California RN to BSN Programs

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Updated on August 16, 2023
Jessica White

Written by Jessica White

Community Mental Health Worker & Case Manager

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California features many universities that allow a nurse to increase their knowledge as well as their career and income potential through the Registered Nurse to Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) programs. To become a registered nurse in California, one must typically complete an accredited and state-approved RN program, which can take about two years of full-time study. Earning a bachelor of science in nursing degree once you are a registered nurse takes about another year of full-time study or up to three years of part-time study.

While each university may have slightly different requirements to enroll in the RN to BSN program, the general requirements are the same: applicants must have a current RN license/associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution as well as a GPA that may range but usually starts at 2.5.

Once the program has been completed, the student will need to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This exam ensures that the student is competent to enter the nursing profession at the bachelor’s level.

Registered nurses in California make the highest salary out of any state, especially if they have a bachelor’s degree from going through an RN-to-BSN program. The California registered nurse salary falls somewhere around $124,000. Due to large cities with the highest populations, the job outlook for registered nurses is also very positive for those in a nursing career.

Below is a list of programs that feature both online and campus based RN-to-BSN programs in California that prepare students to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Each of the programs is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Online, Hybrid, and Campus-Based California RN-to-BSN Programs

California State University San Bernardino

CSU San Bernardino’s RN-to-BSN program, located in San Bernardino, California, is available to students in a flexible online format, although there is a requirement to attend a session on campus once a month. This university also prepares students to move on to the MSN program if they choose. The program takes six semesters to complete in total.

Tuition Estimate: $2,291

Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University’s RN-to-BSN program, located in San Diego, CA, is designed intentionally for working nurses who want to increase their career and income potential. The program offers in-person and online courses for flexible scheduling. The program sees a 71% passing rate and an 80.6% pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam. The program takes about 15 months to complete in total.

Tuition Estimate: $470 per unit

United States University

United States University’s RN to BSN program, located in San Diego, CA, features a flexible online format that allows students to earn the bachelor of science in nursing degree in 12 months. Because the format is online, working nurses can continue to maintain their current career if they choose while going to school. The passing rate for the NCLEX-RN exam among students who went through the program at United States University is about 68%.

Tuition Estimate: $7800 per year

Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University’s RN-to-BSN program, located in Azusa, California, offers the option to complete the program online or in-person. The online option does not require the option to visit the campus throughout the duration of the program. For those who take part in the in-person program, the university allows students the chance to take part in a hands-on learning experience through the local medical facilities. The graduation rate in the Azusa RN to BSN program is 70%, and the pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam is about 86%.

Tuition Estimate: $19,150

California State University Fullerton

California State University’s RN to BSN program, located in Fullerton, CA, is designed for currently-employed nurses with the flexible options of online or on-campus options. The professionals and students who are enrolled in the program will receive support from an advisor. CSU Fullerton also partners with a community college to assist students in transitioning into the RN to BSN program. The program takes about three semesters to complete. The program has a graduation rate of 62% and it boasts a high NCLEX-RN pass rate at 95%.

Tuition Estimate: $366 per unit

Sacramento State University

Sacramento State University’s RN to BSN program, located in Sacramento, CA, is one of the universities that are a part of the public college system in the state. Working nurses who apply for this program are given priority. Graduates will receive a public health nursing certificate. The program takes about two to three semesters to complete, and it has a NCLEX pass rate of about 95%.

Tuition Estimate: $3,602

California Southern University

California Southern University’s RN to BSN program, located in Costa Mesa, CA, provides innovative education through the utilization of current technology. The program prepares students for their future career by teaching them solid patient care practices. Online courses are available for nurses who are currently employed. The program can take one to three years to complete.

Tuition Estimate: $150 per credit

Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University’s RN to BSN program, located in Fresno, CA, is an 18-month program that offers flexible course options including both online and in-person. The program is accredited by the CCNE. The program helps students pass the NCLEX-RN exam at a rate of about 77%. The admission requirements include 60 transferable bachelor-level units, two years of post-secondary education experience, and a minimum of a 2.4 GPA.

Tuition Estimate: $30,976 a year.

Unitek College

Unitek College is a private university. The RN to BSN program, located in Hayward, CA, has a graduation rate of 81% and an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 72%. ‘The program allows students transferring into the program to transfer up to 90 credits. The program can be completed in only 12 months and is offered solely online.

Tuition Estimate: $32,910 a year.

Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University’s RN to BSN program, located in Irvine, CA, has many different options from which students can choose. These include full-time and part-time tracks as well as online, on-campus, and hybrid courses. The on-campus courses have small class sizes that provide more support for the students enrolled. Students receive a comprehensive education in this program, as demonstrated via the 90% NCLEX-RN pass rate.

Tuition Estimate: $490

Stanbridge University

Stanbridge University’s RN-to-BSN program, located in Irvine, CA, offers a top-notch nursing education through their exclusive online learning platform. The program creates flexibility for students while gaining an edge in the healthcare field, so graduates will have more ease in gaining upward mobility when it comes to employment. Stanbridge University boasts a 100% pass rate for their students on the NCLEX-RN exam. The program takes about 13 months to complete.

Tuition Estimate: N/A

California State University Channel Islands

The CSU Channel Islands’ RN-to-BSN program, located in Camarillo, CA, is 22 months long, with class meetings every Friday to allow working professionals to plan their work around their education. The NCLEX pass-rates from this program are about 92%. The program is accredited by the CCNE.

Tuition Estimate: $375/unit

California State University Chico

CSU Chico’s RN-to-BSN program, located in Chico, CA, is designed for working nurses, as it is offered online and can be completed in 15 months. The program is also designed for students who might be living in more rural areas. Students may be required to attend classes for a few days per semester, which allows for networking, collaborating with other students, and connecting with professors.

Tuition Estimate: $7,348

Simpson University

Simpson University’s RN-to-BSN program, located in Redding, CA, offers a unique structure through which students can take their classes. The courses are offered one at a time on Thursday evenings. Each course builds upon the knowledge taught in the previous one. This allows students to fully understand what they have discussed before tackling a new topic. Simpson has a 100% pass rate for their students on the NCLEX-RN exam. The program takes 12 months to complete.

Tuition Estimate: $27,250 a year

Pacific Union College

Pacific Union College’s RN to BSN program, located in Angwin, CA, helps working nurses obtain their education with its flexible options. There is a full-time format available at one campus (Angwin), and a part-time program available at the other (Napa). This program is a Seventh-day Adventist Christian institution for those who are interested in one. It can take a student approximately one to two years to complete their education.

Tuition Estimate: $29,415 per year

Holy Names University

Holy Names University, located in Oakland, CA, features a RN-to-BSN program that students can complete in 15 months. The school offers an accelerated format option for those who qualify, as well as online/distance learning options. The school emphasizes social justice within their program, which provides students with an empathetic and solid foundation upon which to practice when they graduate. The program is able to be completed in 15 months.

Tuition Estimate: $38,800 per year

California State University Los Angeles

CSU Los Angeles has an RN-to-BSN program that can be completed within two years. This program is one of the state universities that has a lower tuition rate. This means that the program may be more desirable for students who want to advance their careers and income. The program boasts a 96% pass rate for students who take the NCLEX-RN exam.

Tuition Estimate: $6,632 per year

California State University Northridge

CSU Northridge’s RN-to-BSN program, located in Northridge, CA, combines online and in-person courses in a hybrid format to provide flexibility to students. The program provides the courses 1-2 days a week as well as online. Students are provided with guidance counselors to provide them with support as they navigate the program. Students can complete the program in two years.

Tuition Estimate: $3,444

San Diego State University

The RN-to-BSN program at San Diego State University offers an on-campus format. Students also have the chance to complete programs abroad, which allow them to expand their perspective as well as do clinical work. These opportunities create nurses who are well-rounded, knowledgeable, and compassionate. The program is about 12–15 months long. Students who complete the program have a NCLEX-RN pass rate of 96% overall.

Tuition Estimate: $2,871

The University of Massachusetts Global

UMass Global’s RN-to-BSN program, located in Irvine, CA, offers flexible options, including a hybrid and online format. These are intended for working nurses who want to increase their career opportunities. This program prepares students to apply for the DNP program after graduation, if they so choose. The program can be completed within 12 months.

Tuition Estimate: $500 per credit

California State University East Bay

The RN-to-BSN program at CSU East Bay, located in Hayward, CA, offers two tracks between which students can choose: full-time or part-time. The full-time option is accelerated for students who want a nursing program they can complete quickly. The program is hybrid, with both online and in-person classes. Students in this program will also qualify to apply for a California Public Health Nursing Certificate. The total NCLEX-RN pass-rate for students who take this program is about 90%.

Tuition Estimate: $6,840 per year

Samuel Merritt University

The RN-to-BSN program at Samuel Merritt University has an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 92%. The program educates students by providing them with clinical opportunities alongside their classroom coursework. There are two campuses through which Samuel Merritt University offers its courses: Oakland and Sacramento. There is also a scholarship opportunity for certain nursing students in this program: those who work for certain hospitals, clinics, or health centers/departments. The scholarship would cover 80% of tuition costs.

Tuition Estimate: $49,199 per year

California State University Stanislaus

The RN-to-BSN program at CSU Stanislaus is offered in-person through full-time and part-time tracks. There is also an online option available for those who need more flexibility in order to keep performing their current nursing job. The job can be completed in as little as 12 months. There is also a 3 or 5 semester option. The overall NCLEX-RN pass rate for this program is 98%.

Tuition Estimate: $7,038 per year

National University

The RN-to-BSN program at National University features a program with courses that last 4–8 weeks. Students receive guidance from counselors to help them navigate through the process and ensure optimum success. Due to the school being founded by a Navy lieutenant, there are discounts available for students who are or have been in the military.

Tuition Estimate: $362 per quarter

Mount St. Mary’s University

At Mount St. Mary’s, students can enroll in an RN-to-BSN program or a traditional BSN program. The courses are available during the day on campus. To graduate, students should earn 127.5 semester units. Nursing students will gain experience through clinical and classroom educational experiences. The overall student pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam through the university is about 78%.

Tuition Estimate: $20,009