California Nursing Schools and Programs

by NurseJournal Staff

California offers high-paying nursing jobs and the opportunity for growth. Learn more about education options and working in the Golden State.

California Nursing Schools and Programs
RN employment
RN Job Growth
Annual Salary for California Nurses
Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact State?

Nurses can pursue lucrative healthcare roles in California. With high-ranking salaries, more job openings than any other state, and some of the most favorable working conditions, the Golden State continues to welcome nursing professionals. Nursing schools in California offer an ideal place to launch your career.

Why Attend a Nursing Program in California?

California has more registered nurses (RNs), nurse practitioners (NPs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and certified nurse assistants (CNAs) than any other state. RNs and NPs earn more in California than anywhere else, and the state is home to all 10 of the best-paying metropolitan areas.

California also features the best prospects for job growth. The state has one of the most severe shortages of qualified nurses, with one study suggesting that nursing programs have only produced about 50% of the total number of nurses needed to meet the demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a shortage of more than 44,000 nurses by 2030, making it less challenging to find a job here than in other states.

The state's strict nurse-to-patient ratio regulations have fostered significant demand in the sector. Depending on their specialty, nurses may have 1-8 patients in their care. Mandated ratios have been linked to higher job satisfaction among nurses and reduced burnout rates, along with improved patient outcomes.

California is not a right-to-work state, allowing nurses to freely form and join unions. The United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals represents more than 32,000 nurses.

Featured Online Programs

Nursing Program Requirements in California

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.7%
State Nursing Board: California Board of Registered Nursing


Becoming a licensed nurse in California begins with education. All prospective nurses must complete a pre-nursing program approved by the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN), ensuring the program adheres to California's statutory and regulatory requirements.

Upon graduation, nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Exam for RNs (NCLEX-RN). To take the exam, apply with the BRN 6-8 weeks before finishing school. The application requires candidates to submit photos, fingerprints, and transcripts. After passing the fingerprint background check and receiving approval, prospective nurses can register for the computerized exam, offered six days a week.

Because the licensing process can be lengthy, California allows new graduates to apply for interim permits, allowing them to practice with supervision while they await test results. Expect to wait up to 12 weeks for application approval to receive license.

Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) states allow nurses to practice in other NLC states on a single license. While California is not an NLC state, pending legislation could change the state's status. Licensed RNs in California who wish to practice in other states can apply for licensure by endorsement, which amounts to another single state license. California nurses may hold as many single state licenses as necessary.

Certified Nurse Assistant

CNAs support nurses in providing patient care, including basic hygiene and clinical services, such as monitoring vital signs. CNAs may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or with home health agencies. Some nurses begin their careers as CNAs to gain experience while attending nursing school.

CNA Program Requirements:

  • Application Requirements: Must be older than 16
  • How Long to Complete: 6-12 weeks
  • Accrediting Bodies: California Department of Public Health

California Licensure Requirements:

Licensed Vocational Nurse

LVNs are entry-level nurses who provide basic nursing care under the supervision of a physician or RN. Other states refer to these professionals as licensed practical nurses or LPNs. They work in hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, doctors' offices, home care, correctional facilities, or public health sites, such as vaccination or blood donation centers.

LVN Program Requirements:

  • Application Requirements: Must be 17 years old; completed grade 12 or equivalent; grade of C or better in required coursework (varies by school)
  • How Long to Complete: 1-2 years
  • Accrediting Bodies: California Nursing Board; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing; California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians

California Licensure Requirements:

  • Education: Graduate from a state-approved LVN program
  • Exams: National licensing examination for practical (vocational) nursing
  • Renewal Frequency: Two years
  • Continued Education: 30 hours of continuing education every two years
Registered Nurse

RNs provide patient care in many settings, including hospitals, schools, and correctional facilities. They assist physicians, administer medication, check vital signs, and provide education to patients.

RN Program Requirements:

  • Application Requirements: Minimum 2.0-3.0 GPA depending on school; essay or personal statement; letters of recommendation; satisfactory score on Test of Essential Academic Skills
  • How Long to Complete: 2-4 years
  • Accrediting Bodies: California Board of Registered Nursing; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

California Licensure Requirements:

  • Education: Associate degree in nursing (ADN) or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN); an LVN can complete a 30-unit RN course; military members who have the required clinical and education experience can take the NCLEX-RN
  • Exams: NCLEX-RN
  • Renewal Frequency: Two years
  • Continued Education: 30 hours of continuing education every two years
Nurse Practitioner

These advanced practice nurses focus on managing health conditions and disease prevention. Other advanced practice nurses include certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or certified registered nurse anesthetist. As of 2021, NPs in California can practice independently within the scope of their training and license. Most provide primary care to specific populations, such as adult-gerontology or pediatrics. California law allows NPs to practice in clinics, hospitals, group practice, and home health and hospice care settings.

NP Program Requirements:

  • Application Requirements: BSN; current RN license; two years of work experience; 3.0 GPA with C average in specific courses; interview; recommendations; resume
  • How Long to Complete: 6-8 years
  • Accrediting Bodies: BRN; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing; National League for Nursing

California Licensure Requirements:

  • Education: Master's degree or higher
  • Exams: Competency-based exam as determined by specialty
  • Renewal Frequency: Two years
  • Continued Education: 30 hours of continuing education every two years

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in California

Nurses in California are among the highest paid in the United States. However, the cost of living in the Golden State also remains high, with the state ranking fourth behind Hawaii, the District of Columbia, and New York.

Still, California is the most populous state, which contributes to strong healthcare demand. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects that California will see a significant shortage of nurses by 2030, with approximately 44,500 open positions.

Nursing Level Average Salary Projected Job Growth
Certified Nurse Assistant $39,280 14.3%
Licensed Vocational Nurse $64,090 15.1%
Registered Nurse $120,560 16.7%
Nurse Practitioner $145,970 30.5%
Sources: BLS and Projections Central

Highest Paying Cities for Nurses in California

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Registered Nurses

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara $155,980
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward $155,170
Vallejo-Fairfield $150,850
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade $137,040
Salinas $132,650
Source: BLS

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nurse Practitioners

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for NPs
Vallejo-Fairfield $186,100
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward $174,390
El Centro $152,830
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade $146,190
Napa $144,480
Source: BLS

Nursing Programs in San Diego

Prospective nurses who want to work in California can consider working and living in the San Diego-Carlsbad area. RNs in the city and its surrounding metro area earn a strong salary of $111,620.

Nurses can pursue an education in San Diego at one of their many reputable nursing programs. San Diego City College, San Diego State University, and Point Loma Nazarene University offer nursing programs, and several of the city's hospitals, including Scripps La Jolla, UC San Diego Health, and Sharp Memorial, have received the prestigious Magnet designation. This distinction allows nurses to work in some of the best facilities in America.

Explore the Best Nursing Programs in California and School Info

California State University-Long Beach true View School Profile $ Long Beach, CA 69% 32% 29% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Established in 1949, CSULB now hosts one of the largest student bodies in the state, serving nearly 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year.

CSULB offers several nursing degrees, including a traditional bachelor of science in nursing, an ADN-to-BSN program, and a master of science in nursing with numerous nurse practitioner specialties. The school also offers a combined master of science in nursing and health systems executive management and multiple post-master's certificates, including a nurse educator program.

All programs teach nurses the skills they need to manage injuries and illnesses and promote health. In addition, the department places a strong emphasis on the emotional support role that nurses play.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Long Beach, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $2,871 per semester (undergraduate) / $3,588 per semester (graduate) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Campus-based
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99.25%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of California-Los Angeles true View School Profile $$$ Los Angeles, CA 91% 32% 6% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Founded as the southernmost campus of the California Normal School in 1882, UCLA joined the University of California system in 1919. Today, UCLA welcomes over 45,000 graduate and undergraduate students each year.

The university’s School of Nursing offers multiple degree programs, including a bachelor of science in nursing, an entry-level master of science in nursing, a master of science in nursing advanced practice registered nurse program, and two doctoral programs.

All programs focus heavily on both research and clinical practice. Campus facilities include a biomedical library with more than 530,000 volumes.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Los Angeles, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $13,258 per year (undergraduate in-state) / $43,012 per year (undergraduate out-of-state) / $17,486 per year (graduate in-state) / $32,588 per year (graduate out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Campus-based
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.56%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
San Diego State University true View School Profile $$ San Diego, CA 74% 28% 47% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

A member of the California State University system and originally established in 1897 as San Diego Normal School, SDSU enrolls more than 35,000 students annually.

SDSU’s nursing degrees include a bachelor of science in nursing, a master of science in nursing with concentrations in advanced practice nursing of adults and the elderly or nursing leadership in health care systems, an RN-to-BSN, and an LVN-to-RN.

All programs focus on preparing students to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving health care system. Students learn collaboration and innovation alongside traditional nursing skills.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: San Diego, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $2,871 per semester (undergraduate) / $3,588 per semester (graduate) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Campus-based
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.91%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-Fullerton true View School Profile $ Fullerton, CA 68% 28% 35% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

With the highest enrollment of the 23 California State University campuses, Cal State Fullerton, founded in 1957 as Orange County State College, welcomes over 41,000 graduate and undergrad students per year.

The university’s School of Nursing offers numerous nursing degrees, including a traditional or accelerated bachelor of science in nursing, an LVN-to-BSN, an RN-to-BSN, several masters of science in nursing specializations, and two doctoral programs.

All programs focus on developing students' clinical competency and cultural sensitivity. Students prepare to work in a variety of diverse settings, with a commitment to lifelong learning.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Fullerton, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $3,478 per semester (undergraduate) / $4,195 per semester (graduate) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Campus-based
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.55%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-Los Angeles true View School Profile Los Angeles, CA 48% 29% 31% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Originally founded in 1947 as Los Angeles State College, Cal State LA welcomes more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year.

The university offers various nursing degrees, including a traditional bachelor of science in nursing for transfer students, an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing, an RN-to-BSN, a master of science in nursing with multiple concentrations, and several different post-master's certificates.

Regardless of program, the school focuses on developing each student's natural talents while incorporating their unique life experiences. Students engage in community service, research, and leadership while learning the latest clinical skills.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Fullerton, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $2,871 per semester (undergraduate) / $3,588 per semester (graduate)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Campus-based
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.4%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
San Jose State University View School Profile $$ San Jose, CA 65% 30% 30% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

The oldest campus in the California State University system, established in 1857, SJSU now serves over 33,000 graduate and undergraduate students every year.

The university’s School of Nursing offers several nursing degrees, including a traditional bachelor of science in nursing, a master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner or nurse educator concentration, an RN-to-BSN, a post-baccalaureate wound and ostomy education program, and a doctor of nursing practice.

Students in all programs practice basic and advanced clinical skills in the department's Clinical Simulation Center. This provides valuable hands-on experience before beginning clinical rotations in actual health care facilities.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: San Jose, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $2,871 per semester (undergraduate) / $3,588 per semester (graduate) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Varies by program
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: Not specified
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of California-Irvine View School Profile $$$ Irvine, CA 83% 35% 14% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

A “public Ivy” founded in 1965 and a member of the University of California system, UCI enrolls more than 35,000 graduate and undergraduate students annually.

The university’s nursing degrees include a bachelor of science in nursing, a master of science in nursing, and three doctoral degrees. The research-heavy university dedicates a great deal of time and energy to community health. Both faculty and students regularly serve traditionally underserved populations, including schools, older adults, the homeless community, and those with mental health disorders.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Irvine, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $3,814 per term (in-state) / add $4,082 for graduate out-of-state / add $9, 918 per term for undergraduate out-of-state / $9,000 per term (DNP)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Varies by program
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.07%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-San Bernardino View School Profile $ San Bernardino, CA 57% 35% 27% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Part of the California State University system, CSUSB, established in 1965, now welcomes over 19,000 graduate and undergraduate students each year.

CSUSB’s Department of Nursing offers three nursing degrees: a bachelor of science in nursing, an RN-to-BSN program, and a master of science in nursing. Students in the bachelor of science program attend on-campus classes, while the hybrid RN-to-BSN and master of science in nursing require few campus visits.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: San Bernardino, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $2,871 per semester (undergraduate) / $3,588 per semester (graduate) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Varies by program
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.87%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-Fresno View School Profile $ Fresno, CA 54% 30% 25% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Fresno State, established in 1911 as the Fresno State Normal School and now a California State University system member, serves more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students every year.

Fresno State’s nursing degree programs include a bachelor of science in nursing, a master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner, a doctor of nursing practice, an RN-to-BSN, and an online school nurse services credential program. All programs focus on providing holistic care, recognizing the dynamic interplay between external stressors and internal variables that can affect health and wellness.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Fresno, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $3,282 per semester (undergraduate) / $3,999 per semester (graduate) / $8,046 per semester (DNP) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Varies by program
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.08%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-Bakersfield View School Profile $ Bakersfield, CA 42% 34% 41% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Founded in 1965 as Kern State College, CSUB joined the California State University system in 1968. Today, the university welcomes more than 11,000 graduate and undergraduate students per year.

CSUB's Department of Nursing offers three nursing degrees: a traditional bachelor of science in nursing, an RN-to-BSN program, and a master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner. The highly competitive programs, considered “impacted,” regularly receive more qualified applications than available slots.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Bakersfield, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $3,711 per semester (undergraduate) / $4,428 per semester (graduate) / $8,046 per semester (DNP) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Varies by program
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.92%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Point Loma Nazarene University View School Profile San Diego, CA 77% 59% 22% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

A Christian college established in 1902 in San Diego, PLNU welcomes approximately 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year.

The university offers multiple nursing degrees, including a bachelor of science in nursing, a master of science in nursing, and a doctorate of nursing practice, along with RN-to-BSN or LVN-to-BSN programs for working nurses. PLNU also offers one post-master's certificate: clinical nurse specialist (CNS).

All programs focus on the intersection of spirituality with the latest evidence-based knowledge and skills. All students work hand-in-hand with their peers and professors as they gain extensive clinical practice.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: San Diego, California
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $19,400 per semester (undergraduate) / $820 per credit (master’s) / $1,160 per credit (doctorate) / $500 per credit RN-to-BSN
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Varies by program
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.56%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-Stanislaus View School Profile $ Turlock, CA 58% 35% 39% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

A member of the California State University system, Stanislaus State, established in 1957, serves close to 11,000 students per year.

Its School of Nursing offers a wide variety of nursing degrees. Undergrad options include a traditional or accelerated bachelor of science in nursing, an online or on-campus RN-to-BSN, and an LVN-to-BSN. Graduate offerings include a master of science in nursing with three concentration options and a master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner program. All students must attend classes on campus, except those on the online RN-to-BSN track.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Turlock, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $7,644 per year (undergraduate) / $9,078 per year (graduate) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Campus-based except for online RN-to-BSN track
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.21%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-Sacramento View School Profile $ Sacramento, CA 51% 34% 42% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Established as Sacramento State College in 1947 and part of the California State University system, Sacramento State now enrolls over 31,000 undergraduate and graduate students annually.

The university offers various nursing degrees, including a campus-based bachelor of science in nursing, a mostly online master of science in nursing with two concentration options, and hybrid RN-to-BSN or ADN-to-BSN tracks.

Students complete their clinical practice hours in a variety of settings, from acute care hospitals to schools. Those who meet eligibility requirements may join Zeta Eta, the local chapter of the international nursing honor society.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Sacramento, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $2,871 per semester (undergraduate) / $3,588 per semester (graduate) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Varies by program
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.53%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Sonoma State University View School Profile $$$ Rohnert Park, CA 63% 39% 13% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

One of the smallest universities in the California State University system, SSU, established in Rohnert Park in 1961 as Sonoma State College, serves approximately 9,300 enrollees each year.

The university’s Department of Nursing offers several nursing degrees, including a traditional bachelor of science in nursing, a post-license bachelor of science in nursing, a master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner program, and a post-master’s family nurse practitioner certificate. The hybrid post-master’s certificate and the mostly online post-license bachelor’s degree require only minimal campus attendance.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: Rohnert Park, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $2,871 per semester (undergraduate) / $3,588 per semester (graduate) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Varies by program
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.44%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
San Francisco State University View School Profile $$ San Francisco, CA 55% 34% 37% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Founded as San Francisco State Normal School in 1899 and now a California State University system member, SF State welcomes more than 27,000 graduate and undergraduate students each year.

SF State offers several different nursing degrees. Undergraduate options include a traditional or accelerated bachelor of science in nursing and an ADN-to-BSN program. Graduate programs include a traditional or accelerated master of science in nursing with three different specialties, an RN-to-MSN program with four concentrations, and a hybrid post-master’s family nurse practitioner certificate.

  • Program: Various
  • Campus: San Francisco, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $7,484 per year (undergraduate) / $4,461 per semester (graduate) / add $396 per credit (non-resident undergrad or grad)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by program
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies by program
  • On-Campus Requirements: Campus-based, except hybrid post-master’s certificate
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.21%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Frequently Asked Questions


How long does it take to become an RN in California?

It typically takes two years to complete an ADN program, which prepares you to take the NCLEX-RN exam and qualify for an RN license. A BSN takes four years of full-time study to complete. Part-time study extends degree and licensure timelines.

How do I become an RN in California?

California requires each nurse to complete an ADN or a BSN program from an accredited college or university. You must also pass the NCLEX-RN for licensure. Applying for a license requires submitting your transcripts, fingerprints, and test results to the state. You may work under supervision with an interim permit while waiting for application approval.

What is the best nursing college in California?

Identifying the best nursing school in California depends on your goals and priorities. When evaluating schools, look for high first-attempt NCLEX-RN pass rates. Prospective nurses should also explore master's-level specialization availability, post-graduation employment rates, and bridge programs to identify their top nursing school in California. View some of the top-ranked California nursing programs by degree type here.

How much is nursing school in California?

Tuition rates vary considerably throughout the state, based on public versus private status, course delivery, and residency. ADN programs at California community colleges can range from $2,600-$14,000 per year, plus expenses for books, lab costs, and fees. Expect tuition for a four year-degree to start at $40,000 and reach well over $100,000 at some private colleges.

Resources for Nurses in California

  • The California BRN licenses nurses in the state. They oversee and maintain the quality of nurses and nursing practice to ensure public health and safety. Nurses apply for licenses through the agency and can find detailed information regarding license requirements, renewal information, and state practice guidelines on its site.
  • Originally founded as a labor union for California nurses in 1903, the CNA became part of National Nurses United in 2009. It is now the largest union and professional association in the country, with more than 170,000 members. The organization offers scholarships, continuing education opportunities, and career resources. CNA advocates for improved working conditions and patient care.
  • UNAC is a union of 32,000 healthcare professionals committed to improving access to equitable healthcare and empowering caregivers. The organization supports political action and advocacy; provides continuing education and professional development opportunities; and collaborates with local organizations through volunteer projects. Members can also access scholarships and conferences.
  • This chapter of the National Student Nursing Association focuses on giving student nurses from nursing schools in California access to educational, leadership, and professional development opportunities. In addition to scholarships and mentorship programs, CNSA hosts conferences, opportunities for advocacy, and networking events.

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