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Top Nursing School in California

9 Excellent Pre Licensure Nursing Programs in California

There is no shortage of nursing programs in the Golden State.  If you want to pass the NCLEX-RN test, you want to make sure you pick the best possible school for you. You want nursing schools with high acceptance rates in California, convenient location, a wealth of professional opportunities and more. Since finding employment can be tough for newly-licensed RNs, you want every edge you can get. To help you out, we have listed 9 excellent nursing programs for your consideration. We go over what each school has to offer, as well as their recent NCLEX-RN success. 


University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA is not only one of the best nursing schools in Los Angeles, it ranks highly on a national level. US News and World Report recently ranked its Masters program #16 nationwide, while the research department was ranked 9th by the National Institute of Health. Nursing students can choose between the 4-year Bachelor of Science In Nursing (BSN) program and the 2-year Master of Science In Nursing program. There is also a Masters Entry Clinical Nursing Program for non-nur baccalaureates. UCLA’s BSN program ranks among the best undergraduate nursing schools, most recently achieving a high 90.91% NCLEX passing rate. Meanwhile, MSN students held a healthy 82.35%.


University of California, Irvine

UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing offers both a 4-year BSN course and a 2-year accelerated Masters program. Among other BSN nursing programs in California, Irvine State stands out with its focus on public health. Students experience hands-on clinical practice in diverse communities. Research focuses on improving health outcomes in underserved areas. The school also promotes career advancement and flexibility, allowing you to focus on any specialty. As one of the best colleges for nursing in California, UCI’s medical program most recently achieved 88.64% (for BSN) and a perfect 100% (for MSN) on the NCLEX. 


California State University, Long Beach

As one of the best nursing schools in Los Angeles, Long Beach State is more than just its scenic beachside location. Students are placed in leadership and collaborative roles in partnered healthcare facilities. The school provides both BSN and MSN programs. Sophomore students can take a 5-semester traditional nursing course, an accelerated two-year course, and an 18-month RN-BSN program. As expected, the nursing school has some of the highest acceptance rates in the NCLEX. Most recently, 99.3% of students passed the licensure exam.


University of California San Francisco

UCSF has one of the best BSN nursing programs in California. For non-nursing bachelor’s degree holders, there is an accelerated three-year Master’s Entry track. The tuition can be a barrier for some (especially for out-of-state students who pay extra), but it is well worth the entry fee. UCSF sits comfortably among nursing schools with high acceptance rates in the NCLEX. Most recently, 95% of BSN students passed. For years, the school has maintained its standard of excellence. Those who can shoulder the tuition have an opportunity to learn under one of the most acclaimed nursing programs in the entire country.


California State University,  Sacramento

CSU Sacramento is not only one of the best nursing colleges in California, it ranks highly nationwide. Each semester for the BSN program, there is a competitive selection process to determine who is admitted into the program's clinical portion. Those who can keep up will find one of the most acclaimed, diverse, and successful nursing schools in the entire state. For RNs without a bachelor's degree, can further their education and credentials with the RN-to-BSN program. Among BSN nursing schools in California, Sac State’s NCLEX-RN passing rates are elite. Most recently, it reached as high as 97.33%. 


California State University, Los Angeles

The Patricia A. Shin School Of Nursing is another one of the best nursing schools in Los Angeles. Students are guaranteed quality NCLEX-RN preparation in the cultural and economic center of the state. The BSN program prepares students for the NCLEX-RN, and An Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) is a 5-month course available to students with a bachelor’s degree elsewhere.


San Diego State University

The SDSU School of Nursing is one of California’s top-tier nursing programs. The school offers a BSN program that accommodates freshmen, transfer students, and registered nurses with associate’s degrees. Students with bachelor’s degrees can take the 15 month Accelerated BSN (or BSNA). This top nursing school collaborates with the California Community College for their ADN-BSN program. After completing the Associate’s Degree in Nursing program for the CCC and passing the NCLEX, students can take a full time ADN-BSN semester before receiving their bachelor’s from SDSU. The school’s most recent NCLEX passing rate of 95.8% reflects its status as one of the best undergraduate nursing schools.


California State University, Fresno

Fresno State’s College of Health and Human Services BSN program ranks among California’s best. NCLEX passing rates have consistently been high in the past five years, most recently reaching up to 92.04%. Fresno State offers state-of-the-art simulation laboratories, and chances for online courses. In addition, students are made to get hands-on experience at four of the largest hospitals in the Central San Joaquin Valley Area. In this area of California, nursing colleges do not get any better. 



California State University, Stantislaus

CSU Stanislaus is another top university that is worth considering. For pre-licensure programs, the university offers both traditional BSN and ABSN programs. Alternatively, there are also RN-BSN, LVN-BSN, and an online RN-BSN program for already-registered nurses seeking further education. With NCLEX passing rates that reached as high as 97.83% last year, you can trust Stanislaus state to educate and develop top-quality nurses.

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