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Programs include LPN/LVN, ADN, BSN, MSN, and more

San Diego County is home to one the nation’s largest populations of nursing professionals. Approximately 23,670 registered nurses (RNs) live in the area, as well as 8,320 nursing assistants (CNAs) and 5,170 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). These skilled professionals work at a variety of top hospitals and healthcare centers, such as Tri-City Medical Center, San Diego Hospice & Palliative Care Center, Kindred Hospital, and Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

San Diego County RNs, LVNs, and CNAs perform a variety of challenging duties that require the right education, training, and licensure. RNs treat patients, administer medication, establish care plans, and educate the public about health conditions. LVNs measure and record vital signs, dress wounds, and collect samples for testing. CNAs handle basic tasks such as bathing patients, serving meals, assisting with eating, and checking vital signs.

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To prepare for these positions, RNs must complete an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), or master of science in nursing (MSN) program and obtain a license. Many employers prefer a BSN or MSN, especially for high-level positions. LVNs must complete a state-approved certificate or associate’s degree program and obtain a license, while CNAs must complete an accredited training program and obtain certification.

In addition to a variety of employment opportunities, graduates can expect to earn a competitive salary in their respective fields. Currently, San Diego County-based RNs average $83,160 per year, LVNs average $48,190 per year, and CNAs average $27,670 per year.

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

Featured Schools

San Diego County nursing schools by NCLEX score

MiraCosta College
One Barnard Drive | Oceanside, California 92056
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 90.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
  • Associate of Arts in Vocational Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
Palomar College
1140 West Mission Road | San Marcos, California 92069
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
California State University, San Marcos
333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road | San Marcos, California 92096
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
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
Grossmont Health Occupations Center
9368 Oakbourne Road | Santee, California 92071
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 90.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
Grossmont College
8800 Grossmont College Drive | El Cajon, California 92020
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
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
Brightwood College - San Diego
9055 Balboa Avenue | San Diego, California 92123
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 78.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 68.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Brightwood College - Vista
2022 University Drive | Vista, California 92083
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 77.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through Q1 2013)
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
United States University
830 Bay Boulevard | Chula Vista, California 91911
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 74.2% NCLEX pass rate (2014-15 through 2015-16)
  • Direct Entry MSN: 62.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2015-16)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
UEI College - Chula Vista
310 Third Avenue, Suites C6-C7 | Chula Vista, California 91910
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 58.9% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through Q1 2013)
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
MiraCosta College Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.3% 2007-08 to 2016-17
Certificate in Vocational Nursing 90.8% 2009 to Q1 2013
Associate of Arts in Vocational Nursing
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Nursing Assistant Certificate
Palomar College Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.6% 2007-08 to 2016-17
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
California State University, San Marcos Bachelor of Science in Nursing 94.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Accelerated Second Degree BSN
LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
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
Grossmont Health Occupations Center Certificate in Vocational Nursing 90.2% 2009 to Q1 2013
Grossmont College Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.1% 2007-08 to 2016-17
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
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
Brightwood College - San Diego Associate's Degree in Nursing 78.5% 2007-08 to 2016-17
Certificate in Vocational Nursing 68.1% 2009 to Q1 2013
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Brightwood College - Vista Certificate in Vocational Nursing 77.4% 2009 to Q1 2013
Nursing Assistant Certificate
United States University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 74.2% 2014-15 to 2015-16
Direct Entry MSN 62.0% 2009-10 to 2015-16
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
UEI College - Chula Vista Certificate in Vocational Nursing 58.9% 2011 to Q1 2013
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
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