How to Get an Associate’s Degree in Nursing in California 

LVN Students Smiling

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of associate nursing degree programs in California. If you have a high school diploma (or equivalent) and are ready to become a nurse, getting your associate’s degree is often more cost-effective than enrolling in and attending a four-year university. 

How can you find the right LVN school in California, and what should you look for before you enroll in an associate’s degree program? 

Where Can I Get an Associate’s Degree in Nursing in California?

Most students receive an associate’s degree in nursing from a well-rated vocational school or a community college. Some questions to ask yourself as you are looking for a program in which to enroll are:

  • Is the school accredited?
  • Does the program have a strong NCLEX-PN (licensure exam) pass rate?
  • Does the school offer classes online?
  • Can the team help submit your financial aid documents?
  • Are there adequate job placement resources to help you get a job as soon as you graduate?

How Long Does it Take to Become an LVN?

To become an LVN in California, you must complete an associate’s degree in vocational nursing. The length of programs varies.

Most LVN certification programs are structured to last from one to two years. For example, CDI offers a 13-month, full-time LVN program

There are also dynamics in a student’s life that could impact how long it takes them to graduate. If a student is also working full time and attending community college, it could potentially lengthen the time they need to graduate. 

If you are eligible for financial aid, that could allow you to focus exclusively on your studies and complete a full-time accelerated program like CDI’s. 

How Can You Become an RN After You Get Your Associate’s Degree in Nursing?

Many students are understandably curious about the various LVN career options. 

You can become an RN after you receive an associate’s degree in nursing. Once you get through an LVN program and start working, getting a four-year degree may be more straightforward and cost effective. As a career nurse, you will already have a lot of familiarity with the courses you’ll need to take. You’ll also have hands-on experience as a nurse you can rely on when you complete the next round of clinical hours and exams. 

What is an LVN to RN Bridge Program?

An LVN-to-RN educational bridge program allows LVNs to become licensed as Registered Nurses (RNs). Bridge programs give LVNs the knowledge and experience they need to take on some of the more challenging clinical roles that RNs perform. Completing an LVN to RN bridge program can also lead to more professional opportunities and expand the scope of practice within which you may work. 

Just like becoming an LVN, there are hundreds of LVN to RN bridge programs offered throughout California. Once you complete a bridge program successfully, you can also apply to then take the NCLEX-RN. 

How Long Can I Work as an LVN?

There are a lot of myths about a career as an LVN. One of them is that becoming an LVN is a dead-end job. That’s quite far from the truth. 

LVNs are licensed and can work in numerous clinical and healthcare environments. LVNs enjoy leadership opportunities and career advancement. It’s ultimately up to you to decide how to manage your career as an LVN.

Experienced, competent LVNs often train other staff members and could get management roles overseeing certified nursing assistants (CNAs) on the team. LVNs are ideal mentors for CNAs, mainly because both spend quite a bit of time with patients.  

LVNs are vital members of a healthcare team. They have a range of responsibilities, including:

  • Wound care
  • Collecting specimen samples (blood, urine, etc.)
  • Charting vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate)
  • Dispensing medication
  • Following the care instructions of the physician 
  • And more

Becoming an LVN today essentially opens the door to a world of possibilities. There is no question that nursing is a challenging and demanding profession. It’s why at CDI, we don’t say that nursing is a career. We say it’s a calling.

It’s also a dynamic and rewarding path, one that leads to a secure job future and competitive pay. The job site Indeed rated LVNs as one of the top 25 paid professions.

At CDI, we are passionate about preparing our students for success. Our accelerated, 13-month program is designed to get you working in the field with the necessary skills. We also provide financial aid application assistance and resume prep, and we were named the best nursing school in California due to our very high NCLEX-PN pass rates.

Once you’re here, we treat you like family. Our intimate campus is located in the heart of Los Angeles. We also offer online classes so you can do some of your coursework from the comfort of your own home. We’re standing by to answer your questions about becoming a nurse. Contact us today to talk about our next enrollment period.


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