5 Best Colleges for an Online ADN Degree | How To Apply

Best Colleges for an Online ADN Degree
Athina Hansen

Athina Hansen

Content Writer at Gradehacker

Updated April 13, 2022

After long deliberation on whether to pursue an ADN degree or a BSN degree, you’ve decided on the former. 

An ADN degree suits your needs because you can get your RN license faster and get to working quicker. You’ve also seen how ADN degree programs tend to be cheaper than BSN programs.

 You’re confident and happy with your decision; however, there is only one problem. You don’t know what the best colleges are for pursuing an online ADN degree.

 An online program is the best fit for you because you have more than just college to think about. You want to pursue the nursing profession, but you have a family, a job, and not enough time to attend an in-person program! 

 Here at Gradehacker, we are experts in all things college-related. We assist non-traditional students with their courses, exams, essays, you name it! 

 Due to our years of experience assisting nursing students enrolled in online courses, we are very familiar with the different online programs out there!

 In this article, we combined our professional experience with extensive research of college websites to provide you with this list of the 5 best colleges for an online ADN degree

We consider these ADN programs the best based on their accreditation, tuition cost, curriculum, and length. 

This list is formatted in descending order, so the colleges at the top of the list rank better!

  • Tuition: $510 per credit
  • Location: Albany, NY
  • Accreditation:
    •  Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Up first, we have Excelsior College’s awesome online ADN program! Excelsior College is a private university whose highly flexible ADN program is great for students with demanding time schedules.

You may be thinking, okay, why is that so? Well, this ADN program is highly flexible because it is a competency-based program where you can progress at your own pace!

As for the courses involved in this program, they are all fully online and will broaden your nursing theory knowledge. Also, you will showcase your RN-level expertise in a clinical setting.

At Excelsior College, you will have A LOT of resources to support your learning, such as tutorials or webinars.

You should also know that Excelsior College offers their ADN degree graduates free preparation for the NCLEX-RN exam! 

As for labs, they are generally online, but some clinical hours are completed in person.

Nurse Student

Excelsior College ADN Program Curriculum

Okay, now to the fun part! What will you learn if you decide to pursue your ADN degree at Excelsior College? 

 Well, some of the courses included in this program’s curriculum are:


To qualify for this program, some prerequisites are:

Why we Recommend it:

You will partake in a highly flexible program by pursuing your ADN degree at Excelsior College since it is competency-based. And, as a bonus, you will be able to take advantage of their free preparation for the NCLEX exam!

  • Tuition: $154.00 per credit hour
  • Location: Carterville, IL
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Next, we have John A. Logan College’s online ADN program! This institution is a community college that offers a hybrid online program to pursue your ADN degree.

Wondering what the ‘hybrid’ portion entails? Well, it is a hybrid program because clinicals and labs will have to be completed on campus grounds.

But don’t worry, apart from that, all coursework and learning involved are online!

John A. Logan College’s Associate Degree in Nursing program is a 2-year program that expands on the knowledge you have from a previous practical nurse program.

If you decide to pursue your ADN degree at John A. Logan College, you can expect to be prepared in the areas of:

This program aims to prepare you to practice professional nursing as defined by the Illinois Nursing Act.

John A. Logan College ADN Program Curriculum

You’re probably curious as to what you would learn in this online nursing program.

Some courses you can expect to see in this ADN program are:

Senior teacher

Maybe you’re wondering what professional opportunities await you after earning your diploma in nursing. Following your completion of this program, you can specialize in several areas!

You can specialize in:


Why we Recommend it:

John A. Logan College’s ADN program has a thorough curriculum, which means you will be extensively prepared to practice as a registered nurse. Also, there are many areas you can choose to specialize in following the completion of this program!

  • Tuition: $227 per credit hour
  • Location: Trenton, MO
  • Accreditation:
    • Higher Learning Commission
    • Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation 

North Central Missouri College’s online ADN degree program has a completion time of only 9 months!

If you decide that this is the college you want to continue your nursing career, you must know that skill checks and simulation labs are completed 2-3 times per semester on campus.

As for clinical experience, these activities are also completed on-campus.

Okay, what is this program’s aim? This program aims to prepare its nursing students for Missouri R.N. licensure and certification requirements for employment.

If you enroll in this ADN program, you can expect to receive preparation regarding: 

An impressive side note is that 85% of this program’s graduates pass the NCLEX exam on their first try!

North Central Missouri ADN Program Curriculum

Now, we will be discussing the part everybody longs to hear, the curriculum!

Well, as part of this program’s curriculum, some of the core courses you will see are:



Why we Recommend it:

North Central Missouri College has an impressive NCLEX exam pass rate. This ADN program is also perfect for those looking to get their nursing diploma in a short time span as it lasts only 9 months!

  • Tuition: $222.05 per credit rate
  • Location: Washington, MN
  • Accreditation:
    • Higher Learning Commission Accreditation
    • Commission for Education in Nursing 

Minnesota West Community and Technical College’s online ADN program is designed for licensed nurses who want to further their education to an ADN degree!

This online school will prepare you for the NCLEX-RN examination, as with all ADN programs! It does so by building on the knowledge and skills you already have and preparing you to deliver care in various healthcare settings properly. 

Clinical experiences are also involved in this program, and you have to complete them at assigned clinical sites (healthcare facilities located in southwest Minnesota). 

Minnesota West Community and Technical ADN Program Curriculum

You’re probably curious about what courses you will need to take as part of this program, as anyone would be.

 As part of the curriculum, this online degree in nursing requires its online students to see courses such as:

Nurse take care

You should also know that this program concludes with an ATI integrated predictor exam and review course.


Why we Recommend it:

Minnesota West Community has accessible admissions requirements. Prerequisites are not complex nor hard to meet, and they also have a complete academic program for a cheaper tuition rate.

  • Tuition: $131 – $370 per credit hour
  • Location: Traverse City, MI
  • Accreditation:
    • Higher Learning Commission
    • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

Last, we have Northwestern Michigan College’s online ADN program. The ADN program they offer is a full-time program.

You don’t have to worry about whether you will have the time to attend this program as all courses are delivered online.

However, labs and clinical courses are seen in person in the Traverse City area, and they generally require 2-3 days per week of attendance.

What can I expect as a graduate of this ADN program? To begin with, you will be able to apply for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Also, you will be prepared in the areas of:

Northwestern Michigan College​ Curriculum

For this ADN program, some of the courses you will see are:

Maternal & Child Nursing


Why we Recommend it:

Northwestern Michigan College’s ADN program will thoroughly prepare you in important areas, such as communication and nursing judgment. Also, the curriculum involved is satisfactory!

College student

Which ADN Program Will Suit Me?

Now, you can finally say goodbye to the anxiety and stress of not knowing which online schools are good options for an online ADN program.

This article will be a great starting point because it exposes you to trustworthy and reliable colleges. Now it’s just deciding which specific college’s ADN program is better suited for you.

This is where you come into play because everyone has unique desires and necessities. Before you dedicate your life to the nursing field, there is no “right” or a “wrong” college; it all depends on what you’re looking for!

Make a list of what you are searching for in an ADN program. Be it a low tuition cost, a schedule that lets you be a part-time student, etc.

Once you have that list, compare it to the programs we discussed in this article, and choose the ADN program which suits all of your learning needs.

We understand that it can be challenging to decide which college is right for you. Hopefully, this article will introduce you to valuable ADN programs and help you decide which nursing school will give you the best experience to earn your nursing degree.

Are you weary of choosing an online format because you believe it’s easier? Check out our article,  Are Online Classes Easier than In-Person Classes?

Not too sure about the differences between ADN and BSN programs? Check out our article, ADN vs. BSN Degree: What’s The Difference.

Would you like to learn why nursing school accreditation is so important? Be sure to read our article on Nursing School Accreditation – Why it Matters.

Are you unaware of what evidence-based practice is? Don’t forget to read our article on What’s Evidence-Based Practice and Why It Matters So Much for Nurses

Athina Hansen

Athina Hansen

Athina has worked with Gradehacker both as a content writer and a study consultant, where she assisted college students with nursing courses. Athina has a background of educating others and producing content, having tutored college students and produced articles for her school magazine. She brings her experience to her current role, where she writes content to empower and assist the non-traditional college student who is often overlooked. You can find her on LinkedIn