Aspiring RNs in Texas can choose from associate's or bachelor's degree programs that prepare them for licensure exams. Associate's degree programs are available in traditional formats combining coursework and clinical experiences or in accelerated formats designed for licensed vocational nurses or other healthcare professionals. Bachelor's degree programs are found at 4-year colleges and universities, with some featuring online courses or accelerated options for practicing RNs. Both degree levels require students to meet certain admission requirements, such as completing prerequisite courses or showing proof of immunizations.
Austin Community College District
Austin-based Austin Community College District offers more than 235 degree programs, including its associate degree program in nursing. Aspiring RNs have two choices, including a 71-credit traditional program and a 62-credit mobility track. The mobility track is an accelerated program designed for students who are already licensed in occupations such as licensed vocational nursing (LVN), radiology, dental hygiene and occupational therapy, among others. Both programs prepare students for taking the NCLEX-RN. Courses typically include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and nursing theory, as well as clinical nursing experiences. Before applying to the nursing program students must have a physical examination, verify their tuberculosis status and submit to a criminal background check.
El Paso Community College
Students in the 72-credit nursing program at El Paso Community College in El Paso can expect to take courses such as medication dosage calculations, nursing theory, mental health nursing, maternal and newborn nursing and a class in licensure preparation. The curriculum also includes clinical experience and general education courses in computer science and English composition. The college offers options for students who transfer to a 4-year college to pursue a bachelor's degree, including a '2+2' option that guarantees students will enter a 4-year college with junior-level status.
Houston Community College
Before entering the nursing program at Houston Community College in Houston, students need to complete prerequisite courses in biology, anatomy and physiology, English composition and psychology. Additionally, before students can start clinical rotations, they must submit proof of health insurance, proof of CPR certification, submit to a physical exam, provide proof of immunizations, and pass a criminal background check. After completing the associate's degree program, students can take the NCLEX-RN exam and pursue licensure to begin working, or take advantage of the college's transfer option with the University of Houston-Victoria, which allows students to go on to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing.
Lone Star College System
Some of the pre-admission requirements of the nursing program at Lone Star College System, based in The Woodlands, include a clear criminal history, hepatitis B and bacterial meningitis immunizations, social security number verification and the completion of program prerequisites such as biology, psychology, English and sociology. The associate's degree program offered at the CyFair campus combines classroom lectures with clinical experiences in block format, dividing the curriculum into specific areas of care such as adult health or children and families. A traditional nursing curriculum is also offered at the Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris and Tomball campuses.
San Jacinto Community College
Pasadena-based San Jacinto Community College offers an associate's degree program in nursing that prepares students for taking the NCLEX-RN exam and beginning work as an RN. Students can expect to take classes on campus and gain hands-on experience while completing clinicals at area hospitals and agencies, including the Texas Medical Center. The college also offers programs for LVN or paramedics who want to become an RN. Students can expect to take learn about taking health assessments, clinical nursing theory, pharmacology, adult health concepts and more.
South Texas College
McAllen-based South Texas College offers a flexible degree program with daytime, afternoon and Internet courses available. To be eligible for the program, students must pass an FBI and Department of Public Safety background check, pass a drug screen, provide proof of immunizations and tuberculosis testing, and complete all prerequisite courses, including introduction to nursing. To progress through the program, students must maintain grades of 'C' or better in all courses, including non-nursing courses and pre-requisite classes. In addition to a traditional associate's degree program, South Texas College also offers options for LVNs and paramedics who wish to earn a degree as an RN.
Tarrant County College District
Tarrant County College District's associate's degree nursing program is offered through its healthcare professional division on the Trinity River Campus East in Fort Worth. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam and begin working or transfer to a 4-year institution to earn a bachelor's degree. Typical courses include nursing skills, complex health concepts, mental health nursing, women and newborn nursing care, and pediatric nursing, among others. Students also complete several clinicals, which give them valuable hands-on experience in child and family care and other nursing areas. Some courses, including foundations for nursing practice, can be taken online.
Texas State University - San Marcos
St David's School of Nursing at Texas State University - San Marcos, located in Round Rock, features a 25,000-square-foot simulation lab. The lab's offerings include 4 rooms with 5-10 beds, a health assessment room with 6 open exam rooms, a home care unit, simulated private medical offices and 2 simulation rooms with observation windows. Students in this bachelor's degree nursing program must complete pre-nursing requirements such as biology, college algebra, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, microbiology, college writing and history. Nursing students can expect to begin taking nursing courses in their junior year. Typical classes include health assessments, nursing care essentials, pharmacology, psychiatric nursing care and acute nursing care, among others. In addition to its bachelor's degree program, the university also offers a master's degree program for aspiring family nurse practitioners.
University of Texas at Arlington
The bachelor's degree program the University of Texas at Arlington offers several options for aspiring RNs, including a traditional degree program and an RN-to-BSN program for RNs who already have an associate's degree or a diploma. Students may pursue their degree by attending classes on-campus or online. Students in the on-campus degree program complete clinicals at the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex. Students in the online program complete clinicals at the DFW metroplex, Houston metroplex or other locations. Acceptance into the nursing program is competitive, with only 120 students admitted annually. To be eligible for the program, students must complete at least 12 hours of natural science classes, complete the HESI A2 test with an overall score of 300 or higher and a math score of at least 65. Admission to the program is based on ranking scores, which are calculated according to student's GPAs in lower-division classes. The university also offers a master's degree program, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and a Ph.D. program.
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin offers a traditional bachelor's degree program in nursing as well as a program for nurses with an associate's degree who wish to earn a bachelor's degree. The university's bachelor's degree program gives students a solid foundation of theory and nursing practice, preparing students to take the NCLEX-RN exam and/or go on to pursue post-graduate studies. The university also has a master's degree program, a doctorate and a PhD program for nurses who want to pursue specialties. The School of Nursing's Career Services office gives students access to volunteer opportunities, student nursing jobs, job fairs and other recruiting events, and job opportunities after graduation. Career Services also offers students access to resume and interviewing skills workshops and resources.
To become a registered nurse (RN) students must earn a diploma, an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree from an approved nursing program. After graduation, aspiring RNs are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and complete state-mandated requirements to become licensed. Below are short overviews of the 10 largest schools in Texas offering RN programs.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||RN Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Austin Community College District||2-year; public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Nursing|| $2,550 (in-district undergraduate),*
$9,210 (in-state undergraduate),*
$11,340 (out-of-state undergraduate)*
|El Paso Community College||2-year; public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Nursing|| $2,386 (in-state undergraduate),*
$4,042 (out-of-state undergraduate)*
|Houston Community College||2-year; public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Nursing|| $1,632 (in-district undergraduate),*
$3,360 (in-state undergraduate),*
$3,756 (out-of-state undergraduate)*
|Lone Star College System||2-year; public; small city||Associate of Applied Science in Nursing|| $1,504 (in-district undergraduate),*
$3,184 (in-state undergraduate),*
$3,544 (out-of-state undergraduate)*
|San Jacinto Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Nursing|| $1,408 (in-district undergraduate),*
$2,416 (in-state undergraduate),*
$3,688 (out-of-state undergraduate)*
|South Texas College||4-year; public; midsize city||Associate of Applied Science in Nursing|| $3,486 (in-district undergraduate),*
$3,770 (in-state undergraduate),*
$4,440 (out-of-state undergraduate)*
|Tarrant County College District||2-year; public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Nursing|| $1,320 (in-district undergraduate),*
$2,064 (in-state undergraduate),*
$4,920 (out-of-state undergraduate)*
|Texas State University - San Marcos||4-year; public; small suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
| $9,348 (in-state undergraduate),*
$20,268 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$7,786 (in-state graduate),*
$15,604 (out-of-state graduate)*
|The University of Texas at Arlington||4-year; public; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
| $9,208 (in-state undergraduate),*
$19,104 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$8,517 (in-state graduate),*
$16,271 (out-of-state graduate)*
|The University of Texas at Austin||4-year; public; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
| $9,806 (in-state undergraduate),*
$34,676 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$10,934 (in-state graduate),*
$20,762 (out-of-state graduate)*
Source: *NCES College Navigator