CNA to LVN Programs Sacramento, CA

There is a constant demand for licensed vocational nurses is a good sign if you’re considering vocational nursing as the next step on your career ladder. CNA certification is a requirement for entry in almost 75 percent of vocational nursing programs in California. It is part of the program’s prerequisites and amounts to 10 hours of credit awarded to applicants. In programs where certification is not a requirement, you may request an evaluation of your experience as a healthcare worker to obtain a waiver on prerequisites or core courses. At the conclusion of the bridge program, you may be eligible to take the state exam to obtain a license to practice as a vocational nurse. You may also elect to enroll in an LVN to RN bridge program to become a registered nurse with one additional year of study.

Curam College of Nursing

The Vocational Nursing Program at Curam College requires a certified nursing assistant certificate for entry. Applicants will receive 10 prerequisite credit hours for the nursing assistant certificate. The curriculum covers 1,546 clock hours of theory and practical instruction and builds on the knowledge and experience of certified nursing assistants. Students will complete 588 theory hours in the classroom followed by 958 clinical hours to develop vocational nursing skills. Course topics include nursing fundamentals, nursing process, communication, patient education, pharmacology, psychology, growth and development, nutrition, communicable disease, gerontological nursing, rehabilitation nursing, ethics, critical thinking, culturally congruent care, end of life care, medical surgical nursing, maternal child nursing, pediatric nursing, and professionalism. Graduates are eligible to take the state licensing exam to become competent Licensed Vocational Nurse. The program admits new students four times a year. Enrollment is limited to 15 students with each cycle. The program is delivered over a course of four terms.

Admission criteria:

  • Must be a minimum of 18 years of age
  • Submit a valid government-issued ID and social security card
  • Provide proof of grade 12 completion, official GED, or foreign transcript evaluation showing equivalence
  • Provide verifiable proof of certification as a Certified Nurse Assistant from the CA Department of Public Health
  • Complete a Live Scan background screening
  • Must have valid CPR certification, including AED from American Heart Association
  • Submit health screening documents including the Curam College Student Health Questionnaire form, medical physical with no restrictions, malpractice insurance, and current immunizations for influenza, hepatitis B, TB exam, MMR, two COVID-19 immunization shots from Pfizer/Moderna
  • Submit satisfactory scores on an approved entrance exam – TEAS: Proficient, HESI: Satisfactory, Kaplan: 75% in each section, P-NAT: 65% overall
  • Submit official transcripts for any college courses complete – for transfer credit
  • Submit two letters of reference – from a nursing professional on company letterhead, dated and signed
  • Complete an admission essay describing in detail why they are a good candidate for to care for people within the nursing community
  • Must have malpractice insurance
  • Submit a completed application and non-refundable fee of $50

The program cost of $26,675 includes tuition, application fee, entrance exam, registration, CA STRF fee, textbooks, equipment, and software.

Sacramento City College

Certified nursing assistants may apply for credit in the state-approved program offered at Sacramento City College. The program is a 51-unit program that leads to a Vocational Nursing Certificate. Students must complete the nursing courses in sequence with the related clinical experiences. Course topics include meeting adult basic health needs, meeting health needs of all age groups, and meeting complex adult health needs. Prerequisite courses include medical language for health care providers, anatomy and physiology, introduction to concepts of human anatomy and physiology, human development: a life span, nutrition, and general principles. Upon successful completion of the requirements, students will be eligible to apply for the NCLEX to qualify as a licensed vocational nurse. The program is full-time and follows a rigorous course of study. Full-time employment is not recommended.

Admission criteria:

  • Apply to Sacramento City College
  • Attend an informational meeting – offered several times a semester
  • Provide official college transcripts for any coursework completed outside the Los Rios Community College District
  • Complete a Course Substitution Petition for any classes taken outside the Los Rios Community College District
  • Read and complete the online application for the Vocational Nursing program
  • Must have completed 12th grade or equivalent as granted by the California State Department of Education
  • Complete anatomy and physiology with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 – transcript required
  • Complete medical language, psychology, nutrition, and human development life span with a cumulative GPA of 2.5
  • Provide a copy of TEAS test scores
  • Completing medical dosage calculations prior to the beginning of the program is recommended
  • Must undergo a criminal background check and drug screen
  • Must have current CPR certification for Health Care Providers – American Heart Association

The program cost of $4,000 includes tuition, uniforms, books, nurse kit, immunization, background check, drug screen, CPR certification, badges, licensing fees, graduation, physical exam, and malpractice insurance. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

  • Website:
  • Address: 3835 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95822
  • Phone: 916-558-2275
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 75%

Carrington College California

Certified nursing assistants may submit their certificate, transcripts, and work experience for evaluation and advanced placement in the vocational nursing program at Carrington College. The program is approved by the state and leads to a Vocational Nursing Certificate. Students have the option to complete additional general education courses to obtain a Associate of Science Degree. The GE courses may be completed online. The curriculum covers 1,560 contact hours of theory and hands-on instruction. Course topics include introduction to anatomy and physiology, foundations of nursing, mental health nursing care, medical surgical nursing, health data collection, introduction to maternity and pediatric nursing, NCLEX-PN review. Students will earn 54 semester credit hours to graduate from the program. The duration of the program is 48 weeks.

Admission criteria:

  • Must submit a completed application for admission
  • Obtain a minimum score of 15 on the Wonderlic SLE
  • Attend an interview with an enrollment services representative
  • Provide evidence of good physical and mental health as determined by a medical exam
  • Submit to a background check and pass a drug screen before the program starts
  • Pass the ATI TEAS admission assessment with a combined score 53%
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from former employers or professors
  • Prior CNA education will be evaluated for transferability
  • Submit transcripts of all college coursework – transfer coursework must have been completed within the previous five years
  • Submit proof of current American Heart Association CPR card (Healthcare Provider 2-year card)
  • Provide proof of immunization – hepatitis B, MMR, varicella, Tdap, TB test, and influenza

The program cost of $38,327 includes tuition, books and supplies.

  • Website:
  • Address: 8909 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95826
  • Phone: 916-361-1660
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 78%

Charles A. Jones Skills and Business Education Center

The LVN program at the Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center is open solely to persons who have completed the requirements for CNA certification. The BVNPT-approved program includes instruction in the classroom and lab followed by real-world patient care in approved healthcare settings. The curriculum covers a total of 1,652 including prerequisites and 10 hours for the CNA. Course topics include nursing practice and process, standards of care, ethical, and legal issues, health promotion and preventative care, genetics, respiratory health, immunology, musculoskeletal health, metabolic and endocrine health, psychiatric nursing, pediatric nursing, emergency nursing, and maternity and neonatal nursing. Graduates will receive a CAJ certificate of completion and will be prepared to take the state licensure exam. The duration of the program is 37 weeks. Classes meet Monday through Friday – 40 hours per week.

Admission criteria:

  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Attend CAJ virtual orientation – by appointment only
  • Take and pass the assessment test – Reading: 243 Math: 236
  • Provide proof of completing at least 200 hours of nursing care under a licensed professional
  • Must have current CPR/First Aid certification
  • Take and pass the nursing entrance exam – Kaplan, C-NET, HESI, or TEAS
  • Must pass a drug test and criminal background clearance
  • Obtain a negative TB test or chest x-ray
  • Must have current CNA licensure
  • Take and pass the prerequisite courses with a minimum grade C – anatomy and physiology, human growth and development, math for meds, nutrition, medical terminology, intro to pharmacology, intro to psychology
  • Obtain a negative COVID test

The cost of the program is $22,913 and includes the registration fee, tuition, books, and materials.

  • Website:
  • Address: 5451 Lemon Hill Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95824
  • Phone: 916-433-2600
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 82%

Unitek College

Unitek College may award credit to nursing assistants who hold current and active certification in the state. The credit awarded will be based on an evaluation of the nurse aide’s credentials and experience. The vocational nursing program is approved by the state and covers 1620 clock hours include more than 900 hours of hands-on activities in simulations, labs, and health care facilities. Course topics include nursing fundamentals, medical-surgical nursing, maternal newborn nursing, practical nursing concepts, obstetric nursing, introduction to pharmacology, mental health nursing, pediatric nursing, clinical nutrition, professional development, and mental health. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. The duration of the program is 12 months. Day and evening program options are available.

Admission criteria:

  • Attend a career planning session and admissions interview
  • Submit proof of high school education or equivalent
  • Take and pass an entrance assessment exam
  • Submit an application for admission
  • Sign the Enrollment Agreement
  • Complete a background check during the prerequisite course
  • Complete the VN prerequisite courses within 12 months prior to the scheduled start date of the VN program
  • Attend an interview with the program director
  • Complete the physical exam requirements including immunizations and TB testing
  • Must be at least 18 years of age on or before the start of clinical rotations
  • CNA applicants must provide a current license

The program cost of $35,758 includes textbooks, registration fee, supplies, lab fee, program fees, STRF, and technology fees.

MiraCosta College

Certified Nursing Assistant is a program prerequisite that must be completed before admission to the LVN program at MiraCosta College. Other prerequisites include basic pharmacology and body systems survey for health professions. The state-approved program covers 1,536 clock hours of theory and hands-on training in simulations, labs, and clinical facilities. Course content includes gerontology, nutrition, communicable disease, mental health nursing, medical-surgical nursing, oncological nursing, neurosensory systems, perioperative nursing, orthopedic nursing, and rehabilitation. Graduates will receive a Certificate of Completion and be eligible to apply to take the NCLEX for vocational nurses. They may also choose to complete general education coursework to obtain an associate in science degree.

Admission criteria:

  • Must be 17 years of age or older
  • Must apply to MiraCosta College
  • Submit proof of high school graduate or an official transcript of a Bachelor’s or Associate degree from an accredited college or official score report for GED or high school proficiency exam
  • Official transcripts of prerequisite courses
  • Provide proof of CNA certification
  • Must complete a physical exam, laboratory tests, and immunizations – must be free from communicable diseases, infections, and be able to perform the essential requirements of the program
  • Complete a background check and urine drug screen

The approximate cost of attendance is $2,800 for tuition, textbooks, uniform, immunization, and physical exam. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.

  • Website:
  • Address: 2535 Capitol Oaks Dr. Suite 205; Sacramento, CA 95833
  • Phone: 760-757-2121
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: N/A

Gurnick Academy

The Vocational Nurse Program at Gurnick Academy is open to certified nursing assistants who may receive 10 hours of credit upon evaluation of their experience and credentials. The curriculum covers a total of 1,570 clock hours. Up to 954 clock hours will be committed to live patient care experiences at affiliated health care facilities in the community. Course topics include fundamentals of nursing, anatomy and physiology, clinical nutrition, medical surgical nursing, pharmacology, obstetric nursing, pediatric nursing, psychiatric nursing, and preparation for NCLEX. The prerequisite course Essential Medical Bioscience (80 hours) may be completed online or residential. Students who complete the 92.5 quarter credit hours will receive a Vocational Nursing Diploma and be eligible to take the NCLEX for vocational nurses. Morning and evening schedules are available.

Admission criteria:

  • Must meet with the program’s Admission Advisor to review required disclosures and receive complete information before enrolling
  • Meet with a Financial Aid Advisor to review required disclosures
  • Must possess a high school diploma or from an accredited high school or a GED
  • Must be at least 18 years
  • Complete the entrance exam with a minimum score of 16 for the vocational nursing program
  • Complete the Application Packet including the Distance Education Questionnaire
  • Comply with the school’s requirements for immunizations, health screening, background check, and CPR/First Aid
  • Must have the ability to read and write English
  • Nurse aide candidates must provide a current CNA certificate
  • Attend an interview with the VN program coordinator
  • Complete the Essential Medical Bioscience prerequisite course with a grade C or better
  • Complete the Distance Education Questionnaire

The total program cost of $38,116 includes STRF, registration fee, books, personal tablet, and tuition. The prerequisite courses are not included in the tuition cost.

  • Website:
  • Address: 2121 South El Camino Real, Building B-200, San Mateo, CA 94403
  • Phone: 1-877-GURNICK
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 75%





Crystal G

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.