Southwestern College Nursing Program Review

Located south of San Diego, Southwestern College (SWC) was established in 1961 and enrolls over 20,000 each semester. With over 300 associate degree and certificate options, SWC has something to offer for everyone.

Nursing Programs

Associate Degree Nursing Program (ADN)

The ADN program at SWC is a four semester (two year) course of study. Approximately 60 students are admitted into the program each Fall semester.

Students are admitted into the ADN program using a multi criteria point system. The multi criteria point system gives each candidate a point score based on their academic degrees and diplomas already earned, their GPA in related classes, life experience, skill in languages other than English, and assessment test results. In addition, students must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher in the nursing prerequisite courses of Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology. Students must also have a high school diploma or equivalent, be a Certified Nurse Assistant or equivalent, and demonstrate Math and English reading proficiency.

Graduates of the ADN program are allowed to sit for the state licensing exam (NCLEX-RN). After passing, they will become licensed Registered Nurses (RNs).

SWC’s ADN program is accredited for the maximum time given by the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission.

Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) Step Up Program

Currently licensed California LVNs are eligible to apply for the LVN Step Up program, a one year LVN to ADN transition. Students will be given credit for the first two semesters of the ADN program when they submit proof of licensure. They must also complete a transition course before they begin the third semester of the ADN program.

To apply, students will be evaluated based on the multi criteria point system outlined above. Students must also meet all the prerequisites listed above for the ADN program before they may apply. Graduates of this program will earn their ADN degree and be qualified to take the state licensing exam for RNs.

Vocational Nursing Program

The Vocational Nursing program is three semesters and begins every year and a half. There are spots for 30 students each time the program begins, and they must have met the program prerequisites to apply. The prerequisites are a C or better in college level Reading and Math, Anatomy/Physiology, Principles of Child Development, Fundamentals of Nutrition, and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course. In addition, students must submit verification of their CNA certificate and Hepatitis B vaccination.

All classes must be taken in sequence, and students must earn a grade of C or higher for each of their nursing requirements.

Students who complete the LVN program are eligible to take the state licensing exam (NCLEX-PN) to become LVNs.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program.

This program is for those who are interested in beginning a career in nursing, and is a requirement for entry into the LVN and ADN programs. This program consists of a class and a lab, and is offered four times a year. Students must pre-apply for the class through the nursing department.

Perioperative Nursing Program

The Perioperative Nursing program instructs nurses on operating room procedures. The program begins each Fall semester, and 10 students will be admitted.

To be considered, students must be currently licensed RNs in the state of California, or be in the last year of their nursing program and obtain the program director’s recommendation. Students also need to have recent (within the last 5 years) acute care RN experience. Students must be current on their vaccinations, CPR certification, professional liability insurance, and they must have a drug screening and background test completed before starting the program.


Southwestern College

900 Otay Lakes Road

Chula Vista, CA 91910

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