luis Obispo, CA - 93403-8106
  • (805) 546-3100
  • Grade: (A) 98.17%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Cuesta College is located in San Luis Obispo, California.  They offer an RN and an LVN to RN program.  Their LVN to RN program is 3 semesters, with the summer off.  Clinical rotations are done at neighboring facilities.  They also require their LVNs to have at least one year of experience prior to admittance into their program.

#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 proceed more quickly through their RN education.

#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 a health continuum."

#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 designed to transition the nurse from the school setting directly into the work setting.  The program pairs the new graduate with a practicing RN for the duration of the program, working approximately 240 hours on the night shift.

#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 from taking the NCLEX-RN.

#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 the 30-unit option, which allows the LVN to get their RN license in 2 semesters bu not actually getting their ADN degree.

#20

College of the Sequoias

  • 915 S Mooney Blvd, Visalia, CA - 93277-2214
  • (559) 730-3700
  • Grade: (A) 95.87%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#21

College of the Siskiyous

  • 800 College Ave, Weed, CA - 96094-2899
  • (530) 938-5555
  • Grade: (A) 95.77%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

College of the Siskiyous is located in Weed, California.  They boast that they have one of the most beautiful campuses in California because their campus is housed on the base of Mount Shasta in Northern California.  They offer an LVN to RN "Step-up" program.  Their program is two semesters, although they require their students to take a three unit Transition course over the summer.

#22

De Anza College

  • 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA - 95014
  • (408) 864-5678
  • Grade: (A) 95.71%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#23

Pacific Union College

  • One Angwin Ave, Angwin, CA - 94508-9707
  • (707) 965-6313
  • Grade: (A) 95.66%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor
#24

Los Angeles Pierce College

  • 6201 Winnetka Ave, Woodland Hills, CA - 91371-0002
  • (818) 719-6401
  • Grade: (A) 95.61%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#25

Santa Rosa Junior College

  • 1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA - 95401-4395
  • (707) 527-4011
  • Grade: (A) 95.54%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Santa Rosa Junior College is located in Forestvilla, California.  They offer an RN and an LVN to RN program.  In addition, they have a partnership with Sonoma State University School of Nursing, allowing graduates to pursue their BSN or MSN after graduation from Santa Rosa Junior College.

#26

Mt San Antonio College

  • 1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA - 91789-1399
  • (909) 594-5611
  • Grade: (A) 95.40%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#27

Evergreen Valley College

  • 3095 Yerba Buena Rd, San Jose, CA - 95135-1598
  • (408) 274-7900
  • Grade: (A) 95.33%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#28

College of Marin

  • 835 College Ave, Kentfield, CA - 94904-2590
  • (415) 457-8811
  • Grade: (A) 95.19%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

College of Marin is located in Kentfield, California.  Their mission is to "...educate entry-level practitioners for roles as providers of care across the health care continuum, as managers of care, and as active members within the profession of nursing."  Their program is small and exclusive - they select only 36 students each fall.

#29

Sacramento City College

  • 3835 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA - 95822-1386
  • (916) 558-2111
  • Grade: (A) 95.18%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Sacramento City College is located in Sacramento, California.  Their nursing department offers an ADN and an LVN and Career Mobility (VN-RN) program, which are four semesters and three semesters respectively.  They also offer an LVN to RN 30-unit option, which readies the nurse to take the NCLEX-RN exam, but does not meet the requirements for an associates degree.

#30

Ventura College

  • 4667 Telegraph Rd, Ventura, CA - 93003-3872
  • (805) 654-6400
  • Grade: (A) 95.02%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Ventura College is located in Ventura, California.  Their ADN degree is unique - the student can elect simple to enroll for their RN degree, or to enroll for the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to the California State University (CSU) Systems.  Many students elect this option if they believe that they will want to work as an RN while pursuing their BSN degree.

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

The Los Angeles area has the most registered nursgin, 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.

Source: BLS, Department of Education, State Board of Nursing, Nursing School Websites.

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