The Step-Up LVN to ADN Program provides basic education and experience in Nursing which will qualify the graduate for an entry-level Registered Nurse (RN) position.
California Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN'S) are eligible to apply for a one-year transition program known as the Step-Up LVN to ADN Program. The program is three semesters in total (spring-fall-spring). Students start the Step-Up Program in March and take a transition course before joining the ADN class in the third semester of the program (fall semester). Credit toward first-year ADN courses is granted upon evidence of LVN licensure.
In 2021, the Step-Up LVN to ADN Program changed the program start date to spring. In previous years, the program began in the summer.
After completing program prerequisites and other requirements, you may submit your Step-Up Program application packet. Students will be admitted to the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN-RN) and Step-Up LVN to ADN Program based on a Multi-Criteria Points System.
The application period for the class that begins Spring 2025 is:
July 15 – September 6, 2024
The Step-Up Program application packet can be submitted in person or by U.S. Mail.
If sending by mail, it must be postmarked by the deadline to be considered.
- Download and review the Step-Up Program Checklist & Application (PDF) for details on all that is needed to apply.
- The required documents and forms on pages 1-3 must be submitted by the application deadline (September 6, 2024).
- If you are offered a seat in the program, additional documents and forms listed on page 4 will be submitted by specific dates provided to you by the Nursing & Health Occupation Programs (NHOP) Office.
Letters of acceptance will be emailed to SWC email accounts after the application deadline and after all applications have been reviewed. Notifications will not be sent to personal email accounts. Applicants who are accepted into the program will NOT be able to postpone their acceptance and will need to reapply, if they defer.
- If you attended college(s) outside of Southwestern College, request *official transcripts from your previous educational institution(s) and have the college send them directly to: SWC Admissions & Records Office at 900 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910.
- *SWC defines official transcripts as those sent directly from college to college. Transcripts in a student's hands are considered "unofficial transcripts," even if transcripts are in a sealed and stamped envelope.
- Important: Program prerequisites completed outside of SWC must be cleared by the Prerequisites Office using a Program Enrollment Prerequisite Evaluation form. Please see the Step Up Program Checklist & Application (PDF) for details and the link to the form. It takes 3-5 business days to process this form and a copy must be included in your Step-Up LVN to ADN application packet to show prerequisites taken at previously attended colleges have been cleared for the program.
Transcripts from an institution(s) outside of the United States (U.S.) must be evaluated by a certified credentials evaluation service before credit can be granted. If you have a degree from a college or university outside the U.S., your transcript must be evaluated by an approved National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) agency. A copy of the evaluated transcript must be submitted with your application packet to meet program and/or graduation requirements.
Quarter units are not equal to semester units. Transfer courses taken on the quarter system may not be equivalent to the required semester units.
Please note: If a student fails out of ANY Nursing Program for unsafe clinical practice or a violation of professional, legal, or unethical conduct, they may be ineligible for admission to Southwestern College's Nursing Program.
Step-Up Prerequisites and Other Requirements must be completed before applying for the program. The science prerequisites (Human Anatomy, Physiology and Microbiology) require a minimum cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) of 2.5 or higher. Applications with less than a 2.5 Science G.P.A. will not be reviewed. A multi-criteria point system is used for program admission.
- Human Anatomy (BIOL 260) 4 units with lab (*10-year recency)
- Physiology (BIOL 261) 4 units with lab (*7-year recency)
- Microbiology (BIOL 265) 4 units with lab (*7-year recency)
- College Composition ENGL 115 (or) Equivalent; 4 units
- Intermediate Algebra I MATH 60 (or) Elementary Statistics Math 119 (or) Equivalent;
- Recommended for students planning to transfer to a BSN Program: MATH 119, PSYC 270, or SOC 270. These statistics courses can also be used to satisfy the Math 60 program prerequisite.
- Note: MATH 60 has been discontinued and no longer offered as of Summer 2023 but will be accepted if previously taken.
*Science prerequisites must be taken within the specified timeframe. Anatomy must be taken within the last 10 years, and Physiology and Microbiology within the last 7 years. You may repeat only one course, one time - unless the course has "expired" (taken more than 10 or 7 years ago). If the course(s) expired, then it must be retaken.
- Communication 103 or 174 or 176
- Child Development 170 or Psych 230
- Psychology 101
- TEAS Test: A composite score of 62% is the minimum passing score accepted for admission to the Step-Up LVN to ADN-RN Program.
- Current California LVN license
- One-year of recent LVN work experience preferred but not required
Step-Up Prerequisites and Other Requirements (PDF)
Course Equivalency Grid - If you have taken or planning on taking ADN Program prerequisites at a local college, you may reference the Course Equivalency Grid (PDF) as a tool.
Step-Up LVN to ADN and Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) applicants must pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) with a score of 62 or higher. Please visit the TEAS Testing page of the nursing website for full details on the TEAS policy and updates.
Step-Up Program application packets will be accepted:
July 15 – September 6, 2024
The application packet can be submitted in person or by U.S. Mail. If sending by mail, it must be postmarked by the deadline to be considered. Students admiited to the program will start in Spring of 2025 during the month of March.
Use the checklist which accompanies the program application as a guide to help you prepare and gather all required documents and forms needed when applying for the program. Review the Multi-Criteria Point System (PDF) for information on how points are awarded to your application.
Note: If a student fails out of ANY Nursing Program for unsafe clinical practice or a violation of professional, legal, or unethical conduct, the student may be ineligible for admission to Southwestern College Nursing Program.
Update related to CoVid-19 vaccine: All major Healthcare Systems in San Diego County require students and faculty to be fully vaccinated for CoVid-19. Applicants to any Nursing and Health Occupations (ADN, VN-Step-up, VN, CNA, Acute Care CNA, Surgical Technology, Central Service Technician, and Operating Room Nurse) programs will be required to submit proof of vaccine status at time of application (Rev. 04-24-23).
- Step-Up Program Checklist & Application (PDF)
- Physical Exam and Immunization Forms (PDF)
- Multi-criteria Point System (PDF) (rev. 6/2021)
- SWC Verification of Language Proficiency Form (PDF)
- Step-Up Program Prerequisites & Other Requirements (PDF)
Letters of acceptance are sent prior to the spring semester start date. Applicants who are accepted into the program may NOT defer acceptance but must reapply to the program. If you are accepted elsewhere or choose not to attend the Step-Up LVN to ADN Program at Southwestern College, please e-mail the Nursing Department Program Technician (email@example.com) to cancel your application so that we may be able to offer a seat to another qualified applicant.
The estimated total cost of the Step-Up Program is $4,144- $4,432.
The greatest direct expense is at the beginning of the program. Textbooks, instructional supplies and uniforms are the major cost items. Living expenses and cost of transportation to campus and clinical facilities are not included in this estimated cost nor are the prerequisite or general education courses for the degree. The above costs include testing services provided by ATI. Students are required to pay approximately $665 per semester for testing services provided by ATI.
Financial assistance is available to cover program costs. Visit the SWC Financial Aid website for information, applications for FAFSA, the California College Promise Grant (CCPG, formerly the BOG Fee Waiver) and scholarships. An application for assistance should be made early with the Financial Aid Office. It is recommended that nursing students not work more than 20 hours per week.
- California LVN's may take the "30-unit option" but will not be graduates from the nursing program or the College unless all other requirements are met. Please contact the director of the program for an explanation of the advantages and limitations of this option. Vocational nurses completing this option may be graduates of the Southwestern College Nursing Program and of the College only if they complete other graduation requirements prior to taking the licensure examination. Only those completing the requirements in the major are eligible to wear the Southwestern College Nursing pin.