Advanced Placement

Advanced placement is defined as entering the nursing program at a level beyond the first semester. Applications are available only during the application periods noted below.

The Nursing Department offers advanced placement opportunities that permit students to obtain credit for previous education or for other acquired knowledge in the field of nursing including military education and experience, Licensed Vocational Nurses, or other healthcare workers. A challenge exam may be required.

Click on a topic below for further information

Information Sessions International RNs
LVN to RN Transition Program Veterans
Transfer Students Health Screening & Background Checks


Group information sessions are offered periodically throughout the year which provides an overview of all COD nursing programs (CNA, LVN, RN, & LVN-RN), pre-requisite courses, admissions process, application, cost, etc.​​​​​​ and a "question and answer" time.

Session availability is contingent upon nursing advisor availability.

Come and Find Out...

What prerequisite courses are needed
How to apply
Program particulars
Job particulars
Bring your questions!
Upcoming Information Sessions

Zoom Link for all sessions listed below

Thursday, August 5th, 9:00am-11:00am
Monday, August 9th, 6:00 pm-8:00pm
Wednesday, August 18th, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Tuesday, September 7th, 4:00pm-6:00pm
Thursday, September 16th, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Monday, October 11th, 5:00 pm-7:00pm
Tuesday, November 9th, 3:00pm-5:00pm
Friday, December 3rd, 9:00 am-11:00am

For more information, please email

To view a pre-recorded information session, click here.

Admission to the RN program requires application to the program. Admission is based on multi-criteria points. Candidates with the most points will be offered a provisional seat in the program. Candidates are only eligible for multi-criteria points after eligibility criteria has been met. 

Prospective students not already enrolled at College of the Desert DO NOT need to apply to the college until AFTER they have been accepted into the Nursing Program. However, official transcripts must be submitted with the nursing application, which will also be used by the Admission and Records Office for the college application.

While Social Security Numbers are not required to take classes at COD, the facilities used by the Nursing Program for clinical instruction DO require them as part of their security clearance process. Social Security Numbers are also required for licensing and/or certification examinations at the completion of the various healthcare programs. If you do not have a Social Security Number please contact the HS/Education office for further instruction.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility criteria for the RN program includes: 

  • BIO-013: Anatomy & Physiology w/lab-4 units
  • BIO-014: Anatomy & Physiology II w/lab – 4 units
  • BIO-015 Microbiology w/lab – 4 units
  • Science GPA 2.5 (no grade less than C)
  • Science courses must be within 10 years
  • No more than two repeats in the sciences in the last 7 years.
  • ENG-001A: College level transferable English course that includes a research component – 3 semester units

Transition applicants desiring to complete courses required for California RN licensure must also meet the same application criteria as for Nursing 001 (same prerequisites, same GPA minimum). Admission is based on multicriteria points. Transcripts for college classes and course catalog descriptions for prerequisite courses (other than at COD) MUST accompany application.

All grades must be posted and included with the application in order to receive points. 

Applicati​on packet link​​​​​ will be open from September 15th and will be DUE on October 15th.

Need assistance filling out the application? Click here to watch a video that covers frequently asked questions about the application process. Please review this video before calling the department with questions. 

"Transfer student" is defined as students who have already been enrolled in a nursing program and are changing schools.

Transfer applicants are students with previous nursing education from a Board of Registered Nursing approved registered nurse program. Forms are only available during the application period near the end of the semester. Applications for Spring 2022 will be available Sept 30, 2021.

Spring 2022 Transfer Packet​​​​​​ link (available September 30, 2021)

Send or deliver to:

Director of Nursing - BNC 4
RN Transfer Application 
College of the Desert
43-500 Monterey Avenue
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Registered Nurses from outside the USA needing to fulfill California Board of Registered Nursing requirements.

* Please note: COD nursing courses are NOT structured as individual classes in a particular content area, such as Obstetrics or Mental Health. The various content areas are incorporated within the different semester groups.

Upon acceptance, students will be placed in the semester group that best meets their needs as defined by their letter from the Board of Registered Nursing. Space available will not be known until after finals week.
Applications for Spring 2022 will be available Sept 30, 2021.​ Forms are only available during the application period near the end of the semester. Please use this application form at that time:

International RN Application​ (Available on Sept 30, 2021)​​​​

Visit here for foreign transcript evaluations

Applications should be sent to:

Director of Nursing - BNC 4
International RN Application 
College of the Desert
43-500 Monterey Avenue
Palm Desert, CA 92260

The College of the Desert’s Nursing program wants to provide military trained healthcare personnel with the opportunity to earn advanced placement in the nursing program. The following policy is a way to recognize our veterans for their contributions:

Challenge for Advanced Placement for Military Trained Healthcare Personnel Policy

Individuals who have held Military Health Care Occupations, specifically: Basic Medical Technician Corpsman (Navy HM or Air Force BMTCP), Army Health Care Specialist (68W Army Medic), or Air Force Independent Duty Medical Technician (IMDT 4NOX1C) may achieve advanced placement upon review and approval from the School of Nursing program Director, with documentation of education and experience qualifying them for the specific Military Health Care Occupation, and upon successful completion of the challenge exam, dosage calculation exam, and skills competency evaluation.

    • Applicants must meet all general entrance requirements of the Associates Degree Nursing program, including a minimal GPA of 2.5, completion of designated prerequisites and the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) with a minimum score of 62%.

    • Acceptance into the Associate Degree Nursing program is contingent upon space availability, skills competency (determined after meeting with the Program Director), 75% or above on the Challenge Exam, and 100% on a dosage calculation quiz.

    • Military Challenge students applying to the Associate Degree Nursing program after failure at another school will need a letter from the Program Director at the previous school indicating that the applicant was in good standing upon departure from that program.

    • Applicant must submit DD214 with Application.


Interested candidates must request an appointment with the Program Director at least 8 weeks prior to the application period to discuss eligibility requirements for the Associates Degree Nursing Program.

    • Applicants who may be eligible for advanced placement include those individuals who have satisfactorily completed, within the last five years, education and experience for the following:

      • Basic Medical Technician Corpsman (Navy HM or Air Force BMTCP)

      • Army Health Care Specialist (68W Army Medic)

      • Air Force Independent Duty Medical Technician (IMDT 4NOX1C)

    • Challenge applicants applying for transfer credit must submit the following materials verifying education and experience:

      • Official transcripts from appropriate education program(s) demonstrating satisfactory completion of coursework and clinical experience;

      • At least one letter of recommendation, official transcripts, and DD214 form

      • Documentation of work and educational experience

    • After a review of the applicant’s documentation, and upon determination that the applicant has met the educational and experience requirements, as well as the additional nursing program admission requirements, the student will be required to take a written challenge examination, a competency skills evaluation, and a dosage calculation exam.

    • The following materials will be available to the applicant once challenge confirmation is made:

      • Course syllabus, including course objectives

      • Content outline

      • Bibliography and textbook list

      • Example of style and format of examination

    • Written and skills competency examinations for advanced placement challenge must be completed eight weeks prior to admission to the program, unless waived by the Director of the Nursing Program.

    • Advanced Placement will be granted if applicant meets minimum requirements equivalent to those required of students enrolled in the actual course.

All nursing and allied health students participating in an acute care rotation are required to have a clear background check. Background checks can be paid for at the COD Bursar's Office and the receipt brought to the Nursing Office for processing.

All students must be medically screened, prior to the first day of the term. Screening will include a physical examination, TB testing, blood tests (titers) which show definitive immunity to communicable disease, and drug & alcohol screening. Students who do not clear the screenings will be unable to complete clinicals. Students are responsible for all associated fees.

All students attending COD will obtain a COD email address upon registering. We strongly advise activating this as soon as possible since this address will be used for all official notifications. Once activated, there is also an option to have emails automatically forwarded to another email address for your convenience.

Applicants who are currently licensed Vocational Nurses in California and desire to complete courses required for RN licensure may select the 30-Unit Option. This is a non-degree option. Upon successful completion of this program of study, the student may apply to take the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure. The student will be licensed as a non-degree candidate. This option is recognized in California and there is no restriction to practice. However, states other than California may not recognize this educational track as preparation for licensure.

Application for 30-Unit Option: Schedule appointment with the Director of Nursing, who will then provide application form after meeting with applicant.

Hand delivered applications will not be evaluated for completeness at the window. It is the applicant's responsibility to submit all necessary paperwork.