Best Online Associate In Nursing (ADN) Programs (2023)

Online Associate Degree in Nursing

Online associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs prepare learners for many healthcare careers. Students who graduate from online ADN programs may work as patient coordinators, clinical associates, or care coordinators.

Graduates need state licensure to provide direct nursing care. Most ADN graduates qualify to take the licensed practical nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN) licensure exams. Licensed nurses may work as home care nurses, pediatric nurses, or emergency room nurses.

Online ADN programs include core courses in nursing foundations. Learners study behavioral health and nursing care for adults and children. Nurses with an ADN can transfer their associate degree credits toward a bachelor's degree in nursing and choose a specialization.

This page highlights the best online associate in nursing programs. Read on to learn about common courses and degree costs.

View Our Rankings List Here is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Top Online ADN Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions About ADN Programs

What's the difference between an ADN and an RN?

The ADN is a college degree and qualifies graduates to earn an RN license. The RN is a license granted to eligible candidates who pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN).

Is an ADN the same as an LPN?

LPNs complete a one-year program to earn an LPN certificate. This certificate qualifies them to take the LPN licensure exam. The ADN is a two-year college degree. The degree qualifies graduates to take the NCLEX-RN and become RNs.

How much does an ADN make?

According to PayScale salary data from September 2021, ADN graduates average about $72,000 annually. However, salaries vary by nurses' credentials, employer, and location.

Why Get an ADN Degree?

Completing an online associate in nursing program can lead to a variety of careers. Many ADN graduates work as nurses. However, graduates can apply their skills in various healthcare careers. They may work as clinical nurse liaisons, infection preventionists, or patient coordinators.

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Many schools offer online ADN programs that accommodate working students. These programs include the same coursework as on-campus programs. However, online learners can complete assignments around work and family responsibilities. Enrollees can complete clinical experiences at approved local sites.

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How Much Does an ADN Degree Cost?

Tuition for online associate in nursing programs varies. Students pay the most affordable tuition at in-state, public schools. Private schools usually charge the highest tuition. Learners can apply for financial aid such as scholarships and grants to help pay for their degree.

Full-time students can complete an ADN program in two years. They can graduate sooner by taking accelerated programs. Some programs offer intensive, eight-week courses throughout the year.

Online learners may qualify for discounted tuition and reduced fees. Some public schools offer in-state tuition rates to online learners regardless of location.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online learners do not pay for campus parking or housing. However, they should budget for other expenses, such as books and graduation fees. Students may also need to upgrade their computer and internet.

Some online programs require on-campus residencies. Learners should factor in travel and lodging costs if they do not live nearby. ADN graduates must also pay $200 for the NCLEX-RN exam. Applying for professional licensure costs $50-$200.

How Much Do ADN Majors Make?

Salaries vary depending on nurses' credentials, position, and employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs earn a median annual salary of $75,330. LPNs earn $48,820. Nurses earn more money as they gain experience. Nurses can also boost their salary by earning a bachelor's or graduate degree.

ADN graduates may qualify for direct-care or coordinator jobs in many nursing fields. They can work in specialized nursing areas such as oncology or pediatrics. Possible careers include care coordinator, clinical associate, and clinical nurse liaison.

Courses in ADN Programs

Online ADN programs prepare learners for the NCLEX-RN exam. Core coursework covers nursing foundations. Learners also study pharmacology and behavioral health nursing. Enrollees learn nursing practices particular to serving pediatric and geriatric patients.

Students practice key nursing skills through clinical components. Nurses learn how to examine medical records, track symptoms, and administer medication.

See below for three common courses in online ADN programs. Keep in mind that specific courses vary by program.

  • Nursing Foundations

    This introductory course provides an overview of general nursing principles and practices. Enrollees learn how to provide ethical nursing care. They also learn how to create safe environments for patients. Students build health education and promotion skills.
  • Maternal and Pediatric Nursing Care

    Some programs call this course family nursing care or reproductive nursing care. Coursework covers nursing theory and practice for serving small children and their parents. Students learn how to provide reproductive and pediatric nursing services. Enrollees practice their family nursing skills during a clinical component.
  • Pharmacology

    Students learn how to administer medications safely. Enrollees learn the indications and effects of common pharmaceuticals. Students explore how different drugs interact with each other. The course focuses on sensitivity to patients' physical, social, and psychological needs.

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How to Become a Registered Nurse

RNs need a state license to practice. State nursing boards establish licensure requirements. Most state boards require licensure candidates to complete board-approved nursing education programs and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Aspiring RNs may also need to complete a background check. TheNational Council of State Boards of Nursing oversees state nursing boards and creates nursing licensure exams.

Most RNs spend their days caring for patients. RNs observe and assess patients and record medical information. They also provide treatments in collaboration with other medical professionals. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online RN Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Licensure for ADN Students

ADN graduates can qualify to take the NCLEX-RN exam and become licensed nurses. Nursing license requirements vary by state. Approved programs meet board-established curriculum and clinical experience requirements. Some state boards require candidates to submit official transcripts.

States such as Colorado only license graduates of nursing programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Nurses pay for their initial licensure. Costs vary by state. Nurses also pay to renew their licenses periodically. License renewal requires about 30 hours of continuing education every two years. Specific requirements vary by state.

Some nurses obtain licenses in other states through licensure reciprocity agreements. State boards that participate in agreements such as the Nurse Licensure Compact can help nurses transfer their license.

Best Online Associate in Nursing (ADN) Programs

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North Central Missouri College

School Information
Location Trenton, Missouri
Graduation Rate 41%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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North Central Missouri College connects distance learners with flexible online study opportunities. From its main campus in Trenton, the school supports distance learners across 11 virtual programs.

Students seeking accommodating study in nursing should consider the school's associate degree in nursing. Learners benefit from a rigorous course curriculum, preparing them for the demands of the field. Enrollees can modify their studies by declaring minors and degree concentrations and choosing course electives.

Learners in the ADN program join a supportive virtual learning community upon enrolling. Throughout their studies, learners can pursue internships, research projects, and other learning opportunities. Depending on eligibility, students can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards. At present, 95% of all enrollees are awarded aid.

Interested applicants can learn more about funding opportunities and admission requirements by contacting the admissions office.

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Arkansas State University

School Information
Location Jonesboro, Arkansas
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 53%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Arkansas State University, a public institution, offers flexible online study for people from all walks of life. The school offers two fully online associate degree programs.

The college’s associate of applied science in nursing program is an attractive option for busy students and working professionals. Students complete nursing-specific coursework, gaining knowledge easily applied to a career in the field. Enrollees can modify their studies by declaring minors, choosing concentrations, and taking electives.

Distance learners connect with classmates and faculty through a virtual classroom environment. To learn beyond the classroom, students can pursue internships or work with faculty members on peer-reviewed research projects. Students may be eligible for internal and external funding opportunities. Students can discuss funding opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships, with the Office of Financial Aid.

To learn more about the application process, schedule an appointment with the admissions office.

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Excelsior College

School Information
Location Albany, New York
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

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Excelsior College is a private college offering flexible remote study options for distance learners worldwide. The college connects distance learners with 13 fully online associate degree programs.

The associate of applied science in nursing program allows for flexible study through full- and part-time enrollment options. Students complete industry-relevant coursework, preparing them for a future career in nursing. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor and customize their course schedule to suit their career goals.

While enrolled, students benefit from a supportive online learning community. Enrollees can broaden their learning by pursuing internships, research projects, and other learning opportunities. Eligible students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid toward educational expenses.

To find out more about enrollment requirements and the benefits of an online education, speak with the admissions office today.


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