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

Registered nurses (RNs) treat patients; perform diagnostic tests and analyze results; administer various types of treatment and medications; operate medical equipment; start, maintain, and discontinue intravenous (IV) lines; establish care plans; and educate patients and the public about various medical conditions. Some RNs may even run health screening and immunization clinics, blood drives, or public seminars on conditions. In order to gain entry into this demanding career field, all states require education, training, and licensure to become an RN.

In the state of California, there are three primary types of prelicensure nursing programs and two alternative routes to becoming a registered nurse. The usual paths to nursing licensure are (1) an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), which takes 2-3 years to complete; (2) a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), which takes four years to complete; and (3) an entry-level master’s program in nursing (ELM), which takes 1-2 years to complete. Alternate paths include the LVN 30-unit option, which takes 18-24 months to complete and is only recognized in the state of California, and the military corpsmen option. California law permits military corpsmen to take the national exam for RN licensure if they have completed RN-level education and clinical experience.

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Newly licensed California RNs can expect an excellent job outlook and high salaries. Registered nurses in the state earn a median salary of $94,310 per year; this is the highest salary for RNs in the US and nearly $30,000 above the national median of $65,470. Expected employment growth for RNs overall is 19% for the 2012-2022 decade.

Below is a list of accredited California nursing schools that offer some of the region’s best registered nursing programs.

Bakersfield

California State University, Bakersfield
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Bakersfield College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Fresno

California State University, Fresno
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Fresno City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Inland Empire

Chaffey College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Victor Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Riverside City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Mt. San Jacinto College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
California Baptist University
  • Direct Entry MSN: 86.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 83.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
College of the Desert
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Loma Linda University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 86.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
California State University, San Bernardino
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Copper Mountain College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
San Bernardino Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles Harbor College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
California State University, Long Beach
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Direct Entry MSN: 91.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Long Beach City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Santa Monica College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
California State University, Los Angeles
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Glendale Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
California State University, Northridge
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
El Camino College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Western University of Health Sciences
  • Direct Entry MSN: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Rio Hondo College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Pasadena City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Mt. San Antonio College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
University of California, Los Angeles
  • Direct Entry MSN: 88.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 82.6% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2016-17)
Citrus College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Cerritos College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Pierce College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Antelope Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Azusa Pacific University
  • Direct Entry MSN: 86.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2012-13)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
College of the Canyons
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Biola University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
West Coast University - Los Angeles
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 83.8% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2016-17)
American University of Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 81.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles Trade Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 79.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Mount Saint Mary's University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 79.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 77.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
American Career College - Los Angeles
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 79.1% NCLEX pass rate (2016-17 through 2016-17)
Los Angeles Southwest College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 77.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
El Camino College Compton Center
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 75.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
East Los Angeles College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 66.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
  • Direct Entry MSN: 62.3% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2016-17)
Shepherd University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 57.9% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2016-17)
California Career College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Career Care Institute - Lancaster
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Glendale Career College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing

Merced

Merced College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Modesto

California State University, Stanislaus
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Modesto Junior College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
University of Phoenix - Modesto
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 72.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)

Napa

Pacific Union College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Napa Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Orange County

Stanbridge University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2015-16 through 2016-17)
Saddleback College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Concordia University Irvine
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
Cypress College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Golden West College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
California State University, Fullerton
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
Santa Ana College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
University of California, Irvine
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
  • Direct Entry MSN
Western Governors University - Santa Ana
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 82.7% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2016-17)
CNI College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 74.5% NCLEX pass rate (2014-15 through 2016-17)

Oxnard / Thousand Oaks / Ventura area

California State University, Channel Islands
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
Ventura College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Moorpark College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Sacramento

California State University, Sacramento
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Sierra College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Sacramento City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
American River College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Carrington College - Sacramento
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Chamberlain College of Nursing - Sacramento
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
University of California, Davis
  • Direct Entry MSN
Weimar Institute
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing

Salinas

Hartnell College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Monterey Peninsula College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

San Diego County

MiraCosta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Palomar College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
California State University, San Marcos
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
San Diego State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
San Diego City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
University of San Diego
  • Direct Entry MSN: 90.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Grossmont College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
National University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Southwestern College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Brightwood College - San Diego
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 78.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
United States University
  • 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)

San Francisco Bay metro area

Chabot College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Merritt College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
University of California, San Francisco
  • Direct Entry MSN: 94.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Ohlone College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
College of Marin
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Samuel Merritt University
  • 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)
Contra Costa College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
California State University, East Bay
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
University of San Francisco
  • Direct Entry MSN: 88.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Los Medanos College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Gavilan College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
San Jose State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Evergreen Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
San Francisco State University
  • Direct Entry MSN: 87.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 83.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
City College of San Francisco
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
De Anza College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
College of San Mateo
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Dominican University of California
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 78.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Mission College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
Unitek College - Fremont
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 75.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Holy Names University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 61.6% NCLEX pass rate (2012-13 through 2016-17)

San Luis Obispo

Cuesta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara City College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Allan Hancock College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Santa Cruz

Cabrillo College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Sonoma

Sonoma State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Santa Rosa Junior College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Stockton

San Joaquin Delta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Vallejo / Fairfield area

Solano Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Visalia / Porterville area

College of the Sequoias
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Porterville College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.7% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2016-17)
San Joaquin Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 72.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)

Other California cities

Mendocino College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
College of the Siskiyous
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Simpson University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.0% NCLEX pass rate (2012-13 through 2016-17)
Madera Community College Center
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2016-17)
California State University, Chico
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Shasta College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Yuba College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
West Hills College Lemoore
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2016-17)
College of the Redwoods - Eureka
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Imperial Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
Butte College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2016-17)
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