California is the United States’ most populous state. People continue to flock to the state, including immigrants who eye California as the number one destination. The sunny beaches, the beautiful scenery, and its rich history are some of the reasons why California continues to capture the imagination of millions worldwide.
California is also famous for being a lucrative home for nurses. It is the home to approximately 250,000 Registered Nurses. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2013 edition, states that California nurses earn more than other nurses in the entire country. The top employers of Registered Nurses in the state include Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Sutter Memorial Hospital, and plenty more hospitals and medical centers.
California has more than 230 nursing schools that offer prospective nurses a wide array of opportunities to pursue their vocation, from practical nursing to a doctorate degree in nursing. Nursing students have options of selecting schools from small private nursing colleges to nursing schools offered by large state universities.
Best Nursing Schools
Prospective nursing students choose their school based on different factors that include affordability, accessibility, academic quality, and board examination pass rate. Based on these factors, the following nursing schools in the State of California are regarded as the best choices:
1. University of California, Los Angeles
2 Koret Way, #N-319X
UCSF Box 0602
San Francisco, CA 94143-0602
The University of California, Los Angeles is a government-run research university with campuses in Westwood, City of Los Angeles, California. It is the second campus of the original ten-campuses of the University of California in Berkeley. UCLA offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to an approximately 42,000 undergraduate and graduate students. UCLA boasts of the highest enrollment among the different universities in California. It is also the most applied to university in the whole country. UCLA has five colleges offering undergraduate programs, seven schools offering professional degrees, and five health science schools.
The UCLA School of Nursing was organized in 1949 to be one of the different professional schools under the UCLA Centers for the Health Sciences. The following year, the school opened an undergraduate traditional program in nursing followed by a graduate program in the Master of Science degree in nursing and the Master of Nursing degree in 1966. The Doctor of Nursing Science degree program was offered in 1986. The Master of Nursing degree and the Doctor of Nursing Science were changed into the Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) and the Ph.D. in nursing degrees respectively in 1995.
The UCLA School of Nursing has 238 undergraduate students, 356 graduate students, and 47 tenured faculty, research faculty and instructors and 38 adjunct faculty and lecturers.
The bachelor’s and master’s degree nursing programs of UCLA are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education of the State of California.
The in-state tuition for UCLA School of Nursing is $12,692. The California Board of Registered Nursing reported that approximately 91% of UCLA School of Nursing graduates passed the National Council Licensure Examination in 2012.
2. Sonoma State University
801 East Cotati Ave
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Sonoma State University, also known as Sonoma State or SSU, is a part of the 23-campus California State University system. SSU’s main campus is at Rohnert Park, located about 50 miles north of the City of San Francisco. The university, the smallest units of the CSU system, offers 92 bachelor’s degree programs, 19 Master’s degree programs, 11 teaching credentials, and a Doctoral degree program in education.
SSU started as the Sonoma State College, established in 1960 as part of the California College system with a lot of help from the faculty of the San Francisco State University. The California State Colleges were later absorbed by the California State University System. The Sonoma State College became the Sonoma State University in 1978 when it officially gained the university status.
The Sonoma State University Department of Nursing has been at the forefront of nursing education in the State of California for the past 40 years. To date, the SSU Department of Nursing has educated approximately 4,000 Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Educators, and Nurse Leaders that serve the State of California, the country, and the world.
The Sonoma State University Department of Nursing offers nursing programs in the bachelors and masters degrees in various formats that are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education Nursing and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
The in-state tuition at SSU Department of Nursing is $7,234. Nursing graduates from Sonoma belong to the top 10% of the Nursing Board Examination passers.
3. California State University Sacramento
7667 Folsom Blvd,
Sacramento, CA 95826
California State University, Sacramento, also known as Sacramento State or Sac State, was originally founded as Sacramento State College in 1947. It is a component of the California State University system and is located in the capital city of Sacramento. The university is home to almost30,000 students and has a 215,000 alumni base. The Sacramento State campus covers 300 acres of land covered by more than 3,500 trees. The California State University, Sacramento is composed of seven academic colleges and a college of continuing education. The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The university is known as the Space-grant University that sponsors programs that reach out to minorities to encourage learning in the field of Engineering and Computer Science.
The Sacramento State School of Nursing offers innovative and excellent undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing education that are designed to meet the needs of the city’s diverse community. The nursing students receive training to become advocates, clinicians, educators, leaders, and researchers in the ever-changing health care system. The Sacramento State School of Nursing has gone a long way from the initial 38 undergraduate nursing students and three faculty members to the current 550 undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students taught by more than 60 full-time and part-time faculty members.
The in-state tuition at California State University Sacramento School of Nursing is $6,602. The nursing graduates from the university belong to the top 10% of Nursing Board passers.
4. California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
California State University, Los Angeles, also known as Cal State L.A. or CSULA, belongs to the California State University System. Its campus is located at the University Hills District near downtown Los Angeles. It has over 20,000 students who came mainly from the greater Los Angeles area.
Cal State L.A. offers more than one hundred programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees and 22 different teaching credentials. The university has program offerings in doctoral degrees in education, special education, and nursing. Cal State L.A. offers an early entrance program – EEP – to young students, enabling them to take college credits while they are still in the middle school or high school. The Cal State L.A. campus is home to a Rockefeller-funded center for the humanities and a space program funded by NASA.
The California State University, Los Angeles, School of Nursing offers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, the Associate Degree in Nursing transition program to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, the RN BSN option, the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, the Master of Science in Nursing (Traditional and Post Master’s) program, and the Ph.D. in Nursing program.
The nursing program of Cal State L.A. is ranked 79th in the United States by the U.S. News & World Report in 2013. The university’s nursing program is ranked 11th, out of 682 American universities offering master’s degrees, by the Washington Monthly.
5. Mount Saint Mary’s University
12001 Chalon Road
Los Angeles, CA 90049
The Mount Saint Mary’s University, formerly Mount St. Mary’s College, is a private, primarily for women, Catholic liberal arts college in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1925 by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet. The college is composed of the Chalon campus in Brentwood and the Doheny campus in North University Park which is very close to Downtown Los Angeles. Mount Saint Mary’s University is considered to be among the highest ranked universities that grant master’s degrees in the western part of the United States. Mount Saint Mary’s University is ranked23rd in the 2015 Edition of Best Colleges and Regional Universities (West).
Being a privately run educational institution, Mount Saint Mary University charges $34,826 for tuition and fees. However, more than 90% of full-time undergraduate students of the university are recipients of need-based financial aid in the amount of $12,379.
Mount Saint Mary’s University offers programs leading to the Associate Degree in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The university also offers a graduate program leading to the degree of Master Science of Nursing with specialties in adult gerontology, clinical nurse specialist, administration, and education. The Mount Saint Mary’s University was the first school in California to offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. The university has graduated thousands of nurses since its founding in 1928.
The nursing programs of Mount Saint Mary’s University are accredited by the Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education and approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses.
Based on the California Board of Registered Nursing records of 2012, Associate Degree in Nursing graduates of Mount Saint Mary’s University had a 79% passing rate in the NCLEX exam on the first try. The university’s graduates in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program garnered an 86% passing rate.