A photo of a licensed vocational nurse tending to a patient during a medical visit


A (Health) Caring Career

The Vocational Nursing (VN) degree and certificate programs at Southwestern College prepare students for direct patient care. A major portion of the educational experience takes place in a variety of healthcare settings, including hands-on lab work in state-of-the-art Southwestern College facilities.

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  • Upon completion of the program, the student will demonstrate the ability to articulate professionally and competently in the healthcare setting on issues regarding patient care.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze patient data related to the medical condition(s) and adjust patient care according to the findings.
    Upon completion of the program, the student will demonstrate the ability to analyze patient data related to the medical condition(s) and adjust patient care according to the findings.
  • Upon completion of the program, the student will analyze, compute and correctly provide medications to the patient in the healthcare setting.
  • Upon completion of the program, the student will demonstrate collegiality and appropriate communication techniques when working with diverse healthcare providers, patients and family members.
  • Upon completion of the program, the student will demonstrate critical thinking skills and differentiation in plan of care for patients from various cultural backgrounds.


Program Approval

The Southwestern College Vocational Nursing Program is approved by the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians. Any student has the right to contact the BVNPT at any time throughout the Vocational Nursing Program.

The address and telephone number of the BVNPT:
Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, #205
Sacramento, CA 95833-2919
(916) 263-7800 

About Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN)

Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN's) provide direct patient care under the supervision of physicians, dentists, and registered nurses in a variety of health care settings such as clinics, long-term care, home health, and in some cases acute care settings.  Students who successfully complete the Vocational Nursing Program are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN examination to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse.

The VN program is three semesters in length and includes supervised clinical experience in local health care facilities.  Students should be prepared to be in class or clinical as early as 6:30 am.  Some classes may be scheduled in the evening hours and/or on weekends.  In addition to the nursing courses, each student must satisfactorily complete required general education courses which may be taken prior to or concurrently with nursing courses (Psych 101 during the third semester).  We strongly recommend that the general education courses be taken prior to the nursing courses.  Basic computer skills are strongly recommended.

Vocational nursing courses must be taken in sequence.  A minimum grade of “C” or better is required for classroom (theory) classes and “CR” (credit) in laboratory/clinical courses in each nursing course to continue in the program.

The Nursing Program policy supports the provision of reasonable accommodations to assist students with disabilities in the program

TEAS Testing

VN applicants must pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) with a composite score of 58% or greater to be eligible for the program. Note: TEAS Version 7 will be released by ATI on June 3, 2022. Review the TEAS Testing webpage of the SWC Nursing website (www.swccd.edu/nursing) for current TEAS policy, updates and remediation plan.  

Admission Procedures

The Vocational Nursing (VN) Program is three semesters in length. 30 students are accepted every 18 months. Prospective students may apply after completing all program prerequisites and other requirements. Spots are offered only to those applicants who have verified completion of the program prerequisites courses with a letter grade of "C" or better and other program requirements. Review the Application Checklist to ensure you have all of the required items to apply (the link to the VN Program Application Checklist is found below).

Submit a complete application packet based on the checklist provided. The application packet must include the physical exam and immunization forms filled out by your healthcare provider. Forms and copies of immunization records and/or titer (blood test) results are required for clinical placement in the program.

VN applications will be submitted online
Link to Online VN Application is found below.
Do not mail-in a paper application packet.

Official transcripts from previously attended colleges must be sent college to college. Have your previous college(s) send official transcripts by mail or electronically to: SWC Admission and Records, 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, CA 91910. Transfer credit for courses taken at a non-academic institution or in another school's nursing program (e.g., military or armed-services medical training; courses taken in a practical, vocational, or registered nursing program; certified nursing assistant courses, etc.) will be evaluated for transfer credit on a case-by-case basis. These courses must have been completed within five years of application to SWC VN Program, and may require skill testing and/or written examinations to verify skill and knowledge competency (Vocational Nursing Practice Act, Article 5, Section 2535).

Application Period 

Submit your Vocational Nursing Program application packet online during the following dates:

Monday, March 4, 2024, through Friday, April 12, 2024 

Applicants will be considered for the class that begins Fall 2024 (in August). A new VN class begins every 18-months.
Note: Submitting an application does not guarantee entry into the program.

Application Documents & Instructions

Before filling out the online application, gather all required documents and forms found on the checklist. Download, print and fill out the physical exam and immunization forms (pages 1-7). Pages 1-2 are filled out by you. Your healthcare provider/doctor will fill out pages 3-4 (physical exam) and pages 5-7 (immunizations, TB test results, and flu shot form). Scan your completed forms (pages 1-7 completely filled out); and a copy of your immunization records and/or titers (lab work), including flu shot, and TB test results.

Important note: Give yourself and your doctor/healthcare provider ample time to complete the physical exam/immunization forms.

Update related to CoVid-19 vaccine: As of September 30, 2021, all major Healthcare Systems in San Diego County require students and faculty to be fully vaccinated for CoVid-19. Applicants to any SWC 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.

Once you are ready to apply, you will upload the required documents and forms as attachments when you complete the online VN application using the button below.

Online VN Application

IMPORTANT: You must be logged in with your MySWC Account to apply. If you're having difficulty, go to https://accounts.google.com/logout to completely logout of all of your G Suite accounts, then try logging in with your MySWC.

Vocational Nurse (VN) Prerequisites

Class Course Number Units Prerequisites
Human Anatomy *BIO 260 4 w/ lab

Bio 100 & 101 or equivalent must be taken before enrolling in BIO 260.

*BIO 260 will be required when applying for Fall 2021 and future cohorts (curriculum change approved November 2019). BIO 190 will no longer be accepted for the VN Program.

Physiology *BIO 261 4 w/ lab

Chem 100, 102 or Chem 170, or equivalent; and Bio 260 or equivalent must be taken before enrolling in BIO 261.

*BIO 261 will be required when applying for Fall 2021 and future cohorts (curriculum change approved November 2019). BIO 190 will no longer be accepted for the VN Program.

Principles of Child Development CD 170 3 None
Fundamentals of Nutrition HLTH 204 3 None
Intermediate Algebra **MATH 60 4 **Math 60 will be required effective Fall 2019 SWC Catalog and must be completed to apply for Spring 2020 and future cohorts.
College Composition ENGL 115 3 Recommended (before taking ENGL 115): Reading 158. Prerequisite (before taking ENGL 115): English 99 or 114; or equivalent
Certified Nursing Assistant CNA Certification 8.5 Active certification or license (from CA): CNA, Corpsman, Medical Assistant, EMT, Patient Care Technician, ER Technician, Home Health Aid, Psychiatric Technician; or Paramedic (cannot be expired when applying for the VN Program). (*Effective 10/2022). 


Once accepted into the program, you must register for all the courses shown for each semester unless you have already passed the course with a grade of “C” or better.


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