10 Top ABSN Programs in California (2024)

An Overview

Feeling ready to take a leap and fast-track your career in nursing? With the growing demand for qualified nurses, it’s never been a better time to look at Accelerated BSN Programs in California.

These Accelerated BSN programs are specially designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field and are eager to transition into nursing. They are “accelerated” because you can complete them in 12 to 24 months.

Read: Guide to Accelerated Nursing Programs: What are they?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the top ABSN programs in California for 2023, guiding you through their unique features, durations, and tuition. Ultimately, you’ll be ready to kick-start your nursing career with a program that suits your needs and ambitions.

ABSN Programs in California

1. Samuel Merritt University Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

If you’re looking to swiftly transition into the nursing field from a non-nursing bachelor’s, Samuel Merritt University’s Accelerated BSN program could be perfect for you. This intensive, on-campus program is designed to be completed in just one year (3 semesters), making it one of the shortest accelerated nursing programs in California.

Duration: 12 months

Courses and clinical instruction are offered in short, intensive formats with minimal breaks, providing a rigorous and immersive learning experience. You also get access to over 100 clinical sites in Northern California. The program is available at Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco Peninsula campuses.

After completing the program, you’ll be ready to sit for the NCLEX and practice as an RN. If you prefer more interaction & attention from faculty, then the program’s 8:1 student-to-clinical faculty ratio should make you feel right at home.

Scholarship Opportunities

To help finance your education, several scholarships are available for Accelerated BSN students, including the:

  • Sharon Clark Diaz,
  • Employee Campaign,
  • Alumni Scholarship,
  • Highsmith Scholarship,
  • Huber Scholarship,
  • Steele Scholarship, and
  • Osher Scholarship.


Samuel Merritt University is a private, non-profit institution, fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. This ABNS program also holds accreditation from the California Board of Registered Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.


The tuition for this accelerated program is $89,128.

2. Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) ABSN

Program Overview

The MSMU Accelerated BSN program mirrors the curriculum of the traditional BSN. This means you’ll be following the same course of study and achieving the same objectives as students in the traditional 4-year degree program.

The difference? The ABSN program lets you complete all of this in just one year, spread over 3 consecutive semesters. It’s intensive, but it’s designed to fast-track your nursing education.

Duration: 12 months

Learning Environment

The program is based on-campus, offering you the chance to fully immerse yourself in your studies and the campus lifestyle. You’ll be part of a close-knit community of learners, sharing the same rigorous journey toward becoming a skilled nursing professional.


Once you’ve successfully completed your final semester in the ABSN program, you’ll be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN. Not only that, but you’ll also be eligible to apply for the Public Health nursing certificate, giving you even more career flexibility. The ABSN program has the stamp of approval from the California Board of Registered Nursing- adding another layer of credibility to your qualifications.

NCLEX Pass Rate

The MSMU ABSN program boasts a solid NCLEX Pass rate. In the last 4 years, on average, 86.18% of students passed the NCLEX-RN exam on their first attempt. This shows the program’s effectiveness in preparing you for the real-world demands of nursing.


The flat rate tuition for 12-18 units is $23,799. If your coursework exceeds 18 units per semester, there’s an additional cost of $1,983 per unit.

Related: Accelerated Nursing Programs in Los Angeles

3. Concordia University Irvine Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

Embarking on a new nursing career has never been easier, thanks to the Accelerated BSN program at Concordia University Irvine. Let’s take a closer look at what this fast-track program offers you.

The Concordia University Irvine Accelerated BSN is a 15-month, full-time, on-campus program designed to help you quickly transition into the nursing profession. If you’ve already completed a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in any discipline from a regionally accredited institution, this program is your ticket to a new career in nursing.

Duration: 15 months

The Park Place campus, home to Concordia University Irvine’s Nursing Program, boasts top-notch facilities to enhance your learning experience. The campus features classrooms, 2 skills labs, and 3 simulation labs with high-fidelity mannequins. With these resources, you get to practice hands-on nursing skills in a realistic healthcare environment.

Small Class Size for Personalized Attention

One of the major benefits of this program is the small class size, which means you’ll get personalized attention and support from instructors.

Hands-On Clinical Experience

To give you the practical skills needed in real-world healthcare settings, this ABSN program requires you to complete a total of 765 clinical hours. These clinical experiences are spread throughout Orange County and Los Angeles County, providing you with diverse opportunities to learn and grow as a nursing professional.

Tuition & Costs

The tuition for the Concordia University Irvine ABSN program is $930 per unit, amounting to a total of 59 units. You should plan for an overall cost of attendance of approximately $60,000 – $62,000, which includes tuition, books, uniforms, insurance, and other related expenses.

4. San Francisco State University ABSN

Program Overview

The San Francisco State University ABSN program is a concentrated, full-time program that spans just 15 months. Structured over 4 semesters, including a summer session, it’s a quick yet comprehensive route to a career in professional nursing.

Duration: 15 months

The ABSN program takes place at the College of San Mateo. It’s designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge required for a range of entry-nursing roles. You could find yourself working in hospitals, community clinics, long-term care facilities, home care, or community health agencies.


Once you’ve completed the ABSN program, you’re eligible to apply for public health nursing certification in California, provided you’ve also obtained your RN licensure. This should open up even more career possibilities for you in the health sector.

Program Capacity and Competition

Every year, San Francisco State University offers 32 slots for their coveted ABSN program. Given the program’s high-quality training and accelerated format, it’s no surprise that the program typically receives over 200 applications annually. So, be prepared for some stiff competition!


The tuition is $700 per unit.

Related: Accelerated Nursing Programs in Georgia

5. Cal State Los Angeles Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

The Cal State Los Angeles ABSN (CSULA ABSN) is tailored for non-RN students like you, who are seeking a shift into the nursing field. Each year, a single cohort of students is admitted to commence their journey in June. Over the span of 15 months, you’ll do about 53 units, including both theoretical and clinical coursework.

Duration: 15 months

Remember, the program is quite competitive, typically receiving around 200 applications, with only up to 30 students admitted in a year. To keep up with the pace of this accelerated program, you need to maintain full-time student status throughout.

Eligibility: Everyone’s Invited

Worried about your residency status? Fret not. Whether you are an in-state or out-of-state U.S. resident, you are eligible to apply. The tuition fees remain the same, ensuring equal opportunities for all applicants.

Outcomes: Launch Your Nursing Career

Upon successful completion of the program, you’ll be awarded a BSN degree from Cal State LA. This degree will serve as your springboard, enabling you to sit for the NCLEX examination for RN licensure.


You can anticipate tuition fees to be approximately $32,000.

6. Cal State Northridge Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

This 15-month, on-campus program is structured for individuals like you, who already possess a bachelor’s degree in any field. Its fast-paced nature equips you to take the NCLEX-RN in record time. This program covers a total of 58 units, providing comprehensive nursing education in a relatively short span of time.

Duration: 15 months

Learning Experience: A Blend of Theory and Practice

In just 4 consecutive semesters, you’ll be exposed to a blend of classroom instruction and clinical laboratories. Here, you will acquire the skills to assess, restore, maintain, promote, and evaluate the health of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations. The program’s nursing curriculum is designed to offer a holistic learning experience, gearing you up for real-world nursing challenges.

Student Support: Personalized Advisement

Throughout your nursing journey, you will receive regular one-on-one and group advisement from the program director. This personalized support ensures that you’re on track, helping you navigate academic hurdles along the way. Definitely makes this one of the best ABSN programs in California.

Clinical Placements: Wide Range of Opportunities

One of the highlights of this program is the clinical placements, which are arranged at various hospitals and healthcare facilities in the greater Los Angeles area. With hundreds of healthcare partners, ranging from major hospitals to community-based clinics, the university strives to find the right match for each student. This allows you to focus on mastering the principles and practices of nursing, without the added stress of logistics.

Post-Graduation: Jumpstart Your Career

Upon graduation, many students secure positions at the very hospitals where they completed their clinical training. This offers you an excellent opportunity to establish your nursing career in a familiar environment.


The cost per unit for this program is approximately $800, bringing the total tuition to around $46,400.

Related: 2 Accelerated Nursing Programs in San Diego

7. Cal State Stanislaus Accelerated Second Degree Option BSN

Program Overview

The CSU Stanislaus ABSN (or ASBSN) program, held at the Stockton Campus of CSU Stanislaus, is tailored for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field but are eager to become registered nurses.

The class size is kept small, with only 40 seats available, making admission competitive. On the plus size, it means the classes have personalized attention and a conducive learning environment.

The program comprises 59 units, delivered in 10-week sessions over a period of 17 months. Classes are conducted face-to-face, providing you with the opportunity for real-time interaction and hands-on learning.

Duration: 17 months

Where You’ll Benefit

This program is particularly advantageous if you aim to kick-start your nursing career quickly and are keen on working within San Joaquin or Stanislaus County. It’s the local connections you’ll make with hospitals during your studies that could give you an edge in the job market.

Clinical Placements

Most of the clinical rotations take place in the Stockton area, but to offer you the best possible practical experiences, some travel may be required. You might find yourself heading as far as Modesto or Sacramento.

Also, as part of the pediatric rotation, you’ll spend a weekend each year at the Children’s Hospital in Madera. The schedule for clinical days varies each session and could include weekends or evenings.


Tuition fees amount to $40,000.

Here’s a past student sharing her brief experience with the program

8. National University Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

The National University ABSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It offers a standout feature – innovative four-week courses. This structure is designed to let you start your degree sooner and finish faster, making it a great choice if you’re eager to jumpstart your career in nursing.

Duration: 22 months

Learning Outcomes: Comprehensive and Patient-Centered

The program is designed to produce graduates who can establish caring relationships with individuals, families, and groups. You’ll be trained to provide safe, high-quality, culturally sensitive, and patient-centered nursing care across a variety of settings.

Key skills you’ll develop include nursing judgment for care management, effective communication with patients and interdisciplinary teams, and incorporation of best evidence into practice for optimum outcomes. You’ll also learn to participate in the continuous improvement of nursing care quality and safety. By the end of the program, you should be ready to practice within the legal and ethical framework of nursing, adhering to established professional standards.

Flexible Application Process

The University accepts and reviews applications all year round, which means you can start your classes as soon as next month, depending on the program you choose. This is another great feature if you’re eager to get started.

Student Feedback: A Mixed Bag

While the program offers a lot in terms of professional advancement, some students have expressed dissatisfaction with the school’s financial aid process. They’ve reported delays in financial aid disbursement.

However, on the positive side, the program is recognized for aiding professional advancement. The Leadership Course, for instance, helps students develop portfolios, practice interviews, and prepare applications. ABSN graduates rarely struggle to find jobs, indicating that the program’s career support is effective.

Program Cost

One past student noted that while the program was beneficial, the financial commitment is a little too much- estimating a total cost of $55,000 to $60,000 from start to finish.

Related: 8 Best TEAS Prep Courses Today, According to Nursing Students

9. Cal State Fullerton Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

The Cal State Fullerton ABSN program is a two-year program that commences each Fall semester and follows a full-time, cohort-style learning approach. The course spans 5 semesters in length, including a required summer semester. The program paves the way for you to become eligible for a California RN license.

Duration: 24 months

Before you can be considered for this program, you must complete all prerequisites. Ensuring you have all necessary prerequisites completed guarantees a smooth admissions process.

International Applicants: Welcoming Diversity

If you’ve earned a degree from a foreign university, don’t worry! You can still apply to the ABSN program. However, your foreign degree ought to be equivalent to United States college-level coursework. To confirm this, you’ll need to have your official transcripts evaluated by a foreign evaluation agency.


Tuition costs come up to $3,588 per semester. See more info on program costs here.

10. Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) Accelerated BSN

Program Overview

This accelerated program is specifically designed for individuals who haven’t undertaken any LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) or RN coursework previously. It’s a fast-paced, 24-month program that guides you to complete around 67 units of both theoretical and clinical coursework.

Duration: 24 months

Course Timeline and Locations

With 3 distinct admission periods throughout the year, you have the flexibility to begin your nursing journey in a season that suits you. The Fall program admits one cohort in San Marcos, the Spring program opens up for another cohort in the same location, and the Summer program welcomes a cohort in Temecula.

Practical Learning: Local Clinical Rotations

You’ll gain valuable practical experience through local clinical rotations throughout San Diego and Riverside Counties. These rotations provide you with the hands-on experience crucial in nursing. However, keep in mind that classes and clinicals may be scheduled on weekends- in keeping with the accelerated & comprehensive nature of the program.


The total tuition is approximately $44,890, which translates to $670 per unit.

To Wrap Up

So, there you have it! We’ve explored the top ABSN Programs in California for 2023, each with its unique offerings and advantages. It’s a big decision, and it’s crucial to choose a program that aligns with your career goals and learning style.

Remember, becoming a nurse is not just about earning a degree, it’s about caring for individuals at their most vulnerable times. These programs provide the ideal platform for you to learn, grow, and flourish as a nursing professional.

Your dream of fast-tracking your nursing career in California is just an application away! Best of luck on your journey!

Related: Pros and Cons of Accelerated Nursing Programs

FAQs Answered

Is ABSN worth the money?

Absolutely, an Accelerated BSN (ABSN) can be a significant investment, but it’s often worth it. These programs are designed for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field and wish to transition into nursing. Given the high demand for qualified nurses and the potential for a solid salary in this profession, an ABSN program can provide a strong return on investment.

Additionally, the accelerated nature of these programs allows you to enter the workforce more quickly compared to traditional programs, potentially offsetting the initial cost more rapidly.

What is the difference between Accelerated and Traditional BSN?

The primary difference between an Accelerated BSN and a Traditional BSN lies in the duration and pace of study. An ABSN program is an intensive, fast-paced program designed to be completed in less time than a traditional BSN — typically between 12 and 24 months. These programs are specifically designed for students who already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

On the other hand, traditional BSN programs usually take around 4 years to complete and are designed for students without a previous bachelor’s degree. The course content is generally the same in both programs, but the ABSN’s delivery is more condensed and rigorous.


  • Information on these programs may change without notice. So, we cannot guarantee their authenticity and accuracy. You’d have to check with the school and do further research. Our review list is simply for guidance and cannot be relied upon exclusively without research on your part.
  • Before enrollment, check with your state regarding licensing rules or whether your desired program meets your home state’s certification requirements and licensure.
  • If you are an administrator/staff for one of the schools listed in this article, and you would like to issue corrections or updates on your program’s information, please contact us here.

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