Best 15 Nursing Schools in California in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

Nursing Schools in California

Nursing colleges are the most valuable colleges. They offer nurses who provide exceptional clinical services and patient care for those in need of medical care. Since nurses play an important role in people’s lives, they should also attend the best nursing schools to acquire adequate knowledge and obtain their desired degree packages. Besides being on-demand, the nursing profession is also rewarding. Additionally, obtaining a bachelor’s degree could allocate for several demands compared to diplomas and certificates. For this reason, it’s important to consider the top schools that offer challenging programs to enable the student to practice as a nurse.

Top 5 Nursing Schools in California

Rank School Location
1The UCLA School of NursingLos Angeles, California
2Cox College of NursingSpringfield, Missouri
3Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing Azusa, California
4University of San Francisco School of NursingSan Francisco, California
5Point Loma Nazarene UniversitySan Diego, California

Why You Should Pursue a Nursing Degree

Few careers offer the same benefits as nursing. The fact that nurses aid in saving lives, they are highly-paid professionals who somehow affect people’s lives. With the growing rates of workforce projects, the nursing industry does not fall the shortage of jobs. In that case, any nursing graduate doesn’t take long before landing on a job. Below are reasons why you should consider pursuing a degree in nursing

  • Nursing is a respected and trusted profession. Apart from other courses, nursing is the most valuable that we can’t do without the services offered by them.
  • Nursing programs are everywhere. Although finding schools offering some other academic programs seem hard, nursing programs are found everywhere and are easily accessed. 
  • Variety of choices of specialty. Nurses can easily opt to concentrate on one particular area of their interest, such as midwifery or neonatal, nurse practitioners, or work in anesthesiology, and many more choices.
  • It’s a stable industry. According to statistics, there are over 3million registered nurses and, 3/4million licensed vocational and practical nurses in the US.
  • Flexibility. Did you know that you can pursue your nursing course online? That is a great opportunity for people who can enroll in traditional degree programs. 

Best 15 Nursing Schools in California


The UCLA School of Nursing

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Points: 96

The UCLA school of nursing is the fourth oldest campus in the California university system. This college offers students a variety of degree programs such as bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), Masters of Science in Nursing, doctor of nursing practice programs, among others. Just like their school motto “Fiat Lux” which is translated as “light”, students develop both social and theological-world-skills. That is due to the school’s curriculum that consists of independent and inter-disciplinary study-education. The school of nursing is a public school that also provides a one-on-one group discussion format for students to make sure that they individually meet the program learning goals to apply skills, knowledge, and attitude in their respective fields.

School Overview

Tuition: 23,628 USD
Acceptance Rate: 2%
Visit School Website

Cox College of Nursing

  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Points: 94

This school was founded in 1905 as Burge Deaconess Training School for Nurses, with only three students admitted. Due to world war 11 that led to a shortage of nurses, the Burge school had the required capacity and services needed by the state board of nursing to admit more students. However, in 2020, the cox college of nursing has awarded 7739 degrees, diplomas, certificates, and interns for their students. That means the school has been educating schools for the past over 100years. The school’s mission is to deliver excellent students and graduates by offering quality education. Their main goals are providing their students with quality workforce experience, business practices, customer experience, and the ability to utilize systematic assessment practices, as-well-as to collect data.

School Overview

Tuition: 12,600 USD
Acceptance Rate: 96%
Visit School Website

Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing

  • Azusa, California
  • Points: 89

With 495 bachelor’s degrees in nursing awarded in the 2018-2019 academic year, the Azusa pacific university school of nursing was ranked 38 among all the colleges offering that specific degree. Also, 169 students in 2019 achieved their master’s degree in nursing, making that school the 56 most popular nursing schools that offer master’s degrees. More so, in 2019, 10 students also received their doctoral degree in nursing, making the school the 195 most popular in the USA. The nursing faculty mentors and guides students to follow their interests in nursing and also prepares them on how to operate in a health care center by providing a significant level of compassionate care in hospitals, clinics, schools, and extra.

School Overview

Tuition: 58,000 USD
Acceptance Rate: 68.5%
Visit School Website

University of San Francisco School of Nursing

  • San Francisco, California
  • Points: 85

The University of San Francisco School of Nursing was implemented in 1948, particularly for nurses of St Mary’s hospital to obtain their baccalaureate degree. Until today, this university still adheres to the Jesuit principle of ”caring for the whole people” during education and training to inspire their students. The students attending the school of nursing and professionals are free to apply for 10merit-scholarships under the institution and, also seek from outside sources. Did you know that the students of this school offer around 140,000 hours of service per year during their clinical relations in acute care hospitals, trauma centers, and community healthcare centers?

School Overview

Tuition: 17,760 USD
Acceptance Rate: 67%
Visit School Website

Point Loma Nazarene University

  • San Diego, California
  • Points: 81

Point Loma Nazarene University is a highly rated private university located in San Diego in California. It is a small institute with an acceptance rate of 69percent. Being somewhat a competitive school with around 2,595 undergraduates, it has majored in nursing, with a 77percent of students graduating each year. The school offers fantastic academics with amazing lecturers who have access to endless resources that endeavor the success of the students. Moreover, during the time of covid19, their students weren’t left out. They were able to go on with their education online.

School Overview

Tuition: 31,933 USD
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Visit School Website

The University of California

  • Irvine, California
  • Points: 77
Healthcare students resucitating human dummy

The University of California, Irvine, Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing is one of the best schools to attend for aspiring nurses with an interest in community health.

The school began as a family nurse practitioner certificate program in 1995. Today, the school offers several graduate degrees in addition to its bachelor’s degree program.

Nursing students at the school have numerous opportunities to work closely with community groups and schools. As a top research center, the school studies and promotes interventions that can help close health disparities among vulnerable populations.

School Overview

Tuition: 45,768 USD (undergraduate)
Acceptance Rate: 29%
Visit School Website

Simpson University School of Nursing

  • Redding, California
  • Points: 75

Since nursing goes in hand with faith, Simpson University is a Christian university that offers students with quality Christian education concerning nursing. It offers personalized faculty and innovative programs that help a nursing student to engage in small group discussions. Gateway to world service being their school motto, that school aims at producing God-fearing and reliable nurses who provide quality services for their patients.

School Overview

Tuition: 27,250 USD
Acceptance Rate: 50%
Visit School Website

Samuel Merritt University

  • Oakland, California
  • Points: 73

Being one of the last nursing schools to switch from a 3year diploma to a 4year degree in California, Samuel Merritt University in Oakland was founded in 1909 by Samuel Merritt, who was the mayor of Oakland by then. Although this school doesn’t offer endowed scholarships, the students are free to apply from other sources through the financial aid office. The school is ranked among the top providers of registered nurses in northern California. They prepare students from all levels, starting from entry-level to advanced levels in the nursing profession. According to their mission, they aim at making sure that the nurses promote wellbeing and health across overwhelming communities and populations.

School Overview

Tuition: 50,138 USD
Acceptance Rate: 98%
Visit School Website

San Diego State University School of Nursing

  • San Diego, California
  • Points: 66

While being the best nursing university in California, San Diego University School of Nursing offers several degrees in nursing that include, bachelor of science in nursing, which was ranked in the top 25 nursing programs. This school was first established under san Diego state university as a baccalaureate program in 1953, which later added a master’s program in 1982. It’s a public research institute with the motto ”leadership starts here” that seconds the nursing program accomplishments and praise of the entire university. The school also promotes and maintains non-harassments and indiscrimination regarding race, religion, sex, and color.

School Overview

Tuition: 13,000 USD
Acceptance Rate: 53%
Visit School Website

University of Kansas Medical Center

  • Kansas City, Kansas
  • Points: 65

The university of Kansans medical center offers a Doctor of the Nursing Practice degree program (DNP) with a flexible learning area that helps to prepare students for a higher level of nursing practice. The DNP curriculum helps to prepare nurses to deliver quality services as per the needs of the patient. Moreover, the school has a reputation for teaching students both diverse and changing roles as nurses in every health care career, such as leaders, educators, and researchers. Due to the dedication of faculty, students can fulfill the school’s mission which is to shape the future of the next nursing professionals. Also, through the unique learning opportunities that the nursing school offers, students happen to pursue their passion from respected expertise lecturers.

School Overview

Tuition: 37,891 USD
Acceptance Rate: 47%
Visit School Website

Biola University

  • La Mirada, California
  • Points: 63

Founded in 1908, Biola University Nursing school is a private Christian university, with all the that provides nurses who integrate Christian caring into the nursing practice. The department educates the students to incorporate Christian faith from the theological teaching into the clinical services. Among the best universities listed in by US news and world report, this school ties 185 and 61 in the undergraduate teaching. And as by their motto,” Above all Give Glory to God”.

School Overview

Tuition: 59,176 USD
Acceptance Rate: 73%
Visit School Website

California State University, Bakersfield

  • Bakersfield, California
  • Points: 58

Being among the low tuition fees schools in California, California state university, Bakersfield is located in the in-between Los Angeles and San Francisco. With a variety of nursing programs offered, this university has a high NCLEX pass rate of 92percent that makes it to be nationally recognized.

School Overview

Tuition: 25,031 USD
Acceptance Rate: 23%
Visit School Website

Dominican University of California

  • San Rafael, California
  • Points: 54

The Dominican University of California offers several degree programs in nursing, including a Bachelor of Science. It is a private school that focuses on clinical excellence to engage and mentor nurses with real-world opportunities in both types of research and abroad study. Given that its among the best schools in California, it also aims at training and meeting the healthcare military requirements. This university’s students are exposed to important research projects that help them to achieve the real experiences of the world.

School Overview

Tuition: 47,541 USD
Acceptance Rate: 64%
Visit School Website

West Coast University, North Hollywood

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Points: 53

For people in need of completing their nursing degree program quickly, West Coast University School of Nursing is the best, with just 39months of training. It was founded in 1909 as an ophthalmology school, but later it was acquired for a for-profit corporation in 1979 that specializes in ancillary health care education. The school also offers both grant opportunities and scholarships to its nursing students, such as the BSN pathway scholarship, WCW opportunity grant, centennial merit scholarship, and the Noma ford memorial scholarship. However, these funds may not be used as tuition fees, according to the university’s demand.

School Overview

Tuition: 56,700 USD
Acceptance Rate: 92%
Visit School Website

Loma Linda University

  • Loma Linda, California
  • Points: 50

Established on the 26th of August 1905, Loma Linda university’s BSN program is one of the most reputable courses in the nation. Students are exposed to a variety of study areas, including medical schools, offices, and nursing homes. The campus is located just outside San Bernardino, where the classes take place. Being a Seventh-day Adventist university that has 6hopitals surrounding it, students have hands-on training. Also, the school represents students from over 80countries worldwide.

School Overview

Tuition: 40,320 USD
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Visit School Website

Ranking Methodology

This ranking was based on the analysis of the best software data from the US department of education’s college scorecard and the respective university website. The schools were ranked based on tuition fees per year and acceptance rate. Both factors were accorded 50 points and, each school was assigned points based on how it compared with others on tuition amounts and acceptance rates. The points earned for both ranking factors were then added together to get each school’s total score.

We aim to provide the most current and accurate information to our readers. If you’re associated with one of the schools we ranked above, and you realize an error in the information provided, please feel free to reach out to us and let us know so we can make the necessary corrections.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

Woman in graduation cap and gown
Scroll to Top