What does it take to become a registered nurse (RN), licensed vocational nurse (LVN), or nursing assistant (CNA) in the San Francisco Bay metro area? Because RNs must perform a variety of challenging tasks – including administering treatments and medication, establishing care plans, and operating complex medical equipment – hospitals and healthcare providers require an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), or master of science in nursing (MSN). Many employers prefer a BSN or MSN degree.

Some of the top employers for RNs in the San Francisco Bay area are hospitals and healthcare providers. These include John Muir Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center, and Mills-Peninsula Health Services.

LVNs and CNAs must also meet education requirements. LVNs measure and record vital signs, prepare and give injections, and collect samples for testing. To prepare, they must complete a certificate or associate’s degree program in licensed vocational nursing, typically requiring 12 to 24 months of study. CNAs clean and bathe patients, assist with dressing and eating, and check vital signs. They must complete an accredited training program and obtain certification.

Graduates of RN, LVN, or CNA programs in California will join a considerable community of nursing professionals that enjoy the highest salaries in the field. The San Francisco Bay metro area is home to 34,710 RNs averaging $129,750 per year, 6,430 LVNs averaging $61,480 per year, and 11,480 CNAs averaging $36,100 per year. All of these salaries are significantly higher than the national averages for each role.

The following is a list of accredited nursing schools in California’s San Francisco Bay metro area that offer top-tier education programs in all areas of this lucrative field.

San Francisco Bay metro area nursing schools by NCLEX score

Chabot College
25555 Hesperian Boulevard | Hayward, California 94545
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98.9% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Gavilan College
5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard | Gilroy, California 95020
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 97.7% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.5% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Merritt College
12500 Campus Drive | Oakland, California 94619
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.7% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
University of California, San Francisco
Two Koret Way | San Francisco, California 94143
  • Direct Entry MSN: 94.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 45-Unit Option
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate PhD
College of Marin
835 College Avenue | Kentfield, California 94904
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.3% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Mission College
3000 Mission College Boulevard | Santa Clara, California 95054
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 91.8% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.2% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Ohlone College
39399 Cherry Street | Newark, California 94560
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.8% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Evergreen Valley College
3095 Yerba Buena Road | San Jose, California 95135
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
San Jose State University
One Washington Square | San Jose, California 95192
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.2% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
De Anza College
21250 Stevens Creek Boulevard | Cupertino, California 95014
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street | San Francisco, California 94117
  • Direct Entry MSN: 89.8% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.5% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue | San Francisco, California 94132
  • Direct Entry MSN: 89.6% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 83.9% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Quest Nursing Education Center
917 Harrison Street | Oakland, California 94607
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 89.3% NCLEX pass rate (2019 through 2020)
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
California State University, East Bay
25800 Carlos Bee Boulevard | Hayward, California 94542
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Samuel Merritt University
3100 Telegraph Avenue | Oakland, California 94609
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Direct Entry MSN: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • 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
Contra Costa College
2600 Mission Bell Drive | San Pablo, California 94806
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
City College of San Francisco
50 Frida Kahlo Way | San Francisco, California 94112
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 71.8% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Los Medanos College
2700 East Leland Road | Pittsburg, California 94565
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.6% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 86.5% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
College of San Mateo
1700 West Hillsdale Boulevard | San Mateo, California 94402
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.4% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Unitek College - Concord
1401 Willow Pass Road | Concord, California 94520
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 86.2% NCLEX pass rate (2017 through 2020)
Unitek College - Hayward
21615 Hesperian Boulevard | Hayward, California 94541
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 81.6% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
Dominican University of California
50 Acacia Avenue | San Rafael, California 94901
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 80.8% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2020-21)
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Unitek College
4670 Auto Mall Parkway | Fremont, California 94538
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 79.6% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Unitek College - South San Francisco
257 Longford Drive, Suite Five | South San Francisco, California 94080
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 79.2% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
Unitek College - San Jose
6800 Santa Teresa Boulevard, Suite 200 | San Jose, California 95119
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 76.6% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
Gurnick Academy - Concord
1401 Willow Pass Road, Suite 450 | Concord, California 94520
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 72.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Gurnick Academy
2121 South El Camino Real, Building C-200 | San Mateo, California 94403
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 69.8% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
Carrington College - San Jose
5883 Rue Ferrari, Suite 125 | San Jose, California 95138
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 69.7% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2020)
  • Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Holy Names University
3500 Mountain Boulevard | Oakland, California 94619
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 65.6% NCLEX pass rate (2012-13 through 2020-21)
  • 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
Medical Career College
41300 Christy Street | Fremont, California 94538
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing: 58.3% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2014)
Mt. Diablo Adult Education
1266 San Carlos Avenue | Concord, California 94518
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
Northern California Nursing Academy
355 Gellert Boulevard, Suite 101 | Daly City, California 94015
  • Certificate in Vocational Nursing
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Chabot College Associate's Degree in Nursing 98.9% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Gavilan College Certificate in Vocational Nursing 97.7% 2011 to 2020
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.5% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Merritt College Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.7% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
University of California, San Francisco Direct Entry MSN 94.0% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
LVN-to-RN 45-Unit Option
Master of Science in Nursing
Post-Baccalaureate PhD
College of Marin Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.3% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Mission College Certificate in Vocational Nursing 91.8% 2011 to 2020
Associate's Degree in Nursing 76.2% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Ohlone College Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.8% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Evergreen Valley College Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.6% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
San Jose State University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.2% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Doctor of Nursing Practice
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
De Anza College Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.0% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
University of San Francisco Direct Entry MSN 89.8% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.5% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Doctor of Nursing Practice
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
Master of Science in Nursing
Post-Baccalaureate DNP
Post-Master's Certificate: Clinical Nurse Specialist
Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
San Francisco State University Direct Entry MSN 89.6% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 83.9% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Quest Nursing Education Center Certificate in Vocational Nursing 89.3% 2019 to 2020
Nursing Assistant Certificate
California State University, East Bay Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.1% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Samuel Merritt University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.0% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Direct Entry MSN 88.1% 2011-12 to 2020-21
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
Contra Costa College Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.9% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
City College of San Francisco Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.6% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Certificate in Vocational Nursing 71.8% 2011 to 2020
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Los Medanos College Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.6% 2011-12 to 2020-21
Certificate in Vocational Nursing 86.5% 2011 to 2020
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
College of San Mateo Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.4% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Unitek College - Concord Certificate in Vocational Nursing 86.2% 2017 to 2020
Unitek College - Hayward Certificate in Vocational Nursing 81.6% 2011 to 2020
Dominican University of California Bachelor of Science in Nursing 80.8% 2011-12 to 2020-21
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
Master of Science in Nursing
Unitek College Certificate in Vocational Nursing 79.6% 2011 to 2020
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
LVN-to-BSN Bridge Program
LVN-to-RN 30-Unit Option
Unitek College - South San Francisco Certificate in Vocational Nursing 79.2% 2011 to 2020
Unitek College - San Jose Certificate in Vocational Nursing 76.6% 2011 to 2020
Gurnick Academy - Concord Certificate in Vocational Nursing 72.0% 2011 to 2020
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Gurnick Academy Certificate in Vocational Nursing 69.8% 2011 to 2020
Carrington College - San Jose Certificate in Vocational Nursing 69.7% 2011 to 2020
Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing
Holy Names University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 65.6% 2012-13 to 2020-21
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
Medical Career College Certificate in Vocational Nursing 58.3% 2011 to 2014
Mt. Diablo Adult Education Nursing Assistant Certificate
Northern California Nursing Academy Certificate in Vocational Nursing
Nursing Assistant Certificate
Category: 
California