The Best ADN Programs of 2022

Updated April 27, 2022 · 6 Min Read

This page covers some of the best ADN programs in the country, recommendations on what to look for in a school, and tips on navigating the application process.

mini logo
NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

The Best ADN Programs of 2022
Credit: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

Nurses continue to be in high demand, and one of the quickest ways to enter the field is through earning an associate degree in nursing (ADN). Students who complete an ADN program can become licensed as registered nurses in around two years. Many nurses choose to earn an ADN and then continue their nursing education by completing an online RN-to-BSN program while they work.

This guide explores some of the top ADN nursing programs offered in the United States. Prospective students need a strong understanding of the application process and insight into choosing the right program.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best ADN, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about ADN programs, or go straight to our list of the best ADN programs.

Featured Online Associate Programs

What Can You Do With an ADN Degree?

An ADN degree prepares nurses for a variety of roles. ADN graduates can record patients' health histories, administer medication, order tests, and educate patients and their families on medical conditions and treatment options.

RNs who have earned an ADN and wish to increase their earning potential can continue their education with either a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or a master of science in nursing (MSN) program.

Upon earning their degree, RNs can work in virtually any healthcare setting. Typical work environments include hospitals, regional medical centers, long-term care facilities, public health centers, and private practices.

A few of the more common roles include:

Oncology Nurse

ADN required

Oncology nurses treat cancer and cancer-related issues, assess patients, and educate family members on treatment processes and expected side effects.

Learn more about being an Oncology Nurse


Emergency Room (ER) Nurse

ADN required

ER nurses help patients who require immediate medical care. They assess patients, monitor vital signs, and administer medical treatments.

Learn more about being an ER Nurse


Homecare Nurse

ADN required

Homecare nurses work in the homes of chronically ill patients. They provide basic care, monitor patients' health, track any health-related changes, and provide treatment.

Learn more about being a Homecare Nurse


What to Look for in an ADN Program

When researching ADN programs, examine the program's admission requirements, accreditation, and graduation rate to help narrow down options. Exploring program length, curriculum, and clinical requirements can help students select the right program for them.

Admission Requirements

Understanding admission requirements should be students' first step. While most programs are similar, applicants should ensure they have the appropriate background to be admitted into the program.

Program Curriculum

While curricula tend to be similar from one school to the next, applicants should review elective options provided at the institution. These choices can help in determining a focus area for incoming students.

Clinical Experience

The time spent in clinical rotations provides prospective nurses with an opportunity to develop professional experience. Being able to spend time in a variety of specialties also helps when choosing a specialty area to pursue.

Accreditation

Applicants should only apply to an accredited program to ensure the institution adheres to state and national standards. AN unaccredited program may not meet these standards, often making it difficult for students to transfer or pursue a more advanced degree. Read more about accreditation.

Program Length

Students who enroll in an ADN program can complete their schooling within two years. However, the length can vary depending on start date and enrollment status — full-time vs. part-time.

School NCLEX Pass Rate

Before becoming a licensed RN, prospective nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) review first-time student passing rates on the NCLEX when evaluating a nursing program. They use these rates to determine if the program's accreditation can continue, which signals the strength of that program.

School Graduation Rate

Graduation rate demonstrates the success of a program's students. Not only does it provide insight into the completion of the program, but it also identifies if students are earning their degree on time.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

Online programs provide the same rigorous curriculum found with in-person settings. Through these programs, students typically complete synchronous courses, which take place in real-time, and asynchronous courses, which students access on their own time.

Applying to an ADN Program

Once an applicant has decided to apply to nursing school, there are a variety of requirements they must meet to gain admittance. These requirements typically require certain academic prerequisites, such as GPA minimums, a writing sample, and references.

While most programs require similar material, others vary, so make sure to examine the specific requirements for each school.

Admission Materials

Proof of previous education (high school diploma or GED certificate); high school transcripts; proof of the completion of academic prerequisites (algebra, biology, chemistry, etc.); a writing sample; and letters of recommendation

GPA Requirements

2.5 GPA or GED equivalent

Other Requirements

Some programs may require certain pre-entrance exams, such as the SAT/ACT, the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), the Nursing Entrance Exam (NET), or the Kaplan Nursing School Admission Test.

Why is ADN Program Accreditation Important?

Choosing an accredited ADN program comes with many advantages. Students, graduates, and employers all benefit from accreditation, both academically and professionally:

  • Accreditation is awarded by the ACEN and the CCNE, organizations that confirm the academic quality of the program.
  • Credits from unaccredited programs may not transfer to other programs (ADN or BSN).
  • Unaccredited undergraduate degrees earned may not be valid for those looking to enter an MSN program.
  • Students may not be eligible for federal financial aid if they attend an unaccredited institution.
  • Accredited degrees can lead to more exclusive job prospects and higher earning potential.

Paying for ADN Programs

Program costs vary depending on the exclusivity of the program, whether attending as a full-time or part-time student, and the location of the institution (in-state vs. out-of-state).

Learners can explore a variety of resources to help lessen the financial burden of their education. Financial aid is accessible for students as grants, scholarships, and loans. Grants are awarded based upon the financial need of the students; scholarships provide funds based on merit, talent, or academic performance; and loans consist of borrowed money that will eventually need to be paid back.

Learn More About the Top ADN Programs and Schools

#1

Copiah-Lincoln Community College

School Information
Location Wesson, Mississippi
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The associate degree in nursing (ADN) from Copiah-Lincoln Community College trains students for entry-level positions as patient care providers and managers. The 72-credit program prepares graduates for the NCLEX-RN exam. Learners can complete the degree in two years. The curriculum includes general education classes and 45 credits of nursing core courses. 

  • Program: ADN 
  • Campus: Wesson, MS
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $1,500 per semester for in-state learners; $2,500 per semester for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; minimum 2.5 GPA; minimum 18 ACT composite score
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $52,110 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site
#2

Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences

School Information
Location Canton, Ohio
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 100%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 67% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Aultman College offers an associate degree in nursing (ADN) for aspiring registered nurses. The five-semester program combines classroom instruction with hands-on training in simulation laboratories. Learners also complete clinical experiences. Enrollees can use this degree to move into Aultman College's bachelor of science in nursing program. 

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: Canton, OH
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $9,105 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; minimum 3.0 GPA; ACT or SAT or ACCUPLACER Next Gen scores; Test of Essential Academic Skills scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 30 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $51,150 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site
#3

Itawamba Community College

School Information
Location Fulton, Mississippi
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 67% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Northeastern Mississippi-based Itawamba Community College offers academic, career, and health sciences programs, including an associate degree in nursing (ADN). The 24-month, five-semester program admits applicants once annually. Students attend classes in the state-of-the-art Health Science Education Center. 

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: Fulton, MS
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $1,450 per semester for in-state learners; $2,550 per semester for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; minimum 18 ACT composite score
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $51,790 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site
#4

Frontier Community College

School Information
Location Fairfield, Illinois
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Frontier Community College, one of four colleges that comprise the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges district, offers a 72-credit associate degree in nursing (ADN). The degree prepares graduates for RN licensure. Enrollees can pursue a practical nursing certificate in the summer between the program's first and second year. 

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: Fairfield, IL
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $147 per credit for in-state learners; $555 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; minimum 2.5 GPA; Test of Essential Academic Skills scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $50,440 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site
#5

East Mississippi Community College

School Information
Location Scooba, Mississippi
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

East Mississippi Community College offers an associate degree in nursing (ADN) that takes two years to complete. The 62-credit curriculum includes 26 credits of general education classes and 36 credits in core nursing classes. Students must take courses in sequence. The school also offers an LPN-to-RN program for licensed practical nurses seeking RN licensure.

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: Scooba, MS
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $2,865 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; minimum 18 ACT score
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.5% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $48,940 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site
#6

Moraine Park Technical College

School Information
Location Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Graduation Rate 57%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Moraine Park Technical College offers a 68-credit associate degree in nursing (ADN). One of the best ADN programs, this program prepares graduates for careers as LPNs and RNs. The curriculum includes hands-on classroom instruction, laboratory practice, and clinical experiences. Learners must enroll full time.

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: Fond du Lac, WI
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $141 per credit for in-state learners; $212 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; minimum 3.0 GPA or ACT or ACCUPLACER scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $53,820 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site
#7

Northeast Mississippi Community College

School Information
Location Booneville, Mississippi
Graduation Rate 30%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The associate degree in nursing (ADN) at Northeast Mississippi Community College prepares graduates for entry-level positions as nurse caregivers. One of the best ADN programs, this program prepares learners for the NCLEX-RN exam. Students must progress through the 72-credit curriculum in sequential order. Learners typically take five semesters to complete the degree. 

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: Booneville, MS
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $1,825 per semester for in-state learners; $3,465 per semester for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; ACT or SAT scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $47,490 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site
#8

Lake-Sumter State College

School Information
Location Leesburg, Florida
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The limited-access associate degree in nursing (ADN) program at Lake-Sumter State College offers two tracks. A general track accepts 50 students each fall and spring semester. The bridge track, for students with current LPN or paramedic certification, accepts 30 students annually. The curriculum includes core nursing classes and ends with a clinical internship. 

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: Leesburg, FL
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $110 per credit for in-state learners; $443 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; minimum 2.5 GPA; HESI exam
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.3% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $56,420 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site
#9

Ozarka College

School Information
Location Melbourne, Arkansas
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Ozarka College offers an associate degree in nursing (ADN). The school partners with the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium to provide an accessible registered nursing program that meets the needs of residents of rural Arkansas. The 66-credit LPN-to-LVN transition program, designed to accommodate working nurses, offers classes in the evenings. Learners complete most clinical experiences on weekends.

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: Melbourne, AR
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Arkansas State Board of Nursing
  • Tuition: $121 per credit for in-state learners; $219 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; ACT or SAT scores or results from ACCET, COMPASS, or ACCUPLACER tests
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $52,730 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site
#10

CUNY Kingsborough Community College

School Information
Location Brooklyn, New York
Graduation Rate 34%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Kingsborough Community College offers an associate degree in nursing (ADN). One of the best ADN programs, the program emphasizes patient-centered, evidence-based nursing care to culturally diverse populations. The program prepares students seeking entry-level RN positions for the NCLEX-RN exam. The 66-credit curriculum includes a writing intensive course and a civic engagement component.

  • Program: ADN
  • Campus: Brooklyn, NY
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing; National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation
  • Tuition: $210 per credit for in-state learners; $320 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED diploma; completion of pre-clinical sequence with a minimum 2.5 GPA; Test of Essential Academic Skills scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.4% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $58,220 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Visit Site

Frequently Asked Questions About ADN Programs


Are ADN programs worth it?

When examining the value of completing an ADN program, prospective nurses must determine their professional goals as a nurse. ADN programs can be a great start to a nursing career, as it is both less expensive and less time-consuming than other programs.

After earning an ADN, nurses can gain experience while deciding if additional education is right for them.

What colleges offer an ADN program?

ADN programs are offered in every state, including the District of Columbia, typically at community and junior colleges. To date, there are over 1,000 ADN programs available throughout the country.

Are ADN programs hard to get into?

Regardless of the program, admission into nursing schools is quite competitive. While those looking to earn their bachelor's degree need a 3.0 or better GPA to gain admittance, ADN programs typically require a minimum average GPA of 2.5. Ultimately, the higher a student's previous GPA, the more likely they will be admitted into a competitive program.

Is it better to get your ADN first?

The benefit of earning an ADN first depends upon the individual's professional goals. Obtaining an ADN is one of the fastest routes to becoming a nurse; therefore, nurses can start gaining experience quicker than someone who has opted for a BSN program. However, earning a BSN or MSN provides higher earning potential, along with more specialized nursing roles.

What is the quickest way to become an RN?

Completing an ADN program is the fastest way to become an RN, as the title can be earned with an associate degree. Earning an ADN can be completed in as little as 18 months.

Related ADN Resources

NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

Popular Resources

Resources and articles written by professionals and other nurses like you.