Online RN to BSN Programs in California

See how you can go from RN to BSN nurse in California through fast-track online bridge programs and start your journey to a better nursing career today.

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James Mielke

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James Mielke is a freelance writer currently based in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to higher education topics, other areas of research and writing include food history, cooking, dining, and golf. James has a history degree from Belmont University and is an unapologetic fan of the Grateful Dead.

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More than 3 million registered nurses currently work in California and that number is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace over the next decade. If you’re one of them, you can capitalize on this employment demand by earning your BSN degree. For working RNs, stepping up to a BSN can dramatically increase earning potential, boost competitiveness when applying for new positions, and introduce a new set of critical responsibilities in patient care.

Many California colleges structure their RN-to-BSN programs specifically for working nurses like you by offering the coursework online. The freedom of online coursework allows you to balance personal and professional obligations while completing your degree and advancing your career. In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about online RN to BSN programs in California, including spotlights of three top accredited schools to get you started on your school search.

Best RN to BSN Online Programs in California for 2022

Seemingly endless details merit consideration when deciding which online RN to BSN program in California best serves your needs. From tuition rate to program duration, it’s important to know which program attributes best match your personal and professional needs. To help you get started on your search for a quality program, the team at EduMed researched and spotlighted three accredited programs within the California State University system below.

California State University, Stanislaus

Stanislaus State

Stanislaus State’s RN-to-BSN program offers both traditional and accelerated online tracks. Through its core curriculum comprising 26 credits, students tackle rigorous coursework while honing critical thinking and collaborative skills. The accelerated 12-month program requires excellent time management skills when navigating the track’s five, 10-week sessions. RN-to-BSN coursework includes transcultural nursing, leadership and management, and pathophysiology.

Applicants must be California residents and hold California RN licensure. The department requires prospective students to have a 2.75 GPA in all prior coursework—prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of C or better prior to admission. Stanislaus State’s nursing program maintains accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico

California State University-Chico maintains an enrollment exceeding 17,000 and operates as one of the oldest campuses in the California State University system. The university first offered an RN-to-BSN in 1954 and has evolved to its current, mostly online program. This flexible nursing degree expands accessibility throughout the predominantly rural region.

CUSC’s 15-month program begins annually in June and sees students graduating the following August. Applicants must maintain California residency and hold an active California RN license. Prospective learners must meet all prerequisite requirements and submit transcripts showing a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. A mandatory advising session, available as an in-person or virtual meeting, acts as an introductory information session for incoming students.

Upon admission, online students engage with coursework covering topics such as public health nursing theory, nursing informatics, and academic writing for nurses. In addition to online courses, students tackle a capstone practicum in community health nursing.

California State University, San Bernardino

California State University San Bernardino

Dedicated to professional growth, California State University-San Bernardino’s online RN-to-BSN program strives to provide working RNs with the critical thinking, leadership, and clinical skills necessary to providing exceptional medical care.

Admitting a new cohort each fall semester, this online program requires an in-person orientation. Prospective students must possess an associate degree from a regionally accredited institution along with an active California RN license. In addition to a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA, applicants must complete a number of prerequisites ranging from anatomy to advanced English composition.

CSUSB’s RN-to-BSN program is designed to be completed in just four semesters. Coursework covers topics such as community and public health nursing, healthcare ethics, and leadership in nursing. In addition to online classes, degree-seekers must complete 135 hours of onsite clinical work. Graduates from CSUSB’s program can apply for a Public Health Nurse certificate, opening career opportunities in public health and community-based organizations.

FAQs About RN to BSN Online California Programs

Are RN to BSN programs in California available in a 100% online format?

Many California-based online RN to BSN programs allow students to earn their bachelor’s degree fully-online. However, some may have clinical requirements or meetups that must be completed in-person. Clinical requirements typically take place in program-approved, professional medical environments. These hands-on experiences prepare students for work in the field and provide an opportunity to apply academic knowledge to real-world situations.

Many classes are available in what’s called an asynchronous format, which allow you to complete assignments and watch lectures at a time of your choosing . Other classes feature a synchronous format, where you’ll log in to a class at a predetermined time and interact with professors and classmates in real-time.

How affordable are online RN to BSN programs in California?

It’s important to research the overall cost to ensure the online California RN to BSN program you choose is a good investment for you. Every school will have different tuition and fees, and your total cost will largely come down to how many credits you’re able to transfer in and how many the program requires.

When considering online RN to BSN programs in California, public institutions almost always cost less, especially if you’re a California resident. Remember that tuition fees aren’t the only costs; additional fees include books and other university- and student-related expenses. Many schools, including California State University-Fullerton, also require a $50 per semester fee for distance learning.

To give you a better sense of what you can expect to pay for your degree program, we’ve listed three RN to BSN online California programs below.


California State
University-San Marcos

RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Accelerated

Total Credits: 38



California State

RN-BSN (15-Month) Program

Total Credits: 60


California State University-Fullerton-logo

California State

RN-BSN Program

Total Credits: 24


How long will it take me to finish my online RN to BSN program in California?

Because California universities design RN-to-BSN online programs with the working RN in mind, they often provide accelerated options and allow students to complete degrees in two or less years.

For example, California State University-Chico offers a structured, 15-month program that runs from June until the following August, accommodating the around-the-clock schedules of RNs. Azusa Pacific University also offers a 100% online program that you can finish in 15 months. Bolstering an already convenient online program, the accelerated program is taught sequentially with new courses offered every five to ten weeks. While common to finish the degree in 15 months, California Baptist University see students graduating in a year.

What are the typical admissions requirements for online RN to BSN programs in California?

Admission standards vary slightly from school to school, but all online RN to BSN programs in California require that you possess an active registered nurse license in good standing. While many schools accept students with out-of-state RN licenses, some programs, such as Stanislaus State and Cal State-Chico, require both California residency and licensure.

Prior coursework plays a significant role in determining which applicants to admit. Minimum GPA thresholds can vary—Azusa Pacific University requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 whereas Stanislaus State expects 2.75 or above. Many schools require successful completion of prerequisite courses such as microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. As applicants already hold RN licensure, standardized test scores are not typically considered when making admissions decisions.

How much more can I make going from an RN to a BSN nurse in California?

Many RNs pursue a BSN degree to earn higher salaries. Experience, education, and specialized skills all boost career options. Experience takes time, but education is proven to boost salaries. On average, RNs in California make $71,000 per year; nurses with BSN degrees, on the other hand, command average salaries of nearly $88,000 annually (as of April 19, 2022). That’s nearly a 24% increase. It’s a simple equation—more education results in more pay.

In addition to a BSN degree, nurses can expand career opportunities through continuing education courses, certificate programs, and active participation in professional organizations. Engaging with the profession and growing your skillset can help you stay competitive in a growing field.