Nursing Schools in San Diego, CA with Course Descriptions

Oct 03, 2018

San Diego Schools with Nursing Programs

Students planning a career in the nursing field in the San Diego area have several options in and around the city. This article discusses the clinical and coursework components of programs at three colleges in particular. It includes a statistics table allowing for comparison of the profiled schools, in addition to details on a couple of other nursing schools in the area.

  • San Diego City College is located less than a mile from the downtown area and offers multiple opportunities for aspiring nurses. Students can choose from an LVN (licensed vocational nurse) to RN (registered nurse) program or a nursing associate's degree program.
  • Situated about 10 miles from the center of the city, San Diego State University is a four-year school that offers bachelor's and master's degree programs for nursing students, including an option designed for RNs who want to earn their bachelor's degree in the field.
  • Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, is roughly 14 miles from downtown San Diego. The school has a vocational nursing certificate program and a nursing associate's degree program. There is also a program available to practicing LVNs interested in obtaining their associate's degree.

Comparison of Schools

Get even more details on the profiled colleges through the table below. There's more to choosing a school than exploring its academic offerings, so take a look at the info on costs, enrollment, graduation rates and more.

San Diego City College San Diego State University Southwestern College
School Type Two-year; public Four-year; public Two-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 15,569* 35,158* 18,413*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large suburb
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2017-2018) $1,142, in-state; $5,894, out-of-state* $7,460, in-state; $19,340, out-of-state* $1,338, in-state; $6,602, out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 87%* 59%* 80%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open Admissions* 35%* N/A - Open Admissions*
Retention Rate (2017) 66% for full-time students* 89% for full-time students* 74% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate 23% (for those who began their studies in 2014)* 74% (for those who began their studies in 2011)* 22% (for those who began their studies in 2014)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

San Diego City College

San Diego City College is a two-year college that offers degrees and certificates in areas such as business, computer information systems, cosmetology, engineering technology, graphic design and nursing.

Associate Degree in Nursing

The associate degree in nursing program at San Diego City College requires students to complete courses in the nursing major, such as pharmacology for nursing, foundations of nursing and medical surgical nursing. Students must complete the school's general education requirements for all associate degrees in addition to the nursing curriculum. The associate degree qualifies students to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

LVN to RN Program

San Diego City College offers licensed vocational nurses a program that qualifies them for the NCLEX-RN. Students may apply for an advanced placement associate degree program or a 30-unit license only program to qualify as a registered nurse. The school requires students to complete a special application to enter the program.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University's School of Nursing offers students an opportunity to complete a four-year undergraduate program in nursing to become registered nurses. The school also offers two graduate degree programs in nursing for students to advance in the field.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The bachelor's degree in nursing at San Diego State University qualifies students to take the NCLEX-RN and obtain a license as a registered nurse in California. Nursing courses in the program include nursing science, adult, health, client relationships and nursing management. Graduates of the bachelor's degree program also qualify for certification as a public health nurse.

RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is designed for active registered nurses who have completed an associate degree or a diploma program in nursing. Nursing courses in the program include leadership, nursing research, health assessment, electrocardiography, community health and nursing professionalism. Students must complete courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry and microbiology to be admitted to the nursing program.

Master of Science in Nursing

San Diego State University offers a 36-credit master's degree program in nursing that allows students to choose an area of specialization or concentration in nursing leadership in health care systems and advanced practice nursing of adults and the elderly. Coursework and two- and-three-year formats are available based on your area of specialization. For example, the advanced practice nursing concentration prepares students to become dual nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialists (NP and CNS), while the nurse leadership concentration trains aspiring nurse executives and nurse leader/managers.

Southwestern College

Southwestern College offers health and nursing programs for students planning a career in the field. Students may complete a program to qualify as a vocational or registered nurse in the state of California.

Vocational Nursing Program

Southwestern College offers a vocational nursing certificate program that requires three semesters of coursework and clinical experience. Courses in the program include pharmacology, vocational nursing, psychology and nursing care. The program qualifies students to take the NCLEX-PN. Students can earn a Certificate of Achievement, or, if they complete additional general education coursework, an Associate Degree in Vocational Nursing.

Associate Degree in Nursing

The associate degree program in nursing at Southwestern College is a two-year program that qualifies students to sit for the NCLEX-RN. The program includes 15 lab hours per semester in health care agencies. Courses in the program include psychology, lifespan development, humanities and communications.

LVN-ADN Transition Program

Active licensed vocational nurses may complete an accelerated associate degree program to qualify for the registered nursing license examination. To complete the program, students must take a summer bridge course and the nursing courses in the second year of the associate degree program.

Other Schools

Students may pursue a graduate education in nursing at the University of San Diego, which is nearly seven miles from the downtown San Diego area. It offers both master's and doctoral degrees in nursing. Grossmont College is almost 15 miles from downtown San Diego and offers an associate degree program in nursing for aspiring registered nurses.

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