Nursing Schools in San Diego
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 School Programs and Locations
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.