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Oakland is located in California’s East Bay area, and it is the eighth-largest city in the state. The East Bay is home to 20,070 registered nurses (RNs), 7,280 certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and 4,260 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). These professionals earn some of the highest salaries in the healthcare field. East Bay-based RNs earn an average of $127,930 per year, LVNs average $61,700 in annual salary, and CNAs earn $34,180 annually.

To become an RN, you must hold an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), or a master of science in nursing (MSN). You must also pass the national licensure exam. However, many of Oakland’s top hospitals and healthcare providers prefer a BSN or MSN. Just a few include UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital-Oakland, Oakland Mercy Hospital, St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital, and Oakland Regional Hospital.

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Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) must complete an accredited, state-approved certificate or associate’s degree program and obtain a license. CNAs must complete an accredited training program and obtain certification. With the right educational program, aspiring nurses of all kinds will be well prepared for the demands of these challenging positions.

RNs assume a number of important duties including treating patients for various conditions, performing diagnostic tests, establishing care plans, and providing emotional support to families. LVNs do everything from measuring and recording vital signs to teaching family members how to care for patients. CNAs help patients perform tasks such as cleaning, bathing, and eating; they check vital signs; and some might even administer medication.

If you’re serious about starting a career in nursing, the following list of top Oakland nursing schools can propel you towards joining this respected career field.

Featured Schools

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Oakland nursing schools by NCLEX score

Merritt College
12500 Campus Drive | Oakland, California 94619
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Samuel Merritt University
3100 Telegraph Avenue | Oakland, California 94609
  • Direct Entry MSN: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nurse Anesthesia
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Holy Names University
3500 Mountain Boulevard | Oakland, California 94619
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 61.6% NCLEX pass rate (2012-13 through 2016-17)
  • LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Oikos University
7850 Edgewater Drive | Oakland, California 94621
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 53.9% NCLEX pass rate (2010 through Q1 2013)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Merritt College Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.4% 2007-08 to 2016-17
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Samuel Merritt University Direct Entry MSN 90.3% 2007-08 to 2016-17
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.6% 2007-08 to 2016-17
Accelerated Second Degree BSN
Doctor of Nursing Practice
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
MSN: Nurse Anesthesia
Master of Science in Nursing
Post-Baccalaureate DNP
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Holy Names University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 61.6% 2012-13 to 2016-17
LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
MSN: Nursing Administration
Master of Science in Nursing
Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Oikos University Certificate in Vocational Nursing 53.9% 2010 to Q1 2013