With many renowned hospitals and healthcare facilities in the area, nursing has become a coveted career choice in the San Francisco Bay Area. From inexperienced students looking to enter the profession, to RNs wanting to climb the ladder, San Francisco has no shortage of educational options for nurses.

To get started in nursing or to advance your nursing career, check out our accredited program listings sections below:

Entry Level ADN, BSN, & MSN Programs in San Francisco, CA

For those starting fresh in nursing, a number of entry-level programs are available in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. The Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN), the Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN), and even a master's degree option can all be obtained at a number of accredited institutions.

ADN Programs

The ADN pathway is the fastest, and often cheapest, route to becoming an RN. These 2-year programs are widely found in community colleges around the city, and give students the basics in registered nursing. For example, City College of San Francisco offers an ADN program that includes courses such as Pharmacology in Nursing, Maternal and Newborn Care, and more.

Direct-Entry BSN Programs

Those wanting the classic baccalaureate nursing degree have many options, as this pathway is arguably the most popular. With a nationwide push to hire RNs with a BSN or higher, many new nurses are opting to go straight to a bachelor's degree. The University of San Francisco offers a 128-credit BSN program with a 90.22% pass rate as of 2017. It's offered on its main San Francisco campus as well as a satellite campus in Sacramento.

Direct-Entry MSN Programs

Students who know they want to specialize and/or enter high-level nursing roles can opt for a direct-entry MSN program. While this type of program does not require a prior nursing degree, it is designed for those who hold a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing subject. San Francisco State University offers a full-time, 2-year Accelerated Entry Master of Science in Nursing with specialty options including Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nursing Administration, and more.

Top Ranked Accredited Nursing Programs in San Francisco

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

  • Chabot College - #2
  • Merritt College - #9
  • University of California, San Francisco - #14
SchoolContact Information
California State University, East Bay
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd
Hayward, CA 94542
(510) 885-3000
Chabot College
25555 Hesperian Blvd
Hayward, CA 94545
(510) 723-6600
City College of San Francisco
50 Phelan Ave
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 239-3000
College of Marin
835 College Ave
Kentfield, CA 94904
(415) 457-8811
College of San Mateo
1700 W Hillsdale Blvd
San Mateo, CA 94402
(650) 574-6161
Contra Costa College
2600 Mission Bell Dr
San Pablo, CA 94806
(510) 235-7800
Dominican University of California
50 Acacia Ave
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 457-4440
Holy Names University
3500 Mountain Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 436-1000
Merritt College
  • ADN Campus
  • Top Ranked California Program: #9 of 129
12500 Campus Dr
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 531-4911
Samuel Merritt University
3100 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 869-6511
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, Burk Hall 371 B
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-6850
University of California, San Francisco
505 Parnassus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-3105
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 422-5555

RN to BSN/MSN Programs in San Francisco, CA

For RNs who hold an ADN or nursing diploma and wish to advance, "bridge" programs such as the RN to BSN and RN to MSN exist. Nurses love these programs, as they are given credit for courses taken in their prior degree pathways, making them much shorter in length.

RN to BSN Programs

Those looking to continue on to a bachelor's degree in nursing can opt for the RN to BSN program. With flexible scheduling, including online options and the choice of full or part-time attendance, students can work on their studies while staying employed. San Francisco State University offers an RN to BSN pathway that takes just 1 to 1.5 years to finish.

Learn more about California RN to BSN programs.

RN to MSN Programs

For those looking to go beyond the BSN, an RN to MSN option is available. In just 2-3 years, the ADN-educated nurse can earn a master's degree. Online options are common, as are part-time schedules. Holy Names University in nearby Oakland offers an RN to MSN with a curriculum that includes Family & Community Health Nursing, Nursing Informatics, Healthcare Economics and more.

Learn more about California RN to MSN programs.

SchoolContact Information
Holy Names University
3500 Mountain Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 436-1305
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue - Burk Hall 357
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-1802
Touro University California
1310 Club Dr, Mare Island
Vallejo, CA 94592

APRN & Nurse Practitioner Programs in San Francisco, CA

Advanced nursing degrees allow RNs to practice in a number of prestigious nurse practitioner specialties. Depending on the nurse's goals and prior experience, he or she has the option of pursuing an MSN degree, post-graduate certificate, or a doctoral degree such as a DNP or Ph.D.

MSN Programs

The traditional MSN takes roughly 2 years to complete, and requires a prior BSN degree. Those enrolled in an MSN program can typically choose between a number of APRN and nurse practitioner specialties. Samuel Merritt University offers an MSN program with 3 track options: Family Nurse Practitioner, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, and Case Management.

Learn more about California Nurse Practitioner programs.

Post-Graduate Certificate Programs

RNs who hold an MSN degree but wish to change specialties, for instance, from a family nurse practitioner to a pediatric nurse practitioner, may opt to pursue a post-graduate certificate. These certificates are quicker and cheaper than obtaining another full degree, making them ideal for working RNs. San Francisco University, for example offers a Family Nurse Practitioner certificate that required just 31 units.

Learn more about post-graduate certificate programs.

DNP and Ph.D. Programs

Doctoral programs are considered terminal degree types in nursing. Students can choose between the practice-based Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) pathway, or the academia-focused Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.). For example, the University of San Francisco offers an FNP-based DNP degree, while the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) offers a 3-4 year Ph.D. in Nursing degree with a strong emphasis on research.

Learn more about California DNP programs.

SchoolContact Information
Samuel Merritt University
3100 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609
(180) 060-7637 x7
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue - Burk Hall 357
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-1802
Touro University California
1310 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
(707) 638-5200
University of California San Francisco
2 Koret Way
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-1435
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 422-6681