California Nursing Schools – Information and Resources
Whether you live in one of California’s biggest cities or one of its outlying communities, you could have plenty of opportunities when it comes to the field of nursing. California is home to over 50 nursing schools. While some focus on entry-level degrees like the RN, ADN, or LPN, there are also schools with BSN, MSN and DNP programs. By comparing nursing schools in California, you can find out which degree is the best fit for you and which school suits your needs.
To provide care to the people of California, you’ll need to get a high-quality education from one of the best nursing programs in California. Luckily, there are plenty of options, no matter where you live in this state.
You may look into becoming a licensed practical nurse and providing much-needed assistance to registered nurses and physicians. If you’re ready to spend a bit more time in school, you might want to look into the best BSN programs in California.
Already have a Bachelor’s degree and looking for a way to expand your scope of practice? Definitely consider one of the many Master’s-level nursing programs in your community.
California has long captured the imagination of millions the world over, with its sunny beaches, beautiful landscapes and rich history. In 1964, it surpassed New York as the nation’s most populous state. People still flock to the state, including immigrants for whom California is the number one destination.
Nurses in California are at the forefront of healthcare change, despite the impact the state’s economic difficulties have had on the profession. The powerful California Nurses Association has negotiated some of the most lucrative collective bargaining agreements for RNs in the country, and has set the stage for many other states to follow suit.
If you are looking to become a nurse in California, or if you are already a nurse and are looking to expand your education, you have found a great resource in BestNursingDegree.com. We have compiled a list of all the nursing school programs in California, and you will find links on this page to each one, as well as additional information about the profession.
Nursing Education in California
With over 230 nursing schools in the state, prospective nurses have many opportunities to pursue their vocation whether they want a practical nursing diploma or a doctoral degree. Students also have their pick of educational environments that run the gamut from small private colleges to large state universities. Scholarships are available through businesses, universities, health care facilities, and other organizations for California residents. Some are offered for specific nursing specializations such as the California Emergency Nurses Association Scholarship.
Nursing Education & Career Information in your City
2017 Career Outlook for Nursing Professions
California has a population that’s growing rapidly. As the population grows in all demographics, the need for healthcare providers continues to expand at an above-average rate.
This is true for different types of programs and nursing licenses. If you want to earn your degree from a school that offers licensed practical nursing training, you may see a 21% boost in LPN job openings between 2014 and 2024 (O*Net, 2017). You may also note that the average salary for a licensed practical nurse is $52,670 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). This is well above the national average for LPNs.
Registered nurses may have Associate’s degrees or Bachelor’s degrees. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree may allow you to enjoy a higher earning potential, depending on which type of nursing role you pursue. By 2024, O*Net anticipates a 17% boost in job openings for registered nurses (2017). California registered nurses earn an average of $101,750 per year (BLS, 2017).
Many students who attend Master’s in nursing training programs choose to become nurse practitioners. The average salary for a nurse practitioner in California is $124,330 per year (BLS, 2017). From 2014 through 2024, job openings for nurse practitioners may jump a surprising 39% (O*Net, 2017).
No matter which type of degree you earn, you must go through the California Board of Registered Nursing to become a licensed nursing professional. Your career can take many different paths, and it all starts with your education. The type of school you select may determine what jobs you qualify for and where you start building connections, so don’t rush the decision.
Becoming a nurse and attending one of the best colleges in California for nursing may give you the chance to become involved in one of the state’s largest industries. The medical industry employs over 1.6 million people in California (CA Economy, 2017). Learning more about the best nursing schools in California may help you take the first step.
Some of the top employers of Registered Nurses in California include
Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Laguna Honda Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center, and Sutter Memorial Hospital
Nursing Degree Programs in California
Nursing Bridge Programs
Graduate Nursing Programs
- All Masters in Nursing Programs in CA
- All DNP and PhD in Nursing Programs in CA
- All Nurse Practitioner Programs in CA
Entry Level Nursing Programs
- All LPN/LVN Programs in CA
- All Associate Degree Nursing Programs in CA
- All Four-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs in CA
- All Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs in CA
- Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing Programs in CA
California LPN Programs
- Must have a high school diploma, clean health record, and clean background check prior to beginning classes
- Programs include between 30 and 45 credits
- Although some courses may be finished online, in-person clinical hours are mandatory
- Must pass the NCLEX-PN after graduating with a certificate or diploma
At vocational nursing programs, you learn basic nursing skills while learning the importance of healthcare ethics. You may learn how to work under the guidance of RNs and physicians.
BSN Programs in California
- Need a high school diploma, a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher, and a criminal history free of felonies
- 120 credits are mandatory for graduation
- Blended programs combine online study and in-person clinical work, but clinical hours are required
- Must pass the NCLEX-RN before receiving your license
With a Bachelor’s in nursing, you may have the chance to explore a great variety of career paths and nursing specialties. Some BSN graduates go on to work in pediatrics, OB/GYN, oncology, or gerontology.
California MSN Schools
- Need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a current nursing license in California
- 30 to 55 graduate credits mandatory for graduation
- Certain programs are available online, primarily those that focus on administration over clinical work
- Required tests depend on which nursing role you pursue and which clinical specialty you select
A Master’s degree may permit you to start working as a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist. As a nursing school California graduate, you may also qualify for careers in nurse education, nurse leadership, and nursing informatics.
DNP and PhD Nursing Programs in California
- Must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a current nursing license, and at least one to two years of nursing experience
- Up to 100 credit hours required for graduation
- Some programs are available in a blended format, but clinical or lab experience is required in every program
- Testing requirements vary based on area of clinical specialty and expertise
DNP and PhD graduates tend to have the same options as those who attend Master’s nursing programs in Northern California. However, you may be able to teach at a higher level or take on more prestigious research roles with a doctoral degree. Compared to a Master’s degree, which may take two years, a PhD or DNP may take up to six years.
Nursing Colleges in California with Nursing Bridge Programs
If you already have an Associate’s in nursing, a Bachelor’s in nursing, or a Bachelor’s in another field, you may be curious about your options. After all, it’s smart to make use of the credits you’ve already earned and the nursing experience you’ve gotten as an Associate’s-level registered nurse. To choose a bridge program, you have to first look at the degree you have and the degree you want to earn.
If you have an Associate’s degree in nursing, you may choose to bridge to a BSN or an MSN. The BSN option can be completed in as little as 18 months. At many nursing colleges in California, RN to BSN programs are primarily online. This permits you to enjoy more flexibility in your education and continue working as needed. RN to MSN programs have more extensive clinical requirements, so you cannot do as much of your training online. However, blended study options are still available.
Students with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing are generally well-equipped to move on to graduate or doctoral study. A bridge BSN to MSN program is a common option, while BSN to DNP programs permit you to move straight into the benefits of doctoral study.
Other options focus on the needs of Bachelor’s graduates who have not studied nursing. An accelerated BSN program gives you the option to work extremely hard for 12 to 18 months and come out with a BSN. Direct entry MSN programs let you earn a nursing license while making progress toward a Master of Science in Nursing.
Tips for Choosing the Top Nursing Schools in California
Ready to choose a nursing school in California? You should be well on your way with your knowledge of different nursing degrees. There are many small factors that differ between the best nursing schools in Southern California and Northern California. Doing your research may pay off and help you choose the best fit for you.
If you’re not sure where to start, begin exploring your options by thinking about the options below, or visit our information hub for more help!
Factors to Consider While Comparing Nursing Schools in California
- Size of each graduating class
- Average size of a nursing course
- Student to instructor ratio
- Amount of clinical rotations and hours
- Diversity in clinical settings
- Advanced study options
- Review courses for students preparing to take the NCLEX
- Nursing equipment and technology
- Connections to local facilities and healthcare institutions
Choosing the right nursing school is an art, not a science. As you communicate with local colleges and get more information on your options, you may start to get a feel for which programs suit you. Visiting schools in person is another great step to take; as a student, you may spend up to four years at a school. You want to make sure you are comfortable on campus!