Becoming a nurse in California is a huge career opportunity. By 2030, the Golden State will need nearly 400,000 nurses. With more baby boomers retiring from nursing, and a graying population in need of more nursing care, hospitals and facilities that care for those aging patients must hire tens of thousands of nurses per year.
Those are just two of the reasons why the job site Indeed named LVNs as one of the top paid professions in the country.
If you’ve ever been curious about how to become a nurse, you’ve probably read a lot about accelerated nursing programs. An accelerated program is exactly what it sounds like: An educational program structured to give you a degree and help you graduate fast while also giving you the experience you need.
There are several paths to becoming a nurse. How can you become a nurse as quickly as possible?
How to Become a Nurse in California
To become a nurse in California, you first have to become licensed. There are two types of nursing licensure exams in the state, the NCLEX-RN and the NCLEX-PN.
To become eligible to take the NCLEX-RN, you have to have a degree from a four-year university. Four-year nursing degree programs are challenging for various reasons. One, right now (and this is especially true after the COVID pandemic), most four-year nursing programs simply can’t keep pace with the amount of applications they’re receiving.
Universities and four-year colleges are struggling to hire new faculty (and replace retiring instructors) to enroll more students. Even qualified nursing students are being turned away or put on wait lists for increasingly crowded programs. With that many students interested in becoming nurses in California, there’s even more competition for placement within four-year institutions. Put simply, rates of acceptance in those schools are lower now than they’ve ever been.
To read more about the state’s NCLEX-RN application process, click here for more information about registering and taking the exam in California.
How to Qualify for the NCLEX-PN in California
To become an LVN in California, you need to pass the NCLEX-PN. To take the exam and become licensed, you need an associate’s degree in nursing. The state of California has specific education hours it requires all prospective nurses to complete before applying for the licensure exam.
To apply for the exam, you need to provide documentation that you’ve completed educational training in:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- And so much more.
The fastest route to becoming an LVN in California is completing an associate’s degree in vocational nursing at an accredited institution like a vocational school or a community college. If you enroll in an accelerated LVN program, you could get your associate’s degree much faster, allowing you to work in the competitive and lucrative nursing field even sooner.
What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?
Accelerated programs are designed to train you quickly. For example, most students complete the LVN program at CDI within 13 months.
An accelerated LVN program at an accredited school provides the hands-on clinical hours you need for your licensure. Those clinical hours are essential. When you work and train in different environments, you will have the confidence and emotional intelligence required for a rewarding career as an LVN.
Then there’s the cost benefit. A vocational school with an accelerated program is typically far more economically burdensome on students than a four-year program. So, not only will you start your career sooner, you also will be burdened with far less debt when you start your new profession.
Can You Become an LVN and Transition to an RN Later?
One question that our admissions team and staff hear a lot from prospective or incoming students is: Is an LVN really a nurse? Of course, the simple answer is “yes.” Becoming an LVN still requires a lot of education and training, even if there is less of it than becoming an RN.
Yes, you can become an RN after you become an LVN first. It’s increasingly common to take the first step into the career as LVN and complete more education down the line. In fact, there is such a demand for nurses (and one that will last for at least the next decade, if not longer), it’s not out of the question to expect that a future employer could reimburse you for the costs of an LVN-to-RN bridge program.
Recruiting, training, and hiring nurses is costly. As demand for nurses continues to soar, it may prove to be more cost effective for healthcare organizations to upskill and train existing staff rather than recruiting and hiring qualified new nurses who aren’t already familiar with their workplace.
Also, if you enroll in a bridge program, you will already have a lot of experience as a nurse. By then, you may have an easier time with the advanced coursework and more confidence when you complete the next round of clinical hours. Lastly, since you have already taken and passed one licensure exam, you’ll have a far better idea of what to expect.
Ready to Enroll In an Accelerated LVN Program In California?
We’re currently accepting applications for our next LVN class. CDI is a family-like environment with a campus located in the heart of West L.A. Our hybrid in-person and online learning allows you to complete a lot of your classwork from the comfort and convenience of your own home. CDI is accredited and has been named one of the best nursing schools in California…twice!
We’d love to speak with you about how we can make your dream of becoming a nurse come true!
For more information about our next class, contact a member of our admissions team today.