4 Best ADN Programs in Idaho – (2-Year RN Programs)

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

ADN programs in Idaho prepare you for a career that pays $78,610 a year. Not bad for a program that you can complete in two years or less, is it? Less time in school means less educational debt—and if you decide to continue your nursing education at a future date, most ADN programs in the Gem State offer easily transferable credits. As an ADN-educated RN in Idaho, your skills will be in high demand, and your employment opportunities will increase by 20 percent in the next 10 years. So, what are you waiting for? Read through the guide below to learn more about the 4 best ADN programs in Idaho.


Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 4 best nursing schools for ADN programs in Idaho. You can complete most of these programs in 2 years.

1. North Idaho College - Coeur d'Alene

Program Details: Degree requirements for North Idaho College’s 68- to 70-credit Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) include general education, prerequisite, and core nursing courses. Your core nursing coursework will include classes like “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Medical Surgical Nursing I & II,” and “Community Health Nursing.” Full-time students will be able to complete this study plan in five semesters (two and a half years.) If you choose to pursue this ADN program in Idaho part-time, it will take you six semesters (three years.)

You’ll practice hands-on nursing skills in North Idaho College’s Health Professions and Nursing Simulation Center, which is designed to duplicate a hospital and is equipped with high-fidelity manikins. The program utilizes a variety of healthcare facilities throughout Coeur d'Alene and other parts of Kootenai County for clinical rotations.

Admission Requirements: This ADN program in Idaho admits new students in September and February each year. All applicants must score more than 58.7 percent on the TEAS exam. You must complete all prerequisites with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 before you apply. Test results and GPAs are weighted, and qualified applicants with the highest weighted scores are admitted.

Why Choose This Program

• Licensed practical nurses with six months or more of work experience are eligible to apply for advanced placement into this program, but they are subject to the same admission requirements as other applicants.
• North Idaho College’s ADN is designed to be a transfer degree; it satisfies the core requirements for admission into RN-to-BSN programs at Idaho public colleges and universities.
• Graduates of North Idaho College consistently have an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 90 percent or higher.

2. College of Eastern Idaho - Idaho Falls

Program Details: College of Eastern Idaho’s Associate Degree in Nursing program is widely considered one of the best ADN programs in Idaho.

Students can attend this 2-year RN program in Idaho either full-time or part-time. Full-time students will spend approximately one semester (four months) taking qualifying prerequisites and another four semesters (16 months) completing core nursing courses. (You won’t attend classes during the summer.) Classes meet Mondays through Fridays on CEI’s campus in Idaho Falls. Between classes, skills labs, clinical rotations, and studying, you can expect to spend 40 to 60 hours a week on schoolwork.

Part-time students will spend two semesters finishing prerequisites and six semesters completing the core nursing curriculum.

The curriculum includes core nursing courses like “Foundations of Nursing Practice,” “Concepts of Medical-Surgical Nursing I & II,” and “Leadership in Nursing.” Many of the core nursing classes are paired with lab classes or clinical preceptorships. CEI has a state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab where you’ll master fundamental nursing skills. You’ll participate in clinical rotations providing direct patient care at Mountain View Hospital, Idaho Falls Community Hospital, and other healthcare facilities and agencies throughout Idaho Falls and Eastern Idaho. The program culminates with a 450-hour clinical experience where you’ll work one-on-one with a nursing preceptor.

Admission Requirements: College of Eastern Idaho admits students into its ADN program every spring and fall; each cohort consists of 30 students.

To be considered for admission, all applicants must be certified nursing assistants. You must already be a CEI student and have completed the “Introduction to Nursing” course. Additionally, you must complete all prerequisites with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher before you apply.

Why Choose This Program

• CEI also offers licensed practical nurses advanced placement into its ADN program as LPN-to-RN bridge candidates.
• CEI maintains articulation agreements with Idaho State University, Grand Canyon University, and Aspen University, enabling ASN graduates to earn a BSN in as little as one semester with concurrent enrollment.
• Graduates of College of Eastern Idaho’s ADN program have consistently achieved pass rates of more than 90 percent on the NCLEX-RN exam.

3. College of Western Idaho - Nampa

Program Details: At College of Western Idaho, you’ll enroll in courses like “Fundamentals of Nursing and Health Assessment,” “Basic Medical Surgical Nursing,” and “Nursing Specialties.” As is the case with many other ADN programs in Idaho, most core nursing curriculum classes are paired with clinical courses.

While core nursing courses make this a 2-year nursing program in Idaho, keep in mind that you’ll have to take general education and prerequisite programs to complete this 70-credit program, so it will take you six semesters (three years) to graduate.

College of Western Idaho has a high-tech nursing simulation lab where students complete almost half their clinical preparation. The lab replicates a busy hospital and is outfitted with lifelike manikins programmed to display realistic illness symptoms. Students also participate in clinical rotations at hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities throughout Nampa and other communities in Idaho’s Treasure Valley.

Admission Requirements: College of Western Idaho offers two program starts a year: in the fall and in the spring. You must complete all prerequisites before you apply, and you’ll be asked to supply two professional references. While you don’t have to complete all general education courses before you apply, doing so will increase your application ranking points. All applicants must score more than 75 percent or higher on the Kaplan Nursing Admissions Exam.

Why Choose This Program

• While previous healthcare experience is not required for admission into this program, certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, paramedics, and other accredited healthcare workers do have admission preference.
• The College of Western Idaho maintains degree completion relationships with Lewis Clarke State College and Saint Alphonsus College, which facilitate seamless transfer into those colleges’ RN-to-BSN programs.
• College of Western Idaho’s ADN graduates routinely score pass rates of 88 percent or more on the NCLEX-RN exam.

4. College of Southern Idaho - Twin Falls

Program Details: College of Southern Idaho offers 2-year RN programs in Idaho (although be aware that you will have to spend an additional semester completing required prerequisites.) You’ll need to complete 73 credits to earn this degree. CSI’s core nursing curriculum includes courses like “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Beginning & Advanced Medical Surgical Nursing,” and “Maternal/Newborn and Pediatric Nursing.” Your coursework will culminate with a capstone class focusing on NCLEX-RN exam prep and integrating what you’ve learned in instructional coursework and clinical experiences to best prepare you for your transition into registered nursing.

Clinical experiences are offered in CSI’s cutting-edge nursing simulation laboratory as well as through a variety of off-campus healthcare settings. You’ll use the simulation lab to learn and practice skills such as starting IVs, inserting urinary catheters, and performing wound dressing changes. Once your hands-on skills are honed, you’ll pursue supervised patient care experiences at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities throughout Twin Falls and the surrounding communities.

Admission Requirements: You must submit separate applications to College of Southern Idaho and its ADN program. The program has start dates in the spring and fall, and 56 applicants are accepted every year. Eight LPNs are also accepted annually for advanced placement ADN status, entering the second semester of the traditional ADN program.

This program is only open to applicants who are certified nursing assistants. You must take the TEAS exam and complete all prerequisites before you submit your application.

Why Choose This Program

• College of Southern Idaho offers one of the most affordable ADN programs in Idaho.
• CSI accepts some licensed practical nurses for advanced placement into its ADN program based on their prior education and work experience.
• CSI has agreements in place that will help ADN graduates who want to enter RN-to-NSN programs at Lewis Clark State College, Boise University, Idaho State University, and other colleges and universities in the Gem State.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

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