CNA to LVN Programs San Diego, CA

Completing a CNA to LVN program is just one of five methods to becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse in California. Certified Nursing Assistants can apply to the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians to challenge the NCLEX for Vocational Nurses after completion of equivalent education and experience. Namely, a pharmacology course comprising of at least 54 hours, at least 51 months of paid bedside nursing, and verification of skills proficiency. If you cannot meet the aforementioned requirements, you can always enroll in an LVN bridge program and complete the requirements in 12 months or less. Admission requires that you hold a current and active CNA license. Experience in the field may or may not be required, depending on the program.

Southwestern College

The vocational nursing program at Southwestern College is open only to Certified Nursing Assistants who are currently active and listed on the California Nurse Aide Registry. The prerequisite courses, including CNA certification, must be completed prior to applying to the program. The curriculum covers a total of 1,530 clock hours including 576 hours of theory and 954 clinical hours – including pharmacology. Course topics include an introduction to pharmacology, vocational nursing I, introduction to vocational nursing lab, basic concepts of pharmacology, pharmacology for nurses, maternal child adult health, leadership, and general psychology. The clinical experience will be conducted at local health care facilities. Sessions may begin as early as 6:30 am. Some of the theory classes may be conducted in the evenings or weekends. Students who complete all courses with a grade C or better may petition for a Certificate of Achievement in Vocational Nursing and apply to take the NCLEX-PN exam. The duration of the program is 3 semesters – 12 to 14 months for full-time students. Part-time students will complete the training in 18-20 months.

Admission criteria:

  • Submit a Vocational Nursing Program Application online
  • Must have a SWC Student ID Number and email address
  • Submit a copy of unofficial college transcripts including SWC online
  • Request official transcripts to be mailed directly from previous college to SWC Admissions and Records – must indicate completion of prerequisite courses – Human Anatomy, Physiology, Principles of Child Development, Fundamentals of Nutrition, Elementary Algebra, Reading & Composition or College Composition, and Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Submit copy of high school diploma, high school transcript, or GED certificate
  • Provide a copy of social security card and driver’s license/state ID
  • Provide a copy of CPR certification – Basic Life Support Provider/Healthcare Provider from the American Heart Association
  • Provide Copy of unofficial ATI TEAS transcripts showing ALL TEAS test results
  • Provide copy of active California CNA certification
  • Provide a copy of Student Education Plan (SEP) – dated within one year at time of application
  • Provide a copy of Program Enrollment Prerequisite Evaluation form – if applicable
  • Provide a copy of physical exam/immunizations forms filled out
  • Provide a copy of immunization records and/or titers – MMR, Varicella, Hepatitis B, Tdap, seasonal flu, 2-step PPD

The cost of the program is approximately $1,794 for in-state students and $13,502 for out-of-state tuition and fees. Books and supplies cost an additional $2,582.

  • Website:
  • Address: 8100 Gigantic Street, Room 4401, San Diego, CA 92159
  • Phone: 619-421-6700
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 96%

Concorde Career College

The vocational nursing program at Concorde Career College is open for certified nurse aides to complete the educational requirements to practice a vocational nurse. The curriculum combines classroom study with clinical experience in various health care facilities. It covers 1,722 contact hours and 66.5 semester credits. Course topics include foundations of nursing, persona and vocational nursing concepts, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, nutrition, mental health nursing care, genito-urinary nursing care, community health nursing, maternal and child nursing care, leadership, clinical practical, and NCLEX review. Program graduates will receive a Vocational Nursing Diploma and apply to the BVNPT for the NCLEX-PN to practice nursing in California. Full-time students complete the requirements in 50 weeks. The part-time program is 80 weeks.

Admission criteria:

  • Attend a personal interview and campus tour
  • Complete the admission documentation including the Enrollment Agreement
  • Complete an Online Readiness Assessment
  • Advanced placement candidates must have a current and unencumber CNA license
  • Must have completed high school or equivalency
  • Take and pass the Wonderlic SLE assessment with a score of 17 or greater
  • Complete a criminal background check
  • Attend an interview with the Program Director
  • Provide immunization records (Hepatitis B, varicella, MMR)

The program costs $38,539 for tuition, and $2,314 for books and supplies. Financial aid is available for eligible students.

  • Website:
  • Address: 4393 Imperial Avenue, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92113
  • Phone: 619-688-0800
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 86%

Summit College

Certified Nursing Assistants can enroll in the licensed vocational nurse program at Summit College to prepare for a new role in the health care sector. Experienced instructors will guide students through classroom lectures, lab skills, and clinical rotations to perform the role of a vocational nurse. The curriculum includes 1586 hours of theory and practical instruction. Course modules are fundamentals of nursing, medical surgical nursing, I and II, medical surgical nursing III, maternal child health, leadership, and capstone. Graduates are eligible to apply to take the state exam to become a licensed practical nurse. Full-time and part-time schedules are available. The full-time program is 12 months and the part-time program is 18 months.

Admission criteria:

  • Attend a mandatory orientation
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Provide an acceptable high school diploma or GED
  • Attend an interview with an Admissions Advisor
  • Take and pass the Wonderlic SLE entrance exam
  • Provide documentation of immunity to MMR, Varicella, and Polio. Hepatitis B is recommended but not mandatory
  • Complete a satisfactory TB test or chest x-ray

The program cost of $31,400 includes tuition, uniform, insurance, textbooks, and equipment.

  • Website:
  • Address: 804 East Brier Drive, San Bernardino, CA 92408
  • Phone: (855) 970-4151
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 74%

 Health Occupations Center

The practical nursing program at Health Occupations Center is open only to current CA Certified Nurse Aides. Theory and practical instruction will prepare CNAs for a new role as a professional nurse. Students will learn fundamentals of nursing, nursing leadership, pharmacology for nurses, medication administration, geriatric nursing, medical surgical nursing, maternal child nursing, pediatric nursing, and vocational nursing clinical. Graduates will be eligible to take the NCLEX to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. Classes meet Monday through Friday for 18 months.

Admission criteria:

  • Submit a completed Vocational Nursing Application online
  • Must view the Vocational Nursing orientation video before submitting an application
  • Provide copy of high school diploma, high school transcript, or GED certificate
  • Provide CNA license number and expiration date
  • Submit a 1,500 character or less essay on why you have selected to pursue a career in vocational nurse and nursing goals after graduation
  • Submit official ATI TEAS scores
  • Submit official transcript of prerequisite courses – Anatomy and Physiology – with a grade C or higher

The cost of the program is $5,500. Additional fees average $2,200 and include AIT access, scrubs, textbooks, drug screens, exam fees, immunizations, and background check.

MiraCosta College

The vocational nursing program at MiraCosta College is open only to Certified Nursing Assistants. The curriculum includes theory and practical instruction in the fundamentals of nursing to prepare students for their role as a licensed vocational nurse. It will cover a total of 1536 contact hours –  576 hours in the classroom and 960 hours of clinical activities. Areas of study include gerontology, nutrition, mental health nursing, medical surgical nursing, communicable disease, oncological nursing, perioperative nursing, orthopedic nursing, integumentary and neurosensory systems, obstetrics, pediatric nursing, home health care, leadership, and rehabilitation. Students will also learn to care for patients with circulatory, hematological, respiratory, endocrine, and gastrointestinal diseases and disorders. The program is accredited by the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians so graduates will be eligible to take the state board examination. The program is predominantly a weeknight/weekend program.

Admission criteria:

  • Complete the prerequisite courses with a grade C or better – Body Systems Survey for Health Professionals, Pharmacology, Certified Nursing Assistant or current California CNA license
  • Apply for admission to MiraCosta College before applying to the nursing program
  • Must be 17 years of age or older
  • Submit official high school diploma or transcripts, GED, or degree from an accredited college
  • Submit official transcript of prerequisite courses
  • Must have current American Heart Association BLS Provider CPR card
  • Must complete a satisfactory criminal background check
  • Submit record of a physical exam, laboratory test, and immunization
  • Must be free from communicable diseases and infections

The approximate program cost of $2,800 includes tuition, books, uniforms, physical exam, and immunizations.

  • Website:
  • Address: 3333 Manchester Avenue, Cardiff, CA 92007
  • Phone:  760-757-2121
  • Alt: 888-201-8480
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 100%






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.