Top Nursing School - Bakersfield, CA

School and Ranking Information

Within 50 miles of downtown Bakersfield, CA, there are 3 options for aspiring nurses seeking a degree. To become a registered nurse in California, students must first complete an educational program approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing. Similarly, students wanting to become vocational nurses need to complete a program at a school approved by the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians. The schools listed below are all approved by the state. Based on their rankings, locations, number of nursing degrees awarded and nursing programs available, the three schools are ordered as follows:

  • Winner: California State University - Bakersfield ranked in the top 40 public schools in the nation in 2013, according to U.S. News & World Report and is the top school in this area for nursing programs. It is the only school near Bakersfield to offer a bachelor's degree in this field of study.
  • Runner-Up #1: Bakersfield College, the 1st runner-up, conferred the most degrees and certificates in nursing in 2011-2012 of all 3 schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
  • Runner-Up #2: Porterville College is located about 50 miles from Bakersfield and conferred nearly 20 associate's degrees in nursing in 2011-2012, based on NCES data.

School Comparison Chart

Category California State University - Bakersfield Bakersfield College Porterville College
Rankings Named the nation's 38th best public school and 89th best regional university in the West in 2013* N/A N/A
Location Bakersfield, California Bakersfield, California Porterville, California (47.5 miles from downtown Bakersfield)
School Type 4-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $6,709 (in-state, undergraduate), $18,367 (out-of-state, undergraduate)** $1,324 (in-state, undergraduate), $7,484 (out-of-state, undergraduate)** $1,322 (in-state, undergraduate), $2,162 (out-of-state, undergraduate)**
Nursing Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's degrees Certificates and associate's degrees Certificates and associate's degrees
Nursing Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in (2011-2012) 95** 272** 18**
Most Popular Nursing Program (2011-2012) Bachelor's degrees (95 awarded)** Associate's degrees (141 awarded)** Associate's degrees (18 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) 41% for 2005 entering class** 19% for 2008 entering class** 18% for 2008 entering class**
Noteworthy In 2012, 97.1% of nursing graduates passed the NCLEX-RN exam on the first try.*** In 2011-2012, Bakersfield graduates boasted a 93.1% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.**** Porterville graduates in 2011-2012 had a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.****

Sources: *US News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***CSU - Bakersfield, ****California Board of Registered Nursing

Winner: California State University - Bakersfield

  • The Nursing Simulation Center gives students hands-on training while they are working towards a degree.
  • The Service Learning Initiative promotes nursing students' community service to the greater Bakersfield area.

The CSU Bakersfield Department of Nursing offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to both licensed and non-licensed individuals. Those who are not licensed are trained to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the BSN program. Students can expect to take courses covering surgical nursing, leadership, pediatrics and mental health, among others. Students who already have an RN license can participate in the RN-BSN program, which is available online.

Runner-Up #1: Bakersfield College

  • Aspiring nurse assistants may work towards a certificate, which prepares graduates for the Certified Nursing Assistant exam.

Bakersfield College, a 2-year school, offers an Associate in Science in Nursing program for individuals who wish to pursue careers as registered nurses. This 4-semester program requires courses such as nursing fundamentals, pharmacology and medical-surgical nursing. Students may also choose to complete a vocational nursing Certificate of Achievement program, which includes courses in pediatrics, newborn nursing and pharmacology. These programs prepare students for vocational or registered nursing national exams.

Runner-Up #2: Porterville College

  • Students must complete prerequisite courses prior to enrolling in the nursing degree program.

Porterville College offers both an Associate of Science in Nursing and a Vocational Nurse Certificate for aspiring nurses. The associate's degree program prepares students for careers as registered nurses upon passing the NCLEX-RN examination. This is a 4-semester program that includes coursework such as pediatric nursing, obstetrics and medical-surgical nursing. The certificate program can be completed in 3 semesters and includes clinical training. Students who complete this program can take the NCLEX exam for vocational nurses.

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