CNA to LVN Programs San Francisco, CA

The profession of nursing rewards and even encourages continuous learning. So, it’s not surprising that Certified Nursing Assistants and nurses are always considering their next role in healthcare. For CNAs, it might be a role as a licensed vocational nurse or a registered nurse. There is a difference in the scope of practice, compensation, and opportunities available for both nurses, and while the registered nurse role is the most rewarding, the educational preparation for the licensed practical nurse will triumph if you want to start in a new role in the shortest possible time. Your education and experience as a nurse aide will serve you well in a vocational nursing program. In one year or less, you can prepare to take the NCLEX for Vocational Nurses and take a more active role in patient care.

City College of San Francisco

The City College of San Francisco’s Vocational Nursing Program is open to certified nursing assistants who want to take their career to the next level by preparing for practice as a licensed vocational nurse. Certified nurse aides who hold an active and unencumbered license may have a competitive advantage in the admissions process. The program is offered on a full-time basis only and working full-time is not recommended. Students will complete 40.5 units of theory and practical instruction to obtain a Vocational Nursing Diploma. The program is approved by the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians. The duration of the program is 18 months – three semesters.

Admission criteria:

  • Must complete an application to the Vocational Nursing program – applications will be provided at orientation
  • Attend a mandatory program orientation
  • Submit an official US accredited high school transcript showing completion of the 12th grade, GED or US high school equivalent
  • Complete English-1A and MATH-40 or higher with a grade C or higher
  • Must have an overall GPA of 2.5 in Science and 2.0 in English-1A
  • Complete the prerequisites or acceptable equivalents with a grade C or higher – Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, Nutrition, and Child Growth and Development
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Attend a NEW LVN Student Onboarding meet
  • Complete a physical exam and provide proof of immunity for specified communicable diseases
  • Must have a current CPR card – Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers
  • Purchase uniforms from the designated vendor
  • Must a background check and drug testing

Tuition costs $46 per semester unit for California residents and $234 per semester unit for non-residents plus $7 per unit for capital outlay, and #46 per unit for enrollment fee. Additional costs for books, equipment, materials and uniforms are not included.

  • Website:
  • Address: 1351 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
    Phone: 415-561-1912
  • Fax: (415) 561-1999
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 93%

Unitek College

Unitek College’s Vocational Nursing program prepares certified nursing assistants as well as those who are new to nursing for a career as a vocational nurse. The hybrid-online program includes hands-on training and practical experiences on-campus and at local health care facilities. The curriculum provides more than 900 hours of hands-on training. The program’s theoretical coursework will be conducted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Course topics include fundamentals of nursing, anatomy and physiology, clinical nutrition, medical-surgical nursing, pharmacology, obstetric nursing, pediatric nursing, psychiatric nursing, and preparation for the NCLEX. Graduates will receive a Vocational Nursing Diploma and be prepared to take the NCLEX for Vocational Nurses. The duration of the program is 12 months. Full-time day and part-time evening schedules are available.

Admission criteria:

  • Attend a career planning session and admissions interview
  • Must be at least 17 years of age – must be 18 years before the start of the clinical rotations
  • Must have a valid ID
  • Must self-declare as a US citizen, national or eligible permanent resident of the US
  • Must have a valid social security number or Federal Tax ID number
  • Submit proof of high school education or equivalent
  • Take and pass an entrance assessment
  • Submit a completed application for admission online
  • Make arrangements to financing the tuition and fees
  • Obtain a clear criminal background check
  • Take and pass the VN PRQ course within 12 months prior to the start of the VN program
  • Attend an interview with a Program Director or Designee
  • Complete a physical exam including immunizations and TB testing

The program cost of $36,352 includes textbooks, lab fees, registration fee, and supplies.

Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts

The Vocational Nurse program at Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts is open to nurse aides who plan to prepare for practice as a licensed vocational nurse. The curriculum includes 1570 clock hours of instruction including 954 hours of clinical rotations and skills lab. Students will acquire the technical, clinical, and interpersonal skills needed to succeed in the complex health care environment. Course topics include fundamentals of nursing, anatomy and physiology, clinical nutrition, pharmacology, medical surgical nursing, obstetric nursing, psychiatric nursing, and preparation for the NCLEX. After completing the required 92.5 quarter credit hours, students will receive a Practical Nursing Diploma and be eligible to take the NCLEX for Licensed Vocational Nurses. Morning and evening schedules are available. The program is designed to be completed in 13 months.

Admission criteria:

  • Meet with an Admissions Advisor to review program requirements and expectations
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete the Essential Medical Bioscience prerequisites course with a grade of ‘C’ or above
  • Take and pass the entrance exam
  • Complete the Application/Registration packet including the Distance Education Questionnaire
  • Meet the requirements for Immunizations, Health Screening, and Background Check
  • Must have a current CPR for Healthcare Providers card

The total program cost is $31,028 including tuition, textbooks and materials, uniform fee, library fee, registration, background check, drug screening, NCLEX application fee, HESI testing, and fingerprinting.

  • Website:
  • Address: 2121 South El Camino Real, Building C-200, San Mateo, CA 94403
  • Phone: 650-685-6616
  • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 73%



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.