Nursing Programs in Orange County, CA with Course and School Info

Orange County, California, has more than 9 schools that offer nursing programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for 9 of the largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

Students in Orange County, California, may choose from a range of nursing programs offered by four- and two-year institutions, both public and private. Awards range from certificates to doctoral degrees. Some programs are open to students new to the nursing field, while many are designed specifically for currently licensed nurses seeking to advance their careers. Specializations are possible and all programs include practicum requirements such as fieldwork and/or internships.

Career Requirements

Every state in the United States requires nurses to be licensed. Prospective licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and registered nurses (RNs) must complete a state-approved educational program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination to be eligible for licensure. Aspiring nurses have about 9 public and private not-for-profit schools to choose from in Orange County.

Below is an overview of each school and a table comparing their program offerings and tuition. All of the schools offer programs that prepare students for state licensure except for Brandman University (which only offers programs for those who already have a nursing license).


Brandman University

Irvine's Brandman University has several nursing programs for currently licensed nurses, including an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, doctoral programs for aspiring nurse practitioners and several post-graduate certificates. All of the school's nursing programs include online classes combined with internships and clinical experiences at local clinics, hospitals and health centers. These programs also offer online lectures and demonstrations as well as immersion sessions that give students an opportunity to practice their clinical skills in the college's simulation center and meet with mentors and advisors.

  • Programs Offered: RN to BSN,
    Master of Healthcare Innovation,
    Doctor of Nursing Practice,
    Post-Doctoral Nurse Practitioner Certificates
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $10,243*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; rural town

California State University - Fullerton

The nursing department at California State University in Fullerton offers several options for aspiring nurses, including a traditional bachelor's degree in nursing, an accelerated BSN for students with degrees in different fields, an LVN to BSN program and an RN to BSN program. The school also offers several graduate degree programs, including a master's degree, doctoral degree and options for students who want to pursue a credential as a school nurse, nurse educator or a certified registered nurse anesthetist. The curriculums are designed to give students critical thinking skills and to teach them about industry ethics, managing patient care and improving patient health outcomes.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    Master of Science in Nursing,
    Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,195 (in-state), $17,853 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

Concordia University

Concordia University in Irvine is a private not-for-profit school with several nursing programs, including an LVN to RN certificate, an RN to BSN and an accelerated BSN. The nursing curriculum is designed to prepare aspiring nurses to provide care to a diverse patient population, while also training them to be patient advocates with a strong knowledge base in nursing practice, medical ethics and leadership skills. In addition to lecture-style classes, students can also expect to complete 90 hours of clinical experience.

  • Programs Offered: LVN to RN certificate,
    Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $28,500*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city

Cypress College

This college, located in Cypress, has an associate's degree program that prepares its students for taking the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and gain entry-level employment in a hospital or other healthcare organization. Students can expect to take courses in nursing fundamentals, pharmacology and medical-surgical nursing, among others. In addition to completing clinicals, students can also gain hands-on experience in the college's clinical simulation lab, where they interact with their peers and simulated human patients. The college's nursing department has articulation agreements with many area universities, allowing graduates to continue their studies to earn a BSN if desired.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Science in Nursing
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,136 (in-state), $5,984 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Golden West College

In addition to offering its associate's degree program in nursing, Huntington Beach-based Golden West College also offers a LVN to RN career ladder program that can result in a certificate or an associate's degree. To be eligible for entrance into the nursing programs, prospective students must complete prerequisite courses in English, human anatomy, human physiology and microbiology. Typical courses include nursing theory, psychology, statistics and pharmacology. The program is designed to prepare its students for taking the NCLEX-RN exam and gaining entry-level work.

  • Programs Offered: LVN to RN Certificate,
    Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,172 (in-state), $5,204 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Saddleback College

The nursing programs at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo are accredited by the National League for Nursing and the Board of Registered Nursing. The school offers LVN to RN program, as well as a 2-year associate's degree program for future RNs. Core classes cover medication calculations, pharmacology, nutrition and nursing theory, in addition to general education requirements. Thanks to an articulation agreement, graduates of Saddleback College's associate's degree program who become licensed will be guaranteed that 72 credits transfer toward a bachelor's degree at United States University in Chula Vista. The college also has articulation agreements with California State University, San Diego State University and the University of California.

  • Programs Offered: LVN to RN Program,
    Associate in Nursing
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $762 (in-state), $4,694 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Santa Ana College

This college in Santa Ana offers three program options for students who want to become registered nurses: a regular 2-year associate's degree in nursing program, a 1-year LVN to RN program and a 30-credit LVN to RN program. The curriculums include classes in nursing concepts, pharmacology and nursing processes. After graduation, students are prepared to take the national licensure exam and gain entry-level employment or transfer to a 4-year institution to pursue a BSN. After being accepted into the RN program students must obtain malpractice insurance, pass a background check and submit yearly proof of a physical examination.

  • Programs Offered: LVN to RN Program,
    Associate in Science in Nursing
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,142 (in-state), $4,910 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large city

University of California - Irvine

The Irvine campus of the University of California is home to a nursing science department that offers undergraduate and graduate programs. The 4-year bachelor's degree program prepares students for the NCLEX-RN exam, as well as to continue their academic studies. The master's degree program prepares current RNs to work as nurse practitioners and students can choose between a family nurse practitioner and adult gerontological nurse practitioner tracks. Both tracks include 720 hours of clinical training and the entire program can be completed in 2 years. This school also offers a Ph.D. in Nursing Science and post-graduate certificates of completion in adult/gerontological nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    Master of Science in Nursing,
    Ph.D. in Nursing Science,
    Post-Graduate Nurse Practitioner Certificates
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $13,122 (in-state), $36,000 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; rural town

Vanguard University

Vanguard University, located in Costa Mesa, is a private not-for-profit school. It offers an RN to BSN program as well as a master's degree program in nursing. The RN to BSN program was created with the schedules of working nurses in mind. Courses are held one night per week for 7-8 weeks. The curriculum includes classes in nursing theory, information technology in nursing, nursing research and nursing leadership. To be considered for admission, students must have a valid RN license in the state of California, provide proof of CPR certification, submit two professional references and pass a background check. Additionally, prospective students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better are given preference during the admissions process.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
    Master of Science in Nursing
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $28,500*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Nursing Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)
Brandman University 4-year, private not-for-profit; rural town RN to BSN,
Master of Healthcare Innovation,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Post-Doctoral Nurse Practitioner Certificates
$10,243*
California State University - Fullerton 4-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$6,195 (in-state),
$17,853 (out-of-state)*
Concordia University - Irvine 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city LVN to RN certificate,
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
$28,500*
Cypress College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Science in Nursing $1,136 (in-state),
$5,984 (out-of-state)*
Golden West College 2-year, public; large suburb LVN to RN Certificate,
Associate Degree in Nursing
$1,172 (in-state),
$5,204 (out-of-state)*
Saddleback College 2-year, public; large suburb LVN to RN Program,
Associate in Nursing
$762 (in-state),
$4,694 (out-of-state)*
Santa Ana College 2-year, public; large city LVN to RN Program,
Associate in Science in Nursing
$1,142 (in-state),
$4,910 (out-of-state)*
University of California - Irvine 4-year, public; rural town Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Ph.D. in Nursing Science,
Post-Graduate Nurse Practitioner Certificates
$13,122 (in-state),
$36,000 (out-of-state)*
Vanguard University of Southern California 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing
$28,500*

Source: *NCES Navigator.

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