LVN to RN Programs San Diego, CA

The LPN to Associate of Science in Nursing program offers licensed vocational nurses a pathway to career advancement in less time than it would take to complete an associate degree program separately. Vocational nursing is one step on the career ladder of nursing. It is rewarding in itself but if you’re looking to broaden your scope of practice and boost your career opportunities, the bridge program is the way to go.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations. The workforce is projected to increase at least 300,000 in the next decade. LVNs will improve their career outlook and as demand for registered nurses is strong in almost every sector of the health care industry.

San Diego City College

The Associate of Science Degree in Nursing LVN to RN step-up program at San Diego City College prepares adults to function as a provider of care in the role of the registered nurse. The curriculum is designed to meet the individual needs of students through the delivery of a positive, innovative, learning model that encourages critical thinking and problem solving so graduates will be prepared to deliver care to a culturally diverse population. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing so graduates will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX for licensure as a Registered Nurse. They will collaborate with the health care team, communicate effectively, and commit to lifelong learning. The application period is September 1 to November 1.

Program Outline

Units: 45 (63 total for the degree)
Duration: 3 semesters

Course titles:
Prerequisite courses – Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Microbiology

Core courses – Reading and Composition, General Psychology, Oral Communication or Interpersonal Communication, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology or Principles of Sociology or Contemporary Social Problems, LVN to RN Transition, Medical Surgical Nursing III, Mental Health & Gerontological Nursing, Medical Surgical Nursing IV, Leadership in Nursing

Admission criteria:

  • Apply to SDCC online
  • Request official college transcripts and submit for evaluation
  • Complete the prerequisite courses with a minimum grade C or better and a combined GPA of 2.5 or better
  • Upload a copy (front and back) of an active California Vocational Nursing License and LVN training transcripts
  • Include SDCC ID on all materials and requests
  • Take the ATI TEAS test and request transcript results to be sent electronically to the SDCC Nursing Education Department – must score at least 62% on each subscale
  • Purchase an American Data Bank/Complio subscription and upload results of immunizations into the system. Include a copy of immunizations and titers with dates clearly printed with the application
  • Must have current CPR certification from the American Heart Association
  • Successfully complete a background check and urine drug screen
  • Complete all the general education requirements before admission to the nursing program

Program Cost
The estimated cost for tuition is $2,070. The cost of fees, textbooks, background check, uniforms, drug screen, physical exam, immunizations, laboratory tests, and ATI test must be covered by the student.

Address: 1313 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101-4787
Phone: (619) 388-3400
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.89%

Grossmont College

The Associate Degree LVN to RN Transition program at Grossmont College is open to licensed vocational nurses who hold a current, unencumbered license to practice as a vocational nurse in California. Unlike the LVN 30-unit option, graduates of this program pathway will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN and hold an associate degree in registered nurse. The curriculum includes theory and practical instruction in the core nursing courses. LVNs will receive approximately 13 units for previous coursework and will complete the requirements for the degree in 3 semesters. Prerequisite coursework must be completed before applying to the program. Graduates will be prepared to fill the role and function of a registered nurse after successful passage of the licensure exam.

Program Outline

Semester units: 51 (70-74 total for the degree)
Duration: 3 semesters

Course titles:

Prerequisite courses: Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology

Core courses – Medical Surgical Nursing I, Nursing Pharmacology I, Medical Surgical Nursing II, Psychiatric and Community Health Nursing, Medical Surgical Nursing III, Human Anatomy and Physiology II or Paramedical Microbiology, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication or College Composition and Reading or Advanced Composition: Critical Reasoning and Writing or College Rhetoric, Introductory Psychology, Introduction to Sociology of Minority Group Relations, Plus General Education Requirements for Nursing Majors

Admission criteria:

  • Submit an application for admission to Grossmont College
  • Submit official transcripts of prerequisite and general education courses – completed with a minimum grade of C – English Composition, Intermediate Algebra, General Psychology, Introductory Sociology, Public Speaking.
  • Must have completed high school or GED – documentation required
  • Submit copy of LVN license along with transcripts from an accredited LVN program
  • Submit official TEAS exam score sent directly from the ATI website to Grossmont College. Score must be a minimum of 62%.
  • Submit proof of required immunization – MMR, Hepatitis B, Tdap, Varicella, TB
  • Must complete a basic physical indicating good physical and emotional health – must be signed by a physician, NP, or PA
  • Read and sign the Essential Functions of the Nursing Student form
  • Must have a current American Health Association CPR card for Healthcare Providers card
  • Must have and maintain malpractice insurance throughout the program
  • Complete a criminal background check and drug screen

Program Cost
The cost of tuition is $46 per unit for California residents. Students must also budget for textbook, uniforms, equipment supplies, background check, CPR certification, drug screen, and fees.

Address: 8800 Grossmont College Drive, El Cajon, California 92020
Phone: 619-644-7000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.49%

MiraCosta College

The full-time LVN to RN transition program at MiraCosta College prepares vocational nurses for the next step on the nursing career ladder. The LVN will be admitted in Track II and must have completed an accredited LVN program and have a current license to practice as a vocational nurse in California. The curriculum includes a transition course and core nursing coursework delivered in the classroom as well as clinical rotations at local health care facilities. Graduates will be eligible to apply to sit for the NCLEX for Registered Nurses. The full-time program admits new students every summer. Students will receive credit for prior education and will complete the requirements for the degree in one year. Program credits are transferable to a 4-year college or university to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.

Program Outline

Semester credits: 52-58
Duration: 3 semesters

Course titles:
Prerequisite courses – Introductory Biology: Preparation for Pre-Health Professions (Lecture/Lab), Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Composition and Reading, Intermediate Algebra, Pharmacology Review and Update

Core courses – Public Speaking or Interpersonal Communication, Transition from LVN to RN,  Medical Surgical Nursing III, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Medical Surgical Nursing IV, Contemporary Nursing Practice and Leadership, Preceptorship Lab, Pharmacology Review and Update, (3 units from one of the following): Child and Adolescent Growth and Development, Introduction to Aging, Psychology of Personal Growth, General Psychology, General Psychology (Honors), Social Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, Contemporary Social Problems, Comparative Cultures

Admission criteria:

  • Apply to MiraCosta College and obtain a student ID number
  • Complete the five prerequisite courses with a grade C or better before applying to the program
  • Submit official high school and college transcripts
  • Must hold a Vocational Nursing License and six months work experience as an LVN
  • Take and pass the ATI TEAS with a score of 62% or higher
  • Complete a satisfactory health exam
  • Submit results of lab tests for TB
  • Must be free from communicable diseases and infections
  • Complete a satisfactory background check and urine drug screen
  • Attend an Orientation and Advisement Session after confirmation of admission to the program
  • Must have current American Health Association CPR card for Healthcare Providers

Program Cost
Tuition is $46 per unit for California residents. Costs for textbooks, uniforms, assessments, background check, drug screen, immunization, CPR certification, equipment, and insurance at the students’ expense. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.

Address: 1 Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056
Phone: 760-757-2121
Phone: 888-201-8480
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.31%

Palomar Community College District

The Associate Degree in Nursing LVN to RN transition program at Palomar Community College is open to vocational nurses who hold current, active license to practice as a vocational nurse in California. The LVN applicant will receive credit for 18 units and will be required to complete 49 to 53 units to graduate. Students will begin core courses at nursing level III. Theory and clinical coursework will prepare students for practice as a professional nurse. Admission to the transition tracks requires completion of the prerequisite courses including the LVN transition course before applying to the program. Graduates will be prepared to take the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse.

Program Outline

Semester credits: 49-53
Duration: 2 semesters

Course titles:
Prerequisite courses – MATH (any course numbered 56 or above), LVN-RN Transition, Fundamentals of Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology

Core courses –Nursing III, Nursing Foundation II, Nursing IV, English Composition, Psychology, Sociology, Communication

Admission criteria:

  • Must have a current, active California LVN license in good standing
  • Must have graduated from an accredited LVN program
  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalency and unofficial college transcripts
  • Submit transcripts from an accredited LVN/LPN program
  • Must have at least 6 months’ work experience as an LVN within 2 years of applying to the program
  • Complete all the prerequisite coursework with a grade C or better
  • Must complete the Palomar College Nursing 110 LVN-RN Transition course
  • Complete the TEAS exam with a score of 62% or higher
  • Submit an application to Palomar College and obtain a student ID number
  • Submit documentation of required immunization

Program Cost
The approximate cost for the program is $2,850. It includes tuition, textbooks, health fee, parking, CPR, uniforms, supplies, physical, immunization, background check, drug screen, and name badge.

Address: 1140 West Mission Road, San Marcos, California 92069
Phone: (760) 744-1150
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.67%

San Diego State University School of Nursing

San Diego State University offers a 30-unit option for Licensed Vocational Nurses to prepare for licensure as a registered nurse. This program is a career ladder option for California Licensed Vocational nurse to become registered nurses. Students will not be matriculated San Diego State University students, so they may enroll in the required coursework as space is available through the Open University. Graduates will not receive an Associate Degree but will be eligible to take the NCLEX for RN licensure in California. The LVN-RN option are not recognized by other states and they will not issue or recognize an RN license from LVNs who complete this option.

Program Outline

Semester credits: 30 units
Duration: 2 semesters

Course titles:
Courses – Fundamentals of Microbiology, Human Physiology, Clinical Pharmacology in Nursing Practice, Nursing Care of Complex, High Acuity, or Critically Ill Patients, Nursing Care of Complex, High Acuity, or Critically Ill Patients Lab, Gerontological Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Nursing Management and Leadership, Nursing Management and Leadership Lab

Admission criteria:

  • Register for classes through Open University – space availability basis
  • View deadlines for each academic term
  • There is no application process required

Program Cost
Tuition costs $281 per unit. Additional costs for books and supplies are not included.

Address: 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182
Phone: (619) 594-2540
Fax: (619) 594-2765
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.84%

Southwestern College

California Licensed Vocational Nurses may apply for the LVN-RN transition program at Southwestern College. The program is known as the Step-Up LVN to ADN Program. The curriculum will cover basic education and experience in the art and science of nursing to prepare students for practice as a registered nurse. Candidates must take a transition course before joining the traditional ADN program in the third semester. They will receive credit toward the first year of studies after evaluation of LVN licensure documents. Graduates will be eligible to take the NCLEX and take up entry-level practice as a registered nurse upon licensure. The program admits new students once per year in the spring semester. Admission is based on a Multi-Criteria Points System and selection is based on ranking points

Program Outline

Semester credits: 67 -71
Duration: 3 semesters

Course titles:
Prerequisites: Human Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, College Composition, Intermediate Algebra

Core courses –Maternal and Child Nursing, Maternal and Child Nursing Clinical/Lab, Adult Nursing, Adult Nursing Clinical/Lab, Nursing Supervision/Leadership, Gerontology, Gerontology Clinical/Lab, Nursing Supervision/Leadership II

Admission criteria:

  • Complete the prerequisite courses before applying to the program. Must obtain a grade C or better
  • Complete the ATI TEAS with a score of 62% or higher
  • Complete the Southwestern College Application Packet
  • Submit unofficial transcripts of coursework completed
  • Complete the Nursing Department physical exam and immunization form
  • Submit official transcript – when requested – directly from the educational institution to the SWC Admissions and Records Office
  • Have a current SWC Student ID #
  • Must provide a copy of current California LVN license
  • Provide verification of US high school diploma or satisfactory score on the GED

Program Cost
The total cost of the Step-Up program is approximately $4,810 to $5,307. The bulk of the expenses will be at the beginning of the program to cover textbooks, instructional supplies and uniforms. Financial aid is available to cover the program costs.

Address: 900 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910-7297
Phone: (619) 421-6700
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.95%




Crystal is a certified Registered Nurse (RN) with a passion for writing about nursing education. Through her articles, Crystal shares insights and tips to help fellow nurses enhance their skills and stay updated with the latest developments in the field. With a focus on practical advice and relevant topics, Crystal's writing is a valuable resource for nursing professionals seeking to advance their careers.