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

  • Tuesday, November 9th, 3:00pm-5:00pm
  • Friday, December 3rd, 9:00 am-11:00am

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) 773-2579 or the Nursing counselor at 760-776-7415 or via email at NursingCounselor@collegeofthedesert.edu

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

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Prospective students not already enrolled at College of the Desert DO NOT need to apply to the college until AFTER they have been accepted into the Nursing Program. However, official transcripts must be submitted with the nursing application, which will also be used by the Admission and Records Office for the college application.

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
  • 2.5 overall GPA in last 7 years
  • 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 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  

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.

Due to the COVID pandemic, we are pausing the LVN program. The next LVN application is anticipated in May of 2022 for a start date in Fall 2022. Please continue to check here for updates.

Please mail your application to Admissions & Records, through regular mail. Make copies of all your documents for your records. You will receive an email within a week confirming that your application was received. ​

Applicants are advised to not submit official transcripts to this division unless you are submitting an application packet. Official transcripts received separately from an application packet will not be retained by the division (they will be shredded). Please call if you have questions regarding this requirement.


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.