10 Fastest Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) Programs in 2023

There are multiple pathways to becoming an RN, with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) being one. For those who want to kickstart their careers with this option, we've compiled the 10 fastest ADN programs available. Articles Programs

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The demand for registered nurses (RNs) in healthcare has increased over the past several years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the job outlook for RNs to continue to increase by 6% from 2021 to 2031, with around 200,000 job openings yearly. Combine this with excellent job security, and becoming an RN starts to look even more like a superb career choice.

What Is an ADN?

An ADN is a pathway to becoming a licensed RN. After program completion, an ADN-prepared nurse can sit for the RN licensure exam or NCLEX-RN.

Many people searching for programs confuse ADN and Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN). As an ASN-prepared nurse, you must complete more clinical hours than with associate degree programs. However, you ultimately earn the associate's degree; it's just a matter of terminology. After graduating with either, you can take the NCLEX-RN exam to earn your nursing license.

RNs provide patient care duties, such as assessing patients, carrying out physician orders, administering medications, and implementing and evaluating best care practices. As an RN, you can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, public health, and mental health facilities. RNs can also work in many specialties, such as intensive care, mother-baby, and emergency and operating rooms.

ADN Prerequisites and Requirements

When applying to a program, you must meet the school and the program's admission requirements. ADN program requirements and prerequisite classes will vary but most include:

  • High school diploma or a general education development (GED) certificate
  • Proof of transcripts from high school or another institution, if applicable
  • Completion of the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), SAT, or other entrance exams, sometimes requiring a minimum score
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) or CPR certification
  • Preference for exposure or clinical experience in the medical field
  • Background check and drug screen
  • Up-to-date immunizations and physical examinations by a physician

Many programs also require the completion of prerequisite classes. But again, this varies depending on the school, and some require no previous courses or experience. If the program requires previous coursework, you must also meet a minimum grade point average (GPA). This minimum is generally a C average, but the higher your GPA, the better. Below are some typical prerequisite classes for admission:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Statistics
  • Microbiology
  • Psychology
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Intro to Pharmacology

Research the different program types, such as ADN, ASN, or AAS (Associate of Applied Science). Before applying, look up their admission specifications, licensing pass rates, and graduation requirements.

Related: 10 Best RN to BSN Programs in 2023

Steps to Earning Your ADN

First, you must research which nursing degree you want to earn. Many options exist, such as an associate's or bachelor's degree. Also, many licensed practical nurses (LPNs) decide to return to school to earn a higher degree and become an RN. 

When researching schools, look for those accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Many ADN programs do not carry accreditation, so be on the lookout when researching, as some state boards of nursing will only allow you to take the RN licensure examination after graduating from an accredited program.

Once accepted you to an ADN program, you must complete nursing courses, typically including pharmacology, nutrition, pathophysiology, foundations of nursing, and maternal and behavioral health nursing. ADN students also complete clinical rotations in person, usually at a nearby healthcare facility, where they'll shadow licensed RNs and learn hands-on nursing skills.

After you've graduated from your ADN program, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN. Additionally, when applying for licensure, you must meet state eligibility requirements, including a background check, in-person identification verification, and fingerprinting. You'll officially become a licensed RN when you pass your exam and earn your state license.

Advancing Your Degree

As mentioned, many LPNs advance their degrees and become associate-degree or bachelor-degree-prepared nurses. They can become licensed RNs with either degree and expand their patient care knowledge and practices.

Many ADN nurses choose to advance their professional nursing careers by earning a BSN (typically a four-year degree) or even further to an MSN (master of science in nursing). ADN nurses may pursue these pathways due to increased salary potential, the opportunity to learn new skills, or the desire to expand their professional practice. Many BSN and MSN programs accept transfer credits from previous ADN programs. Some options for ADNs include the following:

  • ADN or RN to BSN programs
  • Accelerated programs from RN to BSN
  • RN to MSN programs

Fastest ADN Programs in 2023

Program lengths range depending on the institution and whether you choose a full-time, accelerated, or part-time track. For those looking to earn their ADN quickly, we've compiled our ten fastest ADN programs in 2023.

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most while selecting schools with the addition of NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Jersey College

The original campuses of Jersey College are in New Jersey. However, the school has many campuses in different states, some of which include Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona.

  • Duration: 11-month program
  • 34% admission rate

2. Moberly Area Community College

Located in Moberly, Missouri, this program is virtual/hybrid. They offer state-of-the-art simulation equipment and real-life clinical experiences.

  • Duration: 12-month program
  • Offers pre-ADN courses
  • Has several satellite campuses throughout Missouri

3. Eastern Virginia Career College

Fredericksburg, Virginia's Eastern Virginia Career College provides high-quality theoretical, laboratory, and clinical experiences. Post-graduation employment rates are 96%.

  • Duration: 12-month program
  • Students take many courses within the first semester of the program

4. University of Charleston

This university offers online and hybrid program options in Charleston, West Virginia. Educators strategically developed the University of Charleston program to meet the diverse healthcare needs of the surrounding community.

  • Duration: 16-month program
  • 90% graduation rate

5. Essex County College

In New Jersey, Essex County College students can easily transfer their credits to other nursing programs. Their faculty members hold diverse academic and professional backgrounds.

  • Duration: 16-month program
  • Accredited by the ACEN

6. Rasmussen University

Rasmussen University has many locations throughout Florida and is a hybrid program. They do not require prior coursework before starting the program.

  • Duration: 18-month program
  • 99% post-graduation employment rate
  • 100% admission rate

7. Durham Tech

Durham Tech's classes build upon healthcare and quality improvement domains. In addition, they hold ACEN accreditation.

  • Duration: 18-month program
  • Offers an LPN to ADN track

8. Midway University

Kentucky's Midway University provides quality education for all students and has many scholarship offerings. This program also prepares graduates for a seamless transition into their BSN program.

  • Duration: 18-month program
  • The program focuses on ATI assessments

9. Denver College of Nursing

Denver College of Nursing offers on-campus classes in the capital of Colorado. All courses have didactic and clinical components.

  • Duration: 18-month program
  • Many start dates throughout the year
  • Has late acceptance of up to two weeks before the program start

10. ECPI University

Orlando (Lake Mary), Florida's ECPI University, focuses on adult learners. This program also supports interdisciplinary and holistic care.

  • Duration: 21-month program
  • 80% admission rate
  • 40% graduation rate

Salary Expectations of ADNs in 2023

The BLS reports that the median salary for RNs was around $77,600 per year in 2021. However, this number includes ADN and BSN-prepared nurses. Most healthcare facilities pay BSN-prepared nurses a higher salary. Also, some magnet nursing facilities accept only BSN nurses.

As an entry-level nurse, you'll likely start out earning less than the median salary. However, starting salaries for ADNs depend on geography, your specialty, and the type of facility you are working at. As your experience level increases, so will your earning potential.

FAQs and Additional Readings

Q: Is an ADN worth it?

A: Many ADN nurses think their degree is worth it and continue to BSN or MSN programs. It gives them a headstart on their RN career. Also, nurses can transfer many credits from ADN programs to BSN and MSN programs.

Related: 10 Cheapest Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Programs in 2023

Q: Is an ADN the same as an RN?

A: An ADN is a degree you earn. An RN is a state nursing license. If you graduate from an ADN program, you can take the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain your RN license.

Q: Are ADNs and LPNs the same?

A: ADNs and LPNs are not the same. An LPN cannot perform the same duties as an RN. As an ADN, you can become an RN by passing the NCLEX-RN. LPNs take the NCLEX-PN exam.


Amanda Marten has 10 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Urgent Care, Travel Nursing, Post-Surgical.

7 Articles   12 Posts

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