RN programs in California with no waiting list

RN Programs in California with no waiting list in 2024


Last Updated on June 1, 2024 by II Editor

Are you interested in starting a career as a registered nurse but don’t want to wait months or years to get accepted into an RN program? Good news – there are RN programs in California with no waiting list, allowing you to start nursing school immediately.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the top RN programs in California that typically don’t require applicants to join long waiting lists. We’ll discuss the application requirements, accreditation, program formats, costs, specializations offered and career outlook for each one. By the end, you’ll have a good understanding of your no-wait RN school options in California.


Let’s get started! 

Why RN Programs Have Waiting Lists 

Traditionally, many RN programs, especially those at community colleges, have seen demand significantly outpace the number of available seats each year. There are a few key reasons for this:

Nursing Shortage Drives Interest 

Like other U.S. states, California is experiencing a major nursing shortage. This is driven by factors like an ageing population requiring more healthcare, nurses retiring, and more new nurses entering the field each year. The positive career outlook and job security that nursing offers have driven more and more people to consider the profession.

Limited Clinical Placement Spots 

RN programs have a cap on the number of students that can be accepted each year due to limited clinical placement opportunities at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Students need hands-on experience to apply classroom lessons, and facilities have physical space constraints.

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Instructor Shortages 

With fewer people choosing nursing education as a career path, it’s also been challenging for RN programs to find enough qualified nursing instructors, which lowers the student capacity that programs can support.

Impact of COVID-19 

The pandemic further exacerbated issues like clinical placement constraints and instructor availability. It also renewed interest in nursing due to the demand created by treating COVID-19 patients. These factors led waiting lists to balloon even more in recent years.

Thankfully, some programs and schools have taken steps to reduce or eliminate waiting lists by securing more clinical spots and instructors. Let’s explore some top options.

RN Programs in California with no waiting list

Below are some of the best RN programs in California with no waiting list. 

1. Fresno State University School of Nursing.

The Fresno State University nursing program offers state-of-the-art nursing programs and simulation laboratories, fully equipped classrooms and the possibility of online courses. Its location in the heart of the Valley provides the students with the advantage of gaining hands-on learning and training at four of the largest hospitals in the region.

With the scope of nursing practice changing significantly, professional nurses and healthcare practitioners equipped with theory and research-based knowledge are needed now more than ever as they provide direct and indirect care to individuals and families in our community and beyond.

The Fresno University School of Nursing is proud to offer an undergraduate program which leads to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a post-baccalaureate School Nurse Services Credential Program, a graduate program leading to a Master of Science in Nursing, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The institution utilizes the NO WAITLIST admission option.

2. Pacific College

The Pacific College RN Program is a comprehensive two-year program that prepares students for the exciting career of registered nursing. Pacific College is regionally accredited, and the California Board of Registered Nursing approves the nursing program. Students gain a solid foundation in medical-surgical nursing, pharmacology, nursing fundamentals, mental health nursing and more.

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Furthermore, the program emphasizes hands-on learning with simulation labs and over 600 hours of clinical training in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Graduates earn an Associate of Science in Nursing degree and are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam for RN licensure. Pacific College’s RN program provides an affordable path to a stable, high-demand career as a registered nurse. Pacific College’s RN program provides an affordable and a NO WAIT LIST path to a stable, high-demand career as a registered nurse.

3. Cuesta College

The Registered Nurse Program at Cuesta College is a California Board of Registered Nursing-approved program that prepares students for an in-demand career as a registered nurse. The two-year associate’s degree program combines theory and clinical practice to develop essential nursing skills. Coursework covers medical-surgical nursing, pharmacology, psychiatric/mental health nursing, maternal/child health, and more. Students benefit from state-of-the-art nursing labs and hands-on experience during over 750 hours of clinical rotations at partner hospitals and healthcare facilities. Upon graduation with an Associate in Science degree, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure. Cuesta College is an affordable option in San Luis Obispo County for individuals seeking a career as a registered nurse with excellent job prospects.

4. Chabot College

The Registered Nurse Program at Chabot College in Hayward, California, provides students with a solid educational foundation to embark on a career as a registered nurse. The California Board of Registered Nursing approves the program and leads to an Associate in Science degree. Students gain scientific knowledge and technical nursing skills through coursework covering health assessment, pharmacology, pediatric and maternity nursing, psychiatric-mental health, medical-surgical nursing, and more.

5. Yuba College

The Registered Nurse Program at Yuba College in Marysville/Woodland Hills, California, prepares students to become important healthcare workforce members. The two-year associate’s degree program combines academic and clinical components to build nursing knowledge and skills. The Nursing Program is accredited by the Board of Registered Nursing. The application opens twice a year with Fall and Spring starts. RN Program Courses are completed over four semesters.

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6. Sierra College

The Associate Degree Nursing Program at Sierra College is a two-year, full-time program. The program adopts the NO WAITLIST admission process. It provides a pre-licensure education that prepares you for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Here’s what Nancy James, Dean of Nursing AND Allied Health at Sierra College, says. “Our program’s continued success relies entirely on our dedicated nursing faculty, who ensure excellence both in the classroom and clinical settings and the smart, intuitive and committed students who value so highly the role of the registered nurse and the importance of patient advocacy at every level.”

The accredited associate degree nursing program at Sierra College at the Rocklin campus in Rocklin, California, is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).


In summary, California faces a growing nursing shortage that demands more new graduates entering the workforce each year. Unfortunately, limited space in traditional nursing programs has resulted in lengthy waitlists, deterring or delaying many aspiring nurses. You can seamlessly transition into RN education and training without waiting by researching your best fit from schools like the Pacific College, the University of Fresno, and Chabot College. With the right program choice and dedication to your studies, you’ll soon be a registered nurse ready to deliver compassionate care in your community. We hope this compilation of options without barriers has you excited to pursue your dream of a career in nursing. Don’t delay – start exploring schools today!