10 Best ADN Programs in California – (2-Year RN Programs)


Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH (Introduction), and Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org (School Profiles)

ADN programs in California offer the quickest route to a nursing career in the Golden State. Most ADN students in California can complete their degrees in two years or less, and once they pass the NCLEX-RN exam, they’re ready to get to work. Employment opportunities for Golden State RNs who hold associate degrees in nursing are anticipated to rise by 11 percent in the next 10 years, and their average salary comes to $133,340 a year. Should you decide to continue your education, many ADN program credits are transferable to four-year nursing or graduate nursing programs. Eager to find out more? The list below of the 10 best ADN programs in California is a great place to start.


What Are The Best ADN Programs In California (Online And Campus)?

Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 10 best nursing schools for ADN programs in California. You can complete most of these programs in 2 years.


1. Sierra College - Rocklin


Program Details: Sierra College is a two-year program that prepares you for the NCLEX-RN exam and a career as a registered nurse. Among the best ADN programs in California, the program comprises 79 to 82 credits and covers topics such as pediatric nursing, nursing fundamentals, geriatric nursing, med-surgical nursing, maternal nursing, and nursing leadership & management.


Admission Requirements: Sierra College’s ADN program is open to applicants who have a high school diploma or GED. Further, prerequisites such as English, psychology, and human development are also required. To apply, you must be prepared to submit your TEAS score and official transcripts.


Why Choose This Program

• Sierra College’s ADN is known for its high-quality education that leads to a positive outcome. The excellent pass rates on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam, in addition to the impressive placement rate, testify to the high standard of education it offers.
• Sierra College’s ADN program provides diverse clinical opportunities in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and community health organizations.
• Sierra College’s ADN program instills strong professional skills in critical thinking, cultural competency, and advocacy.


2. San Diego City College - San Diego


Program Details: Preparing you for a career in registered nursing, San Diego City College’s ADN program should be on your list if you are seeking to enroll in one of the best ADN programs in California. The program emphasizes key nursing competencies such as communication, leadership, patient advocacy, professionalism, health promotion, research, and evidence-based practice.


Admission Requirements: San Diego City College’s ADN program is meant for high school graduates who have a GPA of at least 2.5. The program also requires the completion of prerequisite courses such as anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. In addition, a TEAS score of at least 62% is required.


Why Choose This Program

• San Diego City College’s ADN not only reports high graduation rates but also boasts an impressive rate on the NCLEX-RN.
• San Diego City College’s ADN program is offered in small-sized classes where students engage in an interactive learning experience.
• San Diego City College’s ADN program is more affordable than most other ADN programs in California.


3. Moorpark College - Moorpark


Program Details: Moorpark College’s ADN program teaches you how to apply safety and technical skills on the job, think critically, communicate with others in a healthcare setting, and effectively perform all of the duties essential to your career as a registered nurse.

This ADN program in California is comprehensive, comprising a variety of concepts in basic and advanced nursing science. You learn healthcare ethics, medical terminology, pharmacology, basic pathophysiology, basic cardiac dysrhythmia interpretation, labor & delivery room nursing, and operating room nursing.


Admission Requirements: To qualify for Moorpark’s ADN program, you must have a high school diploma or GED. The program also requires a GPA of at least 2.5. In addition, you must pass the entrance exam. Also, prerequisite courses must be completed with a minimum grade of C.


Why Choose This Program

• Moorpark College includes a course in holistic healthcare practices. The courses explore complementary forms of treatments that can be used for common illnesses.
• Moorpark College takes a unique approach to the ADN program by allowing you access to a variety of elective courses. These courses include electives like Sex, Gender, & Culture and Peoples & Cultures of the World, which are far more diverse than what many other schools offer.
• Moorpark College’s ADN program allows the option of participating in four levels of nursing skills labs that are not required for graduation but are recommended by the college.


4. Grossmont College - El Cajon


Program Details: Grossmont College is located in El Cajon, California, and its ADN program prepares men and women alike to pass the licensure exams and begin their careers in a variety of unique healthcare settings.

This ADN program in California is a two-year, four-semester program. You must be prepared to dedicate 40 hours each week to classroom study and clinicals. You will take courses like human anatomy, human physiology, paramedical microbiology, and neurologic & psychiatric nursing, just to name a few. You will need to complete a total of 72 units to earn your degree.


Admission Requirements: To be eligible for Grossmont College’s ADN, a high school diploma or GED is required. The program’s admission process also requires submitting your TEAS score.


Why Choose This Program

• Grossmont College’s ADN program’s job placement rates are 75% within the first 12 months, while, 25% enroll in an advanced degree program within one year.
• Grossmont College is also home to a chapter of the California Nursing Students' Association, and you can find regular meetings on campus. The association hosts regular nursing resource fairs and other events at Grossmont.
• Grossmont College’s ADN program comes at a much lower cost, compared to most other 2-year nursing programs in California.


5. Glendale Community College - Glendale


Program Details: Glendale Community College’s ADN program is designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge to excel in the nursing field. The curriculum positions you as an entry-level nurse and fully prepares you for the NCLEX-RN exam.

The coursework covers several topics such as nursing perspectives, medication administration, nursing pharmacology, nursing fundamentals, med-surgical nursing, psychiatric nursing, maternal child nursing, and contemporary nursing practice.


Admission Requirements: The application for Glendale Community College’s ADN program requires applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. This 2-year nursing program in California also requires a GPA of at least 2.5. The application process also requires applicants to complete prerequisites such as anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. To apply, you must also be prepared to submit a TEAS score of 62% or higher.


Why Choose This Program

• Glendale Community College partners with several four-year colleges to allow ADN students to seamlessly transition into a BSN program.
• Glendale Community College’s ADN program enrolls an ethnically diverse population where students hone cultural competence.
• Glendale Community College’s ADN students practice skills in a state-of-the-art clinical lab.


6. Chabot College - Hayward


Program Details: Another one of the best ADN programs in California is offered by Chabot College. The program includes core nursing courses and general education courses.

The program teaches you key concepts in the fundamentals of nursing, med-surgical nursing, pediatric nursing, obstetric & gynecological nursing, psychiatric nursing, community health nursing, and pharmacology. You’ll also learn about research & evidence-based practice.


Admission Requirements: Chabot College’s ADN admission process is competitive, accepting applications from promising candidates. The program uses a merit-based system that factors your academic performance, healthcare experience, any voluntary or military experience, and your TEAS score. To qualify for admission, you must have a high school diploma or GED and a GPA of 2.5. This ADN program in California also requires applicants to complete prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of C.


Why Choose This Program

• Chabot College’s ADN program graduates proudly report a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam over the past few years.
• Chabot College’s ADN students are taught by faculty members who have more than 20 years of experience.
• Chabot College’s ADN students are provided with learning opportunities to practice skills in advanced facilities and simulation labs.
• Chabot College’s ADN students practice skills in some of the leading healthcare facilities in the area such as Kaiser San Leandro, Fremont Hospital, Regional Medical Center, and Stanford Health, to name a few.


7. Rio Hondo College - Whittier


Program Details: Rio Hondo College’s two-year program prepares you for the NCLEX-RN exam and a thriving career as a registered nurse. The program requires students to complete theoretical and clinical courses. The theoretical courses mainly focus on med-surgical nursing, pharmacology, advanced pharmacology, med-surgical nursing, psychiatric mental health, and nursing leadership & management. The program comprises a total of 70 credits. Upon completion of this program, you’ll be prepared to earn your licensure as a registered nurse.


Admission Requirements: To be considered for this ADN program in California, you must be at least 18 years old. Also, you must have a high school diploma or GED. The program also requires a GPA of at least 18 years old.


Why Choose This Program

• Rio Hondo College’s ADN program is career-oriented and meant to prepare you with job-ready skills. Graduates find employment in a variety of healthcare settings where they successfully play pivotal roles.
• Rio Hondo College’s ADN program maintains strong relationships with community healthcare partners where students are provided with meaningful experiences.
• Rio Hondo College’s ADN program is taught by experienced faculty members who bring their years of experience to the ADN classroom.


8. Victor Valley College - Victorville


Program Details: If you want to obtain high-quality nurse training, then Victor Valley College‘s ADN program is an excellent option. Counted among the best 2-year nursing programs in California, the program prepares you to practice in a variety of healthcare settings. Whether you desire to make a difference in the lives of the communities you serve or you want to enter a stable healthcare career, the program equips you with the skills and knowledge to reach your goals.


Admission Requirements: The ADN program at Victor Valley College requires applicants to meet the admission requirements. The requirements include a high school diploma or GED and a GPA of at least 2.5. This ADN program in California also requires a TEAS score and completion of prerequisites. To complete the application process, you must be prepared to submit your transcripts.


Why Choose This Program

• Victor Valley College’s ADN program boasts an excellent pass rate on the NCLEX-RN pass rate.
• Victor Valley College’s ADN students are provided with diverse learning opportunities wherein they hone skills in hospitals, community health settings, and private clinics.
• Victor Valley College offers a supportive learning environment where the staff and faculty members are committed to your academic and professional success.


9. Los Angeles Harbor College - Wilmington


Program Details: The ADN program at LAHC offers concurrent classroom and clinical experience in a variety of local hospitals and clinics. The program is four semesters in length and takes two years to complete. The curriculum includes courses such as nursing process, communication in nursing, nursing process & practice in the care of the adult client, nursing process and practice in the care of children, an introduction to leadership and management, and more.


Admission Requirements: Similar to other 2-year nursing programs in California, to be eligible for Los Angeles Harbor College’s ADN program, you must first have a high school diploma or GED. Any healthcare experience will also enhance your chances of admission. The program also requires applicants to have completed relevant coursework in anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. To complete the application, a TEAS score is also required.


Why Choose This Program

• Los Angeles Harbor College offers advanced placement for members of the military.
• During Los Angeles Harbor College’s ADN program, students participate in a variety of discussions in small groups and gain simulated laboratory experience.
• Los Angeles Harbor College’s ADN program provides clinical experiences at Kaiser Medical Center, Providence Little Company of Mary, Torrance Memorial Hospital, and Harbor UCLA, to name a few.


10. Monterey Peninsula College - Monterey


Program Details: Monterey Peninsula College trains nurses at the Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing. Here, you will earn an Associate of Science degree that successfully prepares you in the field of nursing. Monterey Peninsula College provides a combination of both classroom and clinical training to prepare you for your career.

This program takes four semesters to complete, and you will take courses such as general human anatomy, lifespan development, interpersonal communication, and other core concepts in nursing. Out of 73 total units spread over four semesters, four of these units are your clinical rotation. Completing the MPC ADN program in CA prepares you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and work as an RN in an entry-level position.


Admission Requirements: This ADN program in California accepts applications from high school students who have a GPA of at least 2.5. In addition, a TEAS score and completion of prerequisites are required.


Why Choose This Program

• Monterey Peninsula College’s ADN program is offered in partnership with Montage Health, the community hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. The community hospital provides students with learning experiences in all aspects of registered nursing.
• Monterey Peninsula College’s ADN students work alongside an assigned nurse to complete supervised nursing skills training. Through this experience, you learn to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide effective care to patients in various settings.
• Monterey Peninsula College’s ADN program reports an excellent pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. Also, the program reports a promising placement rate, having more than 90% of graduates employed soon after graduation.


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ADN Programs in Other States