Top California RN to MSN Programs

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An excellent way to accelerate your nursing career and to earn a higher salary is to earn your master of science in nursing, or MSN through an RN to MSN bridge program. This is one of the best ways that you can advance your professional nursing career, and the nursing field is in great demand, with an increase in employment of 26% anticipated by 2020. A bridge program allows you to earn both your bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing on an accelerated time line.

Best RN-to-MSN Programs in California

Rank School Location
1 California State University - San Marcos San Marcos, CA
2 Dominican University of California San Rafael, CA
3 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
4 University of San Diego San Diego, CA
5 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
6 West Coast University Los Angeles, CA

RN to MSN Bridge Requirements

For you to be admitted into an RN to MSN bridge program, you need to have a current license as an RN, and a solid GPA from any previous nursing training. These programs are competitive and entry can be difficult. Typically, you will need to complete undergraduate prerequisite classes, about 20 hours of RN to BSN classes, and then you will enter the MSN program, where you will take a full time slate of classes for three or four semesters.

However, choosing this path is a smart move, because you will have many exciting RN career options in nursing before you. You can choose clinical tracks that include nurse practitioner, nurse midwife and nurse anesthetist. You will be able to enjoy a high degree of responsibility and a higher pay scale.

RN to MSN Bridge Salary

The best part of the bridge program from RN to MSN is that you can enjoy a much higher salary.

In California, there are several excellent online and campus based RN to MSN bridge programs. The median salary for an RN with at least a bachelor’s degree is $64,000. And, if you earn your MSN, you can enjoy a salary as high as $95,000. If you eventually decide to pursue an advanced nursing profession such as a nurse anesthetist, you could earn $125,000 a year or more.


California RN to MSN Bridge Schools

  1. California State University - San Marcos

    San Marcos, CA

    This program may be completed part time or full time. The program is for nurses in San Diego who want to enjoy a nursing career as an educator, nurse in advanced practice, or a general nurse that has management and leadership roles in an acute care facility. This MSN program will give you a strong foundation in theory and research inquiry.

  2. Dominican University of California

    San Rafael, CA

    This nursing program offers you an associates to master’s degree program that consists of one year of bridge work, and then you begin the graduate program. Some of the classes taken are nursing research, nursing informatics, transitions and leadership, statistics and community health. You can complete this RN to MSN bridge program in two years.

  3. University of San Francisco

    San Francisco, CA

    This program will train you to become a clinical care nurse. You will be read to assume responsibility for healthcare outcomes. You will be able to design, implement and evaluate patient outcomes at the point of care. In this program, you will learn how to provide care at the point of care to people of many ages. You also will synthesize data and knowledge to evaluate the optimum outcomes for the patient.

  4. University of San Diego

    San Diego, CA

    This bridge program allows you to go from an RN to an MSN in about three years. This school also has a program that allows you to enter with a bachelor’s degree from another speciality and earn your MSN. This program will give you a general foundation in nursing and will provide you with the leadership skills you need to prosper in a health care setting. You will be prepared as an advanced nurse generalist and will be able to sit for the clinical nurse exam in California.

  5. California State University - Fullerton

    Fullerton, CA

    This is an accredited RN to MSN program that offers you an MSN in Women’s Health. This is an advanced practice nursing option that provides training in client-oriented practice and also a foundation in professional issues of management and leadership. You will become trained so that you can assume a role in advanced practice, nurse midwifery or as a women’s health nurse practitioner.

  6. West Coast University

    Los Angeles, CA

    Do you want to move from an LPN to a nurse educator or into a nursing leadership role? Then this RN to MSN program is for you. This program is offered so that you attend the first and the last classes of the program on campus, and then complete most of the courses online. You can complete the MSN program in 15 months, full time. Classes include program management, education, clinical practice, research, and health policy formulation.

Whichever of these RN to MSN bridge programs you choose, you will be moving into a dynamic and in demand career field in advanced practice nursing.