Orange County is home to an impressive 18,510 registered nurses (RNs), 8,450 certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and 6,120 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). These professionals earn some of the most competitive salaries in the healthcare industry. Orange County-based RNs average $85,400 per year, LVNs average $48,690 per year, and CNAs average $27,450 per year.

To break into this lucrative career field, you’ll need the right education, skills, and experience. RNs typically hold an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), or a master of science in nursing (MSN). Licensure is required as well, and many Orange County hospitals and healthcare providers prefer a BSN or MSN degree. LVNs must complete an accredited, state-approved certificate or associate’s degree program and obtain a license, while CNAs must complete an accredited training program and obtain certification.

With proper training, graduates are well prepared for the demands of these challenging positions. On a typical day, RNs will perform a number of duties including treating patients, 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 check vital signs and help patients perform routine tasks such as cleaning, bathing, and eating; some might administer medication.

Skilled nursing professionals are in high demand at some of Orange County’s top hospitals and healthcare centers. These include Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and St. Jude Medical Center.

The following is a list of Orange County nursing schools that offer some of the best CNA, LVN, ADN, BSN, and MSN programs in the state of California.

Orange County nursing schools by NCLEX score

North-West College - Anaheim
511 North Brookhurst Street | Anaheim, California 92801
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2021 through 2021)
University of California, Irvine
802 West Peltason Drive | Irvine, California 92697
  • Direct Entry MSN: 97.3% NCLEX pass rate (2019-20 through 2020-21)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.4% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 45-Unit Option
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate PhD
Sri Sai Krish Institute
12362 Beach Boulevard, Suite 14 | Stanton, California 90680
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 97.0% NCLEX pass rate (2016 through 2021)
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
Saddleback College
28000 Marguerite Parkway | Mission Viejo, California 92692
  • Associate Degree in Nursing: 96.3% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Concordia University Irvine
3337 Michelson Drive, Suite 650 | Irvine, California 92612
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
North Orange County Regional Occupational Program
1800 West Ball Road | Anaheim, California 92804
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 92.7% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2021)
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
California State University, Fullerton
800 North State College Boulevard | Fullerton, California 92831
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • MSN: Nurse Anesthesia
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Vanguard University
55 Fair Drive | Costa Mesa, California 92626
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.7% NCLEX pass rate (2020-21 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Golden West College
15744 Goldenwest Street | Huntington Beach, California 92647
  • Associate Degree in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Stanbridge University
2041 Business Center Drive, Suite 107 | Irvine, California 92612
  • Diploma in Vocational Nursing: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2021)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Education
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Cypress College
9200 Valley View Street | Cypress, California 90630
  • Associate Degree in Nursing: 89.8% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Santa Ana College
1530 West 17th Street | Santa Ana, California 92706
  • Associate Degree in Nursing: 87.2% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Concorde Career College - Garden Grove
12951 South Euclid Street, Suite 101 | Garden Grove, California 92840
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 77.1% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2021)
American Career College - Orange County
1200 North Magnolia Avenue | Anaheim, California 92801
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 76.7% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2021)
Nurses' Development Center
6101 Ball Road, Suite 203 | Cypress, California 90630
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 75.0% NCLEX pass rate (2021 through 2021)
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
Pacific College
3160 Red Hill Avenue | Costa Mesa, California 92626
  • Diploma in Vocational Nursing: 74.1% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2021)
  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
CNI College
1610 East Saint Andrew Place, Suite 200 | Santa Ana, California 92705
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 72.4% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2021)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
California Career Institute
1240 South State College Boulevard, Suite 150 | Anaheim, California 92806
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 67.7% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2021)
California Southern University
600 Anton Boulevard, Suite 1100 | Costa Mesa, California 92626
  • MSN: Healthcare Administration
  • MSN: Nurse Educator
  • MSN: Nurse Executive Leader
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
University of Massachusetts Global
16355 Laguna Canyon Road | Irvine, California 92618
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • DNP: Family / Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP: Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • Post-Doctoral Certificate: Family / Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Doctoral Certificate: Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
  • Survival Spanish: Culture and Language for Healthcare Professionals
School Program NCLEX score Time period
North-West College - Anaheim Certificate in Vocational Nursing 100.0% 2021 to 2021
University of California, Irvine Direct Entry MSN 97.3% 2019-20 to 2020-21
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.4% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Accelerated Second Degree BSN
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
LVN-to-RN 45-Unit Option
Master of Science in Nursing
Post-Baccalaureate PhD
Sri Sai Krish Institute Certificate in Vocational Nursing 97.0% 2016 to 2021
Nursing Assistant Certificate
Saddleback College Associate Degree in Nursing 96.3% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Concordia University Irvine Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.1% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Accelerated Second Degree BSN
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
North Orange County Regional Occupational Program Certificate in Vocational Nursing 92.7% 2012 to 2021
Nursing Assistant Certificate
California State University, Fullerton Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.1% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Accelerated Second Degree BSN
Doctor of Nursing Practice
LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
MSN: Nurse Anesthesia
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Vanguard University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.7% 2020-21 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Golden West College Associate Degree in Nursing 90.6% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Stanbridge University Diploma in Vocational Nursing 90.3% 2012 to 2021
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Master of Science in Nursing: Education
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Cypress College Associate Degree in Nursing 89.8% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Santa Ana College Associate Degree in Nursing 87.2% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Concorde Career College - Garden Grove Certificate in Vocational Nursing 77.1% 2012 to 2021
American Career College - Orange County Certificate in Vocational Nursing 76.7% 2012 to 2021
Nurses' Development Center Certificate in Vocational Nursing 75.0% 2021 to 2021
Nursing Assistant Certificate
Pacific College Diploma in Vocational Nursing 74.1% 2012 to 2021
Associate Degree in Nursing
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
CNI College Certificate in Vocational Nursing 72.4% 2012 to 2021
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
California Career Institute Certificate in Vocational Nursing 67.7% 2012 to 2021
California Southern University MSN: Healthcare Administration
MSN: Nurse Educator
MSN: Nurse Executive Leader
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
University of Massachusetts Global Bachelor of Science in Nursing
DNP: Family / Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner
DNP: Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Post-Doctoral Certificate: Family / Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner
Post-Doctoral Certificate: Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Survival Spanish: Culture and Language for Healthcare Professionals
Category: 
California