Best 13 ADN Programs in California in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

ADN Programs in California

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.

Top 5 ADN Programs in California

Rank School Location
1Monterey Peninsula CollegeMonterey, California
2Los Angeles Harbor CollegeLos Angeles, California
3Cuesta CollegeSan Luis Obispo, California
4Sierra CollegeRocklin, California
5Grossmont CollegeEl Cajon, California

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 13 Schools for ADN Programs in California


Monterey Peninsula College

  • Monterey, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,176
Enrollment: 7,920
Visit School Website

Los Angeles Harbor College

  • Los Angeles, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,220
Enrollment: 8,694
Visit School Website

Cuesta College

  • San Luis Obispo, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,338
Enrollment: 11,281
Visit School Website

Sierra College

  • Rocklin, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,144
Enrollment: 18,226
Visit School Website

Grossmont College

  • El Cajon, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,330
Enrollment: 16,958
Visit School Website

Santa Monica College

  • Santa Monica, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,144
Enrollment: 27,497
Visit School Website

Hartnell College

  • Salinas, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,420
Enrollment: 13,024
Visit School Website

Santa Barbara City College

  • Santa Barbara, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,374
Enrollment: 14,133
Visit School Website

Saddleback College

  • Mission Viejo, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,330
Enrollment: 19,709
Visit School Website

Moorpark College

  • Moorpark, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,394
Enrollment: 14,275
Visit School Website

Victor Valley College

  • Victorville, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,424
Enrollment: 13,126
Visit School Website

Palomar College

  • San Marcos, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,338
Enrollment: 23,874
Visit School Website

Riverside City College

  • Riverside, California

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.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $1,420
Enrollment: 21,118
Visit School Website

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.

Interested in Learning More about Your School’s Ranking?

If you would like more information about your school’s ranking or to have data corrected, please contact us. If your school is not listed here but you would like it to be, reach out. We’d be happy to speak with you about getting your school listed.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

Woman in graduation cap and gown
Scroll to Top