I was a second career nurse with a bachelor’s degree and still have a little student debt from that one 😖. Basically I decided I have to do my nursing education as cheaply as possible. I opted to go the community college route. I busted my booty in those prereqs. Many of the community colleges operate on a points system for getting into the program, and you get points for things like certain healthcare experience, grades in the science prereqs, prior degrees, test scores, etc. I knew if I got a 4.0 science GPA and scored well on the TEAS, I’d be a good candidate to skip the wait list, so that was my goal.
I know people who went to those expensive schools in LA and they have a lot of debt. Granted we get paid well here in CA, but I still wouldn’t do it. And unfortunately you haven’t worked in a hospital so you could pay all that out for a career you end up disliking. I second the CNA route, but just know that training can be expensive depending on your area and you’ll get paid just about minimum wage at most places. It’s still excellent experience to see what’s to come.
As for the large teaching hospitals, I know at UCLA you have to have a BSN to work acute care according to a professor of mine that works there. It might be the same at some of the others. In general you can find jobs as an ADN in CA, all of my classmates are working fine, but it’s a bit easier when you have a BSN. All things to consider. If you’re not married to CA, I’d get the heck out of here, but that’s for more reasons than nursing school. I myself am married to this state, so I had to stick it out and make it work. I wish you all the best. You could also get out of LA and into a different area of CA like a little north or inland and may have better options with a slightly more affordable cost of living. So many ways to do it, just gotta find what’s right for you!