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.

The most common careers for nurses in the state include registered nurse (RN), licensed vocational nurse (LVN) and certified nursing assistant (CNA). RNs must be skilled at performing a variety of challenging tasks, from conducting diagnostic tests and analyzing results to establishing care plans for the sick or injured. To prepare for these tasks, aspiring RNs typically hold an associate degree in nursing (ADN), a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), or a master of science in nursing (MSN). A license is required as well.

CNAs provide hands-on care and perform routine tasks under the supervision of nursing and other medical staff, while the more advanced LVNs care for the sick or injured under the supervision of RNs, surgeons, and physicians. LVNs must complete a certificate or diploma program and obtain a license, while CNAs must complete an accredited training program and obtain certification.

Graduates are prepared to seek lucrative positions at top Los Angeles-area hospitals and health centers such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, California Hospital Medical Center, and Keck Hospital of USC. Los Angeles-based RNs earn $92,230 per year on average, LVNs average $51,340 per year, and CNAs average $27,330 per year.


For our 2024 rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on nearly 3,000 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. We evaluated each school on three dimensions:

  • The institution’s academic prestige and perceived value
  • The breadth and depth of nursing programs offered
  • Student success, particularly on the NCLEX licensure examination

We then combined these assessments into an overall score and ranked the schools accordingly. For a detailed description of our assessment methodology and dimension weights, please see here.

  1. #1: University of California, Los Angeles

    The UCLA School of Nursing has earned numerous national accolades. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the school among the top 25 nationwide for graduate nursing studies. UCLA is also ranked #12 in NIH research funding for nursing schools over the past decade. Approximately 600 nursing students are enrolled across the university’s BSN, MSN, and PhD programs. The MSN program offers a direct-entry track for non-nurses which leads to CNL certification, as well as numerous advanced practice tracks in various NP and CNS specialties. UCLA students are well-prepared for licensure: the school’s BSN graduates have achieved an 87% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, while direct-entry MSN candidates have scored an 89% first-time NCLEX pass rate.

  2. #2: West Coast University

    West Coast University operates two campuses in Los Angeles – the North Hollywood nursing school and the downtown Center for Graduate Studies – with additional sites in Orange County and Ontario. The school’s modern campuses feature LEED buildings and state-of-the-art simulation centers. Traditional BSN and LVN-to-BSN degree programs are available in all three cities. The BSN program has grown rapidly since its recent launch, with over 1,000 graduates in each of the past five years. During that timeframe, WCU students have averaged an impressive 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination. The university also offers a wealth of online nursing programs including RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN, four MSN tracks, and an FNP certificate.

  3. #3: Western University of Health Sciences

    The College of Graduate Nursing at Western University of Health Sciences launched the nation’s first online curriculum for family nurse practitioners. The school also established the first DNP and direct-entry MSN programs in Southern California. CGN’s direct-entry MSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a strong 92% rate over the past decade. In addition to direct entry, the MSN program offers a bridge option for RNs with an associate degree in nursing. MSN students can choose to specialize as administrative nurse leaders, clinical nurse leaders, ambulatory care nurses, or family nurse practitioners. A post-master’s FNP certificate is also available.

  4. #4: California State University, Long Beach

    The CSULB School of Nursing graduates 100-200 new nurses annually through its prelicensure BSN program, which features both traditional and second-degree pathways. These students have enjoyed a stellar 97% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past ten years. CSULB also offers an RN-to-BSN completion program and a broad range of MSN degrees and graduate nursing certificates. MSN students can specialize in one of six nurse practitioner fields, advanced public health nursing, or nursing and health systems executive management. Certificates are also available for six NP roles: adult-gerontology acute care, adult-geriatric, family, pediatric, psychiatric-mental health, and women’s health.

  5. #5: University of California, Irvine

    The Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing offers BSN, MSN, PhD, and DNP degrees. The BSN program accepts freshman applicants and transfers from other schools. Each class is small with ~50 students, and BSN graduates have maintained a healthy 87% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN) is designed for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The program’s innovative curriculum features a desirable concentration in Community and Population Health. UC Irvine’s PhD in Nursing Science offers four broad focal areas: health promotion and disease prevention, health disparities and diversity, disease and symptom management, and health services and policy. In 2018, the university launched a DNP curriculum which provides both a post-master’s track and a family nurse practitioner (FNP) track. The FNP concentration is the first and only program of its kind currently offered by a University of California campus.

  6. #6: Azusa Pacific University

    Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing has a program for every career objective. Undergraduates can pursue a four-year BSN, an LVN-to-BSN bridge, an RN-to-BSN completion program, or the Two-Plus-Two BSN. The final option is a unique track designed for APU transfer students. Prelicensure BSN candidates have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 84% first-time rate over the past decade. The university’s MSN curriculum features specialties in nursing education, school nursing, two clinical nurse specialist areas, and four nurse practitioner roles. Azusa Pacific University also offers a DNP program, a nursing PhD program, and eight post-master’s nursing certificates.

  7. #7: California State University, Fullerton

    The School of Nursing at California State University, Fullerton has several graduate programs ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report, including nurse midwifery and nurse anesthesia. Numerous other degree options are available, including LVN-to-BSN, traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, four MSN specializations (leadership, nurse educator, school nursing, women’s healthcare), and a post-master’s DNP program. CSU Fullerton also offers a school nurse services credential (SNSC) and a post-SNSC MSN pathway for those who already hold the credential. Over the past decade, graduates of the traditional and accelerated BSN programs have collectively passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam at a solid 92% rate.

  8. #8: California State University, Los Angeles

    Cal State LA’s Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing offers a breadth of educational pathways. Graduate students can pursue an MSN degree, a post-master’s certificate, or a DNP degree. The MSN program has specialty tracks in nursing administration, nursing education, and four nurse practitioner fields. Existing MSN-holders can pursue a graduate certificate in any specialty area. The school’s DNP program is offered through a consortium with Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach. Cal State LA’s undergraduates have three options: traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, and accelerated 15-month BSN (formerly the entry-level MSN program). Over the past decade, prelicensure BSN students have enjoyed a strong 95% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination.

  9. #9: University of Massachusetts Global

    UMass Global’s Marybelle and S. Paul Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions is known for blending advanced technology and immersive learning. Most coursework is delivered online, with students gathering periodically for three- to five-day sessions at the school’s high-tech Immersive Learning and Simulation Center. UMass Global offers an accelerated prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion pathway, a post-master’s DNP, and two nurse practitioner specialties (family across the lifespan, psychiatric and mental health). Each NP specialty may be pursued through either a BSN-to-DNP degree program or a post-doctoral certificate program. The school also teaches a unique online Survival Spanish course, designed to provide healthcare professionals with basic Spanish communication skills and an understanding of Latino culture.

  10. #10: Stanbridge University

    Stanbridge University offers four distinct nursing programs: a prelicensure associate degree in vocational nursing, a prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion program, and an MSN degree with an emphasis in education. Prelicensure students receive hands-on training in the university’s high-fidelity simulation and nursing skills labs, along with the opportunity to work in the first synthetic human cadaver lab on the West Coast. Stanbridge graduates have achieved a 90% NCLEX-PN pass rate from the Los Angeles campus, a 96% NCLEX-PN pass rate from the Irvine campus, and a remarkable 98% NCLEX-RN pass rate over the past five years. The RN-to-BSN and MSN programs are both conducted 100% online on the school’s proprietary Edverum platform, providing maximum flexibility for working nurses.

  11. #11: University of Southern California

    The University of Southern California conducts an online MSN. Offered through the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, the MSN is designed for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least one year of clinical experience. This evidence-based nursing program prepares family nurse practitioners to provide comprehensive care to individuals and communities. Students will complete clinical experiences at family practices, pediatric offices, urgent care facilities, internal medicine clinics, and community health clinics. Graduates of the program are trained to offer integrative care to infants, children, adolescents, and adults throughout their lives.

  12. #12: Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

    Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is the second-most diverse four-year private nonprofit college in the nation. The university’s Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing has historically offered an RN-to-BSN pathway, an entry-level MSN, and two nurse practitioner specializations (family and psychiatric-mental health) with both MSN and post-master’s certificate options. The entry-level MSN is designed for students with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree who wish to prepare for initial RN licensure. Graduates have achieved an 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past five years. In the fall of 2021, the School of Nursing expanded its program offerings to include a prelicensure BSN track and a post-master’s DNP curriculum. The latter is the first doctoral degree program in CDU’s storied history.

  13. #13: Vanguard University

    Vanguard University launched its first nursing program in 2006. Since then, the school has added several additional programs including a prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN pathway, an MSN degree, and a post-master’s adult gerontology CNS certificate. The prelicensure BSN is designed for freshman and transfer students who are not licensed RNs. The RN-to-BSN is for students currently enrolled in an ADN dual enrollment program at another institution who seek to complete a bachelor’s degree. The MSN is for licensed RNs who already hold a bachelor’s degree, while the twenty-week CNS certificate is for licensed RNs who already hold a master’s degree.

  14. #14: Concordia University Irvine

    The nursing program at Concordia University has a new campus, known as Park Place Campus, which features a large skills lab, three simulation labs with sophisticated mannequins, additional classrooms, and a nursing station where students can practice hands-on nursing skills. The school offers an MSN degree and several BSN pathways, including LVN-to-BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN. Students in all programs will complete a curriculum designed around Dr. Jean Watson’s philosophy of caring in nursing, while working closely with faculty role models. Over the past decade, prelicensure BSN graduates have achieved an excellent 96% NCLEX-RN exam pass rate.

  15. #15: Mount Saint Mary’s University

    Mount Saint Mary’s University launched the first BSN program in the state of California. Today, the university provides a variety of options for earning either a BSN or an MSN degree. The BSN program offers three pathways (traditional, accelerated second degree, RN-to-BSN) and enables students to earn a California Public Health Nursing Certificate as part of their studies. BSN graduates have posted an 80% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The MSN program features specialty tracks in leadership and administration, nurse educator, and adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist. The final specialization is also offered as a post-MSN certificate.

  16. #16: Biola University

    Biola University’s Department of Nursing is part of the School of Science, Technology, and Health. The Department offers a traditional prelicensure BSN that was recently ranked sixth on Niche’s list of the Best Colleges for Nursing in California. Program highlights include opportunities for global health experiences in variety of countries and a state-of the-art simulation lab with multiple advanced patient simulators. The simulation lab provides the opportunity for students to experience a variety of clinical realities, from the intensive care unit to the delivery suite. Over the past decade, BSN graduates of Biola University’s Department of Nursing achieved a noteworthy NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 86%.

  17. #17: American University of Health Sciences

    American University of Health Sciences is a private Christian university that prepares students for careers in the healthcare professions. The school emphasizes service to others both locally and abroad. AUHS’s nursing programs feature small class sizes, hands-on learning opportunities, and experienced faculty. A recent partnership with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science allows for additional work and learning opportunities in underserved communities. The prelicensure BSN program graduates 60-80 students annually, with a notable 83% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past decade. AUHS also offers an RN-to-BSN pathway for existing registered nurses to complete their baccalaureate education.

  18. #18: Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health

    Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health has been a fully functioning training school for nurses since 1901. Each year, the School of Nursing graduates 80-100 ADN students across two tracks: a traditional two-year pathway and an advanced placement option for licensed vocational nurses. These graduates have posted a phenomenal 94% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past decade. Clinical nursing experiences are conducted at Los Angeles County Department of Health Services hospitals, including Los Angeles County + USC, Olive View-UCLA, Harbor-UCLA Medical Centers, and Comprehensive Health Centers and Clinics.

  19. #19: California State University, Dominguez Hills

    The School of Nursing at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) resides in the College of Health, Human Services, and Nursing. The nursing program accepts registered nurses or students who are currently enrolled in a community college nursing program. Options include a pre-BSN dual enrollment program, an RN-to-BSN pathway, and an MSN degree with administrator, educator, CNS parent-child, and FNP specializations. A post-master’s certificate in nursing education is available, as well as a specialized public health nurse certificate for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing.

  20. #20: California State University, Northridge

    The College of Health and Human Development at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) houses the Department of Nursing, which has a nursing curriculum geared specifically to the needs of the local community. Programs include the ADN-to-BSN Community College Collaborative, the accelerated BSN, and the RN-to-BSN pathway for existing nurses. A public health nurse (PHN) certificate is also available. The Collaborative links CSUN with designated California Community College partners to enable students to earn a BSN degree in just over 2.5 years. Applicants for all programs are eligible to receive credit for military education and experience. Over the past decade, accelerated BSN graduates have achieved an outstanding NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 92%.

  21. #21: Glendale Career College

    Glendale Career College traces its roots in vocational training back more than seventy years. The college offers a breadth of health career programs including dental assisting, medical assisting, nursing, and surgical technology. Nursing students can pursue three distinct pathways: a vocational nursing certificate, an associate of arts (AA) degree, or an RN-to-BSN completion program. The LVN certificate program has graduated 35-70 students annually for more than a decade, while the AA degree program graduated its first cohort of 90 students in 2019. Students from both programs perform well on their licensure exams: LVN graduates have a 77% NCLEX-PN pass rate over the past decade, while the AA class of 2021 scored a 91.3% NCLEX-RN pass rate.

  22. #22: Career Development Institute

    Career Development Institute opened its doors in 1998. The school began with courses for aspiring certified nursing assistants, home health aides, and restorative nursing assistants. In 2003, CDI became the only approved California nursing school with a mobile classroom, allowing the school to expand its reach and directly engage with the community. More recently, CDI launched an LVN certificate program that offers small class sizes, unique clinical rotations, tutoring services, and free job placement. Approximately thirty students graduate from the LVN program each year. These students have earned an impressive 93% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade.

  23. #23: Homestead Schools

    Homestead Schools has provided education to aspiring healthcare professionals for nearly thirty years. The school offers several nursing degree and certificate programs. The nursing assistant program prepares students to take the state examination for CNA certification, while the vocational nursing program prepares students for LVN licensure. Homestead’s LVN graduates have achieved approximately an 87% pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure examination over the past five years. The school also offers an RN-to-BSN program that may be completed in just five semesters.

  24. #24: Glendale Community College

    The Department of Nursing at Glendale Community College offers an ADN program that prepares graduates for entry-level positions at hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare environments. Sample nursing courses include Essentials of Medication Administration, Nursing Perspectives, Maternal Child Health, and Psychiatric Nursing. Graduates of the ADN program at Glendale Community College are prepared to seek positions at major area healthcare providers such as Adventist Health Glendale, Glendale Memorial Hospital, and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. Over the past decade, approximately 70-100 ADN graduates annually have achieved a strong 94% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.

  25. #25: American Career College

    American Career College provides nursing education at four campuses in Southern California: Los Angeles, Lynwood, Ontario, and Orange County. The school’s vocational nursing program is available at all four sites. This diploma program offers an entry-level curriculum that prepares students to work as LVNs in medical offices, clinics, HMOs, acute care hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Graduates have frequently passed the NCLEX-PN licensure exam at an 88-97% rate over the last three years. To meet Southern California’s growing need for registered nurses, ACC also recently launched a new ADN program at the school’s Los Angeles campus. Coursework includes medical-surgical nursing, obstetrics, pediatrics, behavioral health, geriatrics, and leadership, with corequisite clinical practicums for each class.

  26. #26: Casa Loma College

    Casa Loma College boasts more than 10,000 graduates who have pursued professions in nursing and allied healthcare. The school offers an online RN-to-BSN program designed for registered nurses with an unencumbered California license and an associate degree or diploma from an accredited nursing school. The RN-to-BSN program allows students to transfer as many as 85 of the 120 credits required for graduation. Students complete the remaining 35 credits of nursing education, general education, and clinical fieldwork at Casa Loma College. This accelerated curriculum can be completed in just three semesters, or as little as 48 weeks. Nursing coursework focuses on leadership, management, research, theory, and public health. Clinical experiences are completed locally in an approved agency with a qualified preceptor.

  27. #27: California Southern University

    With an emphasis on faculty mentors who are also skilled nursing professionals, the School of Nursing at Cal Southern offers accredited programs leading to the BSN or MSN degree. The BSN program has two options. The Early Start pathway is designed for individuals with a diploma or degree from an accredited nursing school who have not yet taken the NCLEX-RN exam. The traditional RN-to-BSN pathway is for licensed registered nurses. Both pathways explore areas such as evidence-based practice and research, pathopharmacology, and informatics. BSN graduates are prepared to seek advancement opportunities in the field. Cal Southern’s MSN program has healthcare administration, nurse educator, and nurse executive leader concentrations. MSN graduates are prepared to pursue senior positions in a broad array of healthcare settings. California Southern University is a member of the American InterContinental University System.

  28. #28: Smith Chason School of Nursing

    Smith Chason School of Nursing is a private postsecondary vocational college with a main campus in Los Angeles and branch campuses in Ontario and Phoenix. The school’s two California campuses offer a vocational nursing program that consists of 1,536 clock hours and 79.5 credit hours of study. This 15-month diploma prepares students as entry-level healthcare providers who are responsible for rendering basic nursing care. Over the past decade, the school’s LVN graduates have maintained a strong 80% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. To complement the vocational nursing diploma, Smith Chason recently launched a 24-month associate of science degree in nursing. This program prepares students for initial RN licensure with an evidence-based approach that promotes practical and critical reasoning skills. Finally, for post-licensure students, the school offers an 18-month RN-to-BSN degree completion program that enables working nurses to complete their baccalaureate education.

  29. #29: Pacific College

    Pacific College offers a variety of nursing programs. Options include an LVN diploma, an AS in vocational nursing, an online BSN for registered nurses, and an MSN degree for aspiring family nurse practitioners. The LVN programs are designed for nurses seeking entry-level positions, while the BSN and MSN programs are for working RNs seeking advanced skills to build upon their prior education and employment. Coursework for the MSN is conducted online, and clinical experiences are completed at local facilities. Pacific College’s LVN students typically maintain NLCEX-PN exam pass rates in the 75-85% range.

  30. #30: California Career College

    California Career College has provided nursing education for nearly twenty years. The school’s initial curriculum focused exclusively on an 18-month vocational nursing certificate. More recently, the college added a 24-month associate degree in registered nursing. Each program prepares students for the respective version of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). LVN graduates of California Career College have averaged a 68% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN exam over the past decade. ADN graduates have performed even better, with an 87% NCLEX-RN pass rate since the program’s launch and a 90% pass rate during the most recent academic year.

  31. #31: CNI College

    CNI College has been rated one of the top nursing schools in Orange County. Centrally located and serving all of Southern California, the college spans approximately 52,000 square feet of learning space. Facilities include a student union, spacious classrooms, state-of-the-art simulation laboratories, and a surgical operating room. CNI College offers an array of programs for aspiring healthcare professionals, including a prelicensure bachelor of science in nursing and an RN-to-BSN completion pathway. The prelicensure BSN program incorporates a mix of online learning, classroom instruction, and mandatory clinical experiences. The RN-to-BSN program combines 100% online classwork with a 90-hour clinical practicum.

  32. #32: North-West College

    Considered a leader in allied health education, North-West College has produced more than 45,000 graduates over the past fifty years. The school offers a licensed vocational nursing program that may be completed at any of its five campus locations. The program prepares students to work in medical offices, clinics, doctor’s offices, HMOs, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. NCLEX-PN pass rates vary by campus, with the Riverside location leading the pack: this campus has graduated 75-150 students annually, while posting an 80% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Graduates of North-West College enjoy a job placement rate of 70% or higher across all locations, including an 87% job placement rate for alumni of the Pasadena campus.

  33. #33: Annenberg School of Nursing

    The Annenberg School of Nursing operates on the newly renovated Hirsch Family campus at the acclaimed Los Angeles Jewish Home. The school offers a 13-month vocational nursing diploma, a five-week nurse assistant certificate, and a one-week home health aide program for licensed CNAs. Graduates of the LVN program have achieved a 91% first-time NCLEX-PN pass rate over the past decade, including a perfect 100% pass rate in six of the past seven years. CNA students typically achieve a 96% on-time completion rate and a 70-75% employment rate in the field, while recent HHA students have boasted a performance of 100% on both metrics.

  34. #34: High Desert Medical College

    High Desert Medical College offers career-focused training in several healthcare disciplines including dental assisting, medical assisting, veterinary services, and nursing. The college has offered a vocational nursing diploma program for over a decade. Students can select either the one-year fulltime track or the 90-week part-time track; both options include 1,595 total clock hours. Coursework runs the gamut of LVN responsibilities including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, obstetrics, pediatrics, intravenous therapy, and blood withdrawal. HDMC graduates have performed impressively well on the NCLEX-PN licensure examination, posting an 87% first-time pass rate over the past three years.

  35. #35: Saddleback College

    Saddleback College is the oldest and southernmost institution governed by the South Orange County Community College District. The school confers associate degrees, certificates, and occupational skills awards across nearly 200 programs. Saddleback College has offered an associate degree in nursing since 1971. The program incorporates a 46-unit nursing curriculum, clinical experiences at local healthcare facilities, and job placement assistance. Approximately 100 students graduate from the ADN program each year. Over the past decade, these graduates have posted an impressive 96% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination.

  36. #36: Premiere Career College

    Premiere Career College is a vocational school authorized to operate by the California Bureau for Private and Post-Secondary Education and accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. The school’s vocational nursing program is approved by the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians. LVN students enjoy one-on-one coaching, career services assistance, and hands-on experience. Upon successful completion of the NCLEX-PN licensure examination, graduates are prepared for immediate employment in the field. Over the past six years, approximately 40 LVN graduates annually have averaged a 70% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam, including an impressive 87% pass rate in 2015.

  37. #37: Santa Monica College

    Santa Monica College is one of the top community colleges in California. The school’s Health Sciences Department offers an associate degree in nursing with two pathways: a traditional two-year program and an LVN-to-ADN career ladder program. Career ladder applicants must possess a valid California LVN license, IV certification, and at least one year of direct patient care experience within the past two years. The ADN curriculum requires 74 units of coursework, approximately half of which covers a wide breadth of nursing topics including community-based practice, pharmacology, and women’s healthcare. Santa Monica College typically graduates 40-70 nursing students annually. Over the past decade, these students have averaged an impressive 93% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination.

  38. #38: CES College

    CES College is a non-profit institution that has provided quality education for twenty-five years. The school is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE) and approved by the California Board for Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT). CES College offers a vocational nursing program with clinical experiences that run the gamut of client demographics, illness stages, and healthcare settings. Job placement is an integral part of the program, with recent placements at Kaiser Permanente and the UCLA Hospitals. The vocational nursing program graduates approximately thirty students annually. Three out of the past four graduating classes have scored a 75% or higher first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN national licensure examination.

  39. #39: Marian College

    Marian College offers a vocational nursing program of 1,534 clock hours at its two campuses in Los Angeles and Van Nuys. Students can complete the program on a weekday schedule in 14 months or on a weekend schedule in 18 months. The LVN program emphasizes nursing theory, student development, and the application of nursing skills in the basic care of individuals throughout the life span. Upon completion of the program, graduates will receive a diploma and the opportunity to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam. Marian College’s LVN students have passed this licensure exam at approximately a 77% rate over the past decade.

  40. #40: Los Angeles Harbor College

    Los Angeles Harbor College is a non-profit two-year college that offers more than 200 academic programs, certificates, and training. Many LAHC pathways, such as the nursing program, lead to an associate degree. Others, such as the Honors Transfer program, prepare students to transfer to top research universities across the state. The college’s ADN program combines coursework in the classroom, skills training in state-of-the-art simulation and learning laboratories, and clinical experiences at hospitals, community clinics, and home healthcare agencies. Graduates are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Over the past decade, LAHC has graduated 50-75 ADN students annually with a remarkable 98% first-time NCLEX pass rate.

  41. #41: Mt. San Antonio College

    Mt. San Antonio College is a Walnut, California-based community college that consistently ranks among the top two-year colleges in the state. With more than 300 degree and career education programs, Mt. SAC also offers more programs than most schools in the region, including several pathways to registered nursing. The Nursing Department conducts three ADN pathways (traditional, LVN-to-RN, psychiatric technician-to-RN) as well as a 30-unit career mobility track certificate. All Mt. SAC nursing pathways prepare students to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. The college graduates approximately 100 ADN students annually, with a solid 89% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade.

  42. #42: North Orange County Regional Occupational Program

    North Orange County Regional Occupational Program provides career technical education to more than 16,000 students across five school districts. Classes are held at more than thirty different locations, and on-the-job training takes place at community-based businesses, facilities, and organizations. The nursing program at North Orange County ROP provides hands-on training for individuals who would like to pursue the LVN certificate. Students learn how to deliver basic nursing care to patients, check vital signs, administer medications, and collect samples for testing. Graduates are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN licensure examination; upon successful completion, they can pursue employment at home healthcare agencies and in residential and long-term care facilities. Over the past decade, LVN graduates have achieved an exceptional 94% first-time NCLEX pass rate.

  43. #43: Citrus College

    Established in 1915, Citrus College is the oldest community college in Los Angeles County and the fifth oldest in California. The college offers multiple pathways to licensure as either a vocational nurse (certificate of achievement, associate of science degree) or a registered nurse (generic ADN, LVN-to-RN advanced placement, 30-unit option). The LVN certificate requires 50 units of study, while the AS degree requires 60 units. Across the two programs, vocational nursing candidates have achieved an excellent 92% first-time NCLEX-PN pass rate over the past decade. The Citrus College ADN program provides hands-on experience at local hospitals and health agencies. An average of 30-40 students complete the program annually, scoring a strong 89% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate over the past decade.

  44. #44: Golden West College

    Based in beautiful Huntington Beach, Golden West College is a two-year, open-access institution that focuses on completion degrees, professional development, and workforce preparation. The School of Nursing offers an ADN program that qualifies the graduate to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. The ADN curriculum explores professional nursing, health and illness, and human physiology. Over the past decade, 80-90 ADN graduates per year have achieved an excellent 91% first-time NCLEX pass rate. Golden West College has also partnered with several four-year institutions – including CSU Fullerton, CSU San Marcos, and Grand Canyon University – to provide nursing students an RN-to-BSN pathway. This curriculum covers advanced topics such as family and community health nursing, role transition, and nursing leadership and professional issues. BSN graduates from these partner institutions will be prepared for advancement opportunities in the nursing field.

  45. #45: Los Angeles Valley College

    Serving nearly 25,000 students, Los Angeles Valley College is one of the largest two-year colleges in Los Angeles County. It is also one of the most active colleges for transfers into the University of California and California State University systems. The LAVC Health Sciences Department offers an ADN program that prepares students for either immediate employment in the field or admission to a BSN program at a partner institution. The curriculum for the ADN program covers critical topics like medical-surgical nursing, gerontology, and psychiatric-mental health nursing. The major requires successful completion of 39.5 focused units of study. Graduates are prepared to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Over the past decade, LAVC graduates have averaged an impressive 91% first-time NCLEX pass rate.

  46. #46: Pasadena City College

    Pasadena City College enrolls nearly 30,000 students each semester. Many of these students go on to secure a seat at major universities in the competitive University of California and California State University systems. The Division of Health Sciences offers nursing programs for students interested in either working immediately or transferring into a BSN program. Specific options include a brief CNA course, an 11-month LVN certificate, and two ADN pathways (traditional four semesters, LVN-to-RN career ladder). All programs feature intensive coursework and hands-on training at PCC facilities and area hospitals. Graduates of the LVN and ADN programs are prepared to sit for their respective NCLEX licensure exams. Over the past decade, LVN graduates have averaged an 80% first-time NCLEX-PN pass rate, while their ADN counterparts have achieved a solid 90% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate.

  47. #47: Los Angeles Job Corps Center

    For over fifty years, Job Corps has offered the nation’s largest career education service for young people aged 16 to 24. Job Corps is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, and its Los Angeles branch is operated by YWCA Greater Los Angeles. Like all of its vocational training, the center’s LVN program is available to low-income students at no cost. LA Job Corps also provides students with comprehensive healthcare during their enrollment, offers employment and housing placement for recent graduates, and tracks its clients’ success for two years after graduation. The center produces approximately twenty new vocational nurses annually, and these students have achieved a stellar 87% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade.

  48. #48: California Career Institute

    California Career Institute focuses solely on preparing individuals for careers in the healthcare and dental sectors. For those seeking a career in nursing, CCI offers programs leading to the credentials of certified nursing assistant and licensed vocational nurse. These programs are offered in an accelerated, training-intensive format. CNA students will be career-ready in just seven weeks. LVN students can earn their diploma in as little as 18 months. Hands-on training for both programs takes place in the CCI Simulation Lab. LVN students will also complete weekend clinical rotations at hospitals and partner sites in Anaheim and throughout Orange County. LVN graduates are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. The school’s first-time NCLEX pass rate typically falls between 70% and 80% each year.

  49. #49: College of the Canyons

    College of the Canyons is part of the California Community College System of 116 colleges which enroll more than 2.1 million students. Launched in 1969, COC serves 30,000 individuals across campuses in Valencia and Canyon Country. More than 240 associate degree and certificate programs are available, including a two-year ADN program within the School of Health Professions and Public Safety. The ADN curriculum combines day, evening, and weekend clinicals with coursework on nursing fundamentals, psychiatric nursing, medical-surgical nursing, and nursing leadership. The program graduates approximately 100 students annually who are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Over the past decade, these graduates have achieved a solid 86% first-time NCLEX pass rate.

  50. #50: Santa Ana College

    Santa Ana College is recognized for its workforce training programs in law enforcement, firefighting, nursing, and many other medical fields. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and its associate degree in nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Coursework covers critical topics like family health and illness, mental health, and pharmacological concepts. Approximately 90-100 students graduate from the Santa Ana College nursing program each year. Over the past decade, these graduates have averaged an 87% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination.