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LVN Programs in Sacramento: Online and On-Campus

Explore accredited, state-approved LVN programs in Sacramento that can help you take the first or next step in your vocational nursing career.


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Becoming a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) through one of the many campus-based or online LVN programs in Sacramento is a quick and relatively affordable way to get hands-on experience in healthcare. Not only can you enjoy job security within this high-demand field, but you can also find better opportunities for advancement with LVN to RN transition programs down the road.

There are many options for LVN programs in Sacramento, from traditional on-campus programs at community colleges to partially online programs that give the flexibility of taking some classes remotely. This guide outlines what you need to know about becoming a licensed vocational nurse in Sacramento, including highlighting some accredited, state-approved schools and programs. Read on to learn how online/hybrid LVN programs work, how to become licensed in California, and what sort of jobs prospects you can expect after graduation.

College Spotlights: Best LVN Programs in Sacramento

We’ve identified some of the top state-approved LVN programs in Sacramento. Our criteria for choosing these schools include program affordability, accreditation, learning flexibility, and student support. All of these factors are essential for beginning your practical nursing career. Finding an accredited LVN program licensed by the State of California is the single most important factor because it ensures you are eligible for licensure, which is essential for finding employment as an LVN after graduation. Three high-quality programs are spotlighted below to help you begin your school search amidst the stand-out programs for 2023.

Unitek College

The online Vocational Nursing Program at Unitek College provides hands-on training and practical experience. It includes over 900 hours of training in simulations, labs, and healthcare facilities and prepares students to sit for the NCLEX-PN. Unitek also has employment assistance to help its students find jobs after graduation.

This LVN program costs about $35,000 for tuition, including prerequisite classes. It offers full-time day and evening schedules along with a part-time evening schedule for those needing more time to complete their programs. The program can be completed in as little as 12 months with the full-time option. To apply, interested students will use the online application process. Before acceptance, applicants must complete a career planning session, admissions interview, and entrance assessment.

Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center

The Vocational Nursing (Licensed Practical/Vocational Nursing Training) program at the Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center is a 35-week, 1,408-hour program that includes clinical hours, pre-requisites, and CNA training. The program is currently mandated to hold classes online only. Clinical hours are completed either via simulation or in-person at clinical partner sites. Classes take place Monday through Friday, and students must dedicate 40 hours a week to the program.

Admissions requirements include minimum scores on an assessment test, 200 hours of nursing care supervised by a licensed professional, nursing entrance exam, and CPR/first aid certification. Prerequisites include a CNA license and 234 hours of classes that include anatomy and physiology, human growth and development, math for meds, medical terminology, nutrition, intro to pharmacology, and intro to psychology. The program costs about $23,000 and takes 10 months to complete.

Sacramento City College

The Vocational Nursing Program (A.S. in Nursing, Vocational) at Sacramento City College is a three-semester, 51-unit program that prepares students for licensure as an LVN in the state of California. It requires completion of nursing courses and related clinical experience and can result in an Associate of Science degree. The cost per unit with full-time enrollment is a very affordable $46, and the cost for the program itself comes to about $4,000 with fees, supplies, and tuition.

This is a full-time program, and full-time employment while enrolled is not recommended. Instead, students can consider employment of 8-12 hours or less per week while in this LVN program. Eligibility for the program includes a high school or equivalent education, minimum grades in several prerequisite classes, and completion of a TEAS test. Students should also have current CPR with AED certification.

List of State Approved LVN Programs in Sacramento

SchoolSchool TypeNCLEX-PN Pass Rate (2019)
SchoolSchool TypeNCLEX-PN Pass Rate (2019)

Source: California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians; Most recent data as of Feb. 2022

FAQs About LVN Programs in Sacramento

What skills do you learn in LVN programs in Sacramento?

LVN programs in Sacramento provide classroom instruction and hands-on training to allow you to pursue a career as a licensed vocational nurse. Upon completion of these programs, students can provide care in a variety of clinical settings. Like those at Carrington College and Curam College of Nursing, LVN programs give students the ability to work collaboratively, communicate clearly, and act professionally. They expose students to the actual nursing procedures and techniques needed in a clinical setting. Programs like the one at Gurnick Academy and others highlighted in this guide teach students to utilize critical thinking for assessment, planning, intervention, and evaluation of client care.

How much do LVN programs cost in Sacramento?

LVN programs in Sacramento vary in cost. Some cost as little as $4,000 for the LVN program itself, while others cost up to $45,000 for an LVN program with a science degree emphasis. Any needed prerequisites are added costs for some programs. Students might pay per credit, per module or semester, or for the entire training at one time. Refer to the program highlights above and the three Sacramento LVN programs listed below for more information on cost.

Carrington College

Licensed Vocational Nurse Program

Total Credits: 54-97 (depending on program/level)

Total Cost: $36,774 (certificate); $45,384 (non-science degree); $59,306 (science emphasis degree)

Curam College

Vocational Nurse Program

Total Credits: 126

Total Cost: $23,540

Gurnick Academy

Vocational Nurse Program

Total Credits: 4 modules

Total Cost: $35,493

Can I get financial aid to help pay for my LVN program in Sacramento?

Filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to getting financial aid for your LVN program in Sacramento. Common types of financial aid include direct loans, federal work-study, and federal grants like the Pell Grant and the FSEOG. For some schools, full-time students may receive up to two years of free tuition through Promise Programs. Additionally, the California Student Aid Commission provides student financial aid resources for residents of the state. You can also access our LVN scholarships guide and main financial aid guide for help searching for financial aid.

How long do LVN programs in Sacramento take to finish?

The length of time for completing LVN programs in Sacramento depends on whether you attend part or full-time and whether prerequisites are incorporated within given timelines. For example, the vocational nursing program at Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center is a 10-month, 40-hour a week commitment, while Sacramento City College’s program is a 3-semester commitment. In contrast, Carrington College’s and Gurnick Academy’s programs take 12 months, and Curam College’s takes 42 weeks. Unitek College offers its programs in as little as 12 months but allows for a part-time approach for those needing a slower pace. Some of these timelines are in addition to pre-requisite courses.

Inside Look at Online LVN Programs in Sacramento

Most LVN programs in Sacramento are still only offered in-person. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some programs, like those at Unitek College and the Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center, transitioned to an online-hybrid LVN approach. Some classes are delivered online for these programs, while hands-on skills training is planned in in-person formats. The other programs highlighted in this guide do not indicate having any online/hybrid elements.

The benefits of online learning for LVN students include increased flexibility of when they can access course content. Also, the time and money saved can be significant. Challenges with online/hybrid LVN programs involve staying organized and knowing when to be available for synchronous elements in addition to juggling the in-person requirements of clinicals and other face-to-face requirements.

Common Questions About Online LVN Programs in Sacramento

Will earning my credential from an online LVN program in Sacramento impact my ability to get certified or licensed?

As long as you complete an LVN program that’s state-approved, you will receive the necessary instruction to safely and effectively perform the duties of an LVN in California. The criterion for state approval does not depend on whether didactic material is taught online or in-person. One thing to keep in mind however is that, generally speaking, any approved LVN program in Sacramento or the rest of California will have in-person clinical training requirements regardless of how the classroom material is delivered.

Will employers care if I took some of my LVN classes online?

It’s doubtful that they will and most likely, they won’t even know you took online LVN classes unless you tell them. What employers mostly care about is that you graduated from an approved LVN program and obtained state licensure as an LVN.

Are online LVN programs more affordable than campus programs in Sacramento?

Online LVN programs are usually comparable to their traditional, on-campus program offerings in terms of tuition. However, because of the flexibility online learning offers, it’s easier to continue working while taking classes. This can result in extra income that can help pay for an LVN education. Additionally, taking any components online could prove more affordable than a fully on-campus program simply through reduced commuting time and costs.

Can I complete my LVN training in Sacramento faster by taking classwork online?

No. Even though some courses like general education pre-requisite courses may be available for some online LVN programs, there are still in-person clinical requirements that you have to complete.

LVN Licensing Information and Requirements in Sacramento

Requirements for licensure as a vocational nurse in Sacramento include completing high school or equivalent, fingerprinting, paid fees, and successful completion of the NCLEX-PN or NLN exams. Also, applicants for licensure must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Graduation from a California approved school of vocational nursing
  • Graduation from an out-of-state school of practical/vocational nursing
  • Education equivalent to the above

California has pending legislation for participation as a Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), allowing nurses to practice in other NLC states to practice in California without obtaining additional licensing. Visit the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT) for more details on licensing requirements, including those mentioned above, in the state of California.

How Much You Can Earn as an LVN in Sacramento

LVNs in Sacramento can expect competitive starting pay and the opportunity to significantly increase their earnings as they gain experience. The median salary for LVNs in Sacramento is $61,600, far higher than the national average. Additionally, earners in the 90th percentile in Sacramento receive over $93,000 compared to just $80,000 at the state level and $64,000 nationally.

Annual Earnings for Licensed Vocational Nurses in Sacramento

Location 10th Percentile Median 90th Percentile

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021

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