Best Nursing Schools in California

Information and resources on the best nursing schools in California

The number of people looking into the best nursing schools in California has continued to increase over the past several years. With the population of the US aging and the “baby boomers” beginning to retire, the need for nurses is paramount in hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. This represents a great financial opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career in nursing and attending one of the many accredited nursing schools in California.

Although the demand for nurses varies from state to state, California is always hiring qualified LVNs (Licensed Vocational Nurses), RNs (Registered Nurses) and other health professionals. Since the state is home to a vast selection of California nursing schools, residents who choose to get into the nursing profession should have no problem getting an education and starting a career close to home.

What the Best Nursing Schools in California Are Looking For

Nursing Schools in CaliforniaOf course, becoming a nurse takes more than wearing the proper uniform. Top nursing schools in California have educational requirements you must meet before enrolling in a nursing program. These requirements include having a high school diploma or GED and passing a college entrance exam like the SAT or ACT’s. These are just the bare minimum requirements and there are other things you can do to boost your acceptance into the best nursing schools in California. Having a high GPA in high school, participating in extracurricular activities and scoring high on the college entrance exams can not only help you get accepted into school but also improve your chances at receiving California nursing scholarships.

What Degrees / Programs are offered by California Nursing Schools?

Before starting your nursing schools in California search, you need to decide what type of nursing education to you want to receive. There are essentially three main degrees or diplomas nurses pursue when first getting started. These degrees/diplomas include a licensed vocational nurse certificate, Associates in Nursing (ASN) degree and Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. In the paragraphs below we will break down each one of these degrees and reveal which nursing schools in California offer each program.

Licensed practical nursing (LPN) or licensed vocational nursing (LVN) programs -  Although these nursing programs don’t provide you with an actual degree they will provide you with a diploma or certificate that helps you earn your LVN license. LVN programs in California typically involve around 12 months of training at either a hospital, community college or vocational school. Upon graduating you will be able to take the state administered NCLEX-PN exam. After passing this exam you will be an officially licensed LVN who is ready to work. Please note that there really isn’t a difference between LPNs and LVNs. In fact, Texas and California are the only two states that refer to this level of nursing as licensed vocational nursing (LVN) while the other states refer to it as licensed practical nursing (LPN).

Here is a list of accredited nursing schools in California that offer licensed vocational nursing programs:

  • Anaheim, American Career College-Orange County
  • Anaheim, Bethesda University of California
  • Anaheim, CIT College of InfoMedical Technology
  • Anaheim, Everest College
  • Anaheim, North Orange County ROP
  • Anaheim, Summit Career College-Anaheim
  • Antioch, Carrington College California-Antioch
  • Artesia, Angeles Institute
  • Bakersfield, Bakersfield Adult School
  • Bakersfield, Bakersfield College
  • Bakersfield, Santa Barbara Business College-Bakersfield
  • Bakersfield, Southern California Medical College
  • Baldwin Park, Baldwin Park Adult School
  • Beaumont, Beaumont Adult School
  • Bellflower, Infotech Career College
  • Beverly Hills, West Coast Ultrasound Institute
  • Bishop, Eastern Sierra College Center
  • Blythe, Palo Verde Community College
  • Burbank, CES College
  • Canoga Park, California Career College-Canoga Park
  • Canton Country, Charter College-Canyon Country Campus
  • Chula Vista, United Education International College (UEI)
  • Clovis, Clovis Adult & Voc. Education
  • Colton, Four-D College-Colton
  • Colton, Summit Career College-Colton
  • Commerce City, Anderson Medical Career College
  • Concord, American College of Nursing LLC
  • Concord, Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts
  • Costa Mesa, Pacific College
  • Crescent City, College of the Redwood
  • Daly City, Bay Area College of Nursing Inc.-Daly City
  • Dinuba, Dinuba Adult School
  • Downey, Downey Adult School
  • El Monte, El Monte-Rosemead Adult School
  • Eureka, College of the Redwoods-Eureka
  • Fall River Mills, Feather River Community College-Fall River Mills
  • Fremont, Unitek College-Fremont
  • Fresno, Fresno Adult School
  • Fresno, Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts-Fresno
  • Garden Grove, California Career Institute
  • Garden Grove, Concorde Career College-Garden Grove
  • Garden Grove, Stanton University
  • Gardena, Tri-County ROP
  • Gilroy, Gavilan College Nursing Career Ladder Program
  • Glendale, Allied Medical & Health Services Inc
  • Glendale, Glendale Career College
  • Glendale, North West College-Glendale
  • Glendale, St. Jude Healthcare Education Center
  • Glendora, Citrus Community College
  • Hanford, Hanford Adult School
  • Hawthorne, Casa Loma College-Hawthorne
  • Hayward, Advanced Pro Nursing Institute
  • Imperial, Imperial Valley College
  • Irvine, Stanbridge College
  • Irwindale, Premiere Career College
  • Joshua Tree, Copper Mountain College
  • La Puente,Hacienda La Puente Adult Education-VN
  • Lancaster, Antelope Valley College
  • Lancaster, Career Care Institute-Lancaster
  • Lancaster, High Desert Medical College
  • Lancaster, Joseph’s School of Nursing
  • Lancaster, University of Antelope Valley
  • Lompoc, Lompoc Unified Adult Education
  • Long Beach, Long Beach City College
  • Long Beach, Preferred College of Nursing-Carson
  • Los Angeles, Advanced Computing Institute
  • Los Angeles, American Career College-LA
  • Los Angeles, Career Colleges of America
  • Los Angeles, Central Nursing College
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles Trade Tech. College
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District-East LA Occupational Center
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District-Locke Community Adult School
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District-Crenshaw Community Adult School
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District-Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center
  • Los Angeles, Marian College-Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles, Preferred College of Nursing-Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles, Shepherd University
  • Los Angeles, YWCA Los Angeles Job Corps Center
  • Los Angeles, Angeles College of Nursing
  • Lynwood, Lynwood Community Adult School
  • Lynwood, St. Francis Career College-Lynwood
  • Madera, State Center Community College District-Madera Center
  • Martinez, Boston Reed/Martinez Adult Education Center
  • Marysville, Yuba Community College-VN
  • McClellan Park, Twin Rivers Adult School
  • Menifee, Mt. San Jacinto College-Menifee Valley Campus
  • Merced, Merced Community College
  • Merced, WestMed College-Merced
  • Mission Hills ,Los Angeles Unified School District-North Valley Occupational Center
  • Modesto, Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts-Modesto
  • Modesto, Modesto Junior College
  • Moreno Valley, Career Care Institute-Moreno Valley
  • Napa, Napa Valley College-VN
  • North Hollywood, Concorde Career College-North Hollywood
  • North Hollywood, Concorde Career College-West Los Angeles
  • North Hollywood, Kaplan College-North Hollywood
  • Oakland, Merritt College
  • Oakland, Oikos University
  • Oceanside, Mira Costa College
  • Ontario, American Career College-Ontario
  • Ontario, Baldy View ROP
  • Ontario, Franklin Career College
  • Ontario, West Coast Ultrasound Institute-Ontario
  • Orange, Career Networks Institute
  • Oroville, Butte College
  • Palm Desert, College of the Desert
  • Palm Desert, Santa Barbara Business College-Palm Desert
  • Palm Springs, California Nurses Educational Institute Inc
  • Palo Alto, Bay Area College of Nursing Inc.
  • Pasadena, Integrity College Of Health
  • Pasadena, North West College-Pasadena
  • Pasadena, Pasadena City College
  • Pittsburg, Los Medanos College
  • Pomona, North West College-Pomona
  • Porterville, Porterville College-VN
  • Quincy, Feather River Community College
  • Rancho Cucamonga, Chaffey College
  • Redding, Institute of Technology
  • Redding, Shasta College
  • Redlands, ABC Educators
  • Redlands, Sierra Pacific College
  • Reseda, Annenberg School of Nursing
  • Reseda, College of Nursing and Technology
  • Ridgecrest, Cerro Coso Community College
  • Riverside, North West College-Riverside
  • Riverside, Riverside Community College
  • Sacramento, Carrington College California-Sacramento
  • Sacramento, Charles A. Jones Skills and Business Education Center
  • Sacramento, Kaplan College-Sacramento
  • Sacramento, Sacramento City College
  • Sacramento, Unitek College-Sacramento
  • Salinas, Hartnell College
  • Salinas, Salinas Adult School
  • San Bernardino, Concorde Career College-San Bernardino
  • San Bernardino, Concorde Career College-Woodland Hills
  • San Bernardino, San Bernardino Adult School
  • San Diego, Concorde Career College-San Diego
  • San Diego, Kaplan College-San Diego
  • San Diego, San Diego City College
  • San Diego, Southwestern College
  • San Francisco, California Nurses And Vocational Institute
  • San Francisco, City College of San Francisco
  • San Francisco, NCP College-Hayward
  • San Francisco, Oxman College
  • San Jose, Carrington College California-San Jose
  • San Jose, Institute of Medical Education
  • San Jose, St. Francis Career College-San Jose
  • San Jose, WestMed College-San Jose
  • San Leandro, Carrington College California
  • San Leandro, Nightingale School of Nursing
  • San Luis Obispo, Cuesta College
  • San Mateo, Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts-San Mateo
  • Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College
  • Santa Clara, Mission College-VN
  • Santa Clara, Unitek College-Santa Clara
  • Santa Maria, Allan Hancock College
  • Santa Maria, Santa Barbara Business College-Santa Maria
  • Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa Junior College-VN
  • Santee, Grossmont Health Occupations
  • Soledad, Soledad Adult School/Mission Trails ROP
  • South Gate, Advanced College
  • Stockton, Healthcare College of California
  • Stockton, Kaplan College-Stocton
  • Stockton, San Joaquin Delta College-VN
  • Stockton,Xavier College
  • Susanville, Lassen Community College
  • Torrance, Homestead Schools Inc.
  • Tulare, Tulare Adult School
  • Ukiah, Ukiah Adult School
  • Vacaville, Blake Austin College
  • Vallejo, College of Medical Arts
  • Vallejo, Prime Career College
  • Vallejo, Solano College of Nursing
  • Van Nuys, Casa Loma College-Van Nuys
  • Van Nuys, Marian College-Van Nuys
  • Van Nuys, Preferred College of Nursing-Van Nuys
  • Ventura, Career Care Institute-Ventura
  • Victorville, Four-D College
  • Visalia, San Joaquin Valley College
  • Visalia, Visalia Adult School
  • Vista, Kaplan College-Vista
  • West Covina, North West College-West Covina
  • West Hills, Valley College of Medical Careers
  • Westlake Village, Professional Medical Careers Institute
  • Whittier, Rio Hondo Junior College
  • Woodland Hills, Los Angeles Unified School District-West Valley Occupational Center
  • Yreka, College of the Siskiyous

Associates in Nursing (ASN) Programs  – An associates in nursing degree is a 2-year program that is usually provided by community colleges, private colleges, four year universities and other nursing schools in California. Obtaining your associates in nursing degree is the fastest way to qualify to take the NCLEX-RN exam and start your career as an entry level registered nurse. Nurses with an Associate’s degree will both earn more money and have more career options than nurses practicing at the Licensed Vocational Nursing level. This degree also serves as a solid foundation to further your nursing career by obtaining a Bachelors in Nursing Science (BSN) degree down the road.

Here is a list of accredited nursing schools in California that offer Associates in Nursing degree programs:

  • Anaheim, West Coast University – Orange County
  • Angwin, Pacific Union College
  • Aptos, Cabrillo College
  • Bakersfield, Bakersfield College
  • Compton, El Camino College – Compton Education Center
  • Cupertino, De Anza College
  • Cypress, Cypress College
  • El Cajon, Grossmont College
  • Eureka, College of the Redwoods
  • Fremont, Ohlone College
  • Fremont, Unitek College
  • Fresno, Fresno City College
  • Gilroy, Gavilan College
  • Glendale, Glendale Community College
  • Glendora, Citrus College
  • Hayward, Chabot College
  • Huntington Beach, Golden West College
  • Imperial, Imperial Valley College
  • Joshua Tree, Copper Mountain College
  • Kentfield, College of Marin
  • Lancaster, Antelope Valley College
  • Lemoore, West Hills College Lemoore
  • Long Beach, Long Beach City College
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles City College
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles County College of Nursing & Allied Health
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles Southwest College
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles Trade-Tech College
  • Los Angeles, Mount St. Mary’s College
  • Los Angeles, Shepherd University
  • Madera, Reedley College at Madera Community College Center
  • Marysville, Yuba College
  • Menifee, Mt. San Jacinto College
  • Merced, Merced College
  • Mission Viejo, Saddleback College
  • Modesto, Modesto Junior College
  • Monterey, Monterey Peninsula College
  • Monterey Park, East Los Angeles College
  • Moorpark, Moorpark College
  • Napa, Napa Valley College
  • North Hollywood, West Coast University – Los Angeles
  • Norwalk, Cerritos College
  • Oakland, Merritt College
  • Oceanside, MiraCosta College
  • Ontario, Everest College
  • Ontario, West Coast University – Inland Empire
  • Oroville, Butte College
  • Palm Desert, College of the Desert
  • Pasadena, Pasadena City College
  • Pittsburg, Los Medanos College
  • Porterville, Porterville College
  • Rancho Cucamonga, Chaffey College
  • Redding, Shasta College
  • Riverside, Riverside City College
  • Rocklin, Sierra College
  • Sacramento, American River College
  • Sacramento, Carrington College
  • Sacramento, Sacramento City College
  • Salinas, Hartnell College
  • San Bernardino, San Bernardino Valley College
  • San Diego, Kaplan College
  • San Diego, National University
  • San Diego, San Diego City College
  • San Diego, Southwestern College
  • San Francisco, City College of San Francisco
  • San Jose, Evergreen Valley College
  • San Luis Obispo, Cuesta College
  • San Marcos, Palomar College
  • San Mateo, College of San Mateo
  • San Pablo, Contra Costa College
  • Santa Ana, Santa Ana College
  • Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College
  • Santa Clara, Mission College
  • Santa Clarita, College of the Canyons
  • Santa Maria, Allan Hancock College
  • Santa Monica, Santa Monica College
  • Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa Junior College
  • Stockton, San Joaquin Delta College
  • Suisun City, Solano Community College
  • Torrance, El Camino College
  • Ukiah, Mendocino College
  • Valley Glen, Los Angeles Valley College
  • Ventura, Ventura College
  • Victorville, Victor Valley College
  • Visalia, College of the Sequoias
  • Visalia, San Joaquin Valley College
  • Walnut, Mt. San Antonio College
  • Whittier, Rio Hondo College
  • Wilmington, Los Angeles Harbor College
  • Woodland Hills, Pierce College
  • Yreka, College of the Siskiyous

Bachelors in Nursing Science (BSN) programs – A bachelors nursing degree is a 4-year program provided by both private colleges and state funded universities. After obtaining your Bachelors in Nursing degree you will be qualified to take the NCLEX-RN exam. After passing the NCLEX-RN you will have several more job options and opportunities than nurses who only have an Associates in Nursing degree and your salary will be higher.

Here is a list of accredited nursing schools in California that offer Bachelors in Nursing Science programs:

  • Anaheim, West Coast University – Orange County
  • Arcata, Humboldt State University
  • Azusa, Azusa Pacific University
  • Bakersfield, California State University, Bakersfield
  • Camarillo, California State University, Channel Islands
  • Chico, California State University, Chico
  • Fresno, California State University, Fresno
  • Fullerton, California State University, Fullerton
  • Hayward, California State University, East Bay
  • Irvine, Concordia University Irvine
  • Irvine, University of California, Irvine
  • La Mirada, Biola University
  • Loma Linda, Loma Linda University – Nationally ranked as one of the top nursing schools in California
  • Long Beach, California State University, Long Beach
  • Los Angeles, California State University, Los Angeles – Nationally ranked as one of the best nursing schools in California
  • Los Angeles, Mount St. Mary’s College – Nationally ranked as one of the top nursing schools in California
  • Los Angeles, University of California, Los Angeles – Nationally ranked as one of the best nursing schools in California
  • North Hollywood, West Coast University – Los Angeles
  • Northridge, California State University, Northridge
  • Oakland, Holy Names University
  • Oakland, Samuel Merritt University
  • Ontario, West Coast University – Inland Empire
  • Redding, Simpson University
  • Riverside, California Baptist University
  • Rohnert Park, Sonoma State University
  • Sacramento, California State University, Sacramento
  • Salida, University of Phoenix at Modesto (Northern CA Campus)
  • San Bernardino, California State University, San Bernardino
  • San Diego, National University
  • San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University
  • San Diego, San Diego State University
  • San Diego, University of San Diego – Nationally ranked as one of the best nursing schools in California
  • San Francisco, San Francisco State University
  • San Francisco, University of San Francisco – Nationally ranked as one of the top nursing schools in California
  • San Fransisco, University of California, San Fransisco – Nationally ranked as one of the best nursing schools in California
  • San Jose, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San Jose State University
  • San Marcos, California State University, San Marcos
  • San Rafael, Dominican University of California
  • Santa Ana, Western Governors University
  • Signal Hill, American University of Health Sciences
  • Turlock, California State University, Stanislaus

In California, the average salary for an RN with a bachelors degree is over $70,000 per year, which is a little higher than the national average. This means that if you are looking for the best combination of salary and career advancement, attending a California nursing school that provides a Bachelors in Nursing Science degree is the best way to go.

Online Nursing Schools in California

There are also internet based nursing schools in California like Capella University and University of Phoenix. Online school is a great option for those who must work and cannot take time off to attend school in person. Nevertheless, it must be noted that online schools may not have the pedigree of having your education completed at a recognized institution within the state. In addition, many traditional colleges and universities are offering more of their courses online than before, so you may be able to complete your education at home while only attending courses during times in which you are off work.

How to Research the Best Nursing Schools in California for Your Goals and Needs

Career goals, finances, location and family are different factors that will help you narrow down the best nursing schools in California for your needs. Since each person’s goals and situations are a bit different the best nursing school in California for one person might not be the same for another. The main thing is to make sure that the school or program you choose to attend is licensed and accredited by the state. The next thing you want to do is compare several California nursing schools that fit your criteria to see which one offers the best value and career opportunities.

Best Nursing Schools in California - UCSFBased on overall prestige though, there are several nursing schools in California that have received national recognition for their nursing programs. A recent survey conducted by US News and World Report revealed that California is home to 7 of the top 100 nursing schools in the nation. These California nursing schools include:

While such surveys can be somewhat arbitrary, the results do indicate that California does boast a solid selection of nursing programs. This is important when choosing your nursing education in the state as they not only can provide a degree, but contacts and helpful information that can assist in finding a nursing job after you graduate.

In the end, there are several reasons why attending on of the many top nursing schools in California and starting your career within the state is a smart decision. Besides the fact that California offers a higher than average salary, the job opportunities also continue to expand. California’s population is the largest of any state in the US and with more people reaching retirement age, the nursing home and health care industry is booming. Plus, with accredited nursing schools in California located all across the state, finding a great place to start your education and career shouldn’t be a problem.

Sharing Means Caring

Online Nursing Degrees