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2021 Best Colleges for Nursing in California

Nursing is a popular major and California is the 4th most popular state for students studying this major. 17,108 of the 296,913 Nursing degrees awarded last year were given by colleges in California. With so many choices it can be difficult finding the best fit for you. This year's Best Colleges for Nursing in California ranking analyzed 38 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in nursing. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of colleges for Nursing students in California.

Choosing a Great Nursing School

Best Colleges for Nursing in California The nursing program you select can have a big impact on your future. Important measures of a quality nursing program can vary widely even among the top schools. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

Quality Overall is Important

A school that excels in educating for a particular major must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.

The vast majority of the colleges on this list are in at least the top 33% of our overall quality ranking.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 592 to 169 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Graduates Earn More After College

Nursing graduates from colleges on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. Recent nursing graduates from California colleges with a bachelors degree earned an average of $85,684 in 2017-2018.

Starting Salary  ( 83167 to 90232 )
$0
$91,600

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Nursing students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other nursing students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized nursing related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Nursing students in California.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings, including this Best Nursing Schools list, to help you choose the best school for you.

To further help you make the college decision, we've developed a unique tool called College Combat that allows you to compare schools based on the factors that matter the most to you. When you have some time, check it out - you may want to bookmark the link so you don't forget it.

Best Schools to Study Nursing in California

Learn about the top ranked colleges and universities for nursing majors.

Top 10 Best Nursing Colleges California

Azusa Pacific University is among your top options if you want to study nursing. Azusa Pacific is a medium-sized private not-for-profit university located in the suburb of Azusa. This university ranks 43rd out of 116 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, Azusa Pacific also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the nursing program earn about $86,700 in the first couple years of their career.

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It is hard to beat Dominican University of California if you want to pursue nursing as a major. DUofC is a small private not-for-profit university located in the city of San Rafael. This university ranks 37th out of 116 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

Dominican University of California is a fairly popular university to study nursing in California with about 105 graduations in the most recent data year. Nursing graduates from Dominican University of California receive an earnings boost of approximately $4,968 over the typical income of nursing graduates.

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#3

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

University of San Francisco is one of the finest schools in the United States for nursing. USFCA is a large private not-for-profit university located in the city of San Francisco. A Best Colleges rank of 235 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means USFCA is a great university overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, USFCA also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the nursing program make around $86,700 in their early career salary.

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University of California - Los Angeles is a wonderful choice for individuals pursuing a Nursing degree. Located in the city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 65 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCLA also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the nursing program make an average of $82,300 in their early career salary.

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#5

Pacific Union College

Angwin, CA

Located in the rural area of Angwin, PUC is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly small student population. This college ranks 56th out of 116 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

A popular major for nursing undergrads, there were roughly 136 students who graduated from this program at PUC in the most recent data year. Graduates from the nursing program at Pacific Union College make $3,068 above the typical college graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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Located in the city of San Diego, PLNU is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 378 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means PLNU is a great university overall.

With 164 individuals who completed this degree in the most recent data year, Point Loma Nazarene University is one of the most popular universities to study nursing in California. Graduates of the nursing program earn an average of $79,200 for their early career.

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Cal State Fullerton is a very large public university located in the large suburb of Fullerton. This university ranks 49th out of 116 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, Cal State Fullerton also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After getting their bachelor's degree, nursing students generally make an average of $83,800 in their early careers.

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#8

Sonoma State University

Rohnert Park, CA

SSU is a moderately-sized public university located in the suburb of Rohnert Park. This university ranks 58th out of 116 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

With 110 students who graduated from this program in the most recent data year, Sonoma State University is one of the most popular universities to study nursing in California. Sonoma State University nursing students earn $23,668 more than the standard nursing graduate.

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Located in the city of Irvine, UC Irvine is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 122 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UC Irvine is a great university overall.

With 79 individuals who completed this degree in the most recent data year, University of California - Irvine is one of the most popular universities to study nursing in California. Students who complete this program report average early career wages of $76,400.

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Located in the city of Sacramento, Sac State is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 66th out of 116 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were roughly 298 nursing individuals who graduated from this program at Sac State in the most recent data year. Nursing students from California State University - Sacramento receive an earnings boost of about $19,968 above the average earnings of nursing majors.

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Best Nursing Colleges in the Far Western US Region

Explore all the Best Nursing Colleges in the Far Western US Area or other specific states within that region.

State Colleges Degrees Awarded
Washington 293 3,694
Oregon 252 1,608
Nevada 190 1,734
Hawaii 162 623
Alaska 120 151

Nursing is one of 34 different types of Health Professions programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Allied Health Professions 4,342
Public Health 4,039
Health Sciences & Services 3,604
Health & Medical Administrative Services 2,890
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 2,764

View All Nursing Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Aleksahgabrielle. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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