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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's in Registered Nursing: 89.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Bakersfield College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 88.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Fresno

California State University, Fresno
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 90.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Master's in Registered Nursing: 81.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2010-11)
Fresno City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 79.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Inland Empire

Chaffey College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 97.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
California Baptist University
Master's in Registered Nursing: 97.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 90.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2011-12)
Victor Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Riverside City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Mt San Jacinto College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 88.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
College of the Desert
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 87.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
California State University, San Bernardino
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 84.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
San Bernardino Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Loma Linda University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 80.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Copper Mountain College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 80.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Everest College - Ontario Metro
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 78.3% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2011-12)
West Coast University - Ontario
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 72.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)

Los Angeles County

California State University, Long Beach
Master's in Registered Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2010-11)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 95.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science
Master's in Registered Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles Harbor College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 96.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
California State University, Los Angeles
Master's in Registered Nursing: 95.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 89.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Long Beach City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
California State University, Northridge
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 94.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2011-12)
Glendale Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Santa Monica College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Pasadena City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Mt San Antonio College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
El Camino College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
University of California, Los Angeles
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2011-12)
Master's in Registered Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2011-12)
Cerritos College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Rio Hondo College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Western University of Health Sciences
Master's in Registered Nursing: 89.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Biola University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 88.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Antelope Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 88.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Pierce College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Citrus College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 86.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
West Coast University - Los Angeles
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 86.2% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
College of the Canyons
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Azusa Pacific University
Master's in Registered Nursing: 85.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 83.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Mount St Mary's College
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 82.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 81.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles Southwest College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 80.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
American University of Health Sciences
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 78.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2011-12)
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Master's in Registered Nursing: 76.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2011-12)
El Camino College Compton Center
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 76.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Angeles Trade Technical College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 76.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Shepherd University
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 73.2% NCLEX pass rate (2010-11 through 2011-12)
East Los Angeles College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 70.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Merced

Merced College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 80.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Modesto

California State University, Stanislaus
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 96.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Modesto Junior College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
University of Phoenix - Modesto
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 75.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)

Napa

Napa Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Pacific Union College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Orange County

Western Governors University - Santa Ana
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
Saddleback College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Cypress College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Concordia University Irvine
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Golden West College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Santa Ana College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
West Coast University - Orange County
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 87.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
University of California, Irvine
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 83.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
California State University, Fullerton
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 74.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
CNI College
Programs offered: Associate's in Registered Nursing
Stanbridge College
Programs offered: Associate's in Registered Nursing

Oxnard / Thousand Oaks / Ventura area

Ventura College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 93.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
California State University, Channel Islands
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 91.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Moorpark College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Sacramento

California State University, Sacramento
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 96.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Sacramento City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Sierra College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
American River College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Carrington College California - Sacramento
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 82.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
ITT Technical Institute - Rancho Cordova
Programs offered: Associate's in Registered Nursing

Salinas

Monterey Peninsula College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 93.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Hartnell College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

San Diego County

Point Loma Nazarene University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 96.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
MiraCosta College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Palomar College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 95.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
University of San Diego
Master's in Registered Nursing: 93.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
San Diego State University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
San Diego City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
California State University, San Marcos
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 90.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2011-12)
Grossmont College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 87.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Kaplan College - San Diego
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 84.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Southwestern College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 80.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
National University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 78.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
United States University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 69.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
Programs offered: Master's in Registered Nursing

San Francisco Bay metro area

Chabot College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 97.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Merritt College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 96.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Ohlone College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 94.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
University of California, San Francisco
Master's in Registered Nursing: 93.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Samuel Merritt University
Master's in Registered Nursing: 92.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 88.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Contra Costa College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
California State University, East Bay
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
University of San Francisco
Master's in Registered Nursing: 91.3% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 88.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Gavilan College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
College of Marin
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
San Francisco State University
Master's in Registered Nursing: 88.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 84.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Los Medanos College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
City College of San Francisco
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 86.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Evergreen Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
San Jose State University
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 84.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
De Anza College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 82.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Mission College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 82.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
College of San Mateo
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 79.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Dominican University of California
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 78.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Unitek College - Fremont
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 75.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Holy Names University
Programs offered: Bachelor's in Registered Nursing

San Luis Obispo

Cuesta College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 93.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara City College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 90.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Allan Hancock College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 82.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Santa Cruz

Cabrillo College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 84.7% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Sonoma

Sonoma State University
Master's in Registered Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 92.8% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Santa Rosa Junior College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 93.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Stockton

San Joaquin Delta College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 86.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Vallejo / Fairfield area

Solano Community College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.9% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Visalia / Porterville area

Porterville College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
College of the Sequoias
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 85.5% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
San Joaquin Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 65.4% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)

Other California cities

Madera Community College Center
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2011-12)
Mendocino College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 94.1% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
College of the Siskiyous
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 92.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Yuba College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Shasta College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
West Hills College Lemoore
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 89.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009-10 through 2011-12)
California State University, Chico
Bachelor's in Registered Nursing: 89.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
College of the Redwoods - Eureka
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Butte College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 81.2% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Imperial Valley College
Associate's in Registered Nursing: 77.0% NCLEX pass rate (2007-08 through 2011-12)
Simpson University
Programs offered: Bachelor's in Registered Nursing
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