Best 14 ADN Programs in California in 2021

May 5, 2021 | Staff Writers

ADN Programs in California
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Why Choose ADN Programs in California?

ADN programs, or Associate Degree in Nursing programs, prepare students for a start in the field of nursing. This is the first step to work as an RN.

Did you know that around 8% of the RNs in America are located in California? On top of that, 33% of the nurses in the state have an associate degree. This is a great degree for getting your career started and to prepare you for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

Choosing an ADN Program in California

Choosing the right ADN program is important. You’ll want one that is flexible, and you may want to choose one with on-campus, online or hybrid options.

The average salary of an RN in California is $113,240, making this a lucrative associate program to try. There are also options to continue on with your education, so getting a BSN or MSN will also help you increase your wages.

This list focuses on the top 14 schools for ADN programs in California. We have ranked these from the least expensive to most expensive as well as from those with the lowest enrollment to the highest rates of enrollment.

The Top 14 Schools for ADN Programs in California

1. Monterey Peninsula College

Monterey Peninsula College has several campuses and offers an RN degree with an LVN to RN option. There is a unique Men in Nursing Program available that focuses on keeping men in the field. The course offers general education and nursing knowledge.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,176
  • Enrollment: 7,920

2. Los Angeles Harbor College

Located in Wilmington, California, Los Angeles Harbor College offers an RN program with an LVN to RN track. It is offered on campus and accredited by ACEN. The two nursing programs offered suit both high school graduates and those who already have a license and are working in the field.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,220
  • Enrollment: 8,694

3. Cuesta College

Located in San Luis Obispo, Cuesta College offers an RN and an LVN to RN program. The LVN to Rn program is just three semesters long, and the summer is taken off. Clinicals are required at local facilities. Any LVNs in the program need to have a year of experience before being admitted.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,338
  • Enrollment: 11,281

4. Sierra College

Sierra College offers a variety of nursing programs such as the two-year ADN program that prepares you for the national exam. You can also train to become a CAN, LVN or to get a BSN at this school.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,144
  • Enrollment: 18,226

5. Grossmont College

Grossmont College is located in El Cajon, California, and offers an RN, LVN to RN and RN to BSN program. The programs are accredited by ACEN. The ADN program is just two years long, making it easy to complete in a shorter length of time.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,330
  • Enrollment: 16,958

6. Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College offers an ADN program that has features such as simulated labs and supervised tutorials. Over 90% of graduates go on to find work in the field within a year of getting their degrees. Many students move from this campus to the University of California campuses for further work toward the BSN or MSN.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,144
  • Enrollment: 27,497

8. Hartnell College

Hartnell College is located in Salinas and offers an ADN program that requires 44.5 units of study for completion. The program is usually finished within four semesters.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,420
  • Enrollment: 13,024

9. Santa Barbara City College

Located in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College offers an affordable ADN program for students interested in a career in nursing. The program is four semesters long and meets the quality standards set by QSEN. Students can take the NCLEX-RN examination upon completion of the coursework.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,374
  • Enrollment: 14,133

10. Saddleback College

Saddleback College offers an ADN program requiring four semesters for completion. It also requires students to work three unpaid 12-hour shifts with an RN in the evenings, so that students may obtain 240 clinical hours. Students are prepped for the NCLEX-RN exam through this program.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,330
  • Enrollment: 19,709

11. Moorpark College

Moorpark College is part of the Ventura County Community College District. It was ranked fourth-best for community colleges in the United States. The ADN program aims to teach students the skills needed for effective nursing including pharmacology, nursing science, and more.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,394
  • Enrollment: 14,275

12. Victor Valley College

Victor Valley College offers an Associate Degree in Nursing program with training that enables students to take the NCLEX-RN examination to become a licensed registered nurse. The program teaches geriatric care, oncology, critical care and many other important topics.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,424
  • Enrollment: 13,126

13. Palomar College

Located in San Marcos, Palomar College is a quality nursing school teaching the nursing foundations to students. The students are prepared to take the NCLEX-RN examination upon completion of the program. The school offers an Associate in Science in Nursing or an Associate in Arts in Nursing.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,338
  • Enrollment: 23,874

14. Riverside City College

Riverside City College offers a 74-unit ADN program. The school teaches foundational material in nursing, such as acute maternal-child care, pharmacology and chronic illness. Students may sit the NCLEX-RN exam following completion of the program.

  • Tuition (in-state): $1,420
  • Enrollment: 21,118

Ranking Specifications

The schools in this article have been ranked from the highest score to the lowest score. Scores were obtained by ranking them from lowest tuition rate to highest and from lowest enrollment to highest. Low enrollment rates, as well as low tuition rates, were scored best.

Every effort was made to provide accurate information on this list. However, this list is subject to change and cannot be guaranteed.

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