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Top Accelerated ADN Programs: Online & Campus

Traditionally 2-year programs, an associate degree in nursing (ADN) can be a great entry-level credential for students. But can you earn one in fewer than two years?


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A group of five medical professionals, including two women and three men, all wearing white lab coats, are engaged in a cheerful conversation in a hospital corridor.

Many students looking to earn an associate degree finish in two years. That’s the norm across most subjects. Yet for some, two years is too long. They need to get into a career faster. They need to make money faster. They need to move toward their end goal with little to no delay. The good news is, many nursing programs at the associate level can be completed in less than two years. Some can lead to a degree in hand in as few as one. Let’s take a look at some of today’s fastest associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs that include online learning options.

Moberly Area Community College’s 12-Month Hybrid ADN

Moberly Area Community College (MACC) serves students across central and Northeastern Missouri. Along with its standard two-year ADN program, MACC offers a Virtual/Hybrid Associate Degree Nursing Accelerated Admissions Option program that allows current licensed practical nurses the opportunity to earn their nursing associate degree in only 12 months. The 75-credit program includes 23 credits of prerequisite courses. Delivered in a hybrid format, this accelerated ADN program includes academic nursing coursework that is streamed live and requires real-time attendance; hands-on simulations and labs that are held on campus; and clinical practice experiences held offsite at nursing facilities in each campus’s local area. The program is available on MACC campuses in Columbia, Hannibal, Kirksville, Mexico, and Moberly. This accelerated ADN program begins each spring and continues through the following summer and fall semesters. Both daytime and evening/weekend cohorts are available.

Accelerated ADN program outcomes include:

  • The ability to provide safe and effective entry-level nursing interventions to patients in the full range of nursing settings.
  • Demonstrated critical thinking and evidence-based decision-making skills applied in clinical judgments related to patient health care needs.
  • The ability to integrate communication skills, both oral and written, to positively affect patient care.
  • Demonstrated management skills in prioritizing, organizing, and delegating proper care to one or more patients.
  • Demonstrated commitment to ongoing participation in professional development throughout the student’s nursing career.
  • Demonstrated integrity and accountability in all nursing practices through the application of proper legal and ethical standards.

Students who successfully complete the accelerated ADN program meet the academic and practice hour requirements to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Those who pass then become licensed RNs in Missouri.

Steps for admission into this accelerated LPN to ADN option include:

  • Complete the MACC application (if not already a MACC student) and Virtual Accelerated Associate Degree Nursing (AADN) application.
  • Provide a copy of your current undisciplined Missouri LPN license.
  • Submit high school or GED transcripts and transcripts from all previously attended colleges and nursing schools. A cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher is required for all previous college and university coursework.
  • Complete the ATI TEAS with a score of 58% or higher.
  • Complete the Missouri State Highway Patrol Criminal Background Check.
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from a current nursing supervisor (if you completed your LPN program more than three years ago) or an LPN faculty member (if you completed your LPN program within the last three years).

Current per-credit tuition rates for the AADN program are: $100 (in-district residents); $181 (out-of-district Missouri residents); $240 (other U.S. residents); and $255 (international students). Students are responsible for additional program-related costs, which may be substantial.

Moberly Area Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The AADN program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved by the Missouri Board of Nursing. (Learn more about the importance of accreditation for accelerated ADN programs below.)

Rasmussen University’s 18-Month Online ADN

Rasmussen University is a private university with a substantial online presence as well as numerous campuses throughout the United States. The Professional Nursing (ADN/RN) Program is one of the school’s most popular offerings. Delivered in a hybrid format, the program offers students the flexibility to tailor their course load to fit their own schedules. Students new to nursing who carry a full-time course load can complete all degree requirements in as few as 18 months. Rasmussen’s ADN/RN students choose from eight start dates annually with no prerequisite courses, making the program one of the most convenient accelerated ADN options available.

Admission requirements for the ADN/RN program include:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent.
  • A passing score on the School of Nursing Entrance Exam.
  • Proof of a physical exam and immunizations in accordance with the Nursing Student Handbook.
  • Current certifications for Basic Life Saving and CPR with Defibrillator.
  • Criminal background check.

The 102-credit-hour accelerated ADN program combines online and campus-based nursing and general education coursework, on-campus lab simulations, and in-person clinical experiences at health care facilities located in and around the campus’s community. The program is available on multiple Rasmussen campus locations in five states—Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Program graduates meet the educational prerequisites to take the NCLEX-RN exam, which students must pass to obtain RN licensure in all five states offering the ADN/RN program. The program also meets the RN licensure eligibility requirements in many other states and U.S. territories, however you’ll want to confirm that the ADN/RN program meets the licensure requirements in your state prior to enrollment.

The estimated tuition and fees for students choosing the 18-month full-time accelerated ADN/RN program is $48,563. However, total cost varies by state. RN students may be eligible for corporate alliance and active military tuition discounts and credits awarded for self-directed assessments and for professional certifications and military training.

Rasmussen’s accelerated ADN/RN program is approved by the governing agencies overseeing nursing practice in all five states in which the program is offered. The program is also accredited at most campus locations by the ACEN. Institutional accreditation of Rasmussen University is granted by the HLC.

Valencia College’s 12-Month Hybrid Accelerated ADN

The Accelerated Track in Nursing (ATN) option available at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, allows current healthcare professionals the ability to earn their AS in Nursing degree and become RNs in just 12 months. Eligible occupations include:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Paramedic
  • Registered Invasive Cardiovascular Specialist (CVT)
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)

ATN classes are mostly online with on-campus components, such as orientations, labs/simulations, and three to four exams each term. On-campus requirements are completed at the Osceola campus in the first term and primarily on the West campus in the second and third terms (though some labs, simulations, and tests may be at the Osceola campus). Students in this accelerated program also complete clinical experiences at local hospitals. Students select their clinical site preference when they register. Selections are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Program starts are available every fall, spring, and summer and continue for three consecutive terms. Graduation from the ATN program requires 72 credits (including prerequisites). Graduates qualify to take the NCLEX-RN exam, which is required for Florida RN licensure. Graduates can choose to continue at Valencia to earn their Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing (BSN) or bachelor-level Advanced Technical Certificate (ATC) in Echocardiography.

The ATN program at Valencia is a limited-access program, and students must be accepted by both the college and the ADN program. Other admission requirements include:

  • Documentation showing completion of an LPN, paramedic, CVT, or RRT program.
  • Documentation of current Florida LPN license or certification as a paramedic, CVT, or RRT.
  • Official transcripts showing completion of a high school diploma or GED.
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s start.
  • Completion of the ATI TEAS with a minimum composite score of 65.
  • Completion of the eight required prerequisite courses (27 credits). Some prerequisite courses are available online.
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA on all previously completed college work.

Following acceptance into the accelerated program, students must submit to a criminal background check, fingerprinting, and drug screening and provide documentation of specific immunizations and American Heart Association, Basic Life Support, and CPR certifications.

Current per-credit tuition rates for the ATN program are $103.06 for Florida residents and $390.96 for non-Florida residents and international students. ATN students are also responsible for additional program expenses and NCLEX-RN exam-related fees.

Valencia’s ATN program is approved by Florida’s State Department of Education and State Board of Education and is accredited by the ACEN. Valencia College is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College.

Denver College of Nursing’s 18-Month ADN

Accelerated ADN programs are often geared toward students with previous nursing or nursing-related credentials (practical/vocational nurses, nursing assistants, EMTs, etc.). Some, however, are available to those with no nursing-related experience. One example is the 18-month Associate Degree in Nursing program offered by the Denver College of Nursing (DCN). This full-time program consists of six quarters of academic nursing coursework and clinical practice. Coursework is completed in person on DCN’s 24,000-square-foot main campus in downtown Denver. Clinicals are at various nursing and healthcare facilities primarily in the Denver metropolitan area. Students complete a total of 110 quarter credits, which includes 24 credits of prerequisites that can be completed at DCN or transferred from another accredited college or university.

Along with completion of all prerequisite coursework (with a minimum 2.0 GPA), admission into DCN’s accelerated ADN program requires:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent (such as a GED).
  • Successful completion of the HESI A2 entrance exam (waived for applicants with a previous bachelor’s degree).
  • Successful completion of a criminal background check and drug screen.
  • CPR certification.
  • Ability to meet all licensure and physical, emotional, and psychological standards of the Colorado State Board of Nursing and Colorado Nurse Practice Act.

Graduates of DCN’s accelerated ADN program receive an Associate Degree in Nursing and are prepared for the NCLEX-RN exam. Passing the NCLEX-RN is required for registered nursing licensure in Colorado and in all other U.S. states and territories, as well as in 10 provinces and territories in Canada.

The estimated cost for the ADN program at DCN is $44,377, which includes tuition, all program-related fees, books, scrubs, and other supplies. Students completing their general education prerequisite courses at DCN currently pay a per-quarter credit hour rate of $200. Students are also responsible for costs related to admissions testing, health insurance, criminal background check, immunizations, and licensing test fees.

A private institution, DCN is regionally accredited by the HLC. Its ADN program is approved by the State of Colorado’s Board of Nursing and nationally accredited by the ACEN.

Howard Community College’s Hybrid 14-Month Accelerated ADN

Howard Community College (HCC), a two-year public college in Columbia, Maryland, features a nursing education program that is among the largest in the state. Students in the Columbia area with no prior nursing experience interested in a fast and affordable path to becoming a licensed registered nurse will want to consider HCC’s accelerated AA in nursing program. Although not labeled as a hybrid program, it combines online and on-campus nursing theory classes with on-campus simulation skills labs and off-site clinical rotations.

Graduates of the accelerated AA in nursing program are able to:

  • Provide patient-centered care that meets the patient’s health needs while respecting their values, culture, and preferences.
  • Perform effective nursing interventions founded on current standards of nursing practice and procedures.
  • Provide health education to patients through teaching, learning, health promotion, and reduction of risk.
  • Collaborate and communicate with patients and health team members to effectively assess patient health status and to develop and carry out evidence-based plans of care in a range of care settings.
  • Demonstrate accountability and leadership through the application of proper legal, ethical, and professional standards.

Students begin this accelerated ADN program in the summer and continue through the fall, spring, and a second summer semester. The total program length is 14 months. Admission requires completion of 37 credits of general education coursework prior to beginning the four-semester nursing curriculum. A total of 70 credits (including prerequisites) are needed to earn the degree. Graduates of the AA in nursing program qualify to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, a requirement of RN licensure in Maryland.

The current in-county tuition rate is $142 per credit. The AA in nursing program is part of the Health Personnel Shortage Incentive Grant Program, which means that all legal residents of Maryland are eligible for the in-county tuition rate. Students are, however, responsible for additional program costs (fees, books, supplies, uniforms, immunizations, physicals, etc.), which can add up.

HCC also offers a number of ADN bridge options for students with previous nursing-related credentials. These include:

HCC’s AA degree in nursing is nationally-accredited by the ACEN and state-approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing. HCC is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Accreditation for Online ADN Programs

Some people believe that enrolling in an accelerated ADN degree program, especially one that’s online, means sacrificing the quality of their nursing education. Through proper accreditation, however, you can be sure that the ADN program you select is worth your valuable time and money regardless of whether it’s a traditional or accelerated program or if it’s offered online or on campus.

Through accreditation students can be assured that their degree program meets important standards of academic quality. There are two types of accreditation to look for in your ADN program: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation has to do with the school as a whole. Institutional accreditation of U.S. postsecondary schools is administered by several Department of Education-approved regional and national accrediting agencies. Programmatic accreditation concerns the vetting of the specific degree program itself. Programmatic accreditation of nursing associate degree programs is provided by the ACEN.

In addition to proper accreditation, all prospective ADN students should confirm that the programs they consider are approved by the agency overseeing nursing education in their state. In most cases this will be the state’s board of nursing or board of public health.

Current accreditation and state approval information can be found on program or school websites. If you don’t find it there, contact your program directly to confirm its accreditation and approval status.

Related Topics

Best Online ADN Programs

Many ADN programs feature substantial online components, particularly for nursing theory coursework, assignments, readings, and communications between students and instructors. Online ADN programs, including accelerated ADN programs, still require students to participate in face-to-face clinical rotations. Nevertheless, ADN programs with online components provide convenience and cost-savings to students, especially those who live a distance from campus. Click the link above for a comprehensive look at what today’s online ADN programs offer.

Best Online LPN Programs

Are you interested in a career in nursing but not sure if you’re ready to invest the time, effort, and money it takes to earn an ADN and become a registered nurse? You might want to start your career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). LPNs perform a variety of important nursing duties under the direct supervision of registered nurses. Some LPN programs can be completed in as few as nine months (and sometimes even less). To learn more about LPN programs that feature online components, click the link above.