Nursing Schools in California

Nursing Schools in California offer a diverse range of programs and degrees for aspiring nurses. With a growing demand for healthcare professionals, California is an ideal location for pursuing a nursing career. This article provides valuable information on the best nursing schools, online programs, degree offerings, admission requirements, state resources, and frequently asked questions related to nursing in California.

Why California is a Great Place to Become a Nurse

  • High demand for nurses: California has a large and diverse population with an increasing need for healthcare professionals.
  • Top-ranked nursing schools: Several nursing schools in California are nationally recognized for their quality education and training.
  • Variety of nursing programs: Prospective students can choose from various programs, including Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Nurse Practitioner (NP), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
  • Employment opportunities: California offers numerous job opportunities for nurses across various healthcare settings.
  • Competitive salaries: Nurses in California typically earn higher salaries compared to the national average.

Ranking Methodology

The following criteria are used to rank the best nursing schools in California:

  • Accreditation by ACEN or CCNE
  • Affordability
  • Graduation rates
  • NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Nursing School Search editorial reputation

While these rankings provide a good starting point for choosing a nursing school, it’s essential to consider other factors such as location, clinical experiences, and personal preferences. Learn more about our ranking methodology.

Best Ranked Nursing Schools in California

The top 10 nursing schools in California offer excellent education and training opportunities for aspiring nurses. These schools excel in various criteria such as accreditation, affordability, graduation rates, NCLEX-RN pass rates, and editorial reputation. Some of the best nursing schools in California include:

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

  • Accreditation: UCLA’s School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Affordability: UCLA offers various financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans to help students cover their educational expenses.
  • Graduation Rates: The university boasts a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, reflecting the quality of education and student support services.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: UCLA graduates consistently achieve impressive NCLEX-RN pass rates, indicating their preparedness for professional nursing practice.
  • Editorial Reputation: UCLA’s School of Nursing is renowned for its cutting-edge research, diverse clinical experiences, and commitment to addressing healthcare disparities.

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

  • Accreditation: UCSF School of Nursing is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Affordability: Students can access various financial aid options at UCSF to ease their educational expenses.
  • Graduation Rates: UCSF has a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, demonstrating the quality of education provided.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: Graduates from UCSF consistently achieve high NCLEX-RN pass rates, showcasing their readiness for professional nursing practice.
  • Editorial Reputation: UCSF School of Nursing is known for its research excellence, innovative teaching methods, and commitment to addressing the healthcare needs of diverse populations.

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)

  • Accreditation: CSULB’s School of Nursing is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Affordability: CSULB offers a range of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans to help students finance their education.
  • Graduation Rates: The university has a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, reflecting the quality of education and student support services.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: CSULB graduates consistently achieve impressive NCLEX-RN pass rates, indicating their preparedness for professional nursing practice.
  • Editorial Reputation: CSULB’s School of Nursing is recognized for its commitment to student success, community engagement, and addressing healthcare disparities.

San Diego State University (SDSU)

  • Accreditation: SDSU’s School of Nursing is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Affordability: SDSU offers various financial aid options to help students cover their educational expenses.
  • Graduation Rates: The university boasts a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, reflecting the quality of education and student support services.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: SDSU graduates consistently achieve high NCLEX-RN pass rates, showcasing their readiness for professional nursing practice.
  • Editorial Reputation: SDSU’s School of Nursing is renowned for its innovative teaching methods, research excellence, and commitment to serving diverse communities.

California State University, Sacramento (Sac State)

  • Accreditation: Sac State’s School of Nursing is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Affordability: Sac State offers a range of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans to help students finance their education.
  • Graduation Rates: The university has a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, reflecting the quality of education and student support services.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: Sac State graduates consistently achieve impressive NCLEX-RN pass rates, indicating their preparedness for professional nursing practice.
  • Editorial Reputation: Sac State’s School of Nursing is recognized for its commitment to student success, community engagement, and addressing healthcare disparities.

University of San Diego (USD)

  • Accreditation: USD’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Affordability: USD offers various financial aid options to help students cover their educational expenses.
  • Graduation Rates: The university boasts a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, reflecting the quality of education and student support services.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: USD graduates consistently achieve high NCLEX-RN pass rates, showcasing their readiness for professional nursing practice.
  • Editorial Reputation: USD’s Hahn School of Nursing is renowned for its research excellence, innovative teaching methods, and commitment to serving diverse communities.

California State University, Fullerton (CSUF)

  • Accreditation: CSUF’s School of Nursing is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Affordability: CSUF offers a range of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans to help students finance their education.
  • Graduation Rates: The university has a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, reflecting the quality of education and student support services.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: CSUF graduates consistently achieve impressive NCLEX-RN pass rates, indicating their preparedness for professional nursing practice.
  • Editorial Reputation: CSUF’s School of Nursing is recognized for its commitment to student success, community engagement, and addressing healthcare disparities.

University of California, Irvine (UCI)

  • Accreditation: UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Affordability: UCI offers various financial aid options to help students cover their educational expenses.
  • Graduation Rates: The university boasts a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, reflecting the quality of education and student support services.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: UCI graduates consistently achieve high NCLEX-RN pass rates, showcasing their readiness for professional nursing practice.
  • Editorial Reputation: UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing is renowned for its research excellence, innovative teaching methods, and commitment to serving diverse communities.

California State University, Northridge (CSUN)

  • Accreditation: CSUN’s Department of Nursing is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Affordability: CSUN offers a range of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans to help students finance their education.
  • Graduation Rates: The university has a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, reflecting the quality of education and student support services.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: CSUN graduates consistently achieve impressive NCLEX-RN pass rates, indicating their preparedness for professional nursing practice.
  • Editorial Reputation: CSUN’s Department of Nursing is recognized for its commitment to student success, community engagement, and addressing healthcare disparities.

University of California, Riverside (UCR)

  1. Accreditation: UCR’s School of Nursing is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  2. Affordability: UCR offers various financial aid options to help students cover their educational expenses.
  3. Graduation Rates: The university boasts a high graduation rate for its nursing programs, reflecting the quality of education and student support services.
  4. NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: UCR graduates consistently achieve high NCLEX-RN pass rates, showcasing their readiness for professional nursing practice.
  5. Editorial Reputation: UCR’s School of Nursing is renowned for its research excellence, innovative teaching methods, and commitment to serving diverse communities.

Online Nursing Schools for Arizona Students

Earning a nursing degree online provides flexibility and convenience for students, especially those living in rural or remote areas of California. Online programs offer several benefits, including:

  • Access to quality education from any location
  • Flexible scheduling for working professionals
  • No waiting lists for admission
  • Opportunities to network with peers from different regions
  • Potential cost savings on transportation and housing

Admission Requirements for Nursing Programs in California

The admission requirements for nursing programs in California vary depending on the degree type and the specific school. Prospective students should carefully review the requirements for their desired program before applying. The following sections provide an overview of common admission requirements for each degree type.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA (usually 2.0 or higher)
  • Passing score on the TEAS or HESI entrance exam
  • Submission of official transcripts from all previously attended schools
  • Criminal background check and drug screening

ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing)

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA (usually 2.5 or higher)
  • Passing score on the TEAS or HESI entrance exam
  • Submission of official transcripts from all previously attended schools
  • Personal statement or essay

BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA (usually 3.0 or higher)
  • Passing score on the TEAS or HESI entrance exam
  • Submission of official transcripts from all previously attended schools
  • Letters of recommendation

RN to BSN (Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

  • Current, unencumbered RN license in California
  • Associate Degree in Nursing or diploma from an accredited nursing program
  • Minimum GPA (usually 2.5 or higher) in previous nursing coursework
  • Submission of official transcripts from all previously attended schools
  • Personal statement or essay

MSN (Master of Science in Nursing)

  • BSN from an accredited nursing program
  • Current, unencumbered RN license in California
  • Minimum GPA (usually 3.0 or higher) in undergraduate coursework
  • Submission of official transcripts from all previously attended schools
  • Letters of recommendation

NP (Nurse Practitioner)

  • BSN or MSN from an accredited nursing program
  • Current, unencumbered RN license in California
  • Minimum GPA (usually 3.0 or higher) in undergraduate or graduate coursework
  • Submission of official transcripts from all previously attended schools
  • Letters of recommendation

DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

  • MSN or BSN with a master’s degree in a related field from an accredited nursing program
  • Current, unencumbered RN license in California
  • Minimum GPA (usually 3.0 or higher) in graduate coursework
  • Submission of official transcripts from all previously attended schools
  • Letters of recommendation and/or professional references

California Nursing Resources

Here are some key nursing organizations and state resources for nurses in California:

  1. California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN): The BRN is responsible for licensing and regulating registered nurses in California, ensuring the highest quality of care for patients.
  2. California Nurses Association (CNA): CNA is a professional organization that represents and advocates for registered nurses in California, providing resources, networking opportunities, and continuing education.
  3. California Association of Nurse Practitioners (CANP): CANP is a professional organization that supports nurse practitioners in California, offering resources, education, and advocacy to promote the role of NPs in the healthcare system.
  4. Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL): ACNL is a membership organization that promotes nursing leadership and professional development in California through networking, education, and mentorship opportunities.
  5. California School Nurses Organization (CSNO): CSNO supports school nurses in California by providing resources, education, and advocacy to enhance student health and wellness.

FAQs for California Nurses

  1. What are the continuing education requirements for California nurses? California RNs are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years, while NPs must complete additional pharmacology coursework. More information can be found on the BRN website.
  2. Can out-of-state nurses work in California? Yes, out-of-state nurses can apply for a California RN license by endorsement. The application process and requirements are available on the BRN website.
  3. Are there any loan repayment programs for nurses in California? The State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) offers loan repayment assistance to registered nurses who commit to working in medically underserved areas of California. More information can be found on the Health Professions Education Foundation (HPEF) website.
  4. What is the role of a public health nurse (PHN) in California? PHNs focus on promoting community health and preventing disease, working in various settings such as schools, clinics, and government agencies. To become a PHN in California, one must obtain a PHN certificate from the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  5. Do nurse practitioners have full practice authority in California? As of January 1, 2023, nurse practitioners with a minimum of three years of experience will have full practice authority in California, allowing them to practice independently without physician supervision. More information can be found on the CANP website.

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