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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 Degree in Nursing: 93.5% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
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
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Bakersfield College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.5% 2010-11 to 2019-20
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

Gurnick Academy - Fresno
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.4% NCLEX pass rate (2018-19 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Fresno City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 77.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Gurnick Academy - Fresno
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.4% 2018-19 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Fresno City College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 77.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20

Inland Empire

Victor Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.7% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Chaffey College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Riverside City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Mt. San Jacinto College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.3% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
College of the Desert
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Copper Mountain College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.0% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
San Bernardino Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Victor Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.7% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Chaffey College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Riverside City College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Mt. San Jacinto College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.3% 2010-11 to 2019-20
College of the Desert
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Copper Mountain College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.0% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
San Bernardino Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 82.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles Harbor College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.9% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.5% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Santa Monica College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.7% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Glendale Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Long Beach City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Career Care Institute
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.9% NCLEX pass rate (2019-20 through 2019-20)
El Camino College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.9% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Rio Hondo College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.6% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Los Angeles Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Pasadena City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Citrus College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Los Angeles City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Pierce College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.7% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Mt. San Antonio College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.6% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Glendale Career College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.2% NCLEX pass rate (2018-19 through 2019-20)
Antelope Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Cerritos College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
American Career College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.2% NCLEX pass rate (2016-17 through 2019-20)
Los Angeles Trade-Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
College of the Canyons
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.0% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
California Career College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.5% NCLEX pass rate (2018-19 through 2019-20)
Compton College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.7% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Los Angeles Southwest College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
East Los Angeles College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 68.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Los Angeles Harbor College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.9% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.5% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Santa Monica College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.7% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Glendale Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Long Beach City College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Career Care Institute
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.9% 2019-20 to 2019-20
El Camino College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.9% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Rio Hondo College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.6% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Los Angeles Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.6% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Pasadena City College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.7% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Citrus College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.6% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Los Angeles City College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Pierce College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.7% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Mt. San Antonio College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.6% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Glendale Career College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.2% 2018-19 to 2019-20
Antelope Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.9% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Cerritos College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20
American Career College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.2% 2016-17 to 2019-20
Los Angeles Trade-Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
College of the Canyons
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.0% 2010-11 to 2019-20
California Career College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 84.5% 2018-19 to 2019-20
Compton College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.7% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Los Angeles Southwest College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 76.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
East Los Angeles College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 68.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20

Merced

Merced College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Arts in Vocational Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Merced College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Arts in Vocational Nursing

Modesto

Modesto Junior College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Modesto Junior College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20

Napa

Pacific Union College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.5% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Napa Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.5% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Pacific Union College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.5% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Napa Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.5% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

Orange County

Saddleback College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Cypress College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.8% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Golden West College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Santa Ana College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
CNI College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.1% NCLEX pass rate (2014-15 through 2019-20)
Pacific College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Saddleback College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Cypress College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.8% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Golden West College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Santa Ana College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20
CNI College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 82.1% 2014-15 to 2019-20
Pacific College
Associate's Degree in Nursing

Oxnard / Thousand Oaks / Ventura area

Moorpark College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.6% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Ventura College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.6% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Moorpark College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.6% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Ventura College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.6% 2010-11 to 2019-20

Sacramento

Sierra College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98.0% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Weimar Institute
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.6% NCLEX pass rate (2017-18 through 2019-20)
Sacramento City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
American River College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Carrington College - Sacramento
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 78.7% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Sierra College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 98.0% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Weimar Institute
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.6% 2017-18 to 2019-20
Sacramento City College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
American River College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Carrington College - Sacramento
Associate's Degree in Nursing 78.7% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

Salinas

Monterey Peninsula College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Hartnell College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.8% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Monterey Peninsula College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Hartnell College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.8% 2010-11 to 2019-20

San Diego County

MiraCosta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Arts in Vocational Nursing
Grossmont College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Palomar College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
San Diego City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.8% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Southwestern College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
MiraCosta College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Arts in Vocational Nursing
Grossmont College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Palomar College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
San Diego City College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.8% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Southwestern College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

San Francisco Bay metro area

Chabot College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98.9% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Merritt College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
College of Marin
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.6% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Ohlone College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.9% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Evergreen Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Contra Costa College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Los Medanos College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
De Anza College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Gavilan College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
City College of San Francisco
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.8% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
College of San Mateo
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Mission College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Carrington College - San Jose
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Chabot College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 98.9% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Merritt College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
College of Marin
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.6% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Ohlone College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.9% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Evergreen Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Contra Costa College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Los Medanos College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
De Anza College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.9% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Gavilan College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
City College of San Francisco
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.8% 2010-11 to 2019-20
College of San Mateo
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Mission College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 76.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Carrington College - San Jose
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

San Luis Obispo

Cuesta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Cuesta College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Allan Hancock College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Santa Barbara City College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Allan Hancock College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 84.4% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

Santa Cruz

Cabrillo College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 79.8% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Cabrillo College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 79.8% 2010-11 to 2019-20

Sonoma

Santa Rosa Junior College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.8% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Santa Rosa Junior College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.8% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing

Stockton

San Joaquin Delta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Xavier College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
San Joaquin Delta College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Xavier College
Associate's Degree in Nursing

Vallejo / Fairfield area

Solano Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Solano Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.5% 2010-11 to 2019-20

Visalia / Porterville area

College of the Sequoias
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Porterville College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2019-20)
San Joaquin Valley College
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing: 81.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.0% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
College of the Sequoias
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Porterville College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.1% 2011-12 to 2019-20
San Joaquin Valley College
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing 81.0% 2009 to Q1 2013
Associate's Degree in Nursing 76.0% 2010-11 to 2019-20

Other California cities

Mendocino College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
College of the Siskiyous
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.5% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Madera Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.2% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2019-20)
Imperial Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
West Hills College Lemoore
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Shasta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
College of the Redwoods
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.3% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Yuba College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.3% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
Butte College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.6% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2019-20)
  • 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
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Mendocino College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
College of the Siskiyous
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.5% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Madera Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.2% 2011-12 to 2019-20
Imperial Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
West Hills College Lemoore
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.2% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Shasta College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.1% 2010-11 to 2019-20
College of the Redwoods
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.3% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Yuba College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.3% 2010-11 to 2019-20
Butte College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.6% 2010-11 to 2019-20
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