Earning a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) can lead ambitious California nurses to a rewarding career as a nurse practitioner (NP). This advanced practice nursing role allows nurses to take on leadership duties within their scope of practice, which can include specialties such as pediatrics, women's health, and more. With online and campus-based program options, entering this in-demand career pathway is a very real possibility.

Choosing a Nurse Practitioner Program

Keeping the following key items in mind when researching nurse practitioner programs can help prospective students find the right fit:

  • Accreditation- Good nurse practitioner programs will be accredited by well-respected organizations such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Proper accreditations show that these programs are held to rigorous academic standards.
  • Program Cost- MSN and DNP nurse practitioner programs in California run approximately $600-$800 per credit hour, on average. This number can fluctuate based on location, school, specialty, and more. Aside from tuition, students will also need to factor in additional costs for things like textbooks, program fees, and other mandatory expenses.
  • Program Length- As most NP programs require students to have already completed a BSN, master's level degrees can take roughly 2-3 years to complete. DNP programs will take closer to 4 years, though part-time or full-time attendance can significantly affect the total program length for both degree types.
  • Internship/Externship Opportunities- Nurse practitioner programs require that students complete a minimum number of clinical hours. Many schools help students secure the internship/externships needed to fulfill this requirement, and can provide students with a pre-approved list of area hospitals and facilities.
  • Online/Campus Options- Online advanced nursing programs have been steadily rising in popularity due to the busy schedules of today's nurses. Traditional, campus-based programs are also available, as are ‘hybrid' programs which allow students to take a select portion of the coursework online.

Admission and Certification Requirements

Students will typically find the following admissions requirements in California:

  • BSN degree from an accredited college/university
  • Official copies of all undergrad transcripts
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Copy of active RN license
  • Current resume
  • Written statement of educational and professional goals
  • Three professional letters of recommendation

Licensing/Certification

Certification for most of the nurse practitioner specialty areas can be obtained through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Generally, applicants must hold an active RN license and have completed a graduate-level nursing program in an applicable specialty.

The California Board of Registered Nursing certifies advanced practice nurses, to include nurse practitioners. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Hold a current California RN license
  • Have graduated from an accredited nurse practitioner program

California Nurse Practitioner Agencies and Organizations

Schools That Offer Nurse Practitioner Programs in California

California is an excellent state to enter an advanced nurse practitioner program, as it has numerous options for both MSN and DNP pathways. With the profession expected to grow by 31% through 2024, gaining a graduate-level nursing education is a great way for nurses to fulfill the demand for highly skilled nurse practitioners.

SchoolContact Information
Brandman University
16355 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 341-9800
Cal State LA
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 343-3000
California Baptist University
8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504
(877) 228-3615
California State University Dominguez Hills
1000 E. Victoria Street
Carson, CA 90747
(310) 243-3696
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90840
(562) 985-4111
California State University San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd
San Marcos, CA 92096
(760) 750-4000
Fresno State University
2345 E. San Ramon
Fresno, CA 93740
(559) 278-2041
Loma Linda University
11262 Campus St.
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-4923
National University
9388 Lightwave Ave
San Diego, CA 92123
(800) 628-8648
Samual Merrit Univerisity
3100 Telegraph Ave
Oakland,, CA 94609
(180) 060-7637 x7
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Dr
San Diego, CA 92182
(619) 594-5200
San Francisco University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-1111
Sonoma State University
MSN Programs
1801 East Cotati Ave
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(707) 664-2466
Touro University California
1310 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
(707) 638-5200
UC Davis
4610 X Street Suite 4202
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2145
University of California San Francisco
UCSF Box 0602
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-1435
University of San Diego
5998 Alcal? Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4600
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Western University
309 E. Second St.
Pomona, CA 91766
(909) 623-6116