Top 5 Nursing Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area
The nursing school rankings below are based on statistics sourced from nursing student surveys, SAT/ACT scores, the percentage of nursing undergraduates, and the percentage of total nursing graduates from each school.
Evaluative ratings for this article come for 2018 come from:
- Niche.com (2018 Best Colleges for Nursing in the San Francisco Bay Area)
- Study.com (San Francisco Area Nursing Schools)
The criteria for the Niche study in particular, the most recent ranking of best nursing schools, includes not only the subjective "best student experience," but also the total student experience.
1. University of San Francisco
Aside from being ranked number one in the Bay Area for its nursing program, this school is the second highest-rated nursing school in all of California. Over 70 percent of all entrance applications are accepted, which includes people of all faiths or no faith at all, despite the school having been founded by Jesuit priests.
The degrees offered at USF include
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Master of Science Nursing (MSN) Clinical Nurse Leader
- Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN)
A combined five-year BSN-MSN program is also becoming more popular. The school has created new curricula designed specifically for nurses, and have made programs for nursing students who have no health or medical credentials.
The Niche evaluation used nearly 2,000 completed nursing student surveys to accurately rank the university. This institution ranked high in every category, but student's average SAT and ACT scores were notably high.
2. Dominican University of California
This nursing school is private, non-profit, and faith-based (Catholic), but students of any faith or no faith are readily accepted.
DUC offers a BSN in nursing, a degree that encompasses the RN degree and additional training. It can be completed in just six semesters.
Special consideration and advanced placement is offered to healthcare personnel trained in the US military and international students trained in their own countries.
The Niche evaluation received 773 completed student surveys for this training facility, the majority of them positive.
3. California State University, East Bay
Over 1,600 reviews were submitted to the Niche evaluation for 2018. Most nursing students rated this program with very positive feedback.
The university celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017 with an uptick in student recruitment and a new, advanced nurse's training program.
The degree offered at this university is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, with additional courses offered after the student has become a licensed RN.
The Master of Science (MSN) curriculum was developed in 2018, with its first class taking place during the fall 2018 semester. This program has attracted increasing numbers of students, especially those with high SAT and ACT scores.
4. San Francisco State University
This school received almost 3,100 student reviews in the Niche evaluation.
The university has been particularly progressive in recruiting new nursing students in an effort to not only prepare skilled employees for the San Francisco medical workforce, but to allow a greater number of people to get well-paying jobs. They also aim to reduce the overwhelming deficit of nursing professionals that is currently crippling the city and nation.
The administration and governing board have expanded their system of nursing programs to include new specialties like
- 3D printer usage
- Genetic testing
The nursing program at this university believes that instruction, research, and utilization of the best nursing practices make for the highest quality nurses. It delivers advanced programs to professional nurses holding associate’s degrees, speeding them toward bachelor's and master's degrees in an efficient way, and beginning in 2017, SFSU initiated an accelerated RN to Master's in Nursing program. A Nurse Practitioner's Certificate is also offered as a post-graduate program.
Ongoing research opportunities with this institution give nursing students greater expertise when it comes time for them to enter the professional medical workforce.
Ongoing Research at SFSU's Nursing and Health Schools
- Aging Processes and Illnesses: Geriatrics and Gerontology (This includes chronic illnesses.)
- Clinical Best Practices: Nursing Simulation Program (This is part of a consortium in the Bay Area.)
- Emergency and Critical Care
- Family and Pediatric Development
- Gender and Sexuality Studies
- Health and Environment
- Health Promotion Education and Disease Prevention
- Services to the Incarcerated and Urban Populations
- Symptom Management (This includes tobacco-related issues, substance abuse, pregnancy and postpartum, sleep cycles, incarceration and health, and more.)
- Women's Health (This includes health equity across all demographics.)
With a full lineup of degree programs, from associate to doctoral, and opportunities to conduct stimulating research aiming to solve humanity's most pressing health issues, this is one of the finest nursing schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.
5. City College of San Francisco
This college received 789 Niche student reviews.
CCSF prepares nursing students to become licensed registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses. The school of nursing is within the School of Health, Physical Education, and Social Services, which offers additional degree programs in medical technologies, dental technology, health care technologies, and even gerontology services.
The RN degree at this school is an AS, or Associate of Science. It consists of 11 courses that include classroom learning, labs, and practical training experience in local hospitals and other care facilities.
Career Prospects for Nursing Students
Nurses at all levels are in high demand in America. This greater demand is because of the increasing number of baby boomers who are retiring from workforce.
Also, a lot of nurse practitioners are accepting jobs as physician assistants or entering research professions, reducing the number of nurses available for actual nursing services for patients.
Another career option is travel nursing, which takes nurses all over the world and offers higher wages, covers travel expenses, and can even pay for rent or a mortgage.
But nursing is still a rewarding profession in California, and the San Francisco Bay Area is a perfect place to receive outstanding training.
Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.— Registererd Nurses; US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Nursing Programs Offered in the Bay Area
Students enrolled in Bay Area nursing schools can choose from a variety of specialties as they prepare for a rewarding and high demand career. These programs include
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Legal Nurse (LN)
- Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Science Nursing (MSN)
- Critical Care Nursing
- Forensic Nursing
- Hospice Care
- Nursing Data Informatics
- Adult or Family Nursing
Nursing students may also pursue paths in medical research or health care administration.
The Bay Area's Largest Employers of Nurses
- Kaiser Permanente: Kaiser has hospitals, laboratories, and other health and bio-related facilities located all around the Bay Area. The headquarters are located in Oakland at Kaiser Plaza.
- Sutter Health: The headquarters are located at 2200 River Plaza Drive, Sacramento CA 95833.
- University of California at San Francisco (UCSF): UCSF includes a medical complex and nursing school, both of which are leading receivers research funding since 2011. Health research staff and nurses are in the highest demand. The complex is located at 505 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94143.
These additional Bay Area hospitals and medical centers have received good consumer ratings, and may be great places to work for nurses.
- California Pacific Medical Center
- Chinese Community Health Resource Center (CCHRC)
- Golden Gate Healthcare Center
- Hayes Convalescent Hospital
- Nineteenth Avenue Healthcare
- St Francis Memorial Hospital
- Saint Mary's Medical Center
- Saint Luke's Hospital
- Veteran's Affairs Medical Center
- American Health Council. American Health Council Names Top Ten Nursing Schools for 2017. globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/05/22/994868/0/en/UPDATE-American-Health-Council-Names-Top-Ten-Nursing-Schools-for-2017.htmlRetrieved October 30, 2017.
- Indeed.com employment search engine.
- Inglish, Patty. Retirement of 34 - 40% of RNs Increases Outlook For US Nursing Jobs to 2020. hubpages.com/business/Retirement-of-34-of-RNs-Increases-Outlook-For-US-Nursing-Jobs-to-2020 Retreived. October 30, 2017.
- Study.com. Nursing Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. study.com/nursing_schools_in_the_san_francisco_bay_area.html Retrieved December 18, 2017.
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Registered Nurses. bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm Retrieved October 30, 2017.
Questions & Answers
© 2009 Patty Inglish MS