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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.

Bakersfield

Bakersfield College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 88.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Cerro Coso Community College - Indian Wells Valley
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Cerro Coso Community College - Kern River Valley
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing

Fresno

Fresno City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 79.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Inland Empire

Chaffey College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 97.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Victor Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Riverside City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Mt San Jacinto College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 88.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
College of the Desert
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 87.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
San Bernardino Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Copper Mountain College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 80.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Everest College - Ontario Metro
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 78.3% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2011-12)

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles Harbor College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 96.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Long Beach City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Santa Monica College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Glendale Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Pasadena City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Mt San Antonio College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
El Camino College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Rio Hondo College
Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing: 91.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Cerritos College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Antelope Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 88.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Pierce College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Citrus College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 86.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
College of the Canyons
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Mount St Mary's College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 81.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles Southwest College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 80.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
El Camino College Compton Center
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 76.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles Trade Technical College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 76.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Shepherd University
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 73.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2011-12)
East Los Angeles College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 70.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Merced

Merced College
Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing: 84.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 80.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Modesto

Modesto Junior College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Napa

Napa Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing: 74.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Pacific Union College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Orange County

Saddleback College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Cypress College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Golden West College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Santa Ana College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Pacific College
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
CNI College
Programs offered: Associate's in Registered Nursing
Stanbridge College
Programs offered: Associate's in Registered Nursing

Oxnard / Thousand Oaks / Ventura area

Ventura College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 93.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Moorpark College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Sacramento

Sacramento City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Sierra College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
American River College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Carrington College California - Sacramento
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 82.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
ITT Technical Institute - Rancho Cordova
Programs offered: Associate's in Registered Nursing

Salinas

Monterey Peninsula College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 93.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Hartnell College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

San Diego County

MiraCosta College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing: 90.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
Palomar College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
San Diego City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Grossmont College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 87.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Kaplan College - San Diego
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 84.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Southwestern College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 80.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing

San Francisco Bay metro area

Chabot College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 97.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Merritt College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 96.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Ohlone College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 94.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Contra Costa College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Gavilan College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
College of Marin
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Medanos College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
City College of San Francisco
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 86.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Evergreen Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
De Anza College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 82.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Mission College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 82.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
College of San Mateo
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 79.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Unitek College - Fremont
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 75.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Carrington College California - San Jose
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Carrington College California - San Leandro
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing

San Luis Obispo

Cuesta College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 93.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Allan Hancock College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 82.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing

Santa Cruz

Cabrillo College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 84.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Sonoma

Santa Rosa Junior College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 93.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing

Stockton

San Joaquin Delta College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 86.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Vallejo / Fairfield area

Solano Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Visalia / Porterville area

Porterville College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
College of the Sequoias
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
San Joaquin Valley College
Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing: 81.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 65.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Other California cities

Madera Community College Center
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
Mendocino College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 94.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
College of the Siskiyous
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Yuba College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Butte College
Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 81.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Shasta College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
West Hills College Lemoore
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
College of the Redwoods - Eureka
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Imperial Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 77.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Cerro Coso Community College - Eastern Sierra College Center
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Feather River College - Quincy
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Feather River College - Fall River Mills
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
Lassen Community College
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
College of the Redwoods - Del Norte
Programs offered: Associate's in Licensed Vocational Nursing
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