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LVN Programs in California - CA

How to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in California

If you are looking to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in California, there are some steps you’ll need to take. By following this list, you’ll be able to do everything you need to, and be well on your way to earning your license.


  1. Find, and attend one of the BVN (California Board of Vocational Nursing), approved California LVN Programs. There are 50 campus schools in California, and many more distance learning programs, with approval at the time of this writing, and an up-to-date list can be obtained from the BVN.
  2. Enroll in a program that matches your needs. Some cater to those who can't attend full time; some are designed for certified nursing assistants who want to move up, or for people who want to get associates degrees. Many are geared towards those who plan on one day being a registered nurse, or other allied health professional.
  3. Assuming you can go full time, it should take you about a year to graduate the program. You can count on spending about half your time in a clinic, learning on the job under the direction of an instructor or experienced RN, and the other half of the time in class, learning how to care for patients, what your legal responsibilities are, and many other things.
  4. As you near graduation, you'll need to begin your application process. Your application does not actually go through until you graduate and pass the NCLEX-PN, but the BVN encourages people to do this step early, so that you can get your license as fast as possible when your test results come back.
  5. After you send in your application, you’ll be notified of your approval to take the NCLEX, which is an exam that must be passed by anyone wishing to become a nurse in California, and the entire rest of the United States. The test costs $200 to take, lasts between 4 and 6 hours, and is given on a computer.
  6. After you pass the NCLEX, the results will be sent directly to the BVN, who, if your application has been approved, will add your name to the registry of nurses. You are now a Licensed Vocational Nurse in the state of California.

Through campus based and online programs, aspiring LVNs in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco, California may be able to prepare themselves for the possibility of employment in some of the largest hospitals and healthcare facilities in the state including Laguna Honda Hospital, Community Regional Medical Center, L.A. County & USC Medical Center, and Huntington Hospital.


LPN - Licensed Practical Nurse Schools