Registered Nurse (ADN)

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Information Sessions Program Costs
Eligibility & Prerequisites Application Info & Stats
Program Requirements Health Screening

We are pleased that you are interested in the Registered Nursing Program at College of the Desert. The program is approved by the California State Board of Nursing.

If you still have questions after reading through the materials below please feel free to contact either the Health Sciences/Nursing Office at (760) 773-2579 or the Nursing counselor at 760-776-7415 or via email at

The COVID pandemic presents a fluid situation. Please continue to visit this webpage for future updates, as they become available.

For specific questions about financial aid, FAFSA, BOG waivers, etc., please check with the Financial Aid Office at (760) 773-2532.

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.

Zoom Link for all sessions listed below

  • 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.

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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 or ITIN 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 for the RN program includes: 

  • 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.
  • BIO-013: Anatomy & Physiology w/lab-4 units
  • BIO-014: Anatomy & Physiology II w/lab – 4 units
  • BIO-015 Microbiology w/lab – 4 units
  • ENG-001A: College level transferable English course that includes a research component – 4 semester units

"How do I know if my courses at other schools will count towards the RN Program?" Click here to use our equivalency database

In addition to eligibility and prerequisite requirements, once a student is registered, further items are required to begin courses and clinical rotations.

Valid Social Security card Valid Government ID
Clear background check Clear drug screen
Malpractice Insurance Physical Exam
Communicable disease clearance (titers & Vaccinations) Current American Heart Association CPR card
Meet core performance standards TEAS exam with a score of 62 or greater


Please note that costs are estimated. Depending on insurance coverage and financial assistance, costs may vary. Total cost of the program is estimated at $4,505. Click here for a detailed list of associated costs.

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

Online anatomy, physiology, and microbiology courses will be accepted for Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020 and 2021 semesters.

Courses receiving emergency withdrawals (EWs) will not be counted as repeats under our repeat policy (two in seven years).

​Pass/no Pass or Credit/no Credit courses will NOT be accepted for any pre-requisite or degree courses.

All applicants will utilize the updated multi-criteria found here.  

Fall 2022 - Application open February 1-February 28

Spring 2023 - Application open August 1- August 31

All future applications for the RN program will be available in February for fall admissions and in August for spring admissions.

Applicants with a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree from the US will have certain courses waived. 

  • General Education courses already completed will be waived.
  • Courses Required:
    • Science Prerequisites
    • Statistics
    • Psychology 001 or 003
    • English Composition ENG 1a
    • One of the following: Communication 001, 013, or 017
    • One of the following: Sociology 001, 014, 015 or Antrophology 002, or 007.

The addmision stats for the period of September 2021 (entrance for Spring 22) are as follows:

Number of applicants - 144

Number of eligible applicants - 136

Highest Score - 72

Lowest Score - 47

Median Score - 39

Number of seats/admitted students - 42

Score range for initial admission offers - 72-48


All nursing and allied health students participating in a clinical rotation are required to have a clear background check. Background checks can be paid for at the COD Bursar's Office.

Drug Screening and Background Checks

The affiliation agreements with the clinical facilities, regulated by The Joint Commission (TJC), require that all students have a clear drug screening and background check prior to each clinical rotation. If not, the student may not be allowed to participate in patient care at a clinical agency, which would prevent the student from completing the nursing program.

Students are advised that an acceptable background check done for the clinical facilities does not guarantee the background check conducted by State Boards at the time of application for licensure or certification will be found acceptable. Background checks displaying discrepancies will be reviewed by the Nursing Director and facility assigned to determine if you are eligible to continue within the program.

In addition to screening prior to the start of each clinical experience, students may be subject to testing for cause; such as slurred speech, impaired physical coordination, inappropriate behavior, or pupillary changes.

All students must also be medically screened, prior to the first day of clinical. The screening will include a physical examination, TB testing, flu shot, blood tests (titers) which show definitive immunity to communicable disease, and drug and alcohol screening.

Students who do not clear the screenings will be unable to complete clinicals. 

Students are responsible for all associated fees.

Onboarding is normally conducted in the months prior to the clinical rotation. Students MUST be available during that time. Missing onboarding may result in the student's inability to continue in the course. Facility clearance is required each semester.