To become a nurse in Texas, the best course of action is to earn a nursing degree from a local school. Earning a degree from an accredited Texas school will satisfy any prerequisites you’ll need to become a registered nurse (RN) in the Lone Star State. But not all nursing schools are the same, and you’ll want to be picking the right school for you. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best nursing schools in Texas to help you decide.
How We Chose the Best Nursing Schools in Texas
This is a panel-reviewed selection based on a number of factors including,
- NCLEX pass rate
- Acceptance rate, when available
- Only ACEN or CCNE accredited schools are eligible
Our selection panel includes 5 Registered Nurses with over 55 years of combined nursing experience and 7 nursing degrees.
- Tracy Everhart, MSN, RN, CNS
- Tyler Faust, MSN, RN
- Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN
- Kathleen Gaines, BSN, RN, BA, CBC
- Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN
Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 New Jersey nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.
Top 10 Nursing Schools in Texas
Annual In-State Tuition: $12,040 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 96.03%
Based in Central Texas, the University of Texas at Austin places an emphasis on helping the local community. This philosophy is ground into their nursing programs and many nurses go on to work in these types of communities. The BSN program is the highlight of the University of Texas at Austin’s program, and the school admits that entry is highly competitive. Students should definitely apply to this school, but make sure you apply to others in Texas as well.
Annual Tuition: $33,927 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%
Schreiner University is a private school founded on Presbyterian values. While the school was founded in 1923, Schreiner has only recently started seeing huge growth. The nursing school and the BSN degree are both relatively young and don’t have many graduates. However, nursing students that have earned their degree from Schreiner boast a high NCELX pass rate and good job placement. The annual tuition is high, but many students earn some type of financial aid to help keep costs low.
Annual Tuition: $51,570 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.16%
A high tuition rate is to be expected from a private university with a background as strong as Texas Christian University’s. But the cost of the tuition is well worth it to nursing students, especially those who want to become a nurse anesthesiologist. Of course, most students are going to focused on earning their BSN first. BSN students will start their clinical assignment at the beginning of their sophomore year, so you’ll have plenty of experience by the time you graduate.
Annual In-state Tuition: $12,340 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%
It’s hard not to immediately notice Texas A&M’s perfect NCLEX pass rate! What’s more impressive is that Texas A&M is the largest university in the nation, and their nursing school is proportionately sized. One cool part about the BSN is that students can earn it year-round, taking courses in the winter and summer. This reduces the time it takes to complete the degree, so graduates can start their nursing career in less than four years.
Annual In-state Tuition: $10,700 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 94.38%
Based in the northern part of Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington has over 59,000 students enrolled. This includes their distance learners, some of which are completing their BSN entirely online. This online program has an even lower tuition for in-state students than what’s listed, although nursing students will be required to complete their clinicals in person. For traditional students, the four-year BSN or RN-BSN are offered in Arlington. No matter which option you pick, this is an affordable nursing degree for Texas residents.
Annual In-state Tuition: $13,578 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.70%
As the name implies, Texas Woman’s University is a school that is primarily composed of women. TWU is also one of the top schools in the state for nursing research, with research being conducted in areas like women’s health and quality patient outcomes. This school is worth paying attention to for anyone looking to get a graduate degree. But their focus on graduate studies doesn’t mean they don’t also have a BSN – and yes, men are welcome to apply to Texas Woman’s University’s nursing program, too.
Annual In-state Tuition: $9,060 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 91.75%
The University of Texas at Tyler is another excellent school that’s part of the University of Texas public system. One benefit of the University of Texas at Tyler is that their undergraduate nursing program can also be completed at their distance sites in Longview and Palestine. This means that some locals might not have to relocate in order to earn one of the top BSNs in Texas. An accelerated BSN track is also available for students who want to get their degree sooner than others.
Annual Tuition: $31,560 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 87.50%
Named for the patron saint of universities and students, the University of St. Thomas has established themselves as a top private school in Texas. Situated in Houston, nursing students can take advantage of the urban setting and many nearby hospitals while earning clinical experience and looking for a job after graduation. St. Thomas only offers a BSN program and DNP program, so this school is best suited for undergraduate students.
Annual Tuition: $39,350 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.39%
Abilene Christian University, or ACU, opened their current campus 90 years ago. Since then, ACU has grown into one of the top private schools in Texas, and home to a top nursing school in the region. The BSN curriculum structure is meant to create servant-leaders in the community, a great basis for nurses that might want to attend graduate school at some point. An online pre-nursing track, as well as a DNP program, are also available through ACU.
Annual Tuition: $38,730 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.92%
The University of Mary Hardin – Baylor has the distinct honor of being the oldest continuous college in Texas. Interestingly, the school was originally a female college and has since grown to include nearly 4,000 students. Most nursing students at UMHB are enrolled in the BSN program, although there are MSN and Doctor of Education in Nursing programs available as well. Future nursing students who live in Texas can find a more affordable education at a state school, but the high NCLEX pass rate is hard to ignore.
4 Key Factors That Affect Nursing School Tuition
Keep in mind that colleges and universities reserve the right to change tuition rates at any time. The yearly tuition rates listed here will vary for each individual student depending on various factors including,
- Transfer credits
- Completed competency exams
- Amount of credits taken per year
- Financial aid awards
Check with the specific school for current tuition rates.
Nurse Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),
- Texas employs 219,330 nurses making it the second-highest employer for nurses in the nation.
- Nurses in Texas earned an annual mean wage of $76,800 in 2020, just below the national average.
While it isn’t the highest paying state for nurses, Texas is handily one of the largest employers for nurses. However, Texas is a relatively affordable state, and the average home price is well below the national average. Money can go much further in Texas than it can in other high-employment states like California or New York.
Texas is also home to large, urban areas and some of the nation’s most famous hospitals. Nurses can gain valuable experience, and many choose to continue their education and specialize their career to find higher-paying positions.
You’ve found schools that you’re interested in and you’re ready to start applying. But before you send that application, you should spend more time researching each school to make sure it’s a good pick. College is a huge, timely, and expensive life decision, and picking the right school can set you up for the rest of your life.
Here are the next steps:
- Contact each school’s admissions offices. Admissions offices are an excellent resource, and they can answer any questions you might have about the nursing program, the school, and everything in between.
- Find out what the nursing school requirements are. Applying to a school and applying to a nursing program are two very different things. Nursing programs usually have stricter requirements; for example, a college may require a 2.5 GPA while a nursing program at that school would require a 3.0 GPA.
Check what the requirements are so you don’t end up at a school where you aren’t eligible to earn a BSN.
- Submit your application(s). Even if you know what school you want to go to, you should always apply to more than one school. You never know what scholarships might be offered to you!
Most college applications will require the following:
- High school transcript (GPA)
- ACT and/or SAT scores
- College entrance essay(s)
- Letter(s) of recommendation
Some universities might require other information, such as volunteer experience and extracurricular activities you’ve participated in.
If at any point you feel confused or lost, contact an admissions representative. Their job is to help you through the application process.
Important considerations when comparing schools:
Super low tuition is tempting, but picking the cheapest school isn’t necessarily the best thing to do. That being said, you should always keep factors like tuition into account.
Factors you should look at when comparing schools include:
- Annual tuition and total program cost (these can be different)
- Acceptance rate (both for the school and the nursing program)
- Length of the program
- Benefits of each specific nursing program
- Distance from home (will you have to commute or live on campus?)
- Distance from hospitals (will you have to commute for clinicals?)
- Scholarships or grants offered by the school
- Accreditation (regional and national)
Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation
You might not know much about accreditation, but it’s critical when looking at nursing schools. If a school doesn’t have the right accreditation, you won’t be eligible to take the NCLEX and become a registered nurse. Also, finding a job could prove to be much more difficult.
The two nursing accreditation organizations to look for are
If a school is accredited by one of these institutions, then their nursing program adheres to strict national standards.
Getting a License in Texas
Texas is part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC), so becoming an RN in Texas means you’re also eligible to work as a nurse in 24 other states.
To become an RN, you’ll need to:
- Take and pass the NCLEX-RN
- Pass a criminal background check
- Apply to become a nurse in Texas
The NCLEX and application both cost money (between $100-$200 each), but other than that there isn’t much more to the application process. Earning your degree is the hard part, so it’s fitting that the rest isn’t so bad!
With over 200,000 nurses, Texas is a top employer for nurses, including recent grads. Thanks to the many renowned hospitals in the area, BSN graduates should have no trouble finding a position in Texas. There are plenty of excellent public and private schools to choose from, and Texas residents can take advantage of low annual tuition at public schools. Once you becoming an RN, you’ll be eligible to work as a nurse in 25 states!