Online ADN Programs in California

Best Online ADN Programs in California in 2024


Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by II Editor

The demand for quality online Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs in California is higher than ever as flexible distance learning options become increasingly important. Whether you’re a working professional seeking to transition careers or want to complete your education from the comfort of home, online RN programs can make attaining this in-demand degree more convenient.

In this article, we provide an overview of seven top-rated online ADN programs in California based on student success rates, licensing exam pass rates, faculty credentials, and overall online learning experience. We’ll break down the key aspects of each program to help you determine the best fit for your needs and career goals.


Best Online ADN Programs in California 

Below is a list of the top-rated seven Online ADN Programs in California.

1. Harbor College

Located in Wilmington, Los Angeles Harbor College offers a fully online ADN program that is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). The asynchronous, self-paced curriculum allows students the flexibility to complete coursework on their schedule.

The program is three years long and divided into prerequisite general education courses in the first year, nursing fundamentals and medical-surgical nursing in year two, and maternal-child and psychiatric nursing in year three. Clinical experiences are completed in person at local partner hospitals and supervised by faculty.

Los Angeles Harbor College boasts a 94% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate, well above state and national averages. Experienced RN instructors guide students every step of the way and are available for online tutoring and resource sessions. Graduates are well-prepared to enter the nursing field and advance their careers.

2. Saddleback College

Saddleback College in Mission Viejo offers a hybrid online ADN program where theoretical nursing content is entirely online and clinical experiences occur on-campus or at affiliated medical centers. This blended approach gives students the flexibility of online study with supervised hands-on training.

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The curriculum follows a 2.5-year schedule, which includes nursing fundamentals, medical-surgical, mental health, obstetrics, pediatrics and community health courses. Faculty strive to create an engaging online classroom through interactive lessons, videos, and discussion boards. Clinical placements are carefully coordinated to apply concepts in real-world settings.

Notably, Saddleback College boasts a 98% NCLEX-RN pass rate and strong employment rates for graduates. Academic counseling and career services are also provided to support student success from enrollment through licensure. This highly respected program prepares students for rewarding nursing careers in Southern California and beyond.

3. Monterey Peninsula College

Monterey Peninsula College is an excellent choice for those seeking an online ADN on the Central Coast. While its physical campus is located in Monterey, the college has invested heavily in its distance education infrastructure to deliver a fully online nursing curriculum.

The program takes approximately two years to complete after general education prerequisites. Courses cover foundations of nursing practice, medical-surgical nursing, maternal-child nursing, pediatrics, and mental health nursing. Clinical experiences are scheduled locally under the supervision of nursing faculty to apply concepts in real-world care settings.

Monterey Peninsula College maintains a strong 95% NCLEX-RN pass rate and sees many graduates obtain positions at regional healthcare facilities upon licensure, such as Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula and Natividad Medical Center. Small class sizes and one-on-one instructor support foster student success in this respected program.

4. Grossmont College

Grossmont College in El Cajon offers students a hybrid online ADN program with both theoretical content and clinical/lab work completed in flexible formats. Nursing courses are delivered through the college’s online learning management system for convenience, and then skills practice and patient care experiences take place in supervised campus labs or offsite clinical facilities.

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The three-year curriculum consists of prerequisites, fundamentals, medical-surgical, mental health, obstetrics, pediatrics and community health nursing under the guidance of experienced faculty. Clinical groups stay together throughout to build rapport among peers and with instructors.


Grossmont boasts impressive NCLEX-RN first-time pass rates of 94-96% in recent years. Graduates receive career preparation, including resume-building and interview skills. The supportive learning community and flexible hybrid model make this an outstanding choice for East County students and working professionals.

5. Hartnell College

As the Salinas Valley’s community college, Hartnell offers an ADN program designed with local healthcare needs in mind. While some coursework is delivered online, Hartnell takes a hybrid approach, requiring on-campus lab and clinical rotations alongside virtual lectures and assignments.

The three-semester program follows the fundamentals of nursing, medical-surgical, maternal-child, pediatric, and psychiatric/mental health curricula. Small class sizes of 24 students allow for personalized attention and the development of clinical reasoning skills. Experienced nursing faculty guide students throughout their journey.

Notably, Hartnell maintains excellent licensure exam pass rates, averaging 95% in recent years. The nearby campus makes scheduling simple, and partnerships with local hospitals immerse students directly into the Central Coast nursing community—an affordable option providing quality hands-on training.

6. Santa Barbara City College

Situated in the charming beach town of Santa Barbara, City College offers a hybrid online ADN where theory is delivered through its extensive online learning platform and skills practice occurs in supervised on-campus labs and offsite medical facilities.

Students complete general education courses prior to the five-semester core nursing sequence, which includes adult medical-surgical, mental health, maternity, pediatrics and community health nursing. Class sizes are capped at 24 students to ensure adequate faculty support and clinical supervision.

Notably, in recent years, SBCC boasts NCLEX-RN first-attempt pass rates averaging 96-97%. Its coastal location provides unique clinical opportunities at prestigious regional hospitals. Graduates enjoy high employment rates and the option to transition seamlessly into BSN programs through partnerships with local universities.

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7. Riverside City College

Well-established Riverside City College has invested in expanding its online infrastructure to accommodate busy working students through an ADN program featuring online and on-campus components.

The three-year curriculum commences with prerequisites completed fully online; core nursing courses integrate virtual lectures with campus laboratory practice, simulation training, and clinical placements under faculty supervision. Classroom sizes are limited to promote close student-instructor relationships.

RCC maintains strong licensure exam pass rates of around 94% and many satisfied ADN alumni. Its location in the Inland Empire offers clinical rotations at large urban medical centres serving diverse patient populations—academic counselling, career services, and opportunities for campus involvement further support student success.

Choosing the Right Program

Whether you seek maximum flexibility through fully online options or value on-site elements for hands-on skills development, these top California ADN programs provide quality RN education with multiple start dates each year. Program costs, campus locations, and course structures vary – do thorough research to identify the best fit considering your individual learning preferences, schedule, and career goals.

Consulting directly with nursing counsellors can help you compare requirements, opportunities for financial aid, and each school’s strengths in preparing new graduates for the NCLEX-RN and nursing careers. With dedicated faculty, robust clinical training, and strong licensure exam pass rates, any of these top California schools will set you up for future nursing success. 

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