Entry-Level ADN, BSN, MSN Programs in San Diego

The San Diego area boasts a number of schools offering direct-entry Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN), and Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs. No matter where you are on your journey to become a nurse, there's a program out there to help you reach your goals.

LVN to RN Programs

Licensed vocational nurses are experienced at providing basic patient care in a variety of healthcare settings, and many LVNs choose to build upon these skills and become registered nurses. Specialized LVN to RN programs, like the one at San Diego City College, provide a pathway for LVNs to earn their associate’s degree and pass the RN licensing exam.

ADN Programs

Two-year ADN programs are typically available at community colleges throughout the city. San Diego City College, for example, offers an ADN program that requires 62 total units and includes courses in Medical-Surgical Nursing, Maternal-Child Health Nursing, and more. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination for nursing licensure.

Direct-Entry BSN Programs

These four-year degrees are considered the gold standard in nursing education and are often required for hospital positions. Direct-entry programs mean that the student does not have to hold an RN license or nursing degree prior to starting the program. San Diego State University offers a traditional BSN that includes a unique international experience component that students have the option to fulfill via study abroad. Most accredited BSN programs in San Diego are found at traditional colleges and universities. Required courses may include Pathophysiology, Clinical Pharmacology, and more.

Learn more about California RN to BSN Programs

Direct-Entry MSN Programs

Direct-entry MSN programs, also often referred to as Master's Entry Programs in Nursing (MEPN) are designed for those who hold already hold a bachelor's degree in another field. These programs can generally be completed in less than 2 years. While not as common as other program pathways, San Diego does offer one through the University of San Diego. Their program includes courses in Health Assessment, Evidence-Based Practice, and more, and takes 21 months to complete.

Find out more about California Accelerated MSN Programs

San Diego RN Program NCLEX-RN Pass Rates

 San DiegoCalifornia
NCLEX-RN Students Total99910,473
NCLEX-RN Students Passed9359,619
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate93.6%91.8%

Top Ranked Accredited Nursing Programs in San Diego

Listed below are the top nursing schools in San Diego based on our RegisteredNursing.org RN program rankings for California out of 129 other accredited programs offered in the state:

  • California State University, San Marcos - #20
  • Grossmont College - #8
  • Mira Costa College - #15
  • San Diego City College - #17
SchoolContact Information

California State University, San Marcos

333 S Twin Oaks Valley Rd
San Marcos, CA 92096
(760) 750-4000

Grossmont College

8800 Grossmont College Dr
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 644-7000

Mira Costa College

1 Barnard Dr
Oceanside, CA 92056
(760) 757-2121

National University

9388 Lightwave Ave
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 521-3910

Palomar College

1140 W Mission Rd
San Marcos, CA 92069
(760) 744-1150

Point Loma Nazarene University

3900 Lomaland Dr
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 849-2200

San Diego City College

1313 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 388-3400

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Dr
San Diego, CA 92182
(619) 594-5200

Southwestern College

900 Otay Lakes Rd
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 421-6700

University of San Diego

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4548

RN to BSN/MSN Programs in San Diego

Licensed RNs who have earned a diploma or ADN and are looking to obtain higher degrees have the option of enrolling in "bridge" programs. This allows the nurse to build upon their nursing knowledge and credits them for the courses they have already completed, making the programs quicker to complete. RN to BSN and RN to MSN pathways are the most common bridge programs.

RN to BSN Programs

RN to BSN programs in San Diego allow nurses to complete a bachelor's degree in nursing in less than 2 years. This type of program is commonly found online, so that busy RNs can fit in their studies. California State University - San Marcos offers a fully online RN to BSN program designed to be completed in just 16 months. The total cost of the program is currently $9,880.

Learn more about California RN to BSN Programs

RN to MSN Programs

The RN to MSN program typically has two options: a pathway for those who hold an ADN and one for those who hold a BSN. Depending on the entry point, this type of bridge program can take anywhere from 2-3 years to complete. While RN to MSN programs can be offered online, San Diego's Point Loma Nazarene University offers a traditional program that meets one night a week and select Saturdays to accommodate working RNs.

SchoolContact Information

California State University - San Marcos

333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA 92096
(760) 750-7553

National University

11255 N Torrey Pines Rd
San Diego, CA 92037
(800) 628-8648

Point Loma Nazarene University

3900 Lomaland Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 849-2766

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
(619) 594-2540

United States University

7675 Mission Valley Road
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 876-4250

Advanced RN & Nurse Practitioner Programs in San Diego

For San Diego nurses who are ready to further their nursing careers, advanced programs are available. This includes MSN, Post-Graduate Certificates, and DNP programs for those who wish to become nurse practitioners.

MSN Programs

A traditional MSN degree typically requires a BSN and takes around 2 years to complete. San Diego is home to many MSN programs where students can specialize in areas such as Women's Health & Midwifery, Nursing Informatics, Adult-Gerontology, and more. The University of San Diego offers an MSN program with many different specialization tracks. Courses taken may include Introduction to Health Care Delivery Systems and Theory of Nursing Education.

Learn more about California Nurse Practitioner Programs

Post-Master's Certificate Programs

For MSN-educated nurses who want to switch specialties (for example, a Family Nurse Practitioner who wishes to become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner), post-graduate certificates are a wonderful choice. Post-grad certificate programs are often shorter and cheaper than traditional degree programs, and many are delivered in an online format. National University offers San Diego nursing students certificate programs in Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialties.

Learn more about California Post-Graduate Certificate Programs

DNP Programs

One of the highest nursing degrees obtainable is the doctorate nursing degree. The University of San Diego offers both BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP program pathways. The length of these programs hinges on the nurse's prior level of education. Specialization options include Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, and several dual specialization options.

Learn more about California DNP Programs

SchoolContact Information

Ashford University

8620 Spectrum Center Blvd
San Diego, CA 92123
(866) 711-1700

California State University San Marcos

333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd
San Marcos, CA 92096
(760) 750-4000

National University

9388 Lightwave Ave
San Diego, CA 92123
(800) 628-8648

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Dr
San Diego, CA 92182
(619) 594-5200

United States University

7675 Mission Valley Road
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 876-4250

University of San Diego

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4600
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