Online ADN Programs in California in 2024[UPDATED] | Spynaija
Online ADN Programs in California

Online ADN Programs in California in 2024[UPDATED]

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Michael Tijani


Are you a California resident looking to jumpstart your career in nursing, but struggling to find the time to attend traditional on-campus programs? Look no further! Online ADN programs in California may just be the solution you’ve been searching for. With the flexibility to learn on your own schedule and the convenience of completing coursework from anywhere with an internet connection, online Associate Degrees in Nursing programs are becoming increasingly popular among aspiring nurses. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about online ADN programs in California, including the benefits, accreditation, and top programs available. Get ready to take the first step toward your dream nursing career with the ease and convenience of online learning!

Can I become a Registered Nurse (RN) with an ADN Degree? 

Yes, you can become a registered nurse (RN) with an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) degree. Upon completing an ADN program, graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed as RNs.

The ADN is the most common type of nursing degree, and it provides a strong foundation for a career as an RN. RNs with an ADN degree are qualified to work in a wide range of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home health agencies.


While an ADN degree is sufficient to become an RN, many nurses choose to further their education by pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. A BSN can lead to advanced career opportunities and higher salaries.

How long does it take to complete an online ADN program?

The length of time it takes to complete an online ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) program varies depending on a number of factors, including the specific program and the individual student’s pace of study.

Most online ADN programs can be completed in two to three years of full-time study, although some programs may be completed in as little as 18 months and others may take up to four years to complete. Part-time ADN programs may take longer to complete.

What are the Career Prospects for RNs with an ADN degree? 

RNs with an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) degree have a wide range of career opportunities in the healthcare industry. RNs are in high demand and are typically employed in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home health agencies.


RNs with an ADN degree can work in a variety of roles, including:

  • Staff nurse: providing direct patient care in a hospital or other healthcare setting.
  • Clinical nurse: coordinating patient care and managing a team of nurses.
  • Nurse practitioner: providing advanced nursing care and performing medical tasks, such as diagnosing and treating illnesses.
  • Nurse educator: teaching nursing students and providing continuing education for RNs.
  • Nurse researcher: conducting research to improve patient care and nursing practice.

The job prospects for RNs with an ADN degree are excellent, as there is a growing need for qualified nurses in the healthcare industry. RNs with an ADN degree can expect to earn a competitive salary and enjoy job stability and growth opportunities.

Are online ADN Programs Accredited?

Yes, most online ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) programs in California are accredited by the California Board of registered nursing. Accreditation is a voluntary process that ensures that a school or program meets certain quality and education standards.

For instance, In the United States, nursing programs are typically accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). These organizations evaluate nursing schools/programs on a number of criteria, including the quality of the curriculum, the qualifications of the faculty, and the adequacy of the facilities and resources.

It’s important to attend an accredited nursing program, as graduates of accredited programs are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed as registered nurses (RNs). Graduates of non-accredited programs may not be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN.

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What are the Admission Requirements for Online ADN Programs? 

The admission requirements for online ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) programs vary depending on the specific program and the nursing school. However, most programs have similar requirements, which may include the following:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Completion of college-level prerequisites, such as biology, chemistry, and psychology.
  • A minimum GPA, typically 2.5 or higher.
  • Submission of transcripts from all previous colleges or universities attended.
  • Submission of scores from standardized exams, such as the ACT or SAT.
  • Submission of letters of recommendation.
  • Completion of an application and an interview with the nursing school.

It’s important to carefully review the admission requirements for the online ADN programs you are considering and make sure you meet all of the requirements before applying.

Can I advance my nursing career with an ADN degree?

Yes, you can advance your nursing career with an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) degree. While an ADN degree is sufficient to propel you to become a registered nurse (RN), many nurses choose to further their education by pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree can open you up to more advanced career prospects in nursing, such as nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nurse researcher. BSN-prepared nurses are also typically qualified for loftier salaries and more leadership roles within their organizations.


Top Online ADN Programs in California

We have meticulously hand-picked seven (7) state-approved, online ADN programs in California that may suit your study preferences, career goals, and budget.

1. Wilmington, Los Angeles Harbor College

The Los Angeles Community College District includes Los Angeles Harbor College (LAHC). The college provides two nursing programs. The first is the traditional online ADN program in California, designed for high school graduates, and the second is the LVN to RN program, which helps those already licensed as LVNs further their education and nursing credentials. LAHC also provides advanced placement for military personnel.

LAHC’s ADN program combines classroom instruction with clinical experience in a variety of local hospitals and clinics. Clinicals at Kaiser Medical Center, Providence Little Company of Mary, Torrance Memorial Hospital, and Harbor UCLA, to name a few, are available to students. The program is divided into four semesters and takes two years to complete. Throughout the program, you will participate in a variety of small-group discussions and gain simulated laboratory experience.

Admission Requirements

  • Anatomy 001, Physiology 001, and Microbiology 020 with a “C” or better and a Science GPA of 2.5 or higher are required.
  • English 101 with a grade of “C” or higher.
  • Math 125 or completion of a transfer-level math course or demonstration of math competency.
  • Psychology 001 and 041 with a grade of “C” or higher.
  • Chemistry at the college level, or one year of high school chemistry with a “C” or better.
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher is required.

2. Saddleback College, Mission Viejo

Saddleback College is a member of the South Orange County Community College District. The college provides an excellent ADN program. Saddleback College truly focuses on the student by providing guidance, counseling, child care, a student health center, financial aid, tutoring, and an excellent career center.

The online ADN program at Saddleback College spans a total of four(4) semesters, and you will be required to work two to three unpaid 12-hour shifts alongside an assigned RN during the evening hours. This will assist you in completing your 240 required clinical hours. Pharmacology, Fundamentals of Aging, Nursing Process, Mental Health Nursing, Medical-Surgical Nursing, and other topics are covered in the classroom.

After completing this accredited nursing program, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam. According to the school’s Nursing Student Achievement Data from the 2015-2016 academic year, 85% of all graduates found employment in the nursing field after graduation.

Admission Requirements


Interested applicants must complete BIO 11* (Anatomy) and BIO 12* in order to apply (Physiology). BIO 15* (Microbiology) and ENG 1A* (Principles of Composition 1), or equivalents with a “C” or higher. BIO 12* (Physiology) must be taken within the last seven years. Every prerequisite and core class must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher.

3. Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey

The Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) should make your list of choices of schools with the best online ADN programs in California. You will earn an Associate of Science degree here, which will prepare you for a career in nursing. Montage Health, the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, is a partner in the ADN program. MPC offers both classroom and clinical training to prepare you for your career.

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This program lasts four semesters and includes courses like General Human Anatomy, Lifespan Development, Interpersonal Communication, Applied Foundations of Learning, and others. Four of the 73 total units are clinical rotations, which are spread out over four semesters. You will complete Supervised Nursing Skills Labs alongside an assigned nurse.

You will learn how to work with other healthcare professionals to provide effective patients care in a variety of healthcare settings, how to be a patient advocate, and how to provide direct patient-centered care based on evidence and facts. Completing the MPC ADN program in California prepares you to take the NCLEX-RN exam and work as an entry-level RN.

Application Requirement

An AA/AS degree if the applicant has also completed all of the “Golden 4” CSU matriculation courses (Oral Communication, Written Communication, Critical Thinking, and Quantitative Reasoning [i.e. Statistics]). Outside of MPC, Critical Thinking courses must be accompanied by a catalog description stating that the course meets the CSU GE requirement for Critical Thinking.

NOTE: Prospective applicants are strongly advised to consult an academic counselor early in their educational planning to fully understand the potential financial aid implications of multiple degrees and excessive units.

4. Grossmont College, El Cajon

Grossmont College, located in El Cajon, California, offers an online ADN program that prepares men and women to pass licensure exams and begin careers in a variety of unique healthcare settings. Grossmont also has a chapter of the California Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA), with regular meetings held on campus. The CNSA also holds nursing resource fairs and other events at Grossmont on a regular basis.

This ADN program spans two years and is made up of four(4) semesters. According to the Grossmont website, you should expect to devote at least 40 hours per week to classroom study and Clinicals. Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Paramedical Microbiology, and Neurologic and Psychiatric Nursing are just a few of the courses you’ll take. You will need to finish a total of 72 units.

At Grossmont, 80% or more of students who start the ADN program finish it in six semesters. Job placement rates are 75% within the first year, and 25% of those who complete the program and obtain their license enroll in an advanced degree program within a year.

Application Requirements

Students must meet the minimum requirements for sitting for the state licensure exam by taking thirty units or less. This includes the following courses:


Bio 141

  • Physiology- 3 units

Bio 141L

  • Physiology Laboratory- 1 Unit


  • Microbiology – 5 units

220 Nursing

  • II Medical-Surgical Nursing- 5.5 units

222 Nursing

  • Nursing in Psychiatry and Community Health- 5.5 units

230 Nursing

  • III in Medical-Surgical Nursing – 8 units

5. Hartnell College, Salinas

Hartnell College’s RN program is one of the most lucrative ADN programs in California. The NAACP and UCSC have both praised Hartnell College’s nursing programs for their emphasis on underrepresented students and minorities.

This program lasts two years and consists of four semesters of study followed by clinical experience. Students must complete and pass 44.5 units of study in order to graduate from this program. Unlike many colleges, Hartnell requires students to participate in four levels of Supervised Nursing Skills Practice – one level each semester. This integrated approach to classroom and clinical learning has been shown to improve students’ ability to retain classroom information and apply it in the real world.


Nursing Theory, Clinical Reasoning, Pharmacology, and other courses are available. Students will be able to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and other medical personnel after completing the program, use critical thinking skills to provide the best possible nursing care throughout the human lifecycle, make ethical decisions when planning patient care, and demonstrate competency in nursing skills at the entry-level.

Admission Requirements

  • 2 sealed, official transcripts from regionally accredited colleges or universities in the United States with a degree posted in Nursing and Allied Health
  • Science Grade Point Average
  • Hartnell College, Monterey Peninsula College, and Cabrillo College do not offer courses.
  • All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher. Grades must be posted at the end of the semester.
  • If prerequisites are not equivalent, a Course-to-Course Equivalency Form must be completed.
  • Transcripts should be sent to ATTN: Admissions and Records, not Admissions and Records.
  • 2 sealed, official transcripts from regionally accredited colleges in the United States or on transcript 2.50 is the minimum acceptable science GPA.

6. Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara City College’s (SBCC) School of Nursing provides several unique opportunities for those interested in a nursing career, including an excellent online ADN program. This program consists of four semesters and will take you two years to complete. The curriculum is designed to meet the standards established by the Massachusetts Nurse of the Future and Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN).

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Foundations in Nursing, Pharmacology, Medical-Surgical Nursing, Gerontology, Community Health Nursing, and other courses will be offered as part of the program. You will also be required to take part in clinical rotations, which will allow you to put your knowledge to the test in a real-world setting. These skills and clinicals are intended to increase the number of students who pass the NCLEX-RN exam after receiving their associate degrees.

More than 85% of students who begin this program complete it successfully. Furthermore, 91% of SBCC graduates are employed as registered nurses within one year of graduation.

Admission Requirements

Each of the following courses must be completed for college credit with a grade of “C” or higher. Pass/No Pass courses are available. A “C” will be assigned to a Pass. A No Pass will be considered a repeat. Your transcript must include all grades (s). For prerequisite courses completed at a non-California Community College, course descriptions must be submitted with your application. Course descriptions must be from the catalog year in which the course was completed.

7. Riverside City College, Riverside

The online ADN program at Riverside City College (RCC) School of Nursing consists of four semesters and an intersession. There are 74 total units to complete, and science prerequisites in anatomy, physiology, and microbiology are required. Every two weeks during the academic year, RCC hosts a pre-nursing workshop to introduce new students to the industry, and all students interested in nursing programs are encouraged to attend.

You will take courses such as Foundations of Nursing as part of your studies. Each semester, students study Chronic Illness, Acute Maternal-Child Specialty, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and clinicals. RCC, unlike other ADN programs in California, makes some of these clinicals optional. All students must complete the required clinical hours in order to receive their degrees and sit for the NCLEX-RN exams, but in this case, students are given the option to complete additional clinical hours if they so desire.

The program length is five semesters due to the required intersession at RCC, which means the program takes 2.5 years to complete. By the end of the program, you will be prepared to provide high-quality patient care based on evidence-based practices. It also prepares you to take on leadership roles in a variety of healthcare settings. It also equips you with skills to collaborate and communicate effectively with others and to use cutting-edge technology to communicate, reduce risk, prevent errors, and support decision-making.

Admission Requirements

  • Valid Social Security Number in the United States (required for clinical facilities).
  • Valid government-issued photo identification (driver’s license, identification card, passport, or military identification).
  • CPR certification from the American Heart Association.
  • At the time of program admission, a clean criminal record, as well as a drug and health clearance, are required. A new background check/drug screen will be required if the educational process is interrupted.
  • Physical examination and immunizations are completed.
  • For continued enrollment, CPR cards and health clearances must be kept up to date.


Is it possible to transfer credits from an ADN program to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program?

Yes, it is possible to transfer credits from an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) program to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Many BSN programs will accept credits from an ADN program, allowing students to complete their BSN degree in a shorter amount of time.


What is the difference between an ADN program and a BSN program?

The main difference between an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) program and a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program is the length of time it takes to complete the programs and the level of education they provide.


Many programs offer some required nursing and prerequisite courses online. Examples include the online ADN program at San Joaquin Delta College, which offers over a half-dozen of its ADN curriculum courses in a hybrid (part in-person/part online) format, and Mt. San Jacinto Colleges AS in Nursing program, which has five prerequisite classes that can be completed entirely online. Almost all online  ADN programs in California also include some form of distance learning, such as readings, written assignments, recorded lectures, and communication with instructors and fellow students.

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