How Much Does an LVN Make in California…and Other Common Questions about LVNs

CDI School of Nursing sign

CDI has been training nurses since 1998. Throughout our history, we’ve witnessed many students become successful LVNS. It’s why we say this: Nursing isn’t just a career. It’s a calling. 

Making the decision to start your career as a nurse is a huge step. Students come to our LVN program because it offers an accelerated path to working as a full-time nurse. Before you take that critical step, we know you have a lot of questions. Fortunately, we have a lot of answers.

Below are some of the most common questions about becoming an LVN that we get, and we hope that we cover most of yours! (If we don’t just give us a call at 1-310-559-0225 or email us…trust us, we love questions!)

How Much Does an LVN Make in California?

LVNs in California made record bonuses and higher wages in 2021, with median salaries still rising just above $63,000/year.

When it comes to well-paid jobs, LVNs in California typically make very competitive wages, especially for a job that does not require a four-year bachelor’s degree. In 2020, the job site Indeed ranked LVNs as one of the top 25 paid jobs in California. The median salary for LVNs in California continues to rise. According to official state data, that number will go up until 2025. 

Is CDI the Best LVN Program in Los Angeles?

We are very proud to say that in 2021, the nursing school ranking website Nursing Almanac named CDI as the best LVN program in Los Angeles. Not only are we number-one in our own city, CDI was ranked 13th overall in the state. 

Nursing Almanac ranks LVN programs to “help aspiring vocational nurses evaluate their options.” How? The website’s internal research team compiles “an extensive database of student performance on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. We analyzed this data over a lengthy period of time –- the past decade when possible — to calculate each program’s NCLEX pass rate among first-time test-takers.”

When those researchers analyzed test data from 2011 to 2020 for first time NCLEX-PN test takers, the pass rate for CDI students was 93.2%.

Check out the full story about CDI being named the best LVN program in Los Angeles on our blog.

What are the Pre Reqs for Vocational Nursing School?

The pre-requisites, aka “pre reqs” for LVN programs are defined by state regulatory requirements. 

As mandated by the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, to enroll in CDI you must be:

  • At least 17 years of age
  • Have a valid high school diploma or GED
  • Are in good physical and mental health in order to perform the responsibilities required of a professional nurse adequately

Schools, and this includes CDI, require that you take an entrance exam. The entrance exam gives us a picture of what your current aptitudes are so we know what kind of tutoring you may need when you’re enrolled. (That tutoring is free, btw.)

We use these exams to establish a baseline. Said another way: we are a licensed educational facility and we use different exams to establish milestones for your educational needs and experience. 

FAQs about Our Entrance Exam 

How is the Exam Structured?

It’s divided into THREE SECTIONS (math, grammar, reading).

What if I fail one section? 

Each section is WEIGHTED to help you do well no matter where your strengths are.

How long is the test?

It’s 105 multiple choice questions.

How much time do I need to complete the test?

Test time is unlimited, but it typically only takes about 1.5 hours.

What if 1.5 hours isn’t enough time for me to finish?

We don’t time you, and we encourage you to go at your own pace. DO NOT RUSH! Take as much time as you need!

What if I fail the test?

You can retake it! Sometimes, we all have bad days. If it doesn’t work out the first time, you can take it again as soon as the following day. 

If you have more questions about the test, let us know

To read more about CDI’s admissions process and policies click here.

How Long Do I Have to Study to Become an LVN?

California doesn’t specify the duration of any LVN program specifically. As such, programs vary in length. At CDI, our program takes as little as 13 months. Accredited programs like ours satisfy state requirements to adequately prepare nurses for the rigors of the profession. 

To practice in California, the state asks that you meet criteria. Per the State’s Employment Development Department (EDD) website: 

“Licensed Vocational Nurses must be licensed to practice in California by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT). They have to meet educational requirements, pass a fingerprint background check, and pass the licensing examination known as the National Council Licensing Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).”

Can I Transition to an RN Program Later?

Yes! Many practicing LVNs elect to enter LVN to RN bridge programs after they work for a few years. 

An LVN to RN bridge program is always waiting for you down the line. Because four-year nursing schools are so popular, it’s more cost effective and faster to become an LVN first. An LVN program like CDI provides accelerated certification, and gets you on-the-job experience sooner. 

Many employers often reimburse LVNs for tuition costs in exchange for working as an RN at the facility after they complete the bridge program. Nurses are so scarce that paying for this level of training can prove to be a cost-effective recruitment and retention tool. 

What is the NCLEX-PN?

Every nurse is required by the state to pass the licensure exam before they are allowed to work in the field. In California, all LVNs are required to pass the  NCLEX-PN. We take preparing our students for their licensure exams quite seriously. That includes giving you plenty of time with NCLEX-PN practice questions, practice exams, and dedicated resources and classwork so you, as so many of our students have, passed it the first time.

Read About Cdi’s 92%-100% Pass Rate On The Nclex-Pn For 5 Years In A Row

Ready to enroll in the best LVN program in Los Angeles? Contact us today and we will support you through your entire application process.


Have questions about becoming an LVN?

Connect with us today and get answers!

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