2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in California
|School||NCLEX Pass Rate||Online Enrollment|
|Holy Names University||100.0%||N/A|
|California State University - Bakersfield||98.08%||6,038|
|California State University - Stanislaus||97.83%||4,673|
|California State University - Northridge||97.44%||28,617|
|California State University - Fullerton||96.97%||6,814|
|California State University - San Marcos||96.13%||5,539|
|California State University - Chico||96.1%||3,334|
|California State University-Channel Islands||91.14%||1,245|
Becoming a Nurse in California
There are many types of nurse programs offered online, but how certifications and degrees are recognized can vary by state. In California, you can pursue a career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed vocational nurse (LVN), registered nurse (RN), or advanced practice nurse (APN).
The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) approves all pre-licensure RN programs. They may also approve RN and APN programs, verifying that such programs conform to the board's standard. APN program specializations recognized by the BRN include nurse-midwifery and nurse anesthesia.
Nursing is a popular career choice in California. There are more than half a million registered nurses currently licensed by the California Board of Registered Nursing, more than any other state in the country. California also leads the way in nursing wages, with RNs earning an average mean salary of $133,340 and LVNs earning an average of $69,930.
Continue reading to find out what's required for each type of California nursing license.
To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:
Nursing Degrees by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
How To Get CNA Certification in California
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) oversees CNA certifications in California. To obtain a certificate, applicants must submit an application for enrollment in an approved CDPH training program, along with a copy of the Request for Live Scan Service form (for fingerprinting and background checking), to the CDPH.
Approved training programs consist of 60 or more hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of supervised training. Training can be completed at an approved school or local Red Cross. Students must be 16 or older.
After completing their program, applicants must demonstrate their skills and knowledge of basic patient care services by passing a Competency Evaluation Examination. Candidates are expected to pass the examination within two years of completing the training program.
How To Get an LPN/LVN License in California
In California, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs).
The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT) oversees LVNs. Applicants for a California LVN license must first complete an accredited vocational nursing certificate program. These programs can be found at many community colleges and usually take 12-14 months to complete with a full-time schedule. Students take courses in biology, pharmacology, and nursing, and also receive hands-on experience in a clinical setting.
According to BVNPT requirements, students must complete an approved program, fill out an application, provide background check information, and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) or National League for Nursing Test Pool Practical Nursing Examination (NLN) to be eligible for licensure.
How To Get an RN License in California
California RN licenses are issued by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). To qualify, applicants must first earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or an Entry-Level Master's in Nursing (ELM).
To apply, license applicants must forward their school transcripts to the BRN, submit an application and fingerprint background check, and pass the NCLEX-RN. California-based nursing programs approved by the BRN will automatically submit transcripts to the board when a program is completed.
How To Get an APN License in California
In California, APNs are certified by the BRN. Individuals seeking certification must first be licensed as an RN. The next step is to earn a masters degree (at minimum) in an APN specialty from an accredited, BRN-approved school. Recognized specialties include:
Individuals should also earn national certification for their chosen specialty. These independent national certification agencies set their own education, experience, and examination requirements for certification.
To receive an APN certificate from the state of California, individuals must submit an application form for their specialty. All applicants for APN certification must also submit fingerprints (done through LiveScan) for a background check.
Interested in exploring other options outside of nursing? Check out the best online bachelor's degrees in healthcare administration or our list of healthcare management degrees for more options in the field.
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