RN to BSN Programs in California

9 Min Read Published January 23, 2024
RN to BSN Programs in California

RN to BSN programs are a fast and cost-effective way for Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) nurses to further their education and careers. Nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees often earn more money and have better job opportunities.

This guide explores every RN to BSN school in California, including their location, tuition costs, and lengths. We'll also discuss the average nurse salary in California and job outlook.

How to Go From RN to BSN in California

Becoming a registered nurse (RN) in California requires students to graduate from accredited ADN or BSN programs. You also must pass the NCLEX-RN examination. Then, you can apply for state licensure and start working as a registered nurse.

Students going from RN to BSN in California have already finished an ADN program and have nursing experience. These programs aim to further their education and careers with a BSN. Though their title as an RN will not change, they may be able to earn more money and become eligible for better jobs.

RN to BSN Programs in California

1. California State University San Marcos

  • Location: San Marcos, CA
  • Program Cost: $11,900
  • Length of Program: 14 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? Yes

CSUSM offers an RN to BSN online in California with six start dates throughout the year. The school divides these sessions into eight-week classes during the fall and spring. In the summer, classes are ten weeks long.

Additionally, CSUSM is one of the state's most competitive RN to BSN programs. It only accepts 44 students per start date.

2. California State University, Los Angeles

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Program Cost: $5,742
  • Length of Program: 12 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? Hybrid

Cal State, LA, offers one of the best RN to BSN programs in California - and one of the most competitive. The full-time program only accepts one cohort per year. It's also incredibly demanding, leaving little room for students to work and study simultaneously.

3. Fresno State

  • Location: Fresno, CA
  • Program Cost: $2,871 per credit hour
  • Length of Program: 12 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? Yes

Fresno State is one of the best online RN to BSN programs in California. However, students still must attend a 90-hour community health nursing clinical course in the Fresno State service area. These clinical rotations are an in-person requirement.

The school has a direct relationship with several community colleges in the area. These partnerships allow ADN students to transfer directly into Fresno State's RN to BSN program.

4.  San Diego State University 

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Program Cost: $13,000 
  • Length of Program: 12 to 15 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? Hybrid

SDSU requires a slightly higher admission GPA (3.0) than other RN to BSN programs in California. Therefore, this is one of the more difficult RN to BSN programs to get into. Currently, the school offers two start dates, and all applicants must apply by the fall deadline.

5. United States University  

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Program Cost: $11,725
  • Length of Program: 12 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? Yes

United States University's RN to BSN program is rooted in a Caring Science Theory. It teaches theoretical and evidence-based nursing practice. Students in this program who are Tennesee residents must complete an additional physical exam and health assessment course. However, they may opt to transfer equivalent credits from another school instead.

6. Samuel Merritt University 

  • Location: Sacramento, CA
  • Program Cost: $33,416
  • Length of Program: 20 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? No

Samuel Merrit University only offers a part-time RN to BSN program for working professionals. The program includes weekly in-person classes with a few Saturday sessions. It also requires students to complete eight hours of community health clinical hours.

Additionally, the university directly partners with Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics, offering current nurses an 80% tuition discount.

7. Azusa Pacific University

  • Location: Sacramento, CA
  • Program Cost: $18,400
  • Length of Program: 15 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? Yes

Azusa Pacific requires RN to BSN students to meet in person for five hours each week. Alternatively, students may choose to complete a minimum comparable amount of time online. Students in this program complete classes in a lock-step format, which allows class schedules to accommodate workers.

8. California Baptist University

  • Location: Riverside, CA
  • Program Cost: $450 per credit hour
  • Length of Program: 12-16 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? Yes

CBU is a faith-based University that uses the "Human Becoming Paradigm" as the RN to BSN program's core nursing theory. CBU offers clinical rotations through partnerships with Corona Regional Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Loma Linda Veterans Administration, and Parkview Community Hospital.

9. Simpson University

  • Location: Redding, CA
  • Program Cost: $570 per credit hour
  • Length of Program: 3 semesters
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? Hybrid

Simpson University's RN to BSN is truly unique. Students attend one class at a time, each term lasting just five weeks. Additionally, the school administers the program in a hybrid format, with students attending in-person and online classes.

10. Pacific College

  • Location: Costa Mesa, CA
  • Program Cost: $14,642.50
  • Length of Program: 18 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Private 
  • Online Options Available? Yes

Pacific College is one of the top universities on the West Coast and offers one of the best RN to BSN programs in California. The standard length for Pacific College's RN to BSN is 18 months. However, students may complete the curriculum quicker with eligible transfer credits.

11. Vanguard University

  • Location: Costa Mesa, CA
  • Program Cost: $14,550
  • Length of Program: 10 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Private 
  • Online Options Available? Yes

Vanguard University offers students three RN to BSN options: hybrid, online, and hyflex. Hyflex is the school's most flexible option. It's online and hybrid learning that allows students to complete independent study that meets the class objectives. 

The university intentionally keeps class sizes small, and students may take courses out of order. Students can enroll in up to four classes per semester at an accelerated pace but may take as few as two.

12. Stanbridge University 

  • Location: Orange County, CA
  • Program Cost: $33,535
  • Length of Program: 23 to 24 months
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Private 
  • Online Options Available? Yes

Students can complete the RN to BSN program at Stanbridge University in about two years. This 100% online program uses research and evidence-based practice to teach the next generation of nurses. Courses Stanbridge students take include Theoretical Models in Nursing, Health Informatics, and Cultural Identity and Diversity.

13. California State University Monterey Bay

  • Location: Marina, CA
  • Program Cost: $2,871 per semester
  • Length of Program: 3-5 semesters
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Private 
  • Online Options Available? Yes

The CSU Monterey Bay RN to BSN program is available to students with a California RN license. CSUMB students receive hands-on experience at healthcare agencies in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties. Those enrolled through the Cuesta-CSUMB partnership may also get hands-on training in San Luis Obispo County.

14. Point Loma Nazarene University

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Program Cost: $500 per unit
  • Length of Program: 15 months 
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Private 
  • Online Options Available? Hybrid

Point Loma Nazarene University requires RN to BSN students to meet once a week, either online or in person. PLNU partners with local community colleges to allow ADN graduates a seamless transition into a BSN program. 

The university also offers concurrent enrollment to students who haven't finished their ADN. Concurrent enrollment allows them to complete an ADN and BSN in two years. However, only those with a 3.0 GPA or higher are eligible for this option.

15. San Jose State University 

  • Location: San Jose, CA
  • Program Cost: $2,871 per semester
  • Length of Program: 3 semesters 
  • Degree Offered: BSN 
  • Program Offered: RN to BSN
  • School Type: Public
  • Online Options Available? Hybrid

The RN to BSN program at San Jose State University is open to students with a California RN license. The majority of the courses are online, allowing for maximum flexibility with a full-time work schedule. After completing the community health clinicals and earning a BSN, students can apply for a California Public Health Nursing Certificate.

About RN to BSN Programs in California

RN to BSN programs in California require students to take two to four courses at a time. They range in length from 12 months to 2 years and, generally, are 100% online. However, some programs have in-person clinical requirements, especially for community and public health-focused education.

You'll be able to complete California RN to BSN programs in a full or part-time capacity. These flexible schedules help working professionals further their education and nursing careers.

Tuition for RN to BSN Programs in California

The total cost of an RN to BSN program in California varies depending on several factors. California nursing schools charge by the credit hour, and most programs cost between $5,000 and $15,000. Since California has a higher cost of living, these RN to BSN programs may be more expensive than those in other states.

Admission Requirements for California RN to BSN Programs

Admission requirements for California RN to BSN programs differ depending on the school. To understand the specific standards of your chosen school, you should speak with an academic advisor.

However, most RN to BSN programs in California will have these general prerequisites:

  • California RN license
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Prerequisite courses (per program)
  • Graduation from an accredited ADN program
  • All transcripts

Are RN to BSN Programs in California Difficult?

RN to BSN programs in California aren't much more demanding than similar programs or even earning an ADN. Since these programs fill knowledge gaps between ADN and BSN education, many focus on ethics, leadership, and research. Compared to the pharmacology and pathophysiology courses you took during your ADN, these classes may feel easier to complete.

However, there are difficult aspects of attending a California RN to BSN program. For example, you may have a hefty course load, making balancing a job, your social life, and familial obligations harder.

Working as an RN in California

RN Salary in California

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual salary for RNs is $81,220 per year or $39.05 per hour. California is currently the highest-paying state for RNs, earning an average yearly salary of $133,340 or $64.10 an hour. 

Career Outlook

The BLS projects that the RN career field will grow 6% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all other occupations. Additionally, it estimates 193,100 openings for registered nurses each year. Currently, California is home to 325,620 working RNs.

Where Can You Work? RN-BSN Jobs in California

Depending on your interests and skills, you can work in several locations as a nurse. The largest and most common employer of nurses is hospitals. Other possible job locations include:

  • Ambulatory healthcare services
  • Government agencies
  • Academia
  • Medical and aesthetic spas
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Private practice
  • Surgery centers
  • Urgent care centers

Next Steps

The top RN to BSN programs in California are perfect for working nurses. These flexible programs allow you to finish your BSN while maintaining a job and personal life. 

FAQs

  • How many RN to BSN programs are in California?

    • There are currently 15 accredited RN to BSN programs in California. 
  • Are there online RN to BSN programs in California?

    • Yes! California's RN to BSN programs are 100% online except for some clinical experiences, particularly in community and public health. These requirements vary per program. 
  • What is the cheapest RN to BSN program in California?

    • California State University Los Angeles offers the cheapest RN to BSN program for just $5,742.
Kathleen Gaines
MSN, RN, BA, CBC
Kathleen Gaines
News and Education Editor

Kathleen Gaines (nee Colduvell) is a nationally published writer turned Pediatric ICU nurse from Philadelphia with over 13 years of ICU experience. She has an extensive ICU background having formerly worked in the CICU and NICU at several major hospitals in the Philadelphia region. After earning her MSN in Education from Loyola University of New Orleans, she currently also teaches for several prominent Universities making sure the next generation is ready for the bedside. As a certified breastfeeding counselor and trauma certified nurse, she is always ready for the next nursing challenge.

Read More From Kathleen
Go to the top of page