Best Online ADN Programs in California – 2 Years Degree

Online ADN Programs in California

If you aspire to become a registered nurse, attending ADN programs would be your smart decision. Online ADN programs in California are a great opportunity for California residents to earn an ADN by attending nursing programs from their home zone.

In terms of becoming a registered nurse, the advantage of ADN is that you can get it in 2 years, whereas it requires 4 years to get a BSN degree. Accredited online ADN programs are growing in popularity. These innovative programs not only break down geographic barriers for aspiring nursing students but also represent a significant shift in the educational landscape. 

This article presents the online ADN programs in California and their transformative impact on nursing education. You can also check our other article on top nursing school without prerequisites.

Key Takeaways 

  • Become a registered nurse (RN) with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program in 2 years.
  • Online ADN programs in California are flexible for busy people. You can learn from home!
  • You will still have to do clinical training at hospitals or clinics to get hands-on experience.
  • ADN programs teach you the skills you need to work in many places like hospitals, nursing homes or even schools.
  • ADN nurses can become staff nurses, work in specialized units or even provide home health care.
  • While ADN gets you started in nursing, some employers prefer nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You can always go back to school later.

7 Best Online ADN Programs in California

CollegeLocationProgram Length
Saddleback CollegeMission Viejo, California, US4 semesters
Los Angeles Harbor CollegeWilmington, California, US4 semesters, 2 years
Monterey Peninsula CollegeMonterey, California, US4 semesters
Hartnell CollegeSalinas, California, US4 semesters, 2 years
Chaffey CollegeRancho Cucamonga, California, US4 semesters
Grossmont CollegeEl Cajon, California, US4 semesters
Santa Barbara City CollegeSanta Barbara, California, US4 semesters, 2 years

1. Saddleback College

Saddleback College
Saddleback College

Location: Mission Viejo, California, US

Saddleback College offers an extraordinary ADN program. The college is dedicated to student support, providing services, such as a student health center, counseling, child care, financial aid, and a strong career center. The online ADN program at Saddleback College lasts four semesters. Students will participate in two to three 12-hour unpaid shifts with a registered nurse during the evening hours, accumulating the required 240 clinical hours. 

The curriculum of online ADN programs in California includes courses on the fundamentals of aging, pharmacology, nursing process, medical-surgical nursing, mental health nursing, and various other relevant topics. Graduates of this accredited nursing program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination.

2. Los Angeles Harbor College

Los Angeles Harbor College
Los Angeles Harbor College

Location: Wilmington, California, US 

Los Angeles Harbor College (LAHC) offers two exceptional nursing programs. The first is an online ADN program designed for recent high school graduates, while the second is an LVN to RN program, which supports licensed LVNs in furthering their nursing qualifications. Additionally, the college offers advanced placement options for military personnel.

Online ADN programs in California at LAHC seamlessly integrate classroom instruction with practical clinical training at renowned healthcare institutions, such as Providence Little Company of Mary, Kaiser Medical Center, and Harbor UCLA. The program runs over a period of four semesters and two years, providing students with the opportunity to engage in small group discussions and gain invaluable simulated laboratory experience throughout their journey.

3. Monterey Peninsula College

Monterey Peninsula College
Monterey Peninsula College

Location: Monterey, California, US

Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) offers online ADN programs in California that lead to an Associate of Science degree in Nursing. This program, in partnership with Montage Health, the community hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, combines both classroom and clinical training to prepare you for a better nursing career.

The online ADN program in California spans four semesters and includes a variety of courses, including Lifespan Development, General Human Anatomy, Interpersonal Communication, and more. Over the course of four semesters, you will complete a total of four clinical rotations, allowing you to gain practical experience through supervised nursing skills laboratories, and working alongside experienced nurses.

4. Hartnell College

Hartnell College
Hartnell College

Location: Salinas, California, US

The ADN program at Hartnell College will be beneficial to you. This online ADN program in California lasts two years, consisting of four semesters of academic study combined with practical clinical experience. Graduation from this ADN program depends on the successful completion of 44.5 units of curriculum.

Differentiating itself from many colleges, Hartnell requires students to engage in four phases of supervised nursing skills practice, with one level completed each semester. This integrated strategy, combining classroom learning with real-world clinical performance, has demonstrated its effectiveness in enhancing students’ ability to retain and apply knowledge.

5. Chaffey College 

Chaffey College
Chaffey College

Location: Rancho Cucamonga, California, US

Chaffey College’s ADN program spans four full-time semesters, including both academic nursing courses and laboratories conducted on the Rancho Cucamonga campus. Clinical practice hours are completed at affiliated hospitals and medical centers in Fontana, Pomona, Claremont, Colton, etc. 

Prospective students must meet admissions requirements to get an ADN degree at this college, which include having a high school diploma or equivalent and passing the TEAS 6 exam. You can choose Chaffey College for online ADN programs in California because it offers the convenience of attending ADN programs online or on campus.

6. Grossmont College

Grossmont College
Grossmont College

Location: El Cajon, California, US

Grossmont College is another best colleges for online ADN programs in California. The program is designed to prepare students for licensure examinations and entry into a variety of healthcare settings. Additionally, this renowned college hosts a chapter of the California Nursing Students Association with regular on-campus meetings and nursing resource fairs.

The college’s ADN program consists of four semesters, requiring a commitment of at least 40 hours per week of classroom study and clinical study. The curriculum includes courses like Human Physiology, Human Anatomy, Paramedical Microbiology, Psychiatric Nursing, etc.

7. Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College
Santa Barbara City College

Location: Santa Barbara, California, US

The Santa Barbara City College ADN program consists of four semesters, which are completed over two years. In the field of online ADN programs in California, Santa Barbara City College holds a commendable position. Its program includes courses, such as Pharmacology,

Foundation in Nursing, Medical-Surgical Nursing, Community Health Nursing, and Gerontology. 

Clinical rotations are mandatory in the program, allowing students to apply their knowledge in the real world. 

The goal of these practical experiences and clinicals is to increase the number of students who successfully pass the NCLEX-RN examination after completing an associate degree.

Can You Become a Registered Nurse (RN) with an ADN Degree?

One can attain the title of a Registered Nurse (RN) by completing an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). To obtain this, you must complete your ADN program, successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and meet specific licensure requirements in your state. ADN is a popular nursing program that provides a solid foundation for becoming a Registered Nurse. RNs who hold an ADN are well-equipped to pursue careers in a variety of healthcare environments, such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, etc.

It’s worth noting that while an ADN can lead to an RN career, some healthcare employers may prefer or mandate a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) for certain positions. Many RNs choose to pursue a BSN later to broaden their career opportunities. The ADN is a practical starting point for your nursing career, and you can consider further education as you progress.

What are the Admission Requirements for Online ADN Programs in California?

Admission requirements for online ADN programs in California vary by institution. However, typically admission requirements include:

  • Educational Qualification: A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually a basic requirement.
  • Required Courses: It is often required to complete prerequisite courses, such as Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy.
  • Minimum GPA: Many programs set a minimum GPA, usually around 2.5 or higher.
  • Standardized Testing: Some programs may require taking and receiving competitive scores, such as the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) or HESI (Health Education Systems, Inc.).
  • Screening Procedures: To ensure patient safety, candidates may be subjected to a background check and drug screening.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Some programs may request letters of recommendation from teachers, employers, or health care professionals.
  • Personal Statement: It is generally required to submit a personal statement explaining your motivation for pursuing a nursing career.
  • Interview: In some cases, applicants may be required to attend an admissions interview.

Please verify the specific requirements of the particular online ADN program you are interested in, as these criteria may vary between institutions.

What is the typical duration for completing an online Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program?

The duration of an online Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program can vary depending on the institution and the student’s pace. Typically, ADN programs require 2 years of full-time study, which is equivalent to four semesters or approximately 60-72 credit hours. Part-time options are also available, which may increase completion time.  

Additionally, some schools offer accelerated ADN programs that can be completed in as little as 12 to 18 months. These accelerated programs are often designed for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree or who have completed the required coursework. It is necessary to consult the specific program and its requirements to determine the exact duration of the online ADN Program.

How do Online ADN Programs in California Differ from Traditional On-campus Programs in Terms of Curriculum and Flexibility?

Online ADN programs in California differ from traditional on-campus programs in terms of curriculum and flexibility. Online programs offer a more flexible approach, delivering lectures, and courses through digital platforms. This flexibility is beneficial for people with work or family commitments. In contrast, traditional on-campus programs provide face-to-face interaction and practical training. 

However, clinical experience is important in both formats. While online programs prioritize convenience and adaptability, on-campus programs emphasize in-person learning and direct faculty interaction. Each format caters to different learning styles and preferences, giving aspiring nurses the option to choose the one best suited to their needs.

What are the Career Prospects for Registered Nurses with an ADN Degree? 

Registered nurses (RNs) who hold an associate degree in nursing (ADN) have many career opportunities. Here are prospective career paths for an ADN-educated Registered Nurse:

  • Staff Nurse: ADN-prepared nurses often find employment as staff nurses in hospitals and healthcare facilities, where they provide direct patient care.
  • Specialized Nursing Roles: Depending on their experience and additional training, ADN RNs may work in specialty areas, such as pediatrics, critical care, maternity, or surgical units.
  • Long-term Care: Opportunities exist in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation centers, where ADN RNs care for elderly individuals and people with chronic illnesses.
  • Home Health Care: Some ADN nurses work in home health settings, providing health services to patients in the comfort of their homes.
  • Public Health Nursing: ADN-prepared RNs can contribute to public health by working in community health settings and focusing on preventive care.
  • School Nursing: Students may choose to pursue school nursing to meet the health needs of students in an educational environment.
  • Clinic or Outpatient Settings: ADN-educated nurses have the option of working in outpatient clinics, urgent care centers, or physician’s offices that provide primary care services.
  • Hospice Care: There are opportunities in hospice and palliative care settings, to provide compassionate care and support to individuals with terminal illnesses.

It is important to know that while ADN-educated nurses can enter the workforce relatively quickly, the healthcare industry is increasingly favoring the BSN degree. Many hospitals and healthcare institutions encourage ADN RNs to obtain a BSN or higher degree, which increases their career prospects and chances for advancement.


1. Are online ADN programs available in California?

Yes, there are online ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) programs available in California. These programs allow students to receive their nursing education remotely, providing a flexible option for aspiring nurses in the state.

2. Are online ADN programs accredited in California?

In this regard, it is crucial to verify that the online ADN program you select holds accreditation from the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) and is acknowledged by accrediting organizations like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

3. What are the prerequisites for online ADN programs in California?

Prerequisites for online ADN programs in California can vary but typically include a high school diploma or its equivalent, specific prerequisite courses in subjects, such as biology and chemistry. In addition, background checks and health screenings are often required.

4. How much does ADN cost in California?

The tuition cost of a typical California ADN program ranges from $5,736 to $84,192. The average tuition cost is $19,692, and the cost of books and supplies ranges from $1,723 to $4,814.

5. Can you get your nursing degree online in California?

If you want a bette­r job in nursing or get a special degre­e, Penn West California has programs for that. The­ir degrees can assist you to achie­ve your dreams. Some programs are­ easier, others are­ more complex. But all programs will teach you ne­w helpful skills. Short classes, long classes, you will gain knowle­dge either way. The­ key is finding a degree­ that fits your needs and caree­r goals.

6. How do I become an ADN in California?

The program takes 24 months (2 years) to finish. It is quite­ a lengthy course. Classes are­ held three days pe­r week. This schedule­ allows for work or other commitments. To get in, you require a high school diploma or GED. You also need to pass the­ HESI Admission Assessment Exam with a 75% or higher score­.


Online ADN programs in California offer a flexible and accessible pathway to nursing education. They serve a variety of learners, providing convenience and opportunities to pursue a fulfilling nursing career without the barriers of traditional in-person learning. Given the increasing demand for healthcare professionals, these online ADN programs are indispensable to meeting California’s growing nursing workforce needs.  

Nevertheless, prospective students need to do thorough research and select accredited programs that best suit their nursing career objectives and ensure compliance with the state’s registered nursing licensure requirements. 

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