Nursing School Acceptance Rates in California in 2024

Nursing School Acceptance Rates in California

Are you seeking information regarding nursing school acceptance rates in California? These rates cater to individuals interested in pursuing various levels of nursing education, from associate degree programs to bachelor’s, master’s, or specialized nursing certifications. 

California is one of the most developed states in the USA with a well-developed infrastructure and other facilities. The health infrastructure of the USA is also developed to offer great medical services to the people. However, to meet the betterment, there is a need for health professionals, especially nurses.

If you want to become a nurse in the USA then you have to accomplish the BNS program from any renowned college or educational institution. 

Nursing schools often assess applicants based on acceptance rates, average GPA, and test scores to determine their academic capabilities for handling the major challenges of a demanding program. Whether you are a local or applying from out of state you must have an awareness of California nursing school acceptance rates and their corresponding average GPA requirements. It is crucial for thoughtful decision-making and strategic career planning in healthcare.

Considering the Nursing School Acceptance Rates in California is crucial, especially if you’re exploring nursing school for the first time or aiming for career advancement in the field. 

Having insights into these metrics is invaluable for navigating the competitive nature of nursing education in California. Understanding these rates allows you to make informed choices and strategically plan your academic journey. This knowledge ensures that you’re well-prepared to meet the demands of the healthcare field. You can also checkout our detailed article on Hardest Nursing Schools to Get Into in California.

How is the nursing school acceptance rate in California determined? 

The determination of nursing school acceptance rates in California involves the consideration of various factors. These factors impacting acceptance rates in California nursing schools play a key role in shaping the admission process for interested students.

Understanding these elements is crucial for those seeking entry into nursing programs in the state. We have researched and shortlisted the top 4 factors affecting the acceptance rates, these are mentioned below, let’s have a look: 

1. Applicant Pool and Competition: 

The number of applicants applying for limited spots intensifies competition. California’s renowned nursing programs attract a substantial number of applicants which makes it important for prospective students to present a standout application to enhance their chances.

2. Admission Requirements and Prerequisites: 

Fulfilling specific criteria is essential for acceptance. This includes maintaining a minimum GPA, completing prerequisite science courses, and achieving satisfactory scores on standardized tests like TEAS or HESI A2. Meeting these requirements is a prime priority for candidates. 

3. School Reputation and Accreditation

The reputation and accreditation status of nursing schools significantly influences acceptance rates. Renowned institutions attract a larger applicant pool, heightening competition. However, keep in mind that acceptance rates can vary even among highly respected schools.

4. Program Size and Capacity: 

The capacity of nursing programs directly affects acceptance rates. Some schools may have limited enrollment capacities due to factors like faculty resources or clinical placements. Institutions with larger capacities may have comparatively higher acceptance rates.

Make sure to implement these factors to get admission as the top nursing schools allow nursing students to navigate the complexities of the admissions process which will enhance their prospects of securing a coveted spot in a California nursing program. 

Qualifications for Nursing Schools in California 

Qualifying for nursing school in California involves meeting some common requirements. The applicants need to meet these eligibility criteria and requirements. For entry into any college program, the students must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, like a GED certificate, and many more. These are the fundamental necessities.

The nurses who are looking for post-baccalaureate programs, whether at the master’s or doctoral level, need to secure a bachelor’s degree first. Certain advanced programs might also seek healthcare work experience from applicants.

Both associate and bachelor’s degrees lay the groundwork for NCLEX licensing exam preparation, with many programs sharing similar core courses. Applicants often need to complete specific prerequisites, which commonly include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • English composition
  • Lifespan growth and development
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology
  • Statistics

Advanced degree programs like master’s or doctoral may mandate the entrance exams as part of the admission process.

19 Best Colleges with Good Nursing School Acceptance Rates in California

There are hundreds of universities and nursing schools in California. However, only a few of them offer good quality education and specifications. Below, we’ve compiled a list of nursing schools in California, focusing on their respective Nursing School Acceptance Rates. Let’s take a look:

1. Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University equips students with leadership skills and a profound sense of compassion in the healthcare field. Through innovative programs, mentorship, and guidance, students have the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree either online or on campus.

  • Tuition: $34,754
  • Acceptance Rate. 61%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Programs Offered: BSN (Traditional), BSN (Upper-Division-Transfer), BSN (RN to), BSN (LVN to), ELM, MSN, MPH, DNP, and Ph.D.

2. University of California Los Angeles

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

The University of California in Los Angeles provides various nursing programs emphasizing critical thinking, judgment, and evidence-based nursing skills. Experienced faculty and small class sizes contribute to an exceptional education.

  • Tuition: $12,763
  • Acceptance Rate: 18%
  • Graduation Rate: 91%
  • Programs Offered: BSN degree, MSN degree, MECN degree, DNP degree, Ph.D. degree

3. California State University Bakersfield

California State University Bakersfield
California State University Bakersfield

California State University at Bakersfield delivers an outstanding education by integrating physical, social, and biological sciences into nursing programs. Students undergo comprehensive training in diverse clinical settings.

  • Tuition: $6,811
  • Acceptance Rate: 68.8%
  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Programs Offered: Traditional BSN Program, RN-BSN Program (Associate Degree in Nursing Required), MSN-FNP Program (BSN Required)

4. San Diego State University

San Diego State University is dedicated to providing students with a comprehensive education in nursing. The curriculum focuses on preventing and caring for illnesses, and injuries, long-term rehabilitation, and promoting healthy lifestyles for optimal patient care.

  • Tuition: $6,976
  • Acceptance Rate: 35%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Programs Offered: BSN, LVN to BSN, RN to BSN, MSN degrees

5. University of California Irvine

At University of California Irvine, there’s a range of degree programs to explore, covering biomedical, social, behavioral, and pharmaceutical sciences. Whether pursuing a basic or advanced degree, students explore both clinical practice and theory to gain a comprehensive health education.

  • Tuition: $13,252
  • Acceptance Rate: 41%
  • Graduation Rate: 86%
  • Programs Offered: BSN, MSN, MEPN, DNP, Ph.D.

6. University of San Francisco

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

University of San Francisco stands out for its exceptional nursing programs that integrate real-world tools with Jesuit values. The curriculum adopts a hands-on approach, providing students with the necessary education.

  • Tuition: $42,634
  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%
  • Programs Offered: BSN, 4+1 bachelor’s and master’s, MSN, DNP

7. West Coast University Los Angeles

West Coast University Los Angeles offers a variety of nursing degrees, combining online and on-campus options. With a modern curriculum and cutting-edge technology, students are prepared to be healthcare leaders.

  • Tuition: $33,675
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 74.1%
  • Programs Offered: RN to BSN, RN to MSN, MSN, FNP, MPH, MHA, LVN to BSN, LPN to BSN

8. Mount Saint Mary’s University

Mount Saint Mary’s University emphasizes real-world experience, allowing students to work in Los Angeles hospitals. This hands-on engagement with health professionals and patients sets their education apart.

  • Tuition: $37,500
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 64.4%
  • Programs Offered: BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN, LVN to RN

9. University of California Davis

University of California Davis offers exceptional nursing programs covering critical thinking, lifespan development, diagnosis, and treatment. The education caters to students from various walks of life.

  • Tuition: $13,951
  • Acceptance Rate: 38%
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Programs Offered: MSN, MEPN, Ph.D., MS

10. California State University Sacramento

California State University Sacramento provides flexible nursing programs to accommodate students working and managing family life. Career opportunities await those seeking to expand their education.

  • Tuition: $6,872
  • Acceptance Rate: 72%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Programs Offered: RN to BSN, BSN, MSN

11. Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University holds the belief that work is a sacred calling, providing students with education to support this calling. In a Christian environment, students engage in hands-on research and theory, preparing for fulfilling careers.

  • Tuition: $32,400
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Programs Offered: BSN, LVN to BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, DNP

12. California State University Long Beach

With a mission to create a student-centered learning environment, California State University Long Beach focuses on producing quality professionals in the health field. Students learn to function as professionals in various healthcare settings.

  • Tuition: $6,452
  • Acceptance Rate: 32%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Programs Offered: BSN, ADN to BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, DNP

13. West Coast University Orange County

West Coast University in Orange County provides exceptional nursing programs, completed in as few as 39 months. With classes starting every 10 weeks, students interact with real patients in lab settings.

  • Tuition: $34,481
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 57.3%
  • Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, LVN to BSN, LPN to BSN, MSN, MHA, MPH

14. Sonoma State University

Sonoma State University offers both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs with quality faculty, small class sizes, top-notch clinical environments, and a modern curriculum.

  • Tuition: $7,330
  • Acceptance Rate: 76.6%
  • Graduation Rate: 95%
  • Programs Offered: Pre-licensure BSN, Post-licensure BSN, LVN 30-unit option, MSN

15. San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University offers nursing programs at varying flexibility levels to accommodate busy schedules. Graduates can work as registered nurses in pediatrics, geriatrics, gerontology, maternity, and medical-surgical nursing.

  • Tuition: $6,476
  • Acceptance Rate: 67.9%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Programs Offered: BSN, ADN to BSN, Entry-level MSN, MSN, Accelerated MSN

16. University of San Diego

University of San Diego
University of San Diego

The University of San Diego provides graduate-level nursing programs for students from all walks of life. Ideal for registered nurses seeking new career opportunities, students gain a general foundation and master-level courses.

  • Tuition: $44,586
  • Acceptance Rate: 51.7%
  • Graduation Rate: 77%
  • Programs Offered: MSN, Ph.D., MEPN

17. Dominican University of California

Dominican University of California aims to prepare students to meet diverse population needs. Students learn in community settings and simulation labs for both acute and long-term patient care.

  • Tuition: $42,552
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Programs Offered: BSN

18. Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University in Irvine offers contemporary and comprehensive nursing programs with small class sizes and encouraging faculty.

  • Tuition: $31,690
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Programs Offered: Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, LVN to RN

19. Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University prepares students to become leaders in their profession, focusing on clinical thinking, holistic care, leadership skills, nursing research, and conflict management.

  • Tuition: $27,954
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Programs Offered: RN to BSN, MSN, FNP


1. Is it challenging to get into nursing school in California?

Yes, it is difficult and competitive to secure a spot in nursing schools in California. The high level of competition is due to various factors, making admission into these programs quite demanding.

2. What is the acceptance rate for the University of California nursing program?

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Nursing faces intense competition, with over 5,000 applications for its bachelor’s program each year. However, only 50 slots are available, resulting in an acceptance rate of just 1%. The master’s program is slightly more accessible but still highly competitive.

3. Which state has the most challenging path to becoming a nurse?

Various states, such as California, New York, and Texas, are known for having rigorous nursing exams, making the process more challenging compared to other states.

4. Is pursuing a nursing career worth it in California?

Yes, California consistently offers the highest pay for nurses in the nation. Alongside competitive salaries, the state’s mandatory staffing ratio ensures demand for nurses, leading many hospitals to rely on travel nurses to fill staffing needs.

5. Why do nursing schools turn away applicants?

Nursing schools often face staffing shortages, making it challenging to accept more students. The scarcity of faculty, clinical placements, and preceptors to supervise students during rotations at healthcare providers contributes to this limitation.


Identifying the significance of nursing school acceptance rates and implementing strategies to strengthen your application is key to pursuing a successful nursing career. Make sure to conduct thorough research, maintain solid academic performance, acquire relevant healthcare experience, create a compelling personal statement, and secure strong letters of recommendation. All these will increase your chances of getting selected for admission. 

In your journey towards becoming a nurse. You may encounter challenges but with dedication, perseverance, and a well-rounded application, you can overcome all of them. Maintain focus, drive, and motivation throughout the application procedure. Keep in mind that your diligent efforts will unlock opportunities for learning, personal growth, and the ability to make a meaningful impact as a nurse. Understanding Nursing School Acceptance Rates in California can help you along the way.

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