Affordable Nursing Schools In California

Last Updated on December 14, 2022

Earning a nursing degree is a major investment in education. Students who study nursing benefit by gaining problem-solving, critical-thinking, communication and technological skills. These skills may help them to find a job or qualify them for higher salaries compared to those who do not have the same level of education.

infolearners gives a detailed context on Affordable Nursing Schools In California and helps you on your career path. All you need accessibility and comprehensibility is available on the Collegelearners website . You can obtain relevant and related information on this website, you can also read on related topics such as best nursing schools in california for undergraduate, undergraduate nursing programs california and 2 year nursing programs california.

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Nursing is one of those professions which many of us probably do not appreciate the importance of to our wellbeing until we or someone we know and care about is hospitalized.

As the U.S. population grows and ages, becomes ill and heals, nurses are even more important to the collective health of the whole country. Many schools are responding with exceptional programs and affordable online options as well.

So it should be no surprise that the expected increase in jobs for registered nursing alone in the USA is estimated at 16% growth between 2014 and 2024. That’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

BLS data shows that California employs 255,010 registered nurses (data valid as of May 2015), making it rank as #1 in the USA. The hourly mean wage for registered nurses working in the state is $48.68 ($101,260/ year).

Top 10 Most Affordable Nursing Degrees in California

1California State University-Monterey BaySeaside, CA
2California State University-Dominguez HillsCarson, CA
3California State University-FresnoFresno, CA
4California State University-Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA
5California State University-FullertonFullerton, CA
6California State University-Long BeachLong Beach, CA
7San Francisco State UniversitySan Francisco, CA
8California State University-Channel IslandsCamarillo, CA
9California State University-East BayHayward, CA
10California State University-NorthridgeNorthridge, CA

There are initiatives to encourage nurses to increase their level of college education, which in turn increases career opportunities. One such initiative is recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which aims to have 80% or more of registered nurses in the United States hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

What are the most affordable nursing degrees in California?

If you are interested interested in entering the nursing profession for the first time, or want to upgrade your education to align with the IOM initiative, read on for our list of the top ten most affordable bachelor’s of nursing degree programs in California, based on NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) published data for average in-state tuition.

While our list is dominated by nursing schools from the California State system, we filtered it down from the 41 colleges/ universities listed in NCES for this state. You can start your college search here, and check other California institutions later, if necessary. (Programs listed below were active at time of publication.)


  1. California State University-Monterey BayLOCATIONSeaside, CATUITION$$$$$
  2. California State University-Dominguez HillsLOCATIONCarson, CATUITION$$$$$
  3. California State University-FresnoLOCATIONFresno, CATUITION$$$$$
  4. California State University-Los AngelesLOCATIONLos Angeles, CATUITION$$$$$
  5. California State University-FullertonLOCATIONFullerton, CATUITION$$$$$
  6. California State University-Long BeachLOCATIONLong Beach, CATUITION$$$$$
  7. San Francisco State UniversityLOCATIONSan Francisco, CATUITION$$$$$
  8. California State University-Channel IslandsLOCATIONCamarillo, CATUITION$$$$$
  9. California State University-East BayLOCATIONHayward, CATUITION$$$$$
  10. California State University-NorthridgeLOCATIONNorthridge, CATUITION$$$$$
BEST NURSING PROGRAMS - International students in Canada - Tuition Fee |  Scholarships | PR in Canada - YouTube

2019 List of Cheapest Nursing Schools in California

It should come as no surprise that the California State has so many nursing schools and programs when you realize that it has also a large number of professional nurses being employed within the state, and it is also not surprising that it offers one of the highest average wages for nurses in the United States.

Such an academic field with high demand, decent salary, & a great demand requires great schools to educate & prepare the future generation of nurses. It is believed that such high demand will continue for the next decades, making the nursing profession career in high demand.

Nursing as a profession is the single largest health profession in the California State, with close to three hundred thousand active registered nurses, nurse practitioners & nurse midwives in the state. Though the number of practicing nurses doubled between 1980 and 2008, California still has relatively low number of nurses per capita.

Every nursing school has its peculiar advantages, but some of them seem to rise above the rest. Most of the nursing schools offer to in-state tuition to the California residents, bringing the cost of attending it down. Below is the list of the best nursing schools in the California state.

Mount Saint Mary’s University

Tuition fee is $39,608,

School Admission Rate is 86%

Mount Saint Mary’s University is based in Los Angeles. As a private school, there is no in-state tuition; however, majority of students who attend Mount Saint Mary’s University get financial assistance. The highlight of their undergraduate nursing program is the popular Bachelor of Science in Nursing program which is completed in one year.  

Mount Saint Mary’s University offers the students real practical experience by making them work in hospitals in Los Angeles. Students therefore get the opportunity to interact with health professionals & patients unlike anywhere else.

Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University offers students the leadership skills & a deep level of compassion in the field of health care. Through innovative programs, mentors, & guides, students have enough opportunities to get a bachelor, master, or even doctoral degrees on campus or online.

California State University, Fullerton

In-state Tuition is $6,830,

School Admission Rate is 48%

While the postgraduate nursing degree programs receive most of the national attention at California State University, Fullerton, their Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is also outstanding. For future nurses who have an interest in midwifery or anesthesia, California State University, Fullerton should definitely be one of your choices.

University of California, Los Angeles

In-state Tuition is $13,749

School Admission Rate is 18%

The University of California, Los Angeles, is renowned for its athletic programs, but the nursing program at the University of California, Los Angeles is also impressive. Their nursing program has earned a lot of prestigious awards, & it places lots of emphasis on strong faculty in order to give students the best opportunity for them to succeed in their careers.

It is competitive to get in & a little pricier than many other schools, but the education offered is really worth the tuition fees. The University of California, Los Angeles, offers several nursing programs through their experienced faculty & small class sizes, as the students will be taught and assessed on judgment, critical thinking, & evidence-based nursing skills

California State University, Sacramento

In-state Tuition is $7,204

School Admission Rate is 72%

The California State University, Sacramento is located in the state capital of California, and it has education paths for a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program or for registered nurses looking to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing

San Francisco State University

In-state Tuition is $7,254,

School Admission Rate is 68%

The San Francisco State University is recognized for having one of the best nursing programs in the United States, and that also implies competitive application process for prospective students. Typically, only sixty to eighty nursing students are offered acceptance each year, making this program tough to get into.

California State University, Bakersfield

In-state Tuition is $7,142,

School Admission Rate is 100%

The California State University, Bakersfield might not immediately come up like a dream destination, but their nursing program is truly comprehensive. With more than two hundred students earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, this nursing program is not as competitive as  other California schools to get admission.

The California State University, Bakersfield, delivers exceptional nursing education programs by combining physical, social, & biological sciences into their curriculum. Students here will get in-depth training in a number of clinical settings, part of the curriculum requirement.

University of California, Irvine

In-state Tuition is $15,516

School Admission Rate is 41%

Located in Sunny, University of California, Irvine offers nursing programs beginning from Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice. As a top-rated school, University of California, Irvine has a highly competitive Bachelor of Science in Nursing program with only eighty-eight freshmen admitted in the year 2018.

The University of California, Irvine, has many degree programs for one to choose from. Whether you are looking for a basic degree or advanced, you will have to learn a biomedical, behavioral, social, & pharmaceutical science  combined with clinical practice & theory to give you the best education in the field of health.

San Diego State University

In-state Tuition is $7,460

School Admission Rate is 35%

San Diego State University boasts of impressive numbers of students studying a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Their examination pass rates has been excellent over the past decades, meaning that their nurses know what they want. The school also has a direct entry program for new students, something exclusive to them and few other schools.

San Diego State University strives to provide admitted students with a thorough education through the nursing degree. The students will be taught on long-term rehabilitation, how to prevent & care for illness & injuries, & healthy lifestyles so they are well positioned to give patients the best possible care.

California State University, Long Beach

In-state Tuition is $6,794,

School Admission Rate is 32%

California State University, Long Beach, is ideally one of the best all-around nursing schools. There are many programs available for all the levels of nursing, each of them preparing the nurses for their future careers in the state of California and beyond.

Sonoma State University

In-state Tuition is $7,724

School Admission Rate is 76%

All the students at Sonoma State University are required to become Registered Nurses prior to applying for any nursing program. Luckily, the school divides their traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program into 2 parts – becoming a Registered Nurse first, then earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. This school has been around for quite a few years now, but it is quickly becoming prestigious name in the nursing community.


For those who aspire to enter into the nursing profession, it is important to know that the institution they attend to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing will definitely have a great impact on their career prospects, so choosing one of the best low tuition or cheap Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs in California must be a priority.

California State has the best options for nursing schools in the United States, though it might look nearly impossible to select the right school unless you do thorough research on programs that fit your expectations & needs from the above-enumerated ones.

2 year nursing programs california

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a two-year undergraduate degree that serves to prepare students for a career as a registered nurse. The degree focuses on the practical aspects of the field and includes classroom work, internships, and lab sessions as part of the curriculum. If a career in nursing sounds like the right path for you, check out our list of 2 year nursing programs in California below.

If you’re already a CNA, there are CNA to LVN programs in California. And if you’re already an LVN, there are LVN to RN bridge programs in California.

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Allan Hancock College

For students who have already completed a vocational program, or have status in California as an LVN, the program at Allan Hancock College is a good option. This Registered Nursing program is a two-semester program that is fully accredited by the California Board of Registered Nurses.

The program consists of classroom lectures and supervised practice in both lab and real-world settings. Students will learn the foundational concepts needed to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam, all from professors who have varying degrees of experience in the field.

Because the program focuses on the additional responsibilities required of an RN, only students with work experience in the field are invited to apply.

800 S. College Dr.
Santa Maria, CA 93454

805-922-6966 ext. 3384

Cerritos College

The ADN at Cerritos College was designed in adherence to the NCLEX-RN licensure exam competencies. This is a 2-year degree that covers all eight major competency areas and is completed with students applying for licensure through the Board of Registered Nursing.

While there are six different options associated with the degree, the most popular is the ADN as it provides a straight path forward for both further education and licensure in the state.

Students will find lab opportunities, internships, classroom lectures, and tutoring options available at this school. Cerritos College also offers accelerated tracks for students who are designated LSNs or who would like to take on the ADN-BSN program.

11110 Alondra Blvd.
Norwalk, CA 90650


Chaffey College

Students who are interested in an accredited college that offers a pathway to RN licensure should consider Chaffey College. This school hosts one of the original ADN programs to be established in the state and is an intimate setting to learn about this field. is a two-year degree that focuses on the practical applications of nursing and includes classroom lectures, labs, and clinical rotations. Students who complete the degree will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam after graduation.

Along with the curriculum, students are provided with internship opportunities, a job resource setting, and academic clubs that correlate to their studies. Chaffey also provides scholarship opportunities for interested students.

5885 Haven Avenue
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737


El Camino College – Compton

El Camino College – Compton is an accredited school that offers a 2-year degree in nursing. In conjunction with El Camino College – Torrance, this institution provides a degree that can be completed on two campuses, depending on an applicant’s needs.

After the substantial background check and drug screening is completed, students will find a professional curriculum that focuses on experiential learning, lab sessions, and clinical rotations; the department is also home to charters for both the NSNA and the CNSA, both of which are student nurse associations recognized nationwide. After graduation, students will be eligible to apply for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

1111. E. Artesia Boulevard
Compton, CA 90221

Los Angeles County Department College of Nursing and Allied Health

Los Angeles County owns and operates its own institution, the College of Nursing and Allied Health, that is dedicated to providing the county with professionals. Established in 1895, it is one of the oldest institutions of its kind and hosts the ADN for interested students.

The two-year degree offers a classroom setting with licensed professionals but focuses more on experiential learning as well as clinical rotations. Students will find that their experiences take place at DHS facilities and allied healthcare systems. Upon graduation, all students will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

1237 North Mission Road
Los Angeles, CA 90033

323-226-4911 ext. 6511

Everything You Need to Know About Studying for your Associate Degree in Nursing in California

lEarning an ADN from 2 year nursing programs in California is the fastest way to start a career as an RN. However, it is important for students to understand that this degree is known by a few monikers, including AN, for Associate of Nursing; ASN, for Associate of Science in Nursing; and AAS, for Associate of Applied Science in Nursing

No matter what the degree distinction, an associate’s degree will help students looking for 2 year nursing programs in California and hoping to become RNs. If you already a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), you can also look at CNA to LVN Bridge programs in California.

Nursing programs in California, from the Bay Area to Southern California, are internationally recognized for both curriculum and clinical rotation opportunities. Schools that offer these diplomas are known for providing students with a solid understanding of the field as well as preparing them to take theNCLEX-RN licensure exam, a requirement for those who wish to practice in the state.

What to Look For

While these degrees are in demand by students, it is critical that any applicant study the schools and their programs carefully before making a decision. Not all colleges are created equal, so it is important for students to take the time to research aspects of the curriculum and the department itself prior to making a decision.

Accreditation and Licensing

Accreditation and licensing remain the most important factors in choosing an ADN program. In California, all nursing departments are required to receive accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, which is also known as ACEN.

Some community and private institutions may also receive accreditation by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, known as ACCJC; this accreditation is by a national body that has oversight over two-year degrees in most disciplines.

Licensing is equally important; students who do not complete a curriculum that is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing may find it more difficult to complete the requirements that will enable them to sit for licensure. However, the board does approve several schools for RN education, providing students with a curriculum suitable for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

Program Outcomes

Like all other fields of study, ADN programs have specific parameters that students can use to compare similar degrees from different schools. These factors include the following:

  • Graduation rates
  • Employment outcomes
  • NCLEX-RN exam pass rates
  • Retention rates
  • Concentration opportunities
  • Student satisfaction data in the form of surveys

These play a large role in a student’s decision because a school with a few or all of these factors will be more favorable than a school that only has one or two. The information listed above can be found on each school’s degree website page.

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