When you’re a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), you can explore a number of exciting career opportunities in the medical field. At some point, you may decide it’s time to seek more responsibility and increase your salary. LVN to RN programs in California are available, making it easy for you to become a registered nurse.
LVN vs. RN Programs
It’s important to understand the differences between an LVN and an RN. Both have significant growth opportunities over the next decade. Additionally, both require you to pass a nationwide licensing exam.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses can earn more than $20,000 a year more than LVNs. Much of this has to do with added responsibilities, including administering IV medications, pronouncing the time of death, and administering various insulin and cardiac medication drips.
Upgrade Your Career by Becoming an RN
If you are currently working as an LVN, there are ways to upgrade your career. You can choose to get certified in a specialty, such as IV therapy or pharmacology. However, if you upgrade to an RN, you can specialize in so much more, including obstetrics, geriatrics, or ER.
The average program will take between one and two years to complete. Some courses may be available online while labs will have to be done on campus. It can be a great investment in your career by looking into LVN to RN programs in California.
We’ve identified some of the top schools in California that offer an LVN to RN program. We’ve determined the rank by looking at two important factors: tuition costs and the student to teacher ratio. Those with lower-cost programs and smaller classroom sizes are ranked higher on the list.
Top 14 LVN to RN Programs in California
1. Yuba College
At Yuba College, there is a full LVN to RN program, which includes an LVN to RN Bridge course. There are prerequisites that may need to be completed as well as several program courses such as Physiology, Microbiology, and Anatomy. Students will also need to score about a 62 percent on the TEAS and obtain a Current Intravenous Therapy certification among several other requirements. There is a time commitment within this program that includes four hours of theory and 16 to 18 hours of clinical time. Further, the amount of study/homework can vary from 20 to 30 hours a week.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1124
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 19:1
2. San Bernardino Valley College
The Nursing Department at San Bernardino Valley College offers an LVN to RN program. Students who enroll in the program must have at least one year of full-time LVN work experience. Additionally, prerequisites must be completed prior to applying to the program. The bridge program is a total of 30 units, followed by the NCLEX-RN examination in order to become licensed. The program allows for students to be licensed in the state of California, but students will not be awarded an Associate of Science (AS) degree by completing this bridge program.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1238
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 24:1
3. American River College
At American River College, the LVN to RN program is a one-year program if taken full-time. The career mobility program involves taking a summer bridge course and completing all of the necessary prerequisites as the traditional RN program, including Speech and either Sociology or Cultural Anthropology. Students must have an active LVN license in the state and have a minimum of six months of recent full-time experience working as an LVN. Students will be actively involved in training with a hands-on approach.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1104
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 29:1
4. Butte College
The LVN to RN program at Butte College is state-approved and makes it possible for students to apply for the licensure to become a Registered Nurse. Admission requirements include holding a current California LVN license and 16 units of college-level nursing credit. Additionally, students must already have the IV Therapy Certification. Students will need to maintain a GPA of at least 2.5, particularly in the courses of Microbiology, Human Anatomy, and Human Physiology. Other courses include Physical Education Activities and Modern Social Problems.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1368
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 20:1
5. Fresno City College
Students who attend Fresno City College can complete the LVN to RN program in approximately one year, though it may require longer depending on the prerequisites that have been completed. Students will learn about direct and indirect approaches to providing health care services. The 30 units required to be able to sit for the RN licensure exam include courses in Microbiology and Human Physiology. Skills labs will be a significant part of the program to prepare students for fieldwork.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1304
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 27:1
6. Santa Ana College
The LVN to RN program at Santa Ana College is a one-year academic program. Students are considered “Advanced Placement” for this program as they will have already obtained an LVN certification in the state of California and have current work experience. Students will need to have completed all prerequisite courses prior to applying for the program. The program only accepts a limited number of students into the program every year, and priority will go to students who are currently employed at local hospitals in the area, including St. Joseph Hospital of Orange.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1160
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 35:1
7. Victor Valley College
At Victor Valley College, students are not required to obtain the standard AS in Nursing. Instead, those who have an LVN certification can enroll in the LVN to RN entry program. There are several entry exams that will need to be passed. Additionally, students who wish to graduate from the program will need to complete at least 12 units at VVC. Students who have documented experience in certain areas may be able to challenge content areas in order to avoid sitting in the classes/labs. The thirty-unit program, for most students, will take one year to graduate.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1424
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 23:1
8. Pacific Union College
The LVN to RN program at Pacific Union College is uniquely designed so that students can continue to work as an LVN while continuing to obtain a nursing education. The program includes three 17-week sessions, which takes a total of 18 months to complete. The format is non-traditional, designed for the working adult. The Christian liberal arts college has a list of courses that will need to be taken, including mental health nursing, pediatric nursing, and more.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $30,813
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 10:1
9. Los Angeles Harbor College
The Division of Health Sciences at Los Angeles Harbor College offers an LVN to RN bridge program. Students will need to complete an array of prerequisite courses that include Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, and Psychology. We also require LVN applicants to enroll in Nursing 329A/B (offered in Fall semester only), 311, and 321, as well as have a current CA LVN license. The program only accepts a limited number of students into the advanced placement program, on a space-available basis.
While there are minimum requirements to enter the program, upon admission to the LVN – RN program can be completed in 18 months and graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination. Students should anticipate having to study 24 to 36 hours a week outside of the classroom and those who work more than 20 hours a week are cautioned that their success will be greatly reduced.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1220
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 49:1
10. Mt. San Jacinto College
At Mt. San Jacinto College, students can choose to not only take the LVN to RN bridge program but also work toward earning an Associate in Science degree. This will involve taking the core classes of the program as well as courses that satisfy the requirements to earn an AS. Students will need to purchase a wide array of supplies for the program, including nursing uniforms, supply kits, and more. By the end of the program, students will have the ability to sit for the NCLEX-RN program in order to be licensed as an RN by the state of California.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1406
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 28:1
11. San Diego State University
The School of Nursing at San Diego State University offers a 30-unit LVN to RN option. Students can complete the program in one year, though it will not involve earning an Associate in Science degree. Students can choose to take courses not only at SDSU but at other schools around the state. By the end of the program, students will be able to qualify for taking the licensure exam to become an RN. The 30-unit program is also only accepted by employers in California – other states may require additional courses before becoming licensed as an RN.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $7510
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 25:1
12. Allan Hancock College
Students who take the LVN to RN program at Allan Hancock College will also earn an Associate in Science. The program is fully accredited by the California Board of Registered Nursing. It will take two semesters to complete. In order to be eligible for the program, students must have either recently completed an accredited vocational program or hold a current LVN license in California. Students will have classroom learning as well as skills labs. Additionally, there will be a significant amount of collaboration with health care teams.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1352
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 37:1
13. College of the Desert
At the College of the Desert, students are placed into an Advanced Placement program in order to seek a LVN to RN program. Enrollment in the program is limited and requires a GPA of at least 2.5 as well as current LVN licensure in the state of California. There is a 30-unit option that students can choose to take so that they will receive the classroom and hands-on learning needed in order to graduate from the program and qualify to take the RN licensure exam. Another option is to take an additional semester worth of courses in order to qualify for an AS in Nursing.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1335
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 48:1
14. Long Beach City College
Current LVNs can choose to attend the LVN to RN program at Long Beach City College. There is an information meeting that must be attended in addition to completing the nursing program application. Students who are admitted into the program must complete all perquisites prior to starting. The ADN (Associate Degree Nursing) program will typically take one year to complete and provide students with the ability to meet the healthcare needs of the community. The program is also accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $1556
- Student to Teacher Ratio: 28:1
How We Ranked The Schools
The schools are ranked by giving them a score in two different areas. Schools are first scored based on tuition, with the more affordable programs receiving a higher score. Then, schools are scored based on student to teacher ratio, with the smaller classroom sizes receiving a higher score because it offers more focused learning. The scores are added together in order to identify how the schools are ranked.
The cost of tuition is based on the cost to attend for one year (two semesters). When applicable, in-state tuition fees are used. Further, the cost of tuition is based on tuition and fees alone – labs and books are excluded as is any room and board costs that may be required.
If you notice an error in any of the data we’ve used to rank the schools, please let us know. We aim to provide the most updated information to help identify which schools across the state are the best.
When you’re searching for an online LVN to RN program to upgrade your career, let us help you find one that works well for you.