|Rank||School Name||Score||Tuition||Student/Teacher ratio||Program count||Graduation Rate|
|1||Pasadena City College||89.00||$$$$$||20:1||4||32%|
|4||Napa Valley College||87.75||$$$$$||21:1||17||31%|
|5||College of the Siskiyous||85.50||$$$$$||15:1||17||28%|
|9||Monterey Peninsula College||80.25||$$$$$||24:1||17||29%|
|10||College of the Canyons||80.00||$$$$$||27:1||17||36%|
|12||American River College||79.75||$$$$$||27:1||17||27%|
|14||Santa Rosa Junior College||79.50||$$$$$||23:1||17||34%|
|15||El Camino College||78.75||$$$$$||28:1||17||30%|
|16||Antelope Valley College||78.50||$$$$$||26:1||17||24%|
|18||Copper Mountain College||78.25||$$$$$||15:1||17||17%|
|19||Los Medanos College||76.75||$$$$$||24:1||17||31%|
|20||Golden West College||76.75||$$$$$||31:1||1||35%|
|23||Santa Monica College||76.25||$$$$$||30:1||17||30%|
|24||City College of San Francisco||75.25||$$$$$||20:1||17||27%|
|25||Sacramento City College||74.50||$$$$$||28:1||17||24%|
|26||San Joaquin Delta College||74.50||$$$$$||38:1||4||27%|
|27||Victor Valley College||74.00||$$$$$||26:1||4||15%|
|31||College of the Redwoods||72.00||$$$$$||19:1||4||11%|
|32||Solano Community College||70.75||$$$$$||23:1||17||28%|
|35||Long Beach City College||70.25||$$$$$||28:1||4||24%|
|37||Allan Hancock College||69.50||$$$$$||24:1||17||26%|
|38||El Camino College – Compton Center||68.50||$$$$$||26:1||17||11%|
|39||East Los Angeles College||68.50||$$$$$||45:1||4||30%|
In California, there are more than 140 pre-licensure nursing programs and more than 50 advanced practice programs approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). Using the search tool below, explore the vast number of accredited California nursing programs to take the first step towards this rewarding career.
Nursing licensure requirements in California vary depending on the type of license one is seeking. In the Golden State, the government agencies that regulate the nursing field and issue licenses for practice include the California Board of Registered Nursing, Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, and the California Medical Board. Below are the guidelines for getting an RN license in the state of California:
- Complete a two-year associate degree, four-year bachelor’s degree, or a diploma program in nursing from an accredited school
- Apply for licensure with the California State Board of Registered Nursing and submit the application fee. The application must be sent 6-8 weeks before graduation.
- Request that sealed transcripts be sent from your school to BRN
- Be cleared through a comprehensive background check and fingerprint clearance
- Register to take the NCLEX-RN exam and send the $200 fee to Pearson Vue. The BRN advises new grads take the exam soon after graduation as research has shown that early test takers have higher success rates than those who wait months after completing their studies.
- Provide proof of US citizenship or lawful presence. Non-citizens may need to provide additional documentation.
- Those who hold a nursing license from another state or Canada, have completed an academic program that meets all California requirements, and have passed the NCLEX-RN or State Board Test Pool Examination can apply for a California license by endorsement. International applicants must supply certified transcripts from their school, translated to English if needed, and a copy of their license or diploma allowing them to practice in their home country.
Initial licensure is good for two birthdays (not years) and will expire on the last day of the month after one’s birthday. After that, renewal must be done every two years. Notices will be mailed out about three months before an expiration date, but RNs will still be responsible for renewing a license even if they do not receive the reminder notice. All renewal applicants must have a license in good standing and complete 30 hours of BRN-approved Continuing Education.
Certification for APRNs in California
Advanced practice RNs, such as nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners, must complete the same licensure requirements outlined above, but must also complete a few additional steps. These steps may vary from state to state, but in California applicants must do to the following:
- Must hold an active California RN license
- Must meet all requirements for clinical experience/certification in the specialty
- Submit a completed application and appropriate fee
For more detailed information on advanced practice certification for RNs in California, visit the California Board of Registered Nursing
With California’s 65 and over demographic projected to double by 2030, an aging population will place greater demands on a profession where demand already outpaces supply. To address this need, legislators have passed nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in hospitals and colleges have increased educational programs.
Nationally, the demand for registered nurses is projected to increase 19 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The California Board of Registered Nursing estimates that California will have 526,486 active RNs by 2030, about a 35 percent increase from 390,000 registered nurses in California in 2015. Below are details on salary and employment outlook for RNs in the state:
Top-Paying Areas for RNs in California
|Area||Hourly Median Wage||Annual Median Wage|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metropolitan Division||$45.69||$95,040|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana||$45.00||$93,590|
|Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta||$44.66||$92,880|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles||$42.79||$89,010|
|Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine Metropolitan Division||$42.46||$88,310|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
California vs. National Numbers
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central
The California Nurses Association is a chapter of National Nurses United, which has close to 185,000 members across the country and is the professional organization of registered nurses.
The American Nurses AssociationCalifornia (ANAC) represents all registered nurses in the state regardless of specialty or practice setting. Members have access to continuing education and leadership opportunities and also enjoy support from an association that has patient and nursing rights at the forefront of its mission.
The California Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) works to advance the transition from nursing student to health care professional. It provides mentors, leadership development and education to its student members.
HealthImpact, formerly the California Institute for Nursing and Health Care, analyzes workforce data to improve nursing throughout the state. Its mission is to enhance the public’s well-being by promoting nursing excellence.
The Golden State Nursing Foundation was created in 1994 to provide scholarships and grants to nurses and works to preserve the history of nursing in the state.
The California Board of Registered Nursing is the government agency charged with providing and renewing nursing licenses in the state. It sets the educational standards and approves nursing programs across the state.
The California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians oversees licensing for Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) in California.