Best Nursing Schools and Programs in Texas

Find a program that’s right for you.

Texas is home to not only one of the largest nursing industries in the country, but also one of the fastest growing. A report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that 27 percent of the state’s projected 438,000 health care job openings are expected to be in nursing roles. This number, which is set to be reached between 2010 and 2020, equates to nearly 119,000 new positions, making nursing a promising option for anyone looking to help others in the health care field. Learn more about nursing careers, nursing schools in Texas, and licensing requirements to practice in the state.

Top 10 Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Texas

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

  • Methodology


    To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:

    Accredited at the institutional level
    Private nonprofit or public school
    Minimum of 1 bachelor’s or master’s degree in subject area for 4-year schools
    Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools

    Schools were then scored on factors such as:

    Cost & Financial Aid
    Number and variety of program offerings
    Student-teacher ratios
    Graduation rates (4-year schools only)
    Placement and support services offered
    Academic/Career counseling services
    Employment services
    Loan default rates

    These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or “bang for your buck” of a college or degree program.

Top Nursing Schools in Texas

4 – Year Colleges

  1. Texas Christian University
    Location

    Fort Worth, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    TCU offers undergraduate and graduate nursing programs through the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Undergraduate students can pursue a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) through a traditional track or an accelerated track. The two tracks require the same number of clinical hours. However, the course and clinical structure for the accelerated track follows a different pathway designed to maximize a student's progress through the program.

    Harris College offers a master of science in nursing (MSN) in nursing administration and leadership, nurse educator, and clinical nurse leader. MSN degree-holders can enroll in the college's post-master's doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program. MSN-to-DNP applicants need an advanced practice registered nurse certification.

    The college also offers a BSN-to-DNP program with four specialization areas: family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

    Like many of the best nursing schools in Texas, TCU's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  2. The University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UT Austin's School of Nursing offers several nursing programs for applicants with varying educational backgrounds. Students with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) can apply to the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program through the external transfer admission process. ADN students enroll in the same major coursework as BSN enrollees.

    Applicants with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field can pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN) through the alternate entry (AE) MSN program. This program offers three specialization areas: psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, leadership in diverse settings, and adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist. BSN-trained nurses can apply directly to the MSN program, which offers specialization in three nurse practitioner arenas: family nurse, primary care pediatric, and psychiatric-mental health.

    For doctoral candidates, UT Austin offers a research-focused doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in nursing and a practice-based doctor of nursing practice degree. The Ph.D. in nursing program also features an AE program for applicants with a bachelor's or master's degree in a non-nursing field.

    UT Austin's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  3. Baylor University
    Location

    Waco, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing offers nursing programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students who wish to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can pursue a traditional or accelerated track. Both tracks require applicants to have at least 60 transferable general education credits (or an associate degree) from an accredited school or program. Students in the traditional track earn the BSN in two years. Students in the accelerated track graduate in 12 months. All students complete 60 credits of upper-division nursing coursework.

    On the graduate level, students can pursue a master of science in nursing leadership and innovation or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. The DNP offers nurse practitioner specializations in family, neonatal, pediatric, and nurse midwifery. Students can also pursue a DNP in executive nurse leadership. The school offers a nurse anesthetist program through the United States Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing.

    Like many of the top nursing schools in Texas, Baylor's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  4. Texas A & M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs at Texas A&M University accept applications from students with varying educational backgrounds. The on-campus traditional BSN welcomes applicants who have completed two years of general education coursework. Licensed registered nurses (RNs) with an associate degree in nursing can apply to the RN-to-BSN program, which runs mostly online. Texas A&M offers an onsite second-degree BSN for students who hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree. Enrollees usually complete the second-degree BSN within 15 months.

    The College of Nursing also offers a master of science in nursing (MSN) for bachelor's-trained RNs. The MSN program offers specializations in nursing education, family nurse practitioner (FNP), and forensic nursing. All MSN programs accept part-time and full-time enrollees. The college offers coursework for the nursing education and forensic nursing programs primarily online. The FNP program follows a hybrid delivery schedule. The university also offers an online graduate certificate in forensic healthcare.

    Texas A&M's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  5. University of Houston
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UH students entering their junior year who wish to pursue licensure as a registered nurse (RN) can apply to the traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) at the College of Nursing. Traditional BSN students attend on-campus classes. Associate-trained RNs can apply to the university's hybrid RN-to-BSN program. The college offers a third type of BSN for enrollees who already have a bachelor's or master's degree in a non-nursing field. Called a second-degree BSN, the program offers a full-time, accelerated (12 months) on-campus curriculum.

    The master of science in nursing (MSN) prepares enrollees for advanced practice roles as family nurse practitioners, nurse administrators, or nurse educators. The MSN follows a hybrid delivery format. Laboratory and clinical components require onsite presence, while instructional courses run online. In most instances, an MSN fulfills the educational requirements for a post-master's certificate as nurse administrator or nurse educator.

    Similar to many nursing programs in Texas, UH offers nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  6. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UTHealth's Cizik School of Nursing offers several nursing programs to accommodate nursing applicants with varying educational backgrounds. The Pacesetter bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) consists of 60 credits of junior- and senior-level undergraduate nursing coursework that learners can complete in 15 months. Completion qualifies graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN.

    Licensed registered nurses (RNs) with an associate degree in nursing can apply for the RN-to-BSN program. RNs with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field can apply to the RN-to-MSN program. BSN degree-holders who apply to the master of science (MSN) program can choose from six clinical tracks, including nursing leadership, psychiatric-mental health, and adult/gerontology primary care.

    On the doctoral level, MSN-trained students can pursue a doctor of philosophy in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. The Cizik School of Nursing also offers a BSN-to-DNP with tracks in nurse anesthesia and nurse practitioner.

    UTHealth's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  7. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
    Location

    San Antonio, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students accepted to the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program at the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing can pursue a traditional or an accelerated BSN track. The traditional BSN track admits students who have completed four semesters of general education coursework and who will be applying for initial registered nurse (RN) licensure at the end of the program. The traditional BSN track requires 22 months of full-time enrollment. The accelerated track is a 15-month full-time program designed for non-RN enrollees with a bachelor's (or higher) degree in a non-nursing field.

    BSN-trained nurses who apply to the master of science in nursing (MSN) can specialize in administrative management or in clinical nurse leadership. The school offers a doctor of philosophy in nursing and a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program. Both programs accept BSN- and MSN-trained applicants. BSN-to-DNP enrollees can choose from several advanced practice tracks, including acute care and psychiatry-mental health nurse practitioner. Students admitted to the MSN-to-DNP program can choose an advanced practice leadership, executive administrative management, or public health nurse leader track.

    UT Health San Antonio offers nursing programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  8. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
    Location

    Lubbock, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students accepted to TTUHSC's School of Nursing can enroll in one of three bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs. The traditional BSN accepts students who have completed two years of prerequisite general education courses and are planning to apply for an initial registered nurse (RN) license after the program. Associate-trained RNs apply to the RN-to-BSN program, which comprises 30 credits and takes 2-3 semesters to complete. The second-degree BSN is designed for applicants with a non-nursing bachelor's or master's degree.

    Many of the school's master of science in nursing (MSN) programs accept only BSN-trained applicants. MSN students can specialize in one of several advanced practice fields, including nursing informatics, adult-gerontology primary and acute care, nursing administration, and nurse midwifery. On the doctoral level, the school offers a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) for MSN-trained students. The DNP also accepts BSN-trained applicants who can specialize as family nurse practitioners or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners.

    TTUHSC's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  9. University of the Incarnate Word
    Location

    San Antonio, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions at UIW offers a traditional and an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for students who plan to sit for the NCLEX-RN.

    The 62-credit traditional BSN takes five semesters or 28 months to complete. The program welcomes applicants who have completed general education requirements and specific nursing prerequisites. Students who already hold a bachelor's degree (or higher) in a non-nursing field can apply to the accelerated BSN, which is a full-time 16-month program.

    At the postgraduate level, UIW offers a master of science in nursing (MSN) in nursing leadership and an RN-to-MSN program that accepts associate-trained registered nurses (RNs). The school also offers a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) that accepts BSN- and MSN-trained applicants. The BSN-to-DNP program leads to nurse practitioner roles in family nursing and in psychiatric-mental health nursing.

    UIW's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  10. The University of Texas Medical Branch
    Location

    Galveston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UTMB's School of Nursing offers a traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for students with 60 general education transferable credits from an accredited institution. The traditional BSN prepares students to take the NCLEX-RN. Learners can complete the degree in four consecutive semesters, or 16 months. Associate-trained registered nurses (RNs) can apply for the RN-to-BSN program.

    UTMB's master of science in nursing (MSN) offers four nurse practitioner tracks: family, neonatal, adult-gerontology acute care, and adult-gerontology primary care. The MSN program also offers education/leadership tracks in clinical nurse leader, executive nurse leader, and nurse educator.

    At the doctoral level, the school offers a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) and a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Delivered primarily as an online program, the DNP only accepts applications from MSN-trained nurses. The Ph.D. program accepts applications from BSN- and MSN-trained nurses. Most of the required Ph.D. courses occur on campus.

    UTMB offers nursing programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

2 – Year Colleges

  1. Lee College
    Location

    Baytown, TX

  2. Kilgore College
    Location

    Kilgore, TX

  3. Galveston College
    Location

    Galveston, TX

  4. Alvin Community College
    Location

    Alvin, TX

  5. Panola College
    Location

    Carthage, TX

  6. College of the Mainland
    Location

    Texas City, TX

  7. Paris Junior College
    Location

    Paris, TX

  8. Grayson College
    Location

    Denison, TX

  9. Howard College
    Location

    Big Spring, TX

How to Obtain a Texas Nursing License

In Texas, registered nurses must hold a valid license in order to practice legally. The Texas Board of Nursing is responsible for establishing and regulating licensure requirements, and manages the licensing and renewal processes for registered and advanced practice nurses. Learn more about the licensure requirements for first-time candidates below.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Complete an approved program of nursing at a two- or four-year institution
  • Complete an online examination application and pay a $100 fee
  • Pass a criminal background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Public Safety
  • Register with Pearson VUE at least 30 days before graduation to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and pay a $200 testing fee
  • Take and pass the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Examination
  • Graduates of both Texas and out-of-state nursing schools must request an affidavit of graduation be sent to the Board of Nursing by the Dean or Director of their program
  • After receiving the materials listed above, the Board of Nursing will issue an Authorization to Test and students can set a day to take the exam

Keeping a TX License Active

Registered nurses must renew their licenses biannually and show proof of completing at least 20 continuing education credits during the previous two years. Nurses renewing their license for the first time are exempt from the continuing education requirement, but must still pay the standard renewal fee of $60.

TX Licensure Information for APRNs

The Texas Board of Nursing licenses advanced practice registered nurses in a variety of roles, including positions as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists. Applications are completed online and the Board of Nursing recommends applicants submit all supporting documents at one time. Learn more about the educational requirements and licensing process below:

  • Nurses who graduated on or after January 1, 2003 must complete at least 500 clinical hours in a specialized area of advanced practice during their graduate program of study
  • Pay a fee of $100 for APRN licensure or $150 for a licensure with prescriptive authority
  • Show valid RN licensure in Texas or from a state with compact privilege
  • Graduate from an accredited advanced practice nursing program that is recognized by the Texas Board of Nursing
  • Hold national certification for the specialized area of nursing practice and submit verification of that certification
  • Complete at least 500 hours of clinical practice in an advanced practice role within the last two years (or during the educational program)
  • Complete at least 20 hours of continuing nursing education within the last 24 calendar months

For more detailed information, forms, and updates on advance practice nursing in Texas, go to the Texas Board of Nursing.

Career Numbers: Texas RNs and Beyond

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports Texas has nearly 280,000 RNs in the state, a number that includes approximately 17,600 nurse practitioners and other advanced positions. Although the number of nurses is continually growing, the state has one of the highest rates of underserved populations in the country, with the AACN highlighting 315 understaffed regions. These findings coincide with the state experiencing one of the highest rates of growth for nurses in the nation, with a projected increase of 26 percent expected between 2012 and 2022. Those looking to work as a nurse practitioner are expected to see the biggest growth. Learn more about the state’s occupational outlook and earning potential for RNs and APRNs.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Texas

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown$36.22$75,340
Dallas-Plano-Irving Metropolitan Division$34.43$71,620
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington$34.28$71,300
Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Division$33.96$70,630
Southern Texas nonmetropolitan area$32.93$68,500
Brownsville-Harlingen$32.10$66,770
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood$31.72$65,970
San Antonio-New Braunfels$31.55$65,630
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos$31.31$65,130
Corpus Christi$31.06$64,610

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Texas vs. National Numbers

Salary

YearAnnual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)Annual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)
Registered Nurse$56,430$67,570$79,370$0$54,620$66,640$81,080
Certified Nurse Midwife$87,200$102,550$116,720$0$82,580$96,970$114,090
Nurse Anesthetist$133,410$155,590$0$0$132,380$153,780$181,860
Nurse Practitioner$85,500$100,270$117,020$0$82,720$95,350$113,470
  • Annual Salary (25th percentile)
  • Annual Salary (median)
  • Annual Salary (75th percentile)
TypeTexasNational
Registered Nurse190,1702,687,310
Certified Nurse Midwife1905,110
Nurse Anesthetist3,24036,590
Nurse Practitioner7,260122,050
TypeTexasNational
Registered Nurse242,8603,238,400
Certified Nurse Midwife2707,700
Nurse Anesthetist4,11043,900
Nurse Practitioner9,260147,300
TypeTexasNational
Registered Nurse9,040105,260
Certified Nurse Midwife10290
Nurse Anesthetist1601,560
Nurse Practitioner4005,850

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Nursing Resources: TX Edition

Texas Board of Nursing

The Texas Board of Nursing regulates the practice and licensure of nurses in the state by establishing licensing requirements, handling the licensing and renewal process, managing nursing complaints, and establishing nursing compacts with other states.

Texas Emergency Nurses Association

TENA is a nonprofit organization that has local chapters of emergency nurses throughout the state. The association offers continuing education programs, professional development opportunities and scholarships.

Texas Nurses Association

The Texas Nurses Association is the leading professional association for registered nurses from all specializations in the state of Texas. Through its legislative agenda, political action work, educational programs, networking events, and conferences, the TNA supports the training, professional development and career advancement of nurses in the state.

Texas Nurse Practitioners

Founded in 1988, the TNP works with and for nurse practitioners in the state. The membership-based organization offers a range of services including student memberships, continuing education programs, grassroots legislative efforts, and a career center.

Texas Organization of Nurse Executives

The Texas Organization of Nurse Executives is an organization for nursing administrators and executives that provides a united voice, access to networking opportunities, and insights into health care industry trends. Texas School Nurses Organization

TCNO is an affiliate of the National Association of School Nurses. The organization offers continuing education programs, and hosts events and conferences for its members working in school nursing roles throughout the state.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.


See All Posts
Colleges That Don’t Require the SAT or ACT

Colleges That Don’t Require the SAT or ACT

April 15, 2021   |   Staff Writers

A list of test-optional schools that don't use standardized test scores for admission into their bachelor's degree programs.

Finding a College That Doesn’t Require the GED or High School Diploma

Finding a College That Doesn’t Require the GED or High School Diploma

April 26, 2021   |   AccreditedSchoolsOnline Staff

You can still continue your education even if you did not complete high school or a GED certificate. Explore your options, including vocational schools, here.

Shape your future with an online degree

Connect with a community of peers, and find a program that will allow you to continue your education in a fast and flexible way.