Vocational Nursing

Table of Contents - click on the topic to see further information

Information Sessions Program Costs
Eligibility & Prerequisite Criteria Application Information 
Program Requirements Health & Background Screening

Nursing is an exciting and challenging profession of responsibility, integrity, and personal growth. Nursing provides an essential service to others, involving the care of people, sick and well. As career professionals, nurses are dedicated individuals who have committed themselves to improving the quality of health care for others.

We expect that you will take advantage of the information provided on these pages before calling with questions.

Group information sessions are offered periodically throughout the year which provides an overview of all COD nursing programs (CNA, LVN, RN, & LVN-RN), pre-requisite courses, admissions process, application, cost, etc.​​​​​​ and a "question and answer" time.

Zoom Link for all sessions listed below

August 8th 2022 5:00PM

August 25th 2022 1:00PM (In person) N9

August 29th 2022 10:30AM

September 29th 2022 5:00 PM (In person) N4

October 11th 2022 5:00 PM

October 26th 2022 1:30 PM

November 22nd 2022 3:30 PM

November 30th 2022 5:30 PM (COD/CSUSB BSN)

December 7th 2022 12:00 PM (COD/CSUSB BSN)

December 15th 2022 5:30 PM

    January 19th 2023 5:00 PM

    February 6th 2023 10:00 AM

    February 22nd 2023 5:30PM (In Person)  TBA

For more information, please email NursingInfo@collegeofthedesert.edu

To view a pre-recorded information session, click here.

If you still have questions after reading through the materials below please feel free to contact either the He​alth Sciences/Nursing Office at (760) 773-2578 or the Nursing counselor. To make an appointment to see the Nursing Counselor please email NursingCounselor@collegeofthedesert.edu. Be sure to include your full name, availability, phone number and student ID (if applicable). Alternatively, you can also call us directly at 760-773-2578 to make an appointment

You can also attend one of the information sessions scheduled during the semester.

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Students must apply to the College of the Desert prior to applying to the nursing programs. Information on application can be found on the Admissions & Records webpage

If you are a past COD student, who has not enrolled in a course over the last academic year, you will be required to reapply to COD. 

*When the application asks you for a major, you will not have an option for "nursing". Please select "health sciences", once accepted into the nursing program, we will manually change your major to Nursing. 

A separate application is required for admission to the VN program. Admission is by random selection of eligible candidates.

  • 17 years-old or older
  • High School Diploma or equivalent (Official high school transcripts preferred)
  • 2.5 combined GPA in all prerequisite courses
  • HS-062: Your Living Body OR Anatomy & Physiology sequence
  • HS-013: General Nutrition
  • HS-067: Introduction to Medical Dosage Calculation
  • PSY 001: General Psychology

In addition to eligibility and prerequisite requirements, once a student is registered, further items are required to begin courses and clinical rotations.

While Social Security Numbers are not required to take classes at COD, the facilities used by the Nursing Program for clinical instruction DO require them as part of their security clearance process. If you do not have a Social Security Number please contact the Dreamer Resource Center for further information.

Valid Social Security card or ITIN Valid Government ID
Clear background check Clear drug screen
Current American Heart Association CPR card Physical Exam
Communicable disease clearance (titers & Vaccinations) Meet core performance standards
Malpractice Insurance iPad, iPad pencil, iPad keyboard (more info upon admission)


College of the Desert Kinesiology offers American Heart Association (AHA) CPR courses for both the first time certification and for recertification. 

For first time certification, students can register for KINE-001

For recertification, students can register for KINE-302

KINE-001 and KINE-302 will be offered during Summer and Winter sessions based on enrollment numbers. 

CPR cards are required prior to the start of the semester, please plan accordingly. 

Please note that costs are estimated. Depending on insurance coverage and financial assistance, costs may vary. Total cost of the program is estimated at $3,550. Click here for a detailed list of associated costs.

The next LVN application will be open June 1-30, 2023 for a start date in Fall 2023. 


All nursing and allied health students participating in a clinical rotation are required to have a clear background check. Background checks can be paid for at the COD Bursar's Office.

Drug Screening and Background Checks

The affiliation agreements with the clinical facilities, regulated by The Joint Commission (TJC), require that all students have a clear drug screening and background check prior to each clinical rotation. If not, the student may not be allowed to participate in patient care at a clinical agency, which would prevent the student from completing the nursing program.

Students are advised that an acceptable background check done for the clinical facilities does not guarantee the background check conducted by State Boards at the time of application for licensure or certification will be found acceptable. Background checks displaying discrepancies will be reviewed by the Nursing Director and facility assigned to determine if you are eligible to continue within the program.

In addition to screening prior to the start of each clinical experience, students may be subject to testing for cause; such as slurred speech, impaired physical coordination, inappropriate behavior, or pupillary changes.

All students must also be medically screened, prior to the first day of clinical. The screening will include a physical examination, TB testing, flu shot, blood tests (titers) which show definitive immunity to communicable disease, and drug and alcohol screening.

Students who do not clear the screenings will be unable to complete clinicals. 

Students are responsible for all associated fees.

Onboarding is normally conducted in the months prior to the clinical rotation. Students MUST be available during that time. Missing onboarding may result in the student's inability to continue in the course. Facility clearance is required each semester.