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The nationwide shortage of registered nurses has been in the news for years, but the desperate need for RNs is even more serious in California. To help train more RNs more quickly, LVN to BSN programs in California have become quite popular. They allow licensed vocational nurses to build upon their prior training and experience to become RNs as quickly as possible.
Completing an LVN to BSN program results in increased responsibilities as well as greater room for professional growth. It can also lead to much higher pay. This guide expands on these benefits, spotlights some of the top programs available today, and provides an overview of what to expect in an LVN to BSN program in California.
Nursing School Spotlights: Best LVN to BSN Programs in California
LVN to BSN programs in California are a popular option for licensed vocational nurses to increase their responsibilities, pay, and professional growth potential. These programs can also be completed far more quickly than traditional or even accelerated BSN programs. We’ve identified some of the top accredited LVN to BSN programs in California, and the three highlighted below stand out in 2023 in terms of affordability, academic quality, and student support services.
FAQs About LVN to BSN Programs in California
Inside Look at Online LVN to BSN Programs in California
Fully online LVN to BSN programs in California do not exist because of requirements for hands-on learning experiences. With the coronavirus pandemic, however, some schools began offering online classes to avoid the risk of infection and have continued to offer these classes to the present day. In addition, a few programs allow students to complete prerequisite classes online. Visit our online LPN/LVN to BSN programs page for more information.
Common Questions About Online LVN to BSN Programs in California
Are hybrid and online LVN programs more affordable than campus programs in California?
In most cases, no. Schools typically charge the same tuition rates for both their online and on-campus LVN to BSN programs. However, you will likely save money taking classes online due to the savings on such expenses as the cost of transportation to attend on-campus classes.
Can I finish my LVN to BSN program in California faster by taking coursework online?
One benefit of online coursework is the ability to complete classes at a faster pace. However, many online LVN to BSN programs in California employ a cohort model in which students in the cohort progress through the curriculum as a single unit at the same pace. Additionally, labs and clinicals require in-person instruction that prohibits students from advancing more quickly through their coursework.
Will earning my LVN to BSN degree online or through a hybrid program impact my ability to get certified or licensed?
The format of your LVN to BSN coursework has no bearing on whether you meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and become a registered nurse. If you complete an LVN to BSN program in California that’s accredited by the ACEN or CCNE, you’ll be ready for certification and licensure regardless of whether the program is online, on-campus, or hybrid.
Will employers care if I take some of my LVN to BSN classes online?
As long as you graduate from an accredited program, obtain your RN license, and can apply what you’ve learned to your job, employers will not care if you took some of your nursing classes online. They understand that even with online coursework, the labs and clinicals must be completed in-person.
How Do I Go from Being an LVN to a BSN Nurse in California?
The two primary components of the process for going from an LVN to a BSN involve graduating from an accredited nursing program and passing the NCLEX-RN exam. During this process, students must also:
- Report any discipline taken against them while practicing as an LVN
- Submit fingerprints for a background check
- Provide their social security or tax ID number
- Authorize the California Board of Registered Nursing to request an official transcript from their nursing school
- Complete the application (which includes providing a 2”x2” passport-type photograph)
- Pay the application fee of $300 (if graduating from a California school) or $350 (if graduating from a non-California school)
Keep up-to-date with the latest nursing licensing information by visiting the California State Board of Nursing.
LVN to BSN Salary and Employment Trends in California
Whether you complete a traditional or online LVN to BSN program in California, expect to be in high demand after graduation. The dire need for registered nurses means you can also expect a high-paying salary. The following section looks at the potential job market and the projected compensation changes when advancing from working as an LVN to working as an RN.
How much more can I make going from an LVN to BSN in California?
After you complete your California LVN to BSN program, you could see your annual salary double. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an LVN in California can expect a yearly salary increase of 43% to 132% after becoming an RN. Also, the vast majority of annual median salaries for California RNs are well above the national average of $73,300.
|El Centro, CA||$46,230||$88,200||91%|
|Los Angeles – Long Beach – Anaheim, CA||$57,690||$105,950||84%|
|Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura, CA||$55,590||$95,310||71%|
|Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario, CA||$56,250||$103,660||84%|
|Sacramento – Roseville – Arden – Arcade, CA||$58,830||$130.580||122%|
|San Diego – Carlsbad, CA||$61,830||$105,100||70%|
|San Francisco – Oakland – Hayward, CA||$67,520||$141,640||110%|
|San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara, CA||$65,710||$146,380||123%|
|San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles – Arroyo Grande, CA||$59,600||$103,240||73%|
|Santa Cruz – Watsonville, CA||$63,880||$142,930||124%|
|Santa Maria – Santa Barbara, CA||$59,580||$106,060||78%|
|Santa Rosa, CA||$66,460||$104,010||57%|
|Stockton – Lodi, CA||$59,440||$114,770||93%|
|Vallejo – Fairfield, CA||$66,900||$135,790||103%|
|Visalia – Porterville, CA||$47,520||$90,540||91%|
|Yuba City, CA||$58,880||$121,450||106%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019
What’s the job market like for BSN nurses in California vs. LVNs?
The job market for both licensed vocational nurses and registered nurses in California looks promising. Both professions have anticipated growth rates well above the national average. From 2019 to 2029, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the national need for LVNs and RNs to grow roughly 9% and 7%, respectively. California’s projected need for both, according to Projections Central, is over 15%.
|Job Growth Rate
(2018 – 2028)
|Average Annual Openings
(2018 – 2028)
|LVNs in California||76,600||11,600||15.10%||7,440|
|RNs in California||319,800||53,400||16.7%||23,850|
Source: Projections Central