We've organized a comprehensive list of California nursing schools. Below you'll find information on specific nursing programs such as LVN certificates and ADN, BSN, and MSN degrees. You'll also find a profile of nursing education and careers in each major California city.

Merced is home to a small community of registered nurses (RNs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and nursing assistants (CNAs) that make a big impact on the city’s healthcare scene. With just 790 RNs, 240 LVNs, and 560 CNAs, hospitals and health centers such as Mercy Medical Center, Sutter Health Memorial Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Central California are able to deliver exceptional healthcare to a population of more than 80,000.

California is home to 97,420 certified nursing assistants (CNAs), 61,050 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and a whopping 252,940 registered nurses (RNs). Although these professionals reside in every city across the state, the largest populations are found in Los Angeles County. Home to 31,030 CNAs, 20,010 LVNs, and 69,610 RNs, LA County offers some of the best career opportunities and the nation’s highest salaries for nursing professionals. As of 2013, Los Angeles County-based RNs averaged $92,230 per year, LVNs averaged $51,340 per year, and CNAs averaged $27,330 per year.

With a population of more than 250,000 registered nurses and hundreds of renowned nursing schools, California is one of the most promising places to start a nursing career, with Los Angeles leading the pack. While California nursing programs and career opportunities are plentiful, it still takes a lot of work and the right education to obtain a lucrative position in this competitive field.

Long Beach, California is in Los Angeles County, which is home to a noteworthy 69,610 registered nurses (RNs), 20,010 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and 31,030 nursing assistants (CNAs). While opportunities for nursing professionals are plentiful in Long Beach, the area’s top employers are very selective. This means you’ll need the right amount of education, training, and experience, plus a license and/or certification.

A master of science in nursing (MSN) is the best degree option for professional nurses looking to advance their careers. While a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can lead to advancement opportunities as well, an MSN or higher is highly desired by hospitals, universities, and other medical facilities seeking skilled administrators, educators, and managers. Most MSN programs require 18-24 months to complete.

Some aspiring nurses prefer the fast track to a career in nursing, so they might choose an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) program to get started within 2-3 years. After several years in the field, however, many ADN holders are ready to seek a higher-level position or other advancement opportunities. Many of these opportunities require no less than a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. In fact, most major hospitals now require a BSN or higher because they feel it ensures that nurses are well trained and prepared for advancement.

While an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) can prepare you for an entry-level nursing position, a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is fast becoming the minimum requirement for positions at major hospitals, mental health facilities, and physicians’ offices. In fact, because BSN degree programs feature in-depth coursework and more clinical experience, they offer better preparation for high-level positions such as critical care nurse, occupational health nurse, psychiatric nurse, and nurse manager.

One of the fastest routes to becoming a registered nurse (RN) is an associate’s degree. Depending on the school, associate’s degree options may include an associate of science or associate of art degree in nursing (ADN), an associate of applied science (AAS), or an associate's degree in licensed vocational nursing (LVN). With the exception of the LVN program, each program takes 2-3 years to complete and prepares graduates to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

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.