Community colleges across Maryland offer a variety of programs that lead to an associate degree in nursing. Graduates of these programs may then take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination and be approved to practice as an RN. Maryland’s average pass rate for the NCLEX-RN is in line with the national average.
2 Year Nursing Programs in Maryland
Allegany College of Maryland
The nursing program at Allegany College is a two-year ladder-style program of increasing knowledge, responsibility, and certification. At the end of year one, students may sit the NCLEX-PN examination for licensure as a Practical Nurse but must complete year two in order to take the NCLEX-RN and receive their associate degree. Students participate in clinical placements for approximately 1400 hours over the course of four semesters under the supervision of a nursing faculty member. Both day and evening courses are available on the Cumberland campus.
Allegany’s associate degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved (at the time of writing) by the Maryland Board of Nursing. Pass rates for the NCLEX-RN examination are in line with the state average.
12401 Willowbrook Road
Cumberland, MD 21502
Anne Arundel Community College
Anne Arundel Community College is located in Arnold, in suburban Annapolis. The college is proud of its state-of-the-art laboratory facilities that allow students to practice selected procedures on each other enabling them to gain hands-on skills. The college also offers a wide variety of student clinical placements which include acute medical-surgical, obstetrical, pediatric and critical care units; emergency and operating rooms; extended care and rehabilitation facilities; community health agencies; and psychiatric facilities.
The 70 credit ASN program at AACA is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved (at the time of writing) by the Maryland Board of Nursing. With full-time enrollment, students are able to complete the program in three years. At completion, graduates are eligible to sit the NCLEX-RN examination and the historic pass rates for the college are significantly above the state and national average.
101 College Parkway
Arnold, MD 21012
Hagerstown Community College
Hagerstown Community College (HCC) was Maryland’s first community college. The nursing program at HCC is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and fully approved (at the time of writing) by the Maryland Board of Nursing.
HCC offers two associate degree options, a three-year program, and a more intensive two-year program. The three-year program includes 12 credits of general education requirements before transfer into the nursing program. The two-year program requires students to take 16 credits per semester and is, therefore, best suited to those who are academically prepared for a demanding course load. Upon completion of either option, graduates will earn an Associate of Science degree and are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.
The pass rate for the NCLEX-RN examination for graduates of the ADN program at Hagerstown is significantly above the average for the state as a whole.
11400 Robinwood Drive
Hagerstown, MD 21742
Howard Community College
Located in Columbia, HCC’s associate degree nursing program offers the option of a 14 month accelerated degree or a traditional two-year degree. The traditional program offers day and evening/weekend class options in the fall, and day-only classes in the spring semesters; clinical placements take place throughout the entire two year period.
The 14-month accelerated option is a competitive admission program requiring continuous study to complete all required coursework and clinical rotations within 14 months. This is a full-time, daytime-only program, beginning only in the summer. Graduates of both programs are eligible to sit the NCLEX-RN licensure examination and pass rates exceed the state and national average.
The nursing program at Howard Community College is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and fully approved (at the time of writing) by the Maryland Board of Nursing.
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044
The associate degree nursing curriculum at Montgomery College at its Tacoma Park/Silver Spring campus covers two academic years and 70 total credits. Completion of pre-requisite courses means the program length is likely to extend beyond this for many students. The associate degree program is approved (at the time of writing) by the Maryland Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
All classes and clinical coursework at Montgomery College take place during the day. There are no evening or summer classes. The expected workload for students is three to four days a week in lectures, clinical placement, and in labs with additional reading and coursework required.
Graduates of the ADN program at Montgomery College are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.
51 Mannakee Street
Rockville, MD 20850
Studying for your Associate Degree
Course lengths for ADN programs do vary, but if you have all your pre-requisite courses already in place, it’s possible to complete your nursing studies, sit the NCLEX-RN examination, and find a job as an RN in Maryland in a minimum of just fourteen months. However, the Maryland Board of Nursing generally refers to associate degrees in nursing as three-year programs and observes that the average time for completion is generally five to six semesters.
Maryland is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact. This means that only residents of Maryland or a non-compact state can obtain their license to practice from the Maryland Board of Nursing. It also means that nurses licensed in Maryland can obtain a multi-state license allowing them to practice in any other compact state.
Benefits of Associate Degree Programs
Associate degree programs allow for an earlier entry to the nursing workforce than bachelor’s programs. This enables graduates to build up their working experience and offset the cost of their studies more quickly. Many ADN programs in Maryland are offered by community colleges. These colleges typically recruit faculty with extensive practical experience which means that students benefit from a grounded and relevant curriculum.
Accreditation and Licensing in Maryland
Educational institutions use accrediting organizations to demonstrate that their programs meet and achieve educational standards. The two accrediting organizations for ADN programs are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Licensing in Maryland is managed by the Maryland Board of Nursing. For an educational institution to obtain Board approval, the curriculum of their ADN program must be considered as suitable preparation for the NCLEX-RN examination. This approval may be suspended or removed by the Board if institutions demonstrate that they are unable to ensure a minimum percentage of graduates pass the NCLEX-RN examination at their first attempt. The Maryland Board of Nursing actively enforces their power to suspend institutions, therefore, prospective applicants are advised to check the Maryland Board of Nursing website to ensure their chosen institution has a current approval in place.
In addition to educational institutions requiring approval, RNs must obtain an individual license in order to practice in the state. ADN graduates obtain a license by passing the NCLEX-RN examination at the end of their program of study.
Overview of Associate Degree Programs in Maryland
A significant number of ‘two-year’ nursing associate degree programs in Maryland are actually three-year programs or are two-year programs which require a significant number of pre-requisite college-level courses. In most cases, pre-requisites must be completed before starting the associate degree program, or in some cases, before applying for the program. Candidates are also frequently expected to achieve specified scores on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) and an additional nursing entrance examination. Minimum GPA requirements often start at 2.0, however, this does vary by institution and course type.
Selection for ADN programs in Maryland can be competitive and varies by program and institution. Waiting lists are in place for some programs. Popular accelerated programs are often more selective than traditional two or three-year courses and admit a smaller percentage of applicants.
There are a number of different ways of referring to associate degrees in nursing. These include ADN, for Associate Degree, Nursing; AN, for Associate of Nursing; ASN, for Associate of Science in Nursing; and AAS, for Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. As long as the institution granting the degree is fully accredited by either ACEN or CCNE and approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing, graduates of all of these types of associate degrees are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination to obtain a license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the state.
Choosing an Associate Degree Program in Maryland
Many community colleges across the state offer an ADN program. The most critical factor in choosing an institution is that it is fully accredited by either ACEN or CCNE, and has a current approval from the Maryland Board of Nursing. After this has been confirmed, other factors to consider include:
- The type of educational institution and the quality of the teaching;
- Curriculum and educational philosophy;
- Pre-requisite courses;
- Waitlists and length of program;
- Clinical hours and where these take place;
- Program outcomes such as the pass rates for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam compared to the state and nationally, student course completion rates, student satisfaction rates, and graduate hiring data;
- Tuition and additional costs.