Vocational Nursing Program

Licensed Vocational Nursing (VN/LVN)

Acceptance criteria, program eligibility and selection processes are subject to change. Prospective students are encouraged to check the College webpage periodically to remain updated.

Program Description

The Vocational Nursing (VN) Program  prepares graduates to qualify to take the national licensing examination (NCLEX-PN) to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse.  Licensed vocational nurses assist in data collection, plan and implement nursing care, administer medications and treatments, and maintain a safe environment for patients and families.

Approved by the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT), the 12-month, full-time VN program provides student-centered instruction and meets all State regulations. Classroom instruction is offered concurrent with clinical practice, assisting the student in the application of nursing theory to actual nursing situations. Students are in class and clinical instruction approximately 34 hours each week. A minimum grade of "C" must be earned in all courses taken for the Vocational Nursing certificate.

Licensing Requirements

Upon program completion, students are awarded a vocational certificate and become eligible to apply to the California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT) to take the licensure examination. The role of the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians is to protect the public by screening applicants of licensure to identify potentially unsafe practitioners. A State board of nursing may deny licensure on the basis of: conviction of crime substantially related to the practice of nursing; any act involving dishonesty, fraud, or deceit with intent to substantially benefit self or another or to substantially injure another; any act which is grounds for revocation of a license; making a false statement on the application for license; breach of examination security. Fingerprints are required when applying for licensure. Students interested in a career as a nurse who have questions regarding licensure limitations should contact the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians at (916) 263-7800 or visit BVNPT website.


Program Application Process

Application to the Vocational Nursing program is separate from application to the College.  An Application Form is available during specific application periods and can be obtained from the School of Health Sciences & Education webpage or from the Office of Health Sciences & Education located in the Barker Nursing Complex at College of the Desert, 43-500 Monterey Avenue, Palm Desert, CA, 92262.

Enrollment into the Vocational Nursing program is limited.  Detailed information regarding the Vocational Nursing program is available on the School of Health Sciences & Education webpage.

Entrance and Selection Process

Program Eligibility:
To be eligible to apply to College of the Desert’s Vocational Nursing Program, the applicant must be at least 17 years of age and be able to provide proof of High School graduation or GED equivalency.  Applicants must also:

  1. Have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the following prerequisite courses:
    • HS 62, Your Living Body or  BI 13 and BI 14 (or equivalent courses)
    • HS 13, General Nutrition (or equivalent course)
    • HS 67, Intro to Med Dosage Calculations
    • PSY 1, General Psychology (or equivalent course)
  2. Additional prerequisites include:
    • ENG 61, Accelerated English, or
    • ENG 71, Academic English II, or
    • ESL 71, ESL/Academic English II (passed with a grade of C or better, or an assessment score greater than 99).
    • MATH 60, A Preparation for the Study of Algebra (passed with a grade of C or better, or an assessment score greater than 65).

Selection Process: Please see the School of Health Sciences & Education webpage for specific selection processes and application dates:

  1. Applications are accepted once a year. Please see the School webpage for dates.
  2. A random selection process of qualified applicants will be used to determine entrants once all applications are evaluated.
  3. Applicants will be notified of acceptance status within 6–8 weeks after the application deadline. All initial communication will be sent by e-mail.

Completion of the VN program does not guarantee licensure.

The program is three semesters long, commencing each fall. It is a limited enrollment program.

Students interested in the VN Program should:

  1. Visit the School of Health Sciences & Education webpage for detailed information.
  2. Attend an informational session. Call (760) 773-2579 or (760) 568-3093 or visit the School webpage for dates and times of sessions.

Vocational Nursing Certificate of Achievement

(Graduates eligible for Vocational Nurse Licensing Examination in California)

Program Acceptance Requirements:  See School of Health Sciences & Education webpage.
All courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or better:
Required CoursesUnits
HS 013General Nutrition3
HS 062Your Living Body3
HS 067Intro To Med/Dosage Calculations1
PSY 001General Psychology3
VN 010Vocational Nursing I9
VN 010LVocational Nursing I Lab7
VN 020Vocational Nursing II9
VN 020LVocational Nursing II Lab7
VN 030Vocational Nursing III5
VN 030LVocational Nursing III Lab4
CERTIFICATE TOTAL51