SUNY Orange County Community College Nursing Program Review

Orange County Community College (OCCC, SUNY Orange) is part of the State University of New York. The college offers two year associates degrees and was the first community college in the U.S. to offer a two year nursing degree program. It is one of the most respected associate degree programs in nursing in the country. There is an open enrollment policy at the college, but the nursing program accepts students by a selective process. There are over 6,000 students enrolled at Orange County Community College.

Nursing Program

Associate of Applied Science

Orange County Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program in which students learn by using state-of-the-art simulation technology. The program prepares graduates to take the NCLEX-RN, the national exam that is required for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN). Graduates who are licensed are ready to enter the workforce as entry-level RNs and work in nursing homes, schools, hospitals, clinics, and many other healthcare institutions. The emphasis of the AAS program at Orange County is direct patient care. During the two years of study, students complete liberal arts and science courses, nursing core courses, and clinical experience in hospitals and other sites near the college.

Some of the features of Orange County Community College are that it offers small classes that allow students to ask questions and work closely with faculty members. Working with the simulated patients in the lab provides invaluable experience for students before they begin to actually practice their skills on human patients. Students practice on Sim Man, Sim Kid, and Sim Baby. They gain confidence by doing this, as well as improving their skills and knowledge. Clinical experience placements are throughout Orange County and neighboring counties and are related to various courses. Students rotate from location to location two or three times each semester to ensure that they receive the most exposure to critical care, psychiatry, maternal child care, and other medical specialty areas.

Admission requirements to the AAS program are competitive since 96 applicants are accepted and many more apply to the program. There is also an evening nursing program that accepts 32 students. Applicants must have all prerequisite courses completed before entering the AAS program because it is a two year program that is set up to follow a particular sequence. Day students meet for classes and clinical experience during the day, while those in the evening program meet from 4 to 10 PM. Residents of Orange County are considered for admission before those who do not live in the county. Each applicant must take the Test of Essential Academic Skills as well as the SUNY exams in math, English, and writing.


Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) may seek advanced placement into the AAS RN program at Orange County. LPNs who have an overall grade point average of 85 percent in the LPN program and who meet the admission criteria of Orange County are usually awarded advanced placement in the program. They must then take the Nursing Bridge Course I and successfully complete this course to prepare them for the AAS nursing courses. They must also score at least a B on the Excelsior College Examination for Fundamentals of Nursing. LPNs must also take the Test of Essential Academic Skills to enter the AAS program. Seating for LPNs is limited, and all applicants who meet the admission criteria will not be automatically accepted into the program.


Orange County Community College has an articulation agreement with other colleges and universities in the SUNY and CUNY networks. This means that AAS nursing credits from Orange County are transferred in full or in part to New York University, Mount Saint Mary, Pace, Russell Sage College, and others.

Orange County Community College
115 South Street
Middletown, New York 10940
(845) 344-6222