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Programs include LPN/LVN, ADN, BSN, MSN, and more

One of the fastest routes to becoming a registered nurse (RN) is an associate’s degree. Depending on the school, associate’s degree options may include an associate of science or associate of art degree in nursing (ADN), an associate of applied science (AAS), or an associate's degree in licensed vocational nursing (LVN). With the exception of the LVN program, each program takes 2-3 years to complete and prepares graduates to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The associate’s in licensed vocational nursing typically requires 18 to 24 months to complete and prepares graduates to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

Students in either program must complete 70 to 80+ credit hours of study to graduate, and many programs offer evening and weekend schedules. Nursing students often use the ADN program as a stepping stone to a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, while AAS students typically enter the field immediately after completing the program and obtaining licensure. Graduates of the associate’s degree in LPN program may take either route.

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Newly licensed California RNs can expect an excellent job outlook and competitive salaries. Registered nurses in the state earn a median salary of $94,310 per year; this is the highest salary for RNs in the entire country. Expected employment growth for the 2012-2022 decade is 19% for RNs and 25% for LVNs. California-based LVNs can expect to earn a median salary of $51,620 per year.

Below is a list of accredited California nursing schools that offer some of the state’s top associate’s degree programs.

Featured Schools

Bakersfield

Bakersfield College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Cerro Coso Community College - Indian Wells Valley
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Cerro Coso Community College - Kern River Valley
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

Fresno

Fresno City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Inland Empire

Chaffey College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Victor Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Riverside City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Mt. San Jacinto College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
College of the Desert
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Copper Mountain College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
San Bernardino Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles Harbor College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Long Beach City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Santa Monica College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Glendale Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
El Camino College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Rio Hondo College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Pasadena City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Mt. San Antonio College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Citrus College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Cerritos College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Pierce College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Antelope Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
College of the Canyons
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles Trade Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 79.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Mount Saint Mary's University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 79.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
American Career College - Los Angeles
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 79.1% NCLEX pass rate (2016-17 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles Southwest College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 77.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
El Camino College Compton Center
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 75.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
East Los Angeles College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 66.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Shepherd University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 57.9% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2016-17)
California Career College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Career Care Institute - Lancaster
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Glendale Career College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing

Merced

Merced College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Arts in Vocational Nursing

Modesto

Modesto Junior College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Napa

Pacific Union College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Napa Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

Orange County

Stanbridge University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2015-16 through 2016-17)
Saddleback College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Cypress College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Golden West College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Santa Ana College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
CNI College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 74.5% NCLEX pass rate (2014-15 through 2016-17)

Oxnard / Thousand Oaks / Ventura area

Ventura College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Moorpark College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Sacramento

Sierra College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Sacramento City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
American River College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Carrington College - Sacramento
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Weimar Institute
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing

Salinas

Hartnell College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Monterey Peninsula College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

San Diego County

MiraCosta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Arts in Vocational Nursing
Palomar College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
San Diego City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Grossmont College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Southwestern College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Brightwood College - San Diego
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 78.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

San Francisco Bay metro area

Chabot College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Merritt College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Ohlone College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
College of Marin
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Contra Costa College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Los Medanos College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Gavilan College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Evergreen Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
City College of San Francisco
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
De Anza College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
College of San Mateo
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Mission College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Unitek College - Fremont
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 75.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Carrington College - San Jose
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

San Luis Obispo

Cuesta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Allan Hancock College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

Santa Cruz

Cabrillo College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Sonoma

Santa Rosa Junior College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

Stockton

San Joaquin Delta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Vallejo / Fairfield area

Solano Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Visalia / Porterville area

College of the Sequoias
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Porterville College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.7% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2016-17)
San Joaquin Valley College
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing: 81.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 72.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Other California cities

Mendocino College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
College of the Siskiyous
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Madera Community College Center
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2016-17)
Shasta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Yuba College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
West Hills College Lemoore
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
College of the Redwoods - Eureka
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Imperial Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Butte College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Cerro Coso Community College - Eastern Sierra College Center
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
College of the Redwoods - Del Norte
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Feather River College - Fall River Mills
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Feather River College - Quincy
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Lassen Community College
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
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