How to Find RN Programs in California

Finding registered nursing (RN) programs in California can be a difficult challenge; there are so many options, degrees, and specifications that the task can become overwhelming. In order to make an informed decision on a college, you have to understand a college’s prerequisites, admission requirements, and course schedule to determine what college is right for you.

Students who plan on becoming RNs have to pursue a program to earn either an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree. If you complete an Associate’s Degree in Nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, you are able to become a registered nurse. The ADN typically takes 2 years to complete. A Bachelor’s program is a 4 year program that expands on knowledge taught in an Associate’s Degree. After graduating, you may also take the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse. Some students who graduated with an ADN decide to go back to school to get their Bachelor’s, in which case there are bridge programs that take about an additional 2 years. Although there are many schools that provide certified RN programs, below are some of the best nursing schools in California.

Allan Hancock College

The college consists of a large campus and 3 learning centers; there are about 11,000 students enrolled every year. For a 2 year college, Hancock offers a wide variety of degrees in over 100 areas of study. One of the programs, a LVN to RN transfer path, is geared towards licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) who want to further their education. The program works towards students earning an Associate in Science in Registered Nursing. Students with an LVN license studying to become RNs must complete 26 units of various nursing courses and education units which will qualify them to take the NCLEX-RN.

On average, students must possess a high school diploma or GED, a current California LVN license, course credits in biology, English, math, and psychology, and current CPR certification to apply for the LVN to RN program. Tuition costs total around $1,326 a year for in-state students, and $6,750 for out-of-state. In addition to admission requirements, students must submit a criminal background check, drug screening, pass a health examination, and provide proof of current immunizations.

City College of San Francisco

One of the larger universities, the City College of San Francisco provides an urban setting with 9 campuses in total. They offer an Associate’s degree nursing program that prepares future RNs for the NCLEX-RN exam. Like many RN programs in California, City College provides a rigorous classroom experience, intensive lab studies, professional experiences in medical settings, and specialty course opportunities to help nursing students who know the career paths they want to take. Some of the specialty courses offered include surgical nursing, newborn and maternal care, nursing trends, and nursing pharmacology.

Students who have satisfactory credits in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, English, science, and math, as well as CPR certification, can apply for City College’s Associate in Science in Nursing. Financial costs are typically $1,598 for in-state or $7,554 for out-of-state. Over double the student body of Allan Hancock College, City College of San Francisco has around 23,600 undergraduate students.

Students who wish to apply to the college should take the ATI TEAS, academic placement tests, pass a criminal background check, receive current immunizations, and pass a health exam.

College of San Mateo

The College of San Mateo is a beautiful campus that offers an Associate’s Degree in Science in Nursing. Similar to other Associate’s programs, the courses help students to prepare and pass their NCLEX-RN exams. The rigorous curriculum involves lab studies, clinicals, and medical experience and practical application. Students must complete an assessment test, courses in chemistry, biology, English, psychology, speech, and sociology, pass a background check, pass a drug screening, as well as take the TEAS and NPIS before applying. The college student body is fairly small, only containing 8,900 students. Tuition fees come out to $1,324 for in-state students or $7,308 for out of state students.

Loma Linda University

With one of the smallest student bodies of undergraduates, Loma Linda University has around 1,200 undergraduate students each year. The university is a private, 4-year school that offers many different science and medical related programs and degrees. Loma Linda University offers Bachelor programs, as well as Master’s and Doctorate Degree paths. With one of the widest selections of nursing paths, Loma Linda offers a LVN to RN program, an accelerated Bachelor’s degree, as well as typical degrees in nursing. On average, programs take about 2 1/2 years to complete.

Loma Linda University requires applicants possess a high school diploma as well as units in algebra, physics, anatomy and physiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, medical microbiology, public speaking, English, general psychology, lifespan development, sociology, statistics, physical education, and various humanities courses. Similar to other colleges, the university requires students to take pre-entrance exams, a personal essay, official transcripts from all previous schools, and at least 3 letters of recommendation in addition to the credit requirements. Typical tuition is around $32,572 per year.

Depending on your desired RN program, the type of schools and programs you apply to will vary. California has a wide variety of medical schools for every degree, and you have to decide the kind of career you want to have before you choose your degree. Once you have found the path you want to pursue, you should apply to schools that will give you the skills you need to succeed as a registered nurse. Always do enough research about a school’s accreditation, curriculum, and resources; your education is the foundation for your career as a registered nurse. You want to start your job off with the knowledge you need.

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