Nursing Schools in San Diego

State Nursing Board: California State Board of Nursing

State Nurses Association: California Nurses Association

State Hospital Association: California Hospital Association

Find Nursing Programs in California:

San Diego is the second-largest city in California, blessed with a vibrant and culturally diverse population. There are several Universities and Community Colleges in that offer nursing programs in San Diego, regardless of what you are looking for. If you are looking to enter the field of nursing for the first time, you can attend nursing school in San Diego to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse, an Associate's degree nurse or a Baccalaureate prepared Registered Nurse (RN).

There are also many excellent nursing programs in San Diego that offer advanced nursing degrees for experienced RNs. If you are an RN looking to expand your education, peruse the specialty degrees listed on the left side of this page, and select the ones that interest you. There are also links to San Diego nursing programs at the bottom of this page. Request information from the schools you're interested in to start planning for your nursing education and career in "America's Finest City".

San Diego Nursing Schools

The landscape of healthcare is changing quickly in California, making it a great time to attend nursing school. San Diego has many nursing schools to choose from, making it a great place to look for a nursing program to attend. The University of San Diego's Hahn School of Nursing offers a Bachelor's (BSN), Master's, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. In addition, they offer an international program where student nurses travel to Milot, Haiti where they provide care for patients at the Hôpital Sacré Coeur.

Other nursing programs in San Diego can be found at some of the schools listed below, or access all available nursing programs in California.

  • Point Loma Nazarene College - BSN and MSN for Adult Gerontology, Family and Individual Health, Pediatric and a Clinical Nurse Specialists program
  • San Diego State University - Bachelor and multiple Masters programs, such as Nurse Midwifery, Advanced Nursing of Adults and the Elderly, Leadership and Nursing Education
  • National University – Bachelor, Accelerated/Second Degree Bachelor, Doctorate, MSN in Nursing Administration and Informatics, LVN to BSN, MSN Nurse Anesthesia, and MSN
  • San Diego Community College District and the University of Phoenix offer Licenses Vocational Nurse programs (LPN or LVN). This college also has nursing programs for the registered nurse and for a program for LVN to RN.

In addition to the local universities and colleges there are also several online nursing programs. To learn more about nursing school in San Diego, continue reading on this page. To find schools, scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose a program or choose from those listed to the left.

Life and Career Options in Metro San Diego

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has a trolley system that connects East San Diego, the South Bay and downtown, plus there are 93 fixed bus routes as well, making public transit to and from many schools and healthcare facilities possible. When you complete your nursing degree, you may find yourself working in a variety of different settings, the most common of which is usually an acute care facility such as a hospital or medical center.

Hospitals in San Diego

The American Nurses Credentialing Center has recognized several hospitals in San Diego for their nursing excellence by giving them the Magnet award. These hospitals include:

  • Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla
  • Sharp HealthCare
  • UC San Diego Health System
  • Washington Hospital

In addition to acute care hospitals, San Diego nurses can find positions in public schools, community health, non-profit clinics, home health care and surgical centers. One significant healthcare system in San Diego, Scripps Health is a nonprofit, private health system that includes four hospitals, dozens of outpatient clinics, home health and hospice care. Scripps Health may be a good place to explore employment, and they also have a program to transition new graduates into clinical practice.

Nursing wages in California tend to be higher than many other areas in the country, and San Diego is no exception. The mean annual wage for an LVN in the San Diego area is $54,460, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2016. Registered Nurses earn a mean wage of $92,480 per year in San Diego (BLS, 2016).

There remains a continual and growing need for nurses at all levels of practice. As the baby boomer generation ages, they tend to have complex and chronic medical problems, which in turn results in an influx of people seeking healthcare services. This, coupled with the expansion of access to healthcare that resulted from the Affordable Care Act of 2014, means nurses are being called to fill the gap between healthcare providers and those who need services.

If you are interested in Advanced Practice Degrees in Nursing from San Diego nursing schools, select your field of interest from the categories to the left to learn more about wages and specific higher level nursing programs in San Diego.

Curriculum, Costs and Financial Aid at San Diego Nursing Schools

The LPN/LVN course of study takes one year to complete, and some colleges are structured to use this year as the first year of a two year Associate degree. This gives the LVN the ability to earn an Associate's degree while working as an LVN. There are also bridge programs that allow RNs to earn a Bachelor's degree in nursing, or an MSN if desired.

The basic core curriculum for most Bachelor's of Science in Nursing programs is very similar at most universities and covers the first two years of study. This includes general studies courses such as Speech, English, Philosophy, Sociology, Biology and Chemistry. The typical nursing courses include:

  • Health Assessment
  • Adult and Children Health
  • Maternal and Neonatal Health
  • Psychosocial Nursing
  • Nursing Professionalism
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Nursing Research & Evidence-Based Practice
  • Nursing Leadership

If you are concerned about how to pay for nursing school, applying for financial aid is a great idea. It begins with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for need-based financial aid for any college. There are numerous types of both federal and local grants available. The financial aid office at the nursing school in San Diego that you choose can assist you with finding grants and available scholarships.

Some of the scholarships that are specific to the San Diego area include:

  • Diocesan of San Diego Employee Scholarship, which is for full-time employees of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.
  • Yellow Ribbon Veterans Benefit provides educational assistance at the University of San Diego.
  • Kyle O'Connell Memorial Scholarship Fund gives awards ranging from $2000-$4000 per year to benefit graduate and/or undergraduate students in nursing.

San Diego has some excellent universities and hospitals, which also provide financial aid for nurses. If you are a working nurse, check with your employer to see if they have a tuition reimbursement program available, as this may be a great way to get through school with a minimum of financial strain.

You can also look for and join one of the numerous nursing associations in San Diego, such as the Association of California Nurse Leaders, which advances professional practice and influences health policy. Other nursing associations include the California Nursing Association, the San Diego Black Nurses Association and San Diego National Association of Hispanic nurses. Check their websites to see if you qualify for any scholarships or nursing school assistance.

MSN Programs from California Schools

Listed below are all of the nationally accredited MSN programs with campus locations in California.

Online programs may not be available in all areas

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American University of Health Sciences (Signal Hill, CA)
Program Name: Master's in Clinical Research for CCRN (Clinical Research RN)
Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, CA)
Program Name: Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist and Adult Nurse Practitioner, Parent-Child Clinical Nurse Specialist and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Parish Nursing, School Nurse Services, School Nurse Services Credential and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
California State University-Dominguez Hills (Carson, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader, Family Nurse Practitioner (online), Nurse Administrator (online), Nurse Educator (online), Parent-Child Clinical Nurse Specialist (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
California State University-Fresno (Fresno, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Educator, Primary Care/Family Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care/Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
California State University-Fullerton (Fullerton, CA)
Program Name: CRNA, Nursing Leadership, School Nursing, Women’s Health Care - Nurse Midwifery, Women’s Health Care - Nurse Practitioner
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
California State University-Long Beach (Long Beach, CA)
Program Name: Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN/MHA, MSN/MPH, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
California State University-Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
Program Name: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Practitioner - Primary & Acute Adult, Nurse Practitioner - Primary & Acute Pediatric, Nurse Practitioner - Psychiatric & Mental Health, Nursing Administration, Nursing Case Management, Nursing Education, Psychiatric/Mental Health CNS, School Health
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
California State University-Sacramento (Sacramento, CA)
Program Name: Advanced Clinical Role, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, School Nursing
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
California State University-Stanislaus (Turlock, CA)
Program Name: Gerontological Nursing, Nursing Education
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Dominican University of California (San Rafael, CA)
Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing - CNS, MSN Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Holy Names University (Oakland, CA)
Program Name: Administration/Management, Clinical Faculty, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), MSN/MBA
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Loma Linda University (Loma Linda, CA)
Program Name: Adult and Aging Family CNS, Adult and Aging Family Nurse Educator, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Growing Family CNS, Growing Family Nurse Educator, MS/MA in Nursing and Clinical Ethics, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
MiraCosta College (Oceanside, CA)
Program Name: Certified Nursing Assistant
Mount Saint Mary's College (Los Angeles, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Specialist Track, Community/Public Health Track, Educator Track, Leadership & Administration Track
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Specialist
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Samuel Merritt College (Oakland, CA)
Program Name: Case Management (CM) (online), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
San Diego State University (San Diego, CA)
Program Name: Advanced Practice Nursing of Adults and Elderly (Acute Critical Care Nursing NP/CNS CNS or Nurse Educator), Community Health Nursing - School Nursing, Community Health Nursing (Nurse Midwifery), Community Health Nursing (Nurse Midwifery/Women’s Health Care NP), Community Health Nursing (Women’s Health Care NP), Nursing Education (Adult Health Maternal-Newborn or Nursing Leadership), Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Community Public Health Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administrator
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
San Jose State University (San Jose, CA)
Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Administrator, Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Educator, Master of Science in Nursing - School Nurse CNS
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
United States University (National City, CA)
Program Name: MSN-Administrator, MSN-Educator, MSN-FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner)
University of California Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
Program Name: Acute Care (CNS and/or NP), Family Nurse Practitioner, Gerontology (CNS and/or NP), Master's Entry Clinical Nurse (MECN), MBA/MSN, Nursing Administration, Nursing Administration/Occupational & Environmental Health, Occupational & Environmental Health Nurse Practitioner, Oncology (CNS and/or NP), Pediatric (CNS and/or NP)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of California San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
Program Name: Acute Care NP, Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Adult NP, Advanced Community Health & International Nursing (ACHIN), Cardiovascular Nursing (CNS), Critical Care/Trauma Nursing CNS, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Gerontological Nursing (CNS or NP), Health Policy Nursing, Leadership Nursing & Health Systems (Administration), Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Occupational & Environmental Health Nursing (NP or CNS), Oncology Nursing (CNS or NP), Pediatric NP (PNP), Perinatal Nursing Advanced Practice (CNS), Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Advanced Practice (CNS or NP)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of California-Davis Health System (Sacramento, CA)
Program Name: Family Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant (FNP/PA) Program, Master of Science in Nursing - Health Care Leadership
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of California-Irvine (Irvine, CA)
Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing - FNP or Adult/Geriatric NP
University of Phoenix (Multiple Locations)
Program Name: Nurse Practitioner (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
Program Name: Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nursing (CNL), Executive Nursing Leader, Family Nurse Practitioner, Masters in Nursing - Psychiatric/Mental Health NP/CNS, MSN/MBA, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of San Francisco (Cupertino, CA / San Francisco, CA / San Ramon, CA / Santa Rosa, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Western University of Health Sciences (Pomona, CA)
Program Name: Ambulatory Care, Clinical Nurse Leader (online), Family Nurse Practitioner (online), Leadership & Management (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited