Best Nursing Schools in California

: Becoming a nurse in California is one of the best career decisions you will ever owing to the presence of some of the best .

However, before trailing the path of becoming a registered and licensed nurse in CA, plans demand that you train in any of the best schools for nurses in the state.

Studying at one of the state's top schools will prepare you for a successful nursing career. 

To help you make a good choice of school, we have come up with a list of the best in California based on reputation, NCLEX pass rate, school tuition, acceptance rate, and accreditation from ACEN or CCNE.

Ready?

Let's get the ball rolling!!! 

READ ALSO: Top 10 Rated Nursing Programs in America

What Is The Job Outlook For Nurses In California?

California is a good place to work as a nurse. However, it is important to note that the job outlook isn't great.

California is one of the lowest employers of nurses per capita. Just about 19.63 nurses are employed per thousand .

This is low when compared to 21.84 in Florida and 26.73 in Pennsylvania. 

This however shows that the job outlook will be of struggles except you have exceptional quality and specialization that sets you apart.

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What Are The Application Requirements To Apply To Nursing Schools In California?

There is no one size that fits all requirements list to apply to colleges for nurses in California.

However, here are the likely requirements you may need to apply to the best nursing programs in the US and California nursing schools as well; 

  • ACT and/or SAT scores
  • College entrance essay(s)
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • High school transcript (GPA).

Other application requirements may be required, so it's ideal to check with each admissions office representative before applying. 

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Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in California Today

Best Nursing Schools in California

Here are the best nursing schools in California and the best nursing programs in the US that are in CA:

1. California State University, Bakersfield

  • Location: Bakersfield 
  • Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 98.08%
  • Annual Tuition: $15,270 (In-State)

California State University is not just one of the best nursing schools in California, it also has the best nursing programs in the US.

One good reason to study at California State University nursing school is the low tuition fee advantage it offers its residents and the high NCLEX pass rate.

Its nursing program offers a variety of options for undergraduate nursing students. This plethora of options ranges from a traditional BSN nursing program to a 15-month RN-to-BSN. 

Keep in mind that California State University Bakersfield's nursing program offers both traditional, accelerated, and bridge programs with the exception of online programs.

APPLY TO CAL STATE UNIVERSITY BAKERSFIELD NURSING PROGRAM 

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2. California State University, Fullerton

  • Location: Fullerton 
  • Financial Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 96.97%
  • Annual Tuition: $6,995 (In-State)

If you're looking for an online nursing program in California, California State University, Fullerton is not an option fit for you. This is one of the best nursing schools in California, .

California State University, Fullerton offers just traditional, accelerated, and bridge nursing programs.

Majorly, the school focuses on four BSN options: Traditional BSN (for direct-entry freshmen), Upper Division Transfer BSN Pathway (for upper division transfer students), accelerated BSN (for BSN nurses), and an RN to BSN program (for ADN-educated RNs).

Just like some schools in the CSU system, California State University, Fullerton has a low in-state tuition fee. 

APPLY TO CAL STATE UNIVERSITY FULLERTON NURSING PROGRAM 

3. University of California, Irvine

  • Location: Irvine 
  • Financial Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 88.64%
  • Annual Tuition: $11,928 (In-State) 

Next on our list of best nursing programs in the US is the University of California, Irvine in Irvine CA. This is one of the best nursing schools in California, USA.

The school offers both traditional, accelerated, and bridge nursing programs with an exception of online nursing programs.

On the records, the University of California, Irvine is recognized by the U.S. News & World Report as one of the top public US schools.

The major nursing program at the school is the undergraduate traditional BSN program.

One good reason to enroll in the University of California, Irvine nursing program is the high chance of getting employed after graduation as the school boasts high graduate employment and salaries.

APPLY TO UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE NURSING PROGRAM 

READ ALSO: Best Nursing Schools in Nigeria Today | Tuition and their Requirements

4. California State University, Long Beach

  • Location: Long Beach 
  • Financial Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 99.3%
  • Annual Tuition: $6,834 (In-State)

California State University, Long Beach is a good school for students who want to enjoy the Californian life while studying nursing.

Long Beach as the name denotes is filled with beautiful beaches for relaxation. This is one of the best nursing schools in California, USA.

Besides that the California State University, Long Beach nursing program is recognized globally as one of the premier nursing programs in the US.

Nursing programs offered at the University include BSN and MSN programs. The BSN route includes traditional BSN, RN to BSN, and Accelerated BSN nursing programs. 

Keep in mind that California State University, Long Beach does not offer online nursing programs.

APPLY TO CAL STATE UNIVERSITY, LONG BEACH NURSING PROGRAM 

5. California State University, Los Angeles

  • Location: Los Angeles 
  • Financial Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.4%
  • Annual Tuition: $6,782 (In-State)

California State University, Los Angeles Is one of the best nursing schools in California. Its nursing programs allow students to go on clinical practices in various hospitals. This is one of the best nursing schools in California, USA.

Majorly there are four nursing program tracks for undergraduate nursing students at California State University, Los Angeles.

Such includes; traditional BSN (for direct-entry freshmen), RN-BSN (for ADN-educated RNs), ADN-BSN Collaborative Program, and Accelerated BSN (for non-nursing bachelor's degree holders).

Keep in mind that California State University, Los Angeles does not offer online nursing programs.

APPLY TO CAL STATE UNIVERSITY, LOS ANGELES NURSING PROGRAM 

READ ALSO: Best Nursing Schools in Louisiana Today 

6. University of California, Los Angeles

  • Location: Los Angeles 
  • Financial Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 90.91%
  • Annual Tuition: $13,804 (In-State) 

University of California, Los Angeles is one of the best nursing schools in the US that offers traditional nursing programs with an exception of online, accelerated, and bridge nursing programs.

UCLA nursing programs have one traditional BSN program for incoming freshman and transfer students. Also, there are master's and doctoral-level degrees. This is one of the best nursing schools in California, USA.

However, keep in mind that the University of California, Los Angeles nursing programs tuition is higher but in-state students will pay a lower tuition rate. 

APPLY TO UCLA NURSING PROGRAM 

7. California State University, Sacramento

  • Location: Sacramento 
  • Financial Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 97.33%
  • Annual Tuition: $7,484 (In-State)

California State University, Sacramento nursing program is one of the tops draws in the school and the nation at large.

Its traditional BSN program is perfect for incoming freshmen who have no prior experience when it comes to the nursing field.

Also, there is an RN-BSN program as well as an LVN-BSN program open to current nurses who want to earn a BSN degree. 

Just like most schools in the California State System, California State University, Sacramento offers low tuition for California residents. Also, the NCLEX pass rate is one of the highest in the state.

Keep in mind that California State University, Sacramento does not offer online nursing programs.

APPLY TO CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO NURSING PROGRAM 

READ ALSO: Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Maryland 

8. San Diego State University

  • Location: San Diego 
  • Financial Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.8%
  • Annual Tuition: $8,174 (In-State)

San Diego State University offers both traditional, accelerated, and bridge nursing programs with an exception of online nursing programs.

Its nursing school has four main programs which include: traditional BSN, RN-BSN, MSN, and LVN-RN. 

San Diego State University is one of the best nursing schools in California which has the best nursing programs in the US.

APPLY TO SDSU NURSING PROGRAM 

9. University of California, San Francisco

  • Location: San Francisco 
  • Financial Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 88.0%
  • Annual Tuition: $54,980 (In-State)

The nursing school at the University of California, San Francisco comes highly recommended.

However, the tuition cost is on the high side for in-state students which makes it much higher for out-of-state students.

Regardless of the cost of tuition, the University of California, San Francisco has one of the best nursing programs in the US and California itself.

Its nursing programs include a traditional BSN and an accelerated MSN for current non-nursing bachelor's degree holders which takes 3 years to complete. 

Also, the University of California, San Francisco offers just traditional, accelerated, and online degree programs.

Keep in mind that the University does not offer bridge nursing programs.

APPLY TO UCSF NURSING PROGRAM 

READ ALSO: Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Kentucky

10. California State University, Stanislaus

  • Location: Stanislaus 
  • Financial Aid: Available 
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 97.83%
  • Annual Tuition: $5,742 (In-State)

California State University at Stanislaus offers traditional, online, accelerated, and bridge nursing programs to all students who want to apply.

Majorly there are four BSN options for nursing students at California State University, Stanislaus; traditional BSN, Accelerated BSN (for students with a non-nursing bachelor's degree), LVN-BSN, and online RN-BSN.

Keep in mind that clinical practice for nursing students at California State University, Stanislaus, is held at Madera and as far north as Stockton.

APPLY TO CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, STANISLAUS NURSING PROGRAM 

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FAQs on The Best Nursing Schools In California 

How Many Nurses Are In California?

Currently, California has about 324,400 nurses employed in the state.

Following this report, California employs more nurses than other parts of the nation.

How Much Do Nurses In California Earn?

Following the report released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurses in CA earned an annual mean wage of $124,000 in 2021.

This places it as the state where nurses are paid the highest in the USA.

However, keep in mind that this average salary structure can be altered depending on your degree, the wealth of experience, location, and specialization.

What Are The Accreditation Bodies For Nursing Schools In California?

There are two major nursing accreditation organizations for nursing schools in California.

They are;
– Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
– Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

How Do I Get a Nursing License in California?

Following the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) laid down roles, California nurses will have to obtain a license for practice in the state.

To get a nursing license in California, you'll need to:
– Study at a state-approved and accredited nursing school
– Take and pass the NCLEX-RN.
– Pass a criminal background check and submit fingerprints. 
– Apply to become a nurse via the California Board of Nursing

It can take up to six weeks to get your official NCLEX results.
In the meantime, you can apply for an “interim” RN permit so you can interview for jobs and even start practicing while your official nursing license is processed.

Note: The best way to ensure license eligibility in California is to study at a California school.

What Is The Number 1 Nursing Program In California?

According to the U.S. News and World Report, the number 1 nursing program in California is that offered by the University of California-San Francisco.

What Is The Easiest Nursing School To Get Into In California?

The easiest nursing school to get into in California is the California State University—Bakersfield which has an acceptance rate of 78%.

Is It Difficult To Get Into A Nursing School in California?

Nursing schools in California are competitive and therefore require rigorous steps and prerequisites to be able to gain admission.

READ ALSO: Best Nursing Schools in Colorado 2023 | A Detailed Guide 

References

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