Best Online Associate Degrees in Nursing 2022: What ADN is Best for Me?

By Craig Miller

03/9/2022



Are you concerned about running an ADN while maintaining a life outside the classes? Then, online ADN options must be ideal for you!

Online ADN helps to escape the rigidity associated with on-campus ADN programs. So, with this setup, you can continue practicing as a practical nurse, medical assistant, or attend to other responsibilities while working towards your ADN certificate.

Know what’s better? Learning expenses are lower, too! You’re wondering now, what’s the catch?

Best believe there isn’t any. Continue reading this guide to find the best online associate degrees in nursing today, considering value, convenience, and effectiveness.

What Is an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)?

An associate degree in nursing (also an associate of science in nursing) is a 2–3 year nursing degree program that qualifies aspirants to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Candidates who pass NCLEX-RN become licensed registered nurses and vice versa, but the point is this: these candidates can’t write NCLEX without completing an ADN program.

Mosy, ADN is available in community colleges. Nevertheless, a couple of traditional 4–year colleges offer the course, too.

What’s the Difference Between an Associate Degree in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree?

Both ADN and BSN nursing degrees are pathways to starting a successful career as a registered nurse.

However, an ADN degree is less advanced compared to a BSN degree. The significant differences lie in the duration of learning, the quality of schools that offer both programs, and what both programs cover.

As mentioned, ADN courses take 2–3 years and are mainly offered in community colleges. On the other hand, BSN degrees last four years and are typically associated with universities.

Similarly, an ADN degree mainly revolves around essential nursing theory and clinical practice. Conversely, a BSN course is more comprehensive and may extend to nursing practice, theory, leadership, research, and more.

But if BSN has these advantages over ADN, why not settle for the former? Here’s why: ADN courses are faster, more affordable, and require less educational qualification to start.

Anyway, worry less; nurses with an ADN degree can transfer their credits to pursue a BSN license in the future.

How Much Does an ADN Graduate Nurse Make?

The US Bureau of Labor doesn’t discriminate between ADN and BSN operating nurses. According to the department, the average annual wage of registered nurses stood at $75,330 in May 2020. However, this figure may change due to employer differences, experience, specialization, and location living costs.

What Are the Requirements to Join an Online ADN Program?

The requirements to join an ADN program vary according to school. However, here’s a summary of what Associate Degree Programs in Nursing may need from you;

  • A high school OR college GPA of about 2.5 or higher
  • Prerequisite courses in English, Physiology, Anatomy, and Chemistry
  • Submission of a CNA or LPN/LVN license if applicable
  • ACT and SAT scores
  • A C-grade or in a higher-level math course
  • In-person interview in some cases

Top Online ADN Programs; First Look

  1. Best overall – North Central Missouri College
  2. 100% online bridge ADN degree – Allegany College of Maryland
  3. Top private school for your online ADN – Excelsior College
  4. Great for new nurse students and LVN nurses – Northwest Technical College
  5. Flexible online ADN degree – Minnesota West Community and Technical College
  6. Top major university distance ADN course – Arkansas State University
  7. Best Arkansas community college online ADN – Pratt Community College
  8. Fast virtual associate degree – University of Arkansas Community College
  9. Top hybrid-like ADN – Northwest Michigan College
  10. Leading affordable ADN distance learning – John A. Logan College
  11. Best ADN degree in Iowa – Western Iowa Technical Community College
  12. Great Kansas fully online ADN – Hutchinson Community College
  13. Schedule your ADN nursing classes – Pima Community College
  14. Unique online ADN – Barton Community College

Best ADN Nursing Programs

1. North Central Missouri College — Best Overall Online ADN

North Central Missouri College

North Central Missouri College is a public institution in Trenton, Missouri. Its campus is located in a town with a total enrollment of 1,854. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 21-to-1. The highest degree offered at North Central Missouri College is an…....

Agricultural Studies Architecture Art Art History
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Trenton, Missouri

Cost: $400 per credit hour

Program length: 9 months

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85%

The LPN-ADN bridge program at North Central Missouri College sits at the top of flexible online ADN programs to start.

To begin with, the course takes only nine months — that’s half the length of a standard ADN program. An excellent option for students with enormous responsibilities that require their attention unceasingly!

What, are you considering legitimacy? Relax. The National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN NEA) accredits the program, assuring its authenticity.

Note you’ll have to attend on-campus labs and clinical just 2-3 times a semester, but here’s the good thing: the school alerts you way long in advance for adequate planning.

To further lend effectiveness and credibility to the ADN degree offering, you get an advisor to monitor and ensure classes are on track. On top of that are resources like online tutoring and an online bookstore to use when you need an extra hand.

2. Allegany College of Maryland — Top Fully Online LPN-RN Program

Allegany College of Maryland

Allegany College of Maryland is a public institution in Cumberland, Maryland. Its campus is located in a city with a total enrollment of 2,585. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. The highest degree offered at Allegany College of Maryland is an…....

Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Cumberland, Maryland

Cost: $247 per credit hour

Program length: 12-24 months

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.2%

Building its forte on a fully online program, the Allegany College of Maryland is a go-to choice for students living far from Maryland. You can even take your clinical rotations in your local area.

For confidence purposes, the program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Couple that with its authorization in six states: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Texas.

To help you optimize the program’s benefits, the school provides tutors with advanced degrees in their fields and a personal enrollment counselor to guide you through the program.

Finally, Allegany College of Maryland states that 91% of its students receive some financial assistance from time to time, so it might be worth trying to apply for financial aid if you need a little help.

3. Excelsior College — Leading Private School ADN Online Program

Excelsior College

Excelsior College is one of more than 800 institutions with graduate schools surveyed by U.S. News on an annual basis. Excelsior College confers degrees through various schools, such as: the…....

Business Business Administration Business Analytics Business English
Albany, US    School Type : Private

Location: Albany, New York

Cost: $510 per credit hour

Program length: 12-24 months

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83%

With a 100% online ADN program, Excelsior College provides one of the most suitable associate degree programs for nursing students holding jobs.

To ensure competency and evidence-based education, the institution breaks down the program into 8-week online nursing courses that you can take at your own pace. Even more, you may access extra academic support like course tutorials and online tutoring when necessary.

Being a private school, Excelsior College has relatively high tuition, but the school has quite resourceful financial aid and scholarship opportunities that can help take some pressure off.

To finish, you have the chance to transfer up to 27 credits if you’re coming from another school and subsequently save more money off your education.

4. Northwest Technical College — Best Online ADN Program for Both LVNs and New Students

Northwest Technical College

Northwest Technical College is a public institution in Bemidji, Minnesota. Its campus is located in a town with a total enrollment of 1,022. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 21-to-1. The highest degree offered at Northwest Technical College is an associate degree. The…....

Accounting Advertising and Marketing Communications Business Business Administration
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Bemidji, Minnesota

Cost: $201.90 per credit hour

Program length: 2 years

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.00%

Northwest Technical College is keen to be the first stop for experienced and inexperienced ADN aspirants. Therefore, the college operates a comprehensive and student-intuitive system to cater to both student sets.

The college has a hybrid (online and on-campus) ADN program for new nursing students while practicing LVNs can enjoy some work-school balance with the fully online ADN program.

All programs are nationally accredited by the ACENand additionally certified by the Higher Learning Commission, which is quite reassuring for new online students.

Lastly, the school offers free virtual tutoring and proctoring to hone your nursing education further.

5. Minnesota West Community and Technical College — Flexible Online ADN Program

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Minnesota West Community and Technical College is a public institution in Granite Falls, Minnesota. Its campus is located in a town with a total enrollment of 3,362. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 18-to-1. The highest degree offered at Minnesota West…....

Accounting Agricultural Studies Agriculture and Natural Resources Architecture
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Washington, Minnesota

Cost: $222.05 per credit hour

Program length: 1-2 years

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80%

Minnesota West Community College offers students the freedom to choose between the full-time and part-time online ADN programs.

Suppose you prefer the first option. You may complete your 64-credit ADN degree in just 12 months, which is fast enough for most people.

Note that Minnesota West Community and Technical College’s online nursing programs are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The certificates are legitimate.

But there’s a downside. Students often have to travel to Minnesota because the school requires that clinical requirements be taken in selected facilities around Southwest Minnesota.

6. Arkansas State University – Great University To Pursue Your ADN Online Program

Arkansas State University

A university ranked among the best in the south. A city that's growing rapidly and embraces its hometown university. A diverse, friendly community to call your own. 150+ fields of study.…....

Accounting Agricultural Business Agricultural Studies Animal Science
Arkansas, US    School Type : University/Intensive English Program

Location: Jonesboro, Arkansas

Cost: $293.00 per credit hour

Program length: 18-24 months

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.2%

One of the few traditional 4-year universities open to ADN programs, Arkansas State University fits working nurses who want to get their degree from a nationally recognized university.

The school provides the program in 7-week terms, in between which you’ll have clinical hours.

Clinicals are limited to selected facilities around the Jonesboro area, mostly during weekends. So, the inconvenience may be bearable.

Lastly, the tuition is comparatively higher than most community colleges due to the school’s status. It’s advisable to remember that the school claims that 90% of its students receive financial aid intermittently.

7. Pratt Community College — Top Arkansas Community College Virtual ADN Nursing Education

Pratt Community College

Pratt Community College is a public institution in Pratt, Kansas. Its campus is located in a rural with a total enrollment of 1,234. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. The highest degree offered at Pratt Community College is an associate degree. The…....

Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Pratt, Kansas

Cost: $147 per credit hour

Program length: 2 years

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.85%

Accredited by the Kansas State Board of Nursing, the online ADN program at Pratt Community College is a course for LVN nurses that want to advance their education favorably.

Remember that the course isn’t completely online, as you’ll need to take weekly on-site clinicals around South Central Kansas, making it less than ideal if you can’t travel to the school often.

The best part is that the tuition is pretty priced for both in-state and out-of-state students. Moreover, the school has comprehensive options for you to get financial assistance through scholarships, grants, college work-study programs, and student loans.

8. University of Arkansas Community College — Rigorous and Fast Online Associate Degree in Nursing

University of Arkansas Community College

University of Arkansas Community College-Morrilton is a public institution in Morrilton, Arkansas. It has a total enrollment of 1902. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 22-to-1. The highest degree offered at University of Arkansas Community College-Morrilton is an…....

Architectural Engineering Business Business Administration Business Analytics
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Batesville, Arkansas

Cost: $112 per credit hour

Program length: 11 months

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.8%

How does completing your online ADN degree in just 11 months sound? Fantastic, right!

Fortunately, you can complete the University of Arkansas Community College’s ADN bridge LPN-RN program in under a year. This arrangement offers an ideal path for working nursing students to finish their education quickly and return to their careers.

You’ll be required to make on-campus trips 7-8 times each semester for clinical hours and practical instruction. But worry not as the travel times are published at the beginning of every semester, giving you ample time to prepare and perhaps build a schedule around it.

The ACEN accredited program comprises 67 credit hours, and throughout your study, you can access support services like e-tutoring if you require some assistance.

9. Northwest Michigan College – Great Hybrid-like ADN Nursing Degree Program

Northwest Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) is a public community college in Traverse City, Michigan. Founded in 1951, it enrolls nearly 4,000 students. NMC offers associate degrees and professional certificates, bachelor's degrees through the Great Lakes Maritime Academy and Great Lakes Water Studies Institute,…....

Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Traverse, Michigan

Cost: $204 per credit hour

Program length: 2 years

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.54%

For pre-nurse students that would like to work through an online yet still traditional ADN nursing program, Northwestern Michigan College looks to give you that with its Michigan Board of Nursing approved ADN course.

A massive chunk of the 70-credit traditional ADN course is taken online, but you’ll need to attend lab classes and clinicals 2-3 times a week in the Traverse City area. The in-person visits are essential to help new nursing students hone their practical nursing skills.

Additionally, this program is available full-time hence you might even finish the degree in under two years if you remain committed.

10. John A. Logan College – Affordable Online Associate Nursing Program

John A. Logan College

John A Logan College is a public institution in Carterville, Illinois. Its campus is located in a suburb with a total enrollment of 4,040. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 22-to-1. The highest degree offered at John A Logan College is an…....

Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Carterville, Illinois

Cost: $146 per credit hour

Program length: 1-2 years

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96%

If you’re looking to pursue an online ADN degree on a budget, then we bet John A. Logan College and their competitive tuition might fit right into your bill.

The 65-credit program caters to nurses who have completed their LVN or LPN nursing courses, and it’s hybrid, which suggests that you’ll have to attend clinicals and practical classes on-campus occasionally.

Above all, the virtual program thrives on small classes to give you personalized attention, and the whole experience ties to the fact that the Higher Learning Commission accredits the course.

11. Western Iowa Technical Community College – Leading Online ADN Nursing Program in Iowa

Western Iowa Technical Community College

Western Iowa Tech Community College is a public institution in Sioux City, Iowa. It has a total enrollment of 5674. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 16-to-1. The highest degree offered at Western Iowa Tech Community College is…....

Accounting Agricultural Business Agricultural Studies Biology
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Sioux City, Iowa

Cost: $200 per credit hour

Program length: 2 years

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.48%

Western Iowa Technical Community College might not have the most affordable tuition, but if you reside in Iowa or around Sioux City, the ACEN accredited hybrid nursing program is an outstanding consideration.

The school makes sure you complete your degree within two years by balancing your time between online classes and a couple of on-campus trips. An online library accompanies the program for the online education part, and you can access online tutoring to ensure you have a smooth time with your coursework.

12. Hutchinson Community College – 100% Online Kansas Community College LVN-ADN Nursing Degree

Hutchinson Community College

Hutchinson Community College is a public institution in Hutchinson, Kansas. Its campus is located in a town with a total enrollment of 5,574. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 18-to-1. The highest degree offered at Hutchinson Community College is an associate degree. The…....

Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Hutchinson, Kansas

Cost: $118 per credit hour

Program length: 12-24 months

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85%

From its looks, community colleges in Kansas don’t seem to be that fond of fully online nursing programs. Still, Hutchinson Community College breaks the mould with its comprehensively online transitional ADN course for current licensed practical nurses. In addition, the school intentionally keeps small online classes with a student-teacher ratio of 18:1 to ensure that you get the best scholarly attention possible.

13. Pima Community College – Very Adjustable Traditional and Transitional ADN LVN-RN Nursing Program

Pima Community College

Pima Community College is a public institution in Tucson, Arizona. It has a total enrollment of 19594. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 19-to-1. The highest degree offered at Pima Community College is an associate degree. The school has…....

Accounting Agriculture and Natural Resources Art Art History
United State, US    School Type : Public

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Cost: $400 per credit hour

Program length: 15-24 months

Pima Community College has an option for non-experienced nurse students and LVN nurses looking to transition to registered nurses. In addition, the programs are flexible as the college allows nursing students to schedule their classes and choose between a hybrid, online or virtual learning program.

14. Barton Community College – Unique Online Associate Degree in Nursing Program

Barton community college

Barton County Community College is a public institution in Great Bend, Kansas. Its campus is located in a rural with a total enrollment of 4,237. The school utilizes a semester-based academic year. The student-faculty ratio is 17-to-1. The highest degree offered at Barton County Community College is…....

Accounting Agricultural Studies Agriculture and Natural Resources Art
United States, US    School Type : Public

Location: Great Bend, Kansas

Cost: $150 per credit

Program length: 2 years

Having perhaps the most different approach to an online Associate Degree in Nursing, Barton Community College generally splits its online and in-class ADN nursing program into two parts.

During the first year, you’ll be pursuing your Practical Nurse Program, where at the end, you take an NCLEX-PN licensure exam. After qualification, you can then proceed to the program’s second year, which allows you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and eventually become a registered nurse.

Best Online Associate Nursing Programs: Conclusion

Thanks to online ADN programs, becoming a registered nurse while working other jobs or degrees is now possible.

These ADN programs here vary by tuition, duration, program type, and more, so it’s advisable to stay keen on the details and consider the best-suited option for yourself.

To give you a head start, North Central Missouri College piques other ADN programs with its broad credibility, effectiveness, short completion duration, and few on-campus visits. But still, Allegany College of Maryland and Excelsior College are excellent alternatives if you’re leaning towards fully online programs.

PRO TIP: For prospective online students with no prior nursing education, a more hybrid Associate Degree in Nursing program may be a better option to help you lock down the practical skills that the course might require. Nonetheless, feel free to pick the most effective and convenient program for you.

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