Those looking into entering the career of nursing know that the school they attend to earn their BSN will have a huge impact on their opportunities and their career itself, so choosing one of the best BSN programs in California is very important. California possibly has the most options for nursing schools in the country, it might seem nearly impossible to choose the right one, but with a little research and matching up your goals to their programs you can find one that fits your expectations and needs.
It is no wonder that California has so many nursing programs when you realize that California also has the largest number of professional nurses employed within its state boundaries. It is also no wonder why California has one of the highest average wages for nurses in the country. A field with high demand, high salary, and therefore a great demand to educate and prepared the next generation of nurses produces many options for education in the field of nursing. This high demand is expected to continue for another two decades making nursing a career in high demand.
How to find the right school and nursing program to fit your goals and educational needs is very important to consider. While researching programs, make sure they are accredited by either the CCNE or the ACEN. More employers are looking for nurses with a BSN and higher degrees of education and experience, such as an MSN, NP, DNP etc. Attending the right school will be a springboard for those wishing to extend their education in an RN to BSN program or even beyond a BSN. If you are looking into attending grad school as part of your future it would be wise to choose a school that and program the guarantees you take any prerequisite courses for the grad program while in the BSN program to save you time and money. Another item to consider is if the school works directly with a local hospital for clinical hours if so there is a greater chance to be hired by that hospital right after graduation. Other items to think about and consider prior to applying to every nursing program in the state would be the following:
Do I plan to go to grad school? If so, for what degree? (MSN, DNP, NP) If there a school that offers both a BSN program and the grad program I am interested in?
Do I want to attend a large or small school? Live in a large city or small city? Live by family or away form family?
How will I pay for school? Does the school offer financial aid?
While there are many nursing programs in California some are definitely better than others. Each program has its strength, be sure to find the one that provides what you want and need. From nursing schools in northern California to those in the southern areas, the following are some of the best nursing programs in California offering a BSN degree. Criteria for rating was based on the following:
No matter where you are on the path to earning your BSN you’ll definitely find a track that will fit your needs at Stanislaus. Programs include a traditional on-campus BSN track to an online accelerated RN to BSN track and more. The following tracks are available to help you earn your BSN: ADN to BSN, LVN to BSN, AS to BSN, Nurse Practitioner, and MSN. Whether you want to become a nurse professional or advance your career in the field of nursing, Stanislaus has the way for you to reach your goals.
SDSU trains nurses to be able to treat patients as a whole person and be concerned with their families, whether that means educating them, informing them or simply being available to support them. Nurses will gain a broad knowledge base to care for the chronically ill or perform routine exams. The demand for nurses throughout the country continues to climb and the state of California is no exception. Nurses are needed in hospitals, clinics, schools, community outreach programs, nursing homes, rehab facilities, doctor offices, jails and more.
CSU Long Beach , a top BSN program, offers two different tracks for students wanting to earn their BSN degree. One track for the traditional 4-year student entering the program as a freshman and the other as an accelerated BSN program for California students who have already completed some nursing courses, received an ADN, or hold an RN license but have not yet earned a BSN. The curriculum is used to teach students to develop an understanding of self and others, hone critical thinking skills, communicate clearly and effectively with colleagues and patients, and use their broad knowledge base to treat patients.
CSU Bakersfield school of nursing offers students the traditional four-year program, admitting new students each fall. Students will complete one year of general requirements and then three years of nursing requirements. Graduates of the BSN program are qualified to apply for the Public Health Nursing certificate, take the NCLEX-RN exam and license, or prepare to enter an MSN program.
CSU Chico has several tracks in their nursing program to fit many students’ path of choice. There is an online RN to BSN option for students that already have an RN and have fulfilled the requirements and graduated from an accredited ADN program. These students must have a clear and current RN license in the state of California. CSU Chico also offers a traditional 4-year program for new freshman that will attend the campus full time. Transfer students are also welcome and can visit with an advisor to create the best path for earning their BSN.
CSU Fullerton School of Nursing offers a traditional track for students to earn their BSN and an accelerated track for students who already have a degree and want to earn their BSN as a secondary degree. The traditional track takes about 4 years to finish and the accelerated RN program can be completed in two years. Participants of the School of Nursing enjoy small class sizes with faculty that care about and provide guidance for students within the nursing program. Students are admitted each fall to the program.
CSU Sacramento offers a few different tracks for students to earn their BSN depending on what previous education they have and whether they already have an RN or not. There is a traditional four-year track for new students looking to earn their BSN. There is also an RN to BSN track for students that have already earned their RN and have passed the NCLEX-RN degree. Students that want to go that route for earning their BSN will need to have a clear RN license in the state of California prior to applying.
Students of UCI’s nursing school are well prepared as nurses and in general academia. Graduates are well equipped to further their education with an MSN or DNP if they choose to do so. The BSN curriculum is designed to combine theory and research-based clinical practice that focuses and strengthens critical thinking. Students are prepared to span the spectrum of health care needs due to their knowledge of biology, social, medical, behavioral, pharmaceutical, and biomedical sciences.
One of the best nursing schools in California is CSU San Marcos . It is a relatively young program that has grown and served the increasing need for professional nurses in the local area of north San Diego County. Currently, CSUSM offers an RN to BSN program for students that have an RN license that is clear and current. There is a traditional on-campus BSN program for students just starting their education at CSUSM as well as a newly added MSN program for students desiring to further their education and professional career.
Loma Linda University’s nursing school adequately prepares students with a broad knowledge base, critical thinking skills, and research methods to help them make informed decisions while caring for their patients. Students are qualified to provide quality healthcare to a diverse population of all ages. With a B.S. in Nursing, nurses are able to work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, schools, jails, and within the community public health realm. They not only provide health care but promote healthy living through educating and advising patients and their families.
CSU Los Angeles has been preparing excellent nurses for decades and has a long-standing reputation for quality education. CSULA offers many different tracks for students to earn their BSN degree. Currently, CSULA offers an ADN to BSN, RN to BSN, accelerated BSN and a traditional BSN degree track. Students have the ability to graduate much faster, spend less money on tuition, and enter the field of healthcare at a much faster rate if they so choose. If students desire to earn an MSN there are also accelerated tracks for that degree including an RN to BSN to MSN and a BSN to MSN. These tracks are accelerated and build on the knowledge base learned in the BSN courses.
As the field of healthcare advances, there’s a growing need to have higher education from an accredited school of nursing. UCLA offers a very competitive program that prepares students for a career in the ever-growing nursing field, either as a nurse or in a management position within the healthcare community. Participants will also have a broad knowledge base if they choose to advance their education into an MSN or DNP. Currently, UCLA offers the #3 nursing program in the nation according to US News and World Report.
Students at USF have different tracks they can take to earn their BSN, as well as an accelerated track to earn both a BSN and MSN within 5 years time. Participants are able to utilize their education due to the hands-on approach of their learning experience. USF offers state of the art learning simulation clinics and plenty of hands-on experiences before they graduate and enter the competitive and ever-growing field of nursing. Students learn how to think critically and communicate effectively within the healthcare field.
APU’s nursing program provides a solid foundation for students entering the healthcare community as nurses. The BSN program is comprehensive and prepares graduates to provide compassionate, research-based health care to people of all ages. Students have many opportunities for clinical experiences in hospitals, research facilities, and community health care centers. With state of the art technology, simulation center, and virtual patients, participants are well equipped for serving the community upon graduation.
Graduates of Mount Saint Mary’s nursing program learn how to research, how to be leaders, and how to provide compassionate care to patients of all ages. The BSN program is an accelerated 3-year program that is regarded as one of the top ten programs in the nation. At Mount Saint Mary’s a student’s educational experience will train them to be aware of cultural, social, and physical issues of each patient. Graduates are expected to treat the bio-psycho-social-spiritual being of their patients they treat.
Students seeking to earn a BSN at SFSU will need to complete the required courses prior to applying for the nursing program. Upon being admitted to the nursing program, students can expect it to take two years to complete their BSN. Graduates of this program work in a variety of settings from hospitals to nursing homes and many more. They work with patients of all ages. Some areas they can choose to specialize in are pediatrics, maternity, gerontology, mental health, surgery, and community health.
Being the nurse your patients need requires more than just knowledge and skills—it requires an unsurpassed humble strength and spiritual understanding that students receive at Point Loma Nazarene University. Students of Point Loma are provided with a dynamic Christian educational experience and will learn how to deliver optimal care for patients of all ages. Graduates are well prepared to administer comfort, compassion, leadership, training, and education as competent nurses within the healthcare industry.
Biola University is a private Christian university that integrates Christian caring into their nursing curriculum and practice. Students will engage with and learn from an expert faculty member that not only teaches students how to deliver excellent nursing practices but also helps students intertwine their Christian faith with their skills and knowledge.
Sonoma offers many different options for students seeking a BSN degree, whether they’re a first-time freshman or a secondary degree seeking student, Sonoma has a plan for each one. Sonoma will work with students who already have a clear and current RN license so they can earn a BSN degree as well as students that received a previous degree and are changing career paths to the field of nursing. Students will need to meet with a counselor to determine the courses needed and the clinical hours necessary for graduation depending on their previous education.
San Jose State University is accredited and has a nursing program that is compatible with state accreditation guidelines. Students can choose from a traditional track that requires four years of full-time attendance and clinical hours or an accelerated track. Students that qualify for the accelerated track are those that already have an RN license that is clear and current in the state of California. Often times they have already completed an ADN and are looking to pursue a BSN degree.
CSU Northridge has been preparing excellent nurses for decades and has a long-standing reputation for exceptionally training the next generation of nurses. CSUN offers many different tracks for students to earn their BSN degree. Currently, CSUN offers an ADN to BSN, RN to BSN, accelerated BSN, and a traditional BSN degree track. Students have the ability to graduate much faster, spend less money on tuition, and enter the field of healthcare at a much faster rate if they so choose.
West Coast University makes is easier to earn your BSN than ever before, with classes available when students need them. Students are admitted to the nursing program with start dates every 10 weeks, making the program available for more students to participate. Participants will also have multiple opportunities for clinical experiences throughout their time as students at WCU.
Graduates of CSU Fresno’s nursing school will be prepared to make clinical decisions based on theory and research. Students are qualified to provide quality healthcare to a diverse population of all ages. With a BSN, nurses are able to work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, schools, jails, and the community public health realm. They not only provide health care but promote healthy living by educating and advising patients and their families.
The nursing program at CSU East Bay prepares students to become nurse generalists through its BSN program. Graduates are able to enter the healthcare industry with research-based knowledge and clinical experience making them able to work with a culturally diverse population. Nurses with a BSN are able to enter the field as leaders, ready to assume leadership roles within hospitals, clinics and in the community. Now CSUEB offers an MSN degree as well to students looking to further their education and career.
CSU San Bernardino prepares students for the dynamic profession of being a nurse generalist through research-based decision making and critical thinking. As the demand for more educated nurses continues to rise so does the opportunity that comes with it. Graduates of CSUSB’s school of nursing will have the knowledge base to provide excellent patient care for an increasingly diverse population of all ages. For students wanting to further their education, an MSN degree is also offered at CSU San Bernardino.
Students of the nursing program at National University will learn critical thinking skills, how to be effective communicators with patients and families, and how to provide the best patient care to a culturally diverse population of all ages. Graduates will be able to develop caring and therapeutic relationships with their patients and use their nursing judgment to manage, prioritize and delegate patient care in a variety of healthcare settings. Graduates are able to work in hospitals, clinics, schools, jails, research facilities, and as public health promoters within the community and more.
PUC uses a two-step process to educate students in the field of nursing. First, students will complete an AS degree to earn their RN licensure by passing the NCLEX-RN exam. After that, they then focus on the remainder of the BSN courses with the generalist nursing requirements. These include critical thinking, effective communication, and leadership requirements. Students can specialize in emergency management as part of their BSN degree if they plan to have a career in emergency services.
CSU Dominguez Hills prepares nurses for the dynamic profession of being a nurse generalist through research-based decision making and critical thinking. As the demand for more educated nurses continues to rise so does the opportunity that comes with it. Graduates of CSUDH’s school of nursing will have the knowledge base to provide excellent patient care for an increasingly diverse population of all ages. There are multiple MSN degree specialties students can choose from and an accelerated RN to MSN program as well.
Samuel Merritt University has been providing excellent education for the healthcare community for over a century. Graduates enjoy a lifelong career caring for and educating patients of diverse cultural backgrounds and of all ages. Samuel Merit offers multiple programs and tracks to prepare students in nursing professions. These are one- to four-year time commitments and students can earn their BSN or any number of specialties of MSN degrees.
California Baptist University recognizes that the need for and opportunities available to well trained and educated nurses have never been greater. Students will learn skills needed to be effective and compassionate healthcare professionals in a culturally diverse world. With a broad knowledge base and experience with patients of all ages, nurses have the opportunity to specialize or work with a variety of patients.
To create a list of the best BSN programs in California that’s most relevant to you, we researched accredited nursing schools and ranked them according to the NCLEX-RN pass rate, which held the most weight, as well as the acceptance rate and tuition. See our methodology page for more detailed information.