The golden state of California is an excellent place for registered nurses (RNs) to advance their education through an RN to BSN program. With an aging population, hospitals and other care facilities in the state are interested in hiring highly educated nurses who hold a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) or higher. If you are a registered nurse and looking to advance your career, there's no better time to consider an RN to BSN program.

2021 - Best Online RN to BSN Programs in California

With a greater earning potential and increased employment opportunities, many ADN-educated RNs in California are opting for RN to BSN bridge programs to earn their baccalaureate degree in nursing. With so many online options in the state, choosing the right program can seem daunting. That's why we have ranked the top online RN to BSN programs in California. Peruse our rankings below to find the perfect fit for you, and take the first step toward advancing your nursing career.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, visit our Methodology Page (

California State University - San Marcos

San Marcos, CA

Located in the greater San Diego area, CSU San Marcos offers an accelerated, fully online RN to BSN program that students can complete in just 16 months. This renowned program requires 38 total units, and enrolls just 44 students per cohort to keep faculty accessible throughout the online program. The curriculum includes courses such as Nursing Assessment for the RN, Nursing Leadership and Professional Issues, Community Health Nursing, and more.

Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Public 4-Year
  • A few grad programs offered online
  • RN to BSN program starts in Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters
California State University - Fullerton

Fullerton, CA

Cal State University - Fullerton offers an RN to BSN program that can be taken either on-campus or online. The online option allows students to graduate in as little as 2 semesters of study. While the courses are delivered in an online format, students will still need to complete 2 lab courses offered at partner facilities in Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, or Los Angeles County.

Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Public 4-Year
  • Full-time or part-time options available
  • The program is not impacted, so students who meet the minimum eligibility requirements are generally accepted
Azusa Pacific University

Azusa, CA

Azusa Pacific University (APU) offers an RN to BSN completion program to students at four Southern California campuses, as well as online. The curriculum builds off students' experiences to expand nursing skills and knowledge. Students also get the benefits of completing the program with the same cohort they enter with to facilitate collaboration.

Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Private Non-Profit 4-Year
  • Program consists of 40 units; 120 total units needed to graduate
  • APU participates in the Yellow Ribbon program for military veterans
United States University

San Diego, CA

San Diego-based United States University is home to an RN to BSN program that can be completed entirely online. Over the course of the year-long program, students learn both theory and evidence-based practice principles. Enrolled students also complete a 45-hour community experience that can be completed near their location.

Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Private 4-Year
  • Monthly payment plans available
  • 24/7 online library access
California State University - Fresno

Fresno, CA

The RN to BSN program at California State University - Fresno (also known as Fresno State) is rooted in providing nursing students with leadership skills. The nursing courses are offered online, except for one 90-hour clinical course in community health nursing which must be completed in the Fresno State service area. Graduates of the program are well prepared for graduate nursing programs or for higher-level nursing careers.

Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Public 4-Year
  • RNs who hold an ADN and a bachelor's in another subject may enter the program as 2nd year students
  • Curriculum includes 6 RN to BSN specific courses

Admissions Requirements for California RN to BSN Programs

Once you narrow down the schools you are interested in applying to, you must ensure that you meet (or exceed) all the entrance requirements. These will vary depending on the school, but in general, you can expect to find the following:

  • Must hold an active CA registered nursing license
  • Must have graduated from a board-approved/accredited school of nursing
  • Cumulative GPA from an Associate's Degree in Nursing program of at least 2.5

RN to BSN Classes & Courses

Once students meet the general education requirements for the program, they will begin the nursing-specific courses. Fresno State University's RN to BSN program, for example, offers the following nursing courses:

  • NURS 138: Bridge to Professional Nursing Concepts and Issues
  • NURS 145: Nursing Theories and Research
  • NURS 152: Advanced Leadership, Management, & Healthcare Systems
  • NURS 154: Applying Professional Nursing Principles

Online RN to BSN Programs in California

Online RN to BSN programs have exploded in popularity due to their flexibility, allowing employed RNs to complete their BSN continuation while working simultaneously. Since many in-person programs in the state are impacted, meaning that there are more applications than spots available in the program, online versions have even more appeal.

Admissions and Program Length

While some general education courses are required for the RN to BSN program, most students are able to have some prior courses credited towards the completion program. Approximately 120 total units are required to graduate, with roughly 30 of those units from nursing major coursework. Many students can complete the required courses in as little as 14 months. Admission dates can vary, with online programs typically offering more start dates throughout the academic year.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

Because tuition costs and fees can vary so wildly between programs, it's recommended to thoroughly compare schools before settling on one. As an example, tuition for the RN to BSN program at California State University Fullerton is approximately $11,000-$13,000 for the campus-based program and $14,000-$17,000 for the distance-based version.

Does an RN to BSN Increase My Salary?

Many nurses who complete an RN to BSN program report that the increased earnings make up for the cost of the program. Whether it's achieving a higher-level nursing job, being able to work up the ranks faster, or entering a specialty like pediatrics or surgery, the possibilities are nearly endless for RNs with advanced education.

RN to BSN Salary Comparison in California

Salaries for RNs in California have a very wide range. For example, Payscale reports that nurses in Los Angeles, CA make an hourly wage of anywhere from $30-$58. Nurses wanting to edge up to the top of that scale will need to further their education, and an RN to BSN program is one of the easiest ways to do so.

2022 List of RN to BSN Programs in California

Streamlining the RN to BSN process has become the top focus of the healthcare field in California. To support the forward movement, there are around 35 different RN to BSN programs being offered throughout the state. Nurses in California will be able to make the transition to a degree program and take advantage of the benefits associated with having higher credentials. BSN nurses in the state look to earn on average $18,000 more yearly than an ADN colleague. Opportunities for career advancement at higher wages are awaiting qualified BSN nurses!

Find RN to BSN Programs By City:

Azusa Pacific University
Online Campus
School of Nursing
901 E. Alosta Ave, PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
(626) 815-5384
Brandman University
Marybelle and S. Paul Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions
16355 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 341-9940
California Baptist University
School of Nursing
8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
(951) 343-4700
California State University - Bakersfield
Department of Nursing
9001 Stockdale Highway
Bakersfield, CA 93311-1099
(661) 654-3110
California State University - Channel Islands
One University Drive
Camarillo, CA 93012-8599
(805) 437-3150
California State University - Chico
School of Nursing
400 West First Street, Trinity 121
Chico, CA 95929-0200
(530) 898-5891
California State University - East Bay
Department of Nursing & Heath Sciences
25800 Carlos Bee Boulevard
Hayward, CA 94542-3086
(510) 885-3481
California State University - Fresno
School of Nursing
2345 East San Ramon Avenue, M/S MH25
Fresno, CA 93740-8031
(559) 278-6697
California State University - Fullerton
Online Campus
School of Nursing
800 North State College Boulevard
Fullerton, CA 92831
(657) 278-7927
California State University - Los Angeles
School of Nursing
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 343-4719
California State University - Monterey Bay
Department of Nursing
5108 Fourth Avenue
Marina, CA 93933
California State University - Northridge
Department of Nursing
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330
(818) 677-2494
California State University - Sacramento
School of Nursing
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819-6096
(916) 278-7543
California State University - San Bernardino
Department of Nursing
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407-2318
(909) 537-3394
California State University - San Marcos
School of Nursing
333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA 92096
(760) 750-7553
California State University - Stanislaus
Online Campus
School of Nursing
One University Circle
Turlock, CA 95382
(209) 667-3142
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing
1731 E. 120th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(323) 568-3304
Fresno Pacific University
Degree completion
1717 South Chestnut Avenue
Fresno, CA 93702
(559) 573-7832
Holy Names University
Department of Nursing
3500 Mountain Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619-9989
(510) 436-1305
Loma Linda University
School of Nursing
11262 Campus Street, West Hall
Loma Linda, CA 92350-0001
(909) 558-4517
Mount Saint Mary's University
Nursing Department
12001 Chalon Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1599
Pacific College
3160 Red Hill Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 662-4402
Pacific Union College
Nursing and Health Sciences
One Angwin Avenue
Angwin, CA 94508
Point Loma Nazarene University
School of Nursing
3900 Lomaland Drive
San Diego, CA 92106-2899
(619) 849-2766
San Diego State University
School of Nursing
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
(619) 594-2540
San Francisco State University
College of Health & Social Sciences
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-6850
San Jose State University
The Valley Foundation School of Nursing
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0057
(408) 924-3159
Simpson University
School of Nursing
2211 College View Drive
Redding, CA 96003
(530) 226-4529
Stanbridge University
Nursing program
2041 Business Center Drive, Suite 107
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 794-9090
United States University
College of Nursing and Health Sciences
7675 Mission Valley Road
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 876-4250
Unitek College - Bakersfield
Online Campus
333 Palmer Dr. Suite 200
Bakersfield, CA 93309
(888) 912-8512
Unitek College - Fremont
School of Nursing and Allied Health
4670 Auto Mall Parkway
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 492-3381
Vanguard University of Southern California
Nursing department
55 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626-9601
(714) 668-6101
West Coast University
Nursing program
151 Innovation Drive
Irvine, CA 92617-3040
(949) 783-4814

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