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RN Programs in San Diego, California

Get your RN degree in San Diego, California - online & campus-based options available.

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RN Programs in San Diego, California


In San Diego, the first step in becoming a registered nurse is to apply to a program that is approved by the California board of nursing. One can become an RN with either an associate's or a bachelor's degree.

After graduating from an accredited program, one must apply for an RN license in the state in which he or she intends to practice. In order to be eligible, he or she must also pass the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

ADN vs. BSN Programs

When deciding which type of degree program to enter into, one must weigh the pros and cons of each option. The benefit to earning an ADN is that it can usually be done in as little as two years, allowing one to begin a nursing career in a short amount of time. The advantage of earning a BSN is that it may make one eligible for more promotions and cause them to have a higher earning potential.

In addition to the decision between ADN and BSN programs, one must decide whether to enroll in an online program or a traditional, campus-based program. Though classes can be completed online, students must still have clinical experience before becoming licensed.

Online vs. Traditional Programs

Online RN programs can be completed on a flexible schedule, as long as coursework is turned in on time. Students can login 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and from anywhere in the country. These programs are designed to mimic a classroom environment.

Campus-based RN programs in San Diego and the surrounding area allow students to interact with each other and with instructors in a classroom environment. These programs offer more structure, as students must attend classes at scheduled times. Some of these programs are offered at traditional, four-year colleges and universities, so students can get the full college experience.

Registered Nurse Degree Info


Which schools offer San Diego RN Programs?

RN programs (both campus-based & online RN courses) are medical training programs offered by universities, vocational or technical schools, and community or junior colleges. Some hospitals even offer registered nursing training as an RN diploma.

How do I become an licensed RN?

Each state sets its own RN licensure requirements. In order to earn your RN license, you must pass the NCLEX® examination. The NCLEX® is a comprehensive nursing exam that can only be taken by graduates of nursing programs approved by your state's board of nursing.

Do I need to complete an LPN program before I go to college to get an RN Degree?

No you don't need to complete LPN training before you can get your RN license. An accredited RN Associate Degree program takes 2 years. You can earn your RN Diploma in 3 years. (BSN - 4 years, RN to BSN degrees can be 2-3 years).

Are There Free Nursing Schools in San Diego?

The education necessary to become an RN is valuable, and registered nurses make really good money in California. However, students can lower the cost of RN school with financial aid. There are numerous grants and nursing school scholarships in California. They might not make your RN degree free but it can at least be more affordable.

Contact one of the accredited nursing schools listed here to get information about the financial aid you qualify for. Find out more about online nursing schools in California.

RN Job Description

Registered nurses (RNs), regardless of specialty or work setting, treat patients, educate patients and the public about various medical conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients' family members. RNs record patients' medical histories and symptoms, help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, and help with patient follow-up and rehabilitation.

On-Campus & Online RN Schools

San Diego City College

  • 1313 Park Blvd
    San Diego, CA 92101
    Programs: ADN, LVN, RN

University of San Diego

Point Loma Nazarene University

San Diego State University

Kaplan College

Southwestern College

Grossmont College

  • 8800 Grossmont College Drive
    El Cajon, CA 92020
    Programs: ADN, RN

Palomar College

Saddleback College

Mt San Jacinto College

University of California – Irvine

  • Campus Dr. and West Peltason Dr.
    Irvine, CA 92697
    Programs: BSN, MSN, RN

College of the Desert

Santa Ana College

California Baptist University

Golden West College

Riverside Community College

Cypress College

American University of Health Sciences

San Bernardino Valley College

Long Beach City College

Biola University

Imperial Valley College

Cerritos College

Los Angeles Harbor College

Mt. San Antonio College