The Best LVN-to-BSN Programs in California

Updated November 18, 2022

If you're an LVN, earning a BSN opens the doors to higher pay and career advancement. Find the top LVN-to-BSN programs in California today.
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The Best LVN-to-BSN Programs in California

Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) are entry-level nursing professionals, known as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in most states. If you're an LVN in California considering your next career move, earning a bachelor's in nursing may be a wise choice.

With a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), you can become a registered nurse (RN), earn more, and gain more professional autonomy. This guide to the best LVN-to-BSN programs in California can help you choose the program that fits your needs and career goals.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best LVN-to-BSN programs in California, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about LVN-to-BSN programs in California, or go straight to our list of the best LVN-to-BSN programs in California.

How Do LVN-to-BSN Programs in California Work?

LVN-to-BSN bridge programs in California take about 2-3 years to complete, depending on the program and your existing coursework. Nursing bridge programs build on your existing nursing license and professional knowledge to help you earn your degree faster than traditional pathways.

The curriculum for LVN-to-BSN programs in California includes:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Health assessment
  • Population health
  • Nursing research
  • Health and nursing informatics
  • Health psychology
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Quality and safety
  • Epidemiology
  • Interpersonal and communications skills
  • Nurse leadership

Depending on your LVN curriculum or other previous college courses, you may be eligible to transfer existing credits for prerequisite courses, such as written and oral communications. LVN-to-BSN programs in California also include clinical hours.

Featured Online Bachelor's Programs

Applying to an LVN-to-BSN Program in California

Admission requirements for LVN-to-BSN programs in California vary by school. You must have a current and unencumbered LVN or LPN license. If you're eligible for admission except for certain courses, you can take those courses as prerequisites.

  1. 1

    Admission Materials

    Materials include current and unencumbered LVN license, at least two references, and an essay or a personal statement.

  2. 2

    GPA Requirement

    Most programs require a 3.0 minimum GPA. If your GPA doesn't meet the minimum, you may be able to discuss your situation with admission staff, as some schools offer conditional acceptance or consider other factors.

  3. 3

    Other Requirement

    LVN-to-BSN programs in California require a satisfactory criminal background check with fingerprinting,

Why Is LVN-to-BSN Program Accreditation Important?

Nursing accreditation comprises a formal program review by an independent group of experts in nursing and nursing education. This review covers every aspect of a program related to quality, including student grades and scores on standardized tests, like the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), teacher qualifications, and curriculum.

Teaching methods, program management and administration, and resources available to students (like the library and technology systems) are also reviewed.

The goal is to ensure graduates can safely practice nursing, which is why accreditation is so important. Employers rarely consider applications from graduates of unaccredited programs. Aaccredited programs almost never accept transfer credits from unaccredited schools.

This guide only lists accredited programs.

Learn More About the Best LVN-to-BSN Programs and Schools in California

#1 The Best LVN-to-BSN Programs in California

California State University-Fullerton

  • Fullerton, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

California State University-Fullerton offers one of the best LVN-to-BSN (licensed vocational nurse-to-bachelor of science in nursing) programs in California. The program is open to DACA students and undocumented immigrants, provided that they have an individual taxpayer ID number (ITIN). 

Cal State Fullerton's LVN-to-BSN program typically enrolls 20 qualified applicants each year. It does not require or accept letters of recommendation. Students must enroll full time and complete coursework with their cohort. The program provides clinical placement within a 50-mile radius of campus. Second language fluency or military status give students an advantage with admissions.

Details:

  • Program(s): LVN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Fullerton, CA
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $8,613 per year for full-time, California residents; $16,929 per year for full-time, out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: 60 college-level credits; 3.25 GPA; CSU prerequisite courses and labs; current and unencumbered California LVN license; social security number or ITIN
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 20 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.6%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $86,042 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
40,445
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 The Best LVN-to-BSN Programs in California

California State University-San Marcos

  • San Marcos, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

California State University-San Marcos' LVN-to-BSN accepts only four students each fall. Learners enter the regular BSN program as second-year students. Applicants must complete a nursing skills assessment for admission during the May before the fall term and receive a 100% score on skills and math. They must also complete the pre-nursing core or equivalent. 

Details:

  • Program(s): LVN-to-BSN
  • Campus: San Marcos, CA
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $5,742 per year for California residents; $15,246 per year for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Current and unencumbered LVN license; completion of pre-nursing core curriculum or equivalent with 2.75 GPA; IV certification
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.7%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $88,074 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
62%
Students Enrolled
16,053
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#3 The Best LVN-to-BSN Programs in California

Azusa Pacific University

  • Azusa, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Azusa Pacific University's LVN-to-BSN program is available at the Victorville, San Bernardino, or Monrovia campuses. The program emphasizes Christian values in nursing. Programs follow a cohort model, with cohorts starting in the fall, spring, or summer. The school welcomes veterans and is a designated Yellow Ribbon University and a silver-level Military Friendly® School. Students may not transfer nursing credits from community colleges, though general credits can transfer.

Details:

  • Program(s): LVN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Victorville, San Bernardino, or Monrovia, CA
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $825 per unit
  • Admission Requirements: 49 units of credit (up to 70 units may transfer) with "C" grades; current California LVN license; collegiate-level communication skills; microbiology and human anatomy with labs; general, organic, and biological chemistry with at least 2.7 GPA and no course lower than a 2.0 GPA; college algebra; two references; current CPR with AED for healthcare providers
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83.8%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $89,570 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$39,640
Out-of-state
$39,640
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
9,297
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 The Best LVN-to-BSN Programs in California

California State University-East Bay

  • Hayward, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

California State University-East Bay offers a pre-licensure program for students with an LVN license. Current Cal State East Bay full-time students, first-time local transfer students without a bachelor's degree, and honorably-discharged members of the military receive priority admission. The program notes that students outside these priority groups are not likely to receive admission. Students with second-language fluency and healthcare experience receive some preference. 

Details:

  • Program(s): LVN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Hayward, CA
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $8,613 per year for California residents; $15,741 per year for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Prerequisite courses with a 3.0 GPA and all grades at "C" or higher; 70% TEAS Exam overall score and minimum 65% English and reading; current and unencumbered California LVN license (for LVN admission)
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 30 months (pre-licensure) 
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
16,064
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#5 The Best LVN-to-BSN Programs in California

National University

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

National University's nursing classes start monthly, and students complete one course at a time. Learners apply to both the university and the nursing program. Designed for working students, NU offers evening, weekend, and online courses. In-person programs are available at the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Fresno campuses. Service members and their families receive discounted tuition. 

Details:

  • Program(s): LVN-to-BN
  • Campus: La Jolla, CA
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $388 per quarter credit
  • Admission Requirements: General education and nursing prerequisite courses with 2.75 cumulative GPA; "C" grade in all prerequisite courses
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 15 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.9%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $84,367 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$13,320
Out-of-state
$13,320
Retention Rate
50%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
16,670
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Frequently Asked Questions About LVN-to-BSN Programs in California


How long does it take to earn an LVN-to-RN degree in California?

LVN-to-BSN programs in California typically take full-time students 2-3 years to complete, depending on the program and curriculum, the pace, whether you have all the prerequisite courses, and if you have any other college-level credits that you can transfer.

What is the fastest way to become a nurse in California?

The fastest way to become an RN in California is to earn an associate degree in nursing. This takes around two years. You can also apply for a non-degree 30-unit option, but this is a very limited license.

Then, you need to pass the nurse licensing exam and a criminal background check with fingerprinting. It takes 10-12 weeks to process applications.

Can you do LVN-to-RN online in California?

You can attend an online LVN-to-BSN program in California, but there are more on-campus programs. If you attend an online program, you must attend clinical hours in person.

Find out if you can get clinical placement in your local community.

Can an LVN challenge the RN board in California?

Prospective LVNs can apply to take the LVN examination by challenge. California is the only state that allows LVN nurses to apply to take the NCLEX-RN based on the LVN 30-unit option, rather than the standard pathway through the full RN curriculum. Most other states do not recognize this license, according to the state board of nursing.


Explore Other Programs in California

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