RN Programs in Northern California with School Overviews

The Northern California region has over 50 colleges and universities that offer registered nurse (RN) programs, including three located within ten miles of downtown San Francisco, San Jose or Sacramento. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for these three schools to make an informed education decision.

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Northern California Schools with RN Programs

Northern California is home to many registered nursing programs. These programs represent the first step towards earning the license required to become a registered nurse (RN), and are available at different levels. Read about the programs offered by three Northern California schools below, and use the comparison table to get an idea of how much your nursing education might cost. A paragraph about five other school options for nursing students can be found after the table.

  • The City College of San Francisco, located 6.6 miles from downtown San Francisco, offers a 2-year degree in nursing.
  • Located right in the downtown, San Jose State University has a 4-year degree program for registered nurses.
  • California State University at Sacramento, located 4.7 miles from the city's downtown area, also offers a 4-year program for nurses, as well as an RN-to-BSN program.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Direct-Entry Midwifery - LM, CPM
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
  • Nursing Science
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Comparison of Schools

Prospective nursing students can use the following table to help them decide which school is most compatible with their budgets and career goals. It includes important information about undergraduate tuition and fees, school selectivity and retention rates, which may serve as one indication of student satisfaction.

City College of San Francisco San Jose State University California State University - Sacramento
School Type 2-year, public 4-year, public 4-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017)* 26,299 35,835 31,255
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $1,598 In-state; $9,010 Out-of-state $7,721 In-state; $19,601 Out-of-state $7,204 In-state; $19,084 Out-of-state
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 59% 73% 84%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* N/A - Open admissions 67% 68%
Retention Rate (2017)* 72% for full-time students, 44% for part-time students 87% for full-time students, 71% for part-time students 83% for full-time students, 66% for part-time students
Graduation Rate* 32%, 11% Transfer-out rate (Began in 2014) 57%, 5% Transfer-out rate (Began in 2011) 48%, 3% Transfer-out rate (Began in 2011)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

City College of San Francisco

With nine campuses and three centers throughout the city, the City College of San Francisco serves over 100,000 students every year with a variety of 2-year degree and certificate programs. Founded in 1935, the school offers over 50 academic programs, including one in nursing.

Associate of Science in Registered Nursing

Approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN), this 4-semester program requires roughly 54 credits of coursework. Courses cover pediatric nursing, psychosocial nursing, advanced medical surgical nursing and more. Those who have not been accepted into the nursing program cannot take individual courses from the nursing department. Students must take an ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam, as well as submit to a background check, before enrolling in the program.

San Jose State University

San Jose State University is the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast. Founded in 1857, San Jose State has grown into an institution serving over 35,000 students and offers over 145 bachelor's and master's degree programs. The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San Jose State provides both graduate and undergraduate education.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The bachelor's program at San Jose State prepares students for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. In addition to traditional coursework, students in SJSU's nursing program gain work experience while under the supervision of university faculty at area hospitals, community health agencies and nurse-managed centers. Students who apply to the nursing program must submit proof of prerequisite coursework in biology, chemistry and communication. Additionally, students must have a minimum TEAS score of 78% for TEAS 6 and a minimum GPA of at least 3.2. There are also 30-unit LVN (non-degree) and RN-to-BSN paths available.

California State University - Sacramento

California State University at Sacramento offers an RN program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Founded just over 50 years ago, the nursing school has grown from an initial class of 38 to over 550 students at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The traditional nursing program at CSU - Sacramento takes four years to complete. A separate general education core is required for completion of the bachelor's degree. The program is only open to full-time candidates. Admission is granted based on a point system. Points are calculated based on the student's prior GPA, TEAS scores and, to a much lesser extent, optional criteria.

RN to BSN program

This program is for those who are already registered nurses and want to earn their bachelor's degree. This program is 120 credits, though additional general education requirements may be needed if they have not been completed in previous education plans. Some courses include community health nursing, professional communication and a capstone nursing project.

Other Schools

Aspiring nurses in San Francisco can pursue a 4-year degree at San Francisco State University or the University of San Francisco, a private institution. Two-year students can earn nursing degrees at American River College in Sacramento and Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. Opportunities can also be found in more remote areas, such as the 2-year Shasta College in Redding.

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