Top Nursing Schools in San Diego

San Diego is the second-largest city in California and provides excellent opportunities for nursing education and employment after graduation. Regardless of what you are looking for specifically, this West Coast city offers several options for students who want quick training or a traditional BSN degree. There are also nursing programs in San Diego that offer advanced nursing degrees for RNs.

The size of schools in the area also differs, with more than 33,000 people enrolled at San Diego State University, while Point Loma Nazarene University and Azusa Pacific’s satellite campus offer a smaller college community.

Some of the schools on this list also offer online degrees and degrees for RNs who want to earn their BSN while working at their current jobs.

For graduates in the San Diego area, the average pay for a RN is $63,070, according to Glassdoor. Nurses who have skills in Critical Care, Labor & Delivery, Birthing, and Cardiology are often paid more for their experience.

Check out these top 10 nursing schools in San Diego

#1 – San Diego City College

San Diego City CollegeSan Diego City College offers a Registered Nursing program that confers an Associate of Science in Nursing upon course completion. Students who complete the program can sit for the CLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses). They will learn how to think critical, perform nursing care, provide leadership, manage resources, delegate and supervise within their scope of practice.

#2 – San Diego State University

San Diego State UniversitySan Diego State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, An RN to BSN Program, a Master of Science in Nursing, and an LVN to RN program. The School of Nursing’s mission is “to enhance and improve the health and well-being of the people of California and beyond.” The school prepares students in their chosen program to perform and transform nursing care in an evolving and complex health care system.

#3 – Southwestern College

Southwestern CollegeSouthwestern College offers an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a Vocational Nursing program, and a Certified Nursing Assistants program. The school also offers a Step-Up Program  from LVN to ADN, as well as an Operating Room Nurse program. Accreditation for the program comes from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Board of Commissioners, as well as the California Board of Nursing.

#4 – Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene UniversityPoint Loma Nazarene University offers a traditional BSN program, a RN to BSN program, LVN to BSN program, and a Master of Science in Nursing program. The school aims to provide students with the best knowledge and practices for their nursing careers while also focusing on the spiritual and emotional side that goes with caring for patients. The BSN program includes day classes, as well as some evenings. It takes three years to complete and all prerequisites must be met before students are admitted to the program.

#5 – National University

National UniversityNational University in San Diego offers degrees including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, and numerous degree completion programs for RNs and LVNs, along with a Master of Science in Nursing. The university models its nursing program to compete with the need for registered nurses in California and around the world. The BSN program requires prospective students to take the CLEP English Composition Exam, as well as the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills).

Concorde Career CollegeConcorde Career College’s San Diego Campus offers a Vocational Nursing program that confers a certificate in as little as 13 months. The program includes classes in administration of medications, restorative nursing care, common disease processes, legal and ethical responsibilities, and therapeutic nursing care. Students learn from experienced instructors and are eligible after program completion to sit for the LVN exams.

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#7 – California College San Diego

California College San DiegoCalifornia College San Diego offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program on campus as well as online. Students who are already enrolled in an Associate of Nursing degree program at an affiliate college can enroll in the online BSN Completion degree program at CCSD. The program is designed to address new challenges and changing trends in the healthcare industry. The program trains students for potential leadership roles in nursing environments as well as possible graduate study.

#8 – Brandman University

Brandman UniversityBrandman University is an accredited online school that offers an RN to BSN degree, a Post-Masters to DNP program, and several post-doctoral certificates. The school is based near San Diego and also offers some on campus classes, though none in the nursing field. The bachelor’s option is offered to professionals who already hold an RN certificate. It is offered online to provide more flexibility so that RNs can complete their degree while still working.

#9 – Brightwood College in San Diego

Brightwood College in San DiegoBrightwood College offers an Associate’s Degree in Nursing and diplomas or certificates in Practical Nursing and Vocational Nursing. The Associate’s degree includes classes on human behavior, pharmacological principles, leadership and management skills, and more. Students can sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam and seek entry-level employment as an RN.

#10 – Azusa Pacific University – San Diego

Azusa Pacific University – San DiegoAzusa Pacific University’s regional campus in San Diego offers programs including RN to BSN, Bridge to BSN, Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN, Entry-Level Master’s, and Doctor of Nursing Practice. The Bridge to BSN is designed for AND students who are entering their final year at a community college. With this program, students get an early start on coursework for their BSN. The RN to BSN program is accelerated and designed to sharpen the skills of RN professionals. The program is also offered online.