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The city of San Diego has an impressive 23,670 registered nurses (RNs), 5,170 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and 8,320 certified nursing assistants (CNAs). These professionals work at major hospitals and healthcare providers such as Sharp Memorial Hospital, Scripps Mercy Hospital, UC San Diego Health System, and Alvarado Hospital Medical Center. To obtain employment at top-notch hospitals like these, you will need to earn a nursing degree or certificate, hold clinical experience, and obtain the proper license or certification.

For example, California-educated RNs must hold an associate’s (ADN), bachelor’s (BSN), or master’s (MSN) degree, and they must successfully pass the national licensure exam. Many of San Diego’s top hospitals and healthcare providers prefer a BSN or MSN. 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 state certification.

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Just a few RN duties include 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.

While salaries will vary by the type of facility, experience, and specialty area, San Diego-based RNs average $83,160 per year, LVNs average $48,190 per year, and CNAs average $27,670 per year.

If you’re serious about starting a nursing career, please browse our list below of accredited San Diego nursing schools that offer programs in all areas of this respected career field.

Featured Schools

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San Diego nursing schools by NCLEX score

San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive | San Diego, California 92182
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
San Diego City College
1313 Park Boulevard | San Diego, California 92101
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Concorde Career College - San Diego
4393 Imperial Avenue, Suite 100 | San Diego, California 92113
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 91.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park | San Diego, California 92110
  • Direct Entry MSN: 90.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Baccalaureate PhD
Point Loma Nazarene University
3900 Lomaland Drive | San Diego, California 92106
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
National University
3678 Aero Court | San Diego, California 92123
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Southwestern College
8100 Gigantic Street | San Diego, California 92154
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 68.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
California College San Diego
6602 Convoy Court, Suite 100 | San Diego, California 92111
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
San Diego Continuing Education
4343 Ocean View Boulevard | San Diego, California 92113
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
University of Phoenix - San Diego
9645 Granite Ridge Drive | San Diego, California 92123
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
School Program NCLEX score Time period
San Diego State University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.1% 2007-08 to 2016-17
LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
San Diego City College Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.1% 2007-08 to 2016-17
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Concorde Career College - San Diego Certificate in Vocational Nursing 91.0% 2009 to Q1 2013
University of San Diego Direct Entry MSN 90.9% 2007-08 to 2016-17
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Master of Science in Nursing
Post-Baccalaureate DNP
Post-Baccalaureate PhD
Point Loma Nazarene University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.5% 2007-08 to 2016-17
LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
MSN: Nursing Administration
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
National University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.0% 2007-08 to 2016-17
Accelerated Second Degree BSN
LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Southwestern College Associate's Degree in Nursing 82.3% 2007-08 to 2016-17
Certificate in Vocational Nursing 68.2% 2009 to Q1 2013
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
California College San Diego RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
San Diego Continuing Education Nursing Assistant Certificate
University of Phoenix - San Diego MSN: Nursing Administration
MSN: Nursing Education
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion