Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Texas

10 Min Read Published February 13, 2024
City skyline of downtown city in Texas

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 pick the right school for you. That's why we've rounded up the best nursing schools in Texas to help you decide.

Top 10 Nursing Schools in Texas

This is a panel-reviewed selection based on several factors, including,

Our selection panel includes 5 Registered Nurses with over 55 years of combined nursing experience and 8 nursing degrees.

  • Tracy Everhart, MSN, RN, CNS
  • Tyler Faust, MSN, RN
  • Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN
  • Kathleen Gaines, MSN, RN, BA, CBC
  • Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN

Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 Texas nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.

1. University of Texas at Austin

  • Annual In-State Tuition: $12,040 | Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $45,634 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 84.87%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: No
  • Accelerated: No
  • Bridge: No

Based in Central Texas, the University of Texas at Austin emphasizes helping the local community. This philosophy is grounded in its nursing programs and many nurses go on to work in these types of communities. Students should apply to this school, but due to high competition, make sure you apply to others in Texas as well.

There are three main BSN Pathways at this university:

2. Schreiner University

  • Annual Tuition: $37,396 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: Yes
  • Accelerated: No
  • Bridge: Yes

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 who have earned their degrees from Schreiner boast a high NCLEX 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. 

There are three main pathways:

3. Texas Christian University

  • Annual Tuition: $57,130 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 94.44%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: No
  • Accelerated: Yes
  • Bridge: No

As a private university with a strong educational background, students can expect high tuition rates. But those rates are well worth it for students who want to attend one of the best nursing schools. 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. The university also offers an accelerated BSN for aspiring nurses who have a bachelor’s degree in another field. The accelerated program is 19 months and ranks as one of the top second-degree programs in the country. 

4. Texas A&M University

  • Annual In-state Tuition: $18,956 | Annual Out-of-state Tuition: $63, 216 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 69.96%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: No
  • Accelerated: Yes
  • Bridge: Yes

Texas A&M is the largest university in the nation, and its 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 required to complete the degree, so graduates can start their nursing career in less than four years. 

Texas A&M offers three BSN pathways:

>> Related: Top RN to BSN Programs in Texas

5. University of Texas at Arlington*

  • Annual In-state Tuition: $12,208 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 86.95%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: Yes
  • Accelerated: Yes
  • Bridge: Yes

Based in the northern part of the state the University of Texas at Arlington* has over 40,000 students enrolled. This includes their distance learners, some of whom 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. 

6. Texas Woman’s University

  • Annual In-state Tuition: $17,811  | Annual Out-of-state Tuition: $32,907  | NCLEX Pass Rate: 92.05%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: Yes, but only for the RN-to-BSN program
  • Accelerated: No
  • Bridge: Yes

TWU is one of the top schools in the state for nursing research 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 especially because those that earn an undergraduate degree can easily apply and transition to a graduate program. But the universities’  focus on graduate studies doesn’t mean they don’t also offer a BSN program – and yes, men are welcome to apply to Texas Woman’s University’s nursing program, too.

There are three tracks at Texas Woman’s University:

7. University of Texas at Tyler

  • Annual In-state Tuition: $8,364 |  | Annual Out-of-state Tuition: $21,624 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 83.94%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: No
  • Accelerated: No
  • Bridge: Yes

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 the undergraduate nursing program can also be completed at one of their distance sites in Longview or Palestine. This means that some locals might not have to relocate to earn one of the top BSNs in Texas.

There are three BSN tracks at the university:

8. University of St. Thomas

  • Annual Tuition: $33,660 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 84.62%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: Yes
  • Accelerated: Yes
  • Bridge: Yes

Named for the patron saint of universities and students, the University of St. Thomas has established itself as a top private school in Texas. Located in Houston, nursing students can take advantage of the urban setting and also some of the top hospitals in the state for clinical experiences. The city is also a great place to find a job after graduation. 

There are several tracks to choose from at this university:

9. Abilene Christian University

  • Annual Tuition: $44,200 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 83.33%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: Yes
  • Accelerated: No
  • Bridge: Yes

Abilene Christian University, or ACU, opened its current campus 90 years ago. The BSN curriculum structure is meant to create servant-leaders in the community, a great basis for nurses who might want to attend graduate school at some point. The university offers an on-campus BSN and an online BSN. Students have the ability to participate in mission trips and volunteer opportunities around the world throughout their nursing programs. 

10. University of Mary Hardin - Baylor

  • Annual Tuition: $32,020 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 88.96%
  • Traditional: Yes
  • Online: Yes
  • Accelerated: No
  • Bridge: Yes

The University of Mary Hardin–Baylor has the distinct honor of being the oldest continuous college in Texas.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.  

BSN nursing pathways at this university include:

Texas Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 

  • Texas employs 231,060 nurses, making it the second-highest employer for nurses in the nation.

  • The annual registered nurse salary in Texas was $84,320 in 2022, just above the national average.

While it isn’t the highest-paying state for nurses, Texas is 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 in their careers to find higher-paying positions.

Show Me Texas Nursing Programs

Next Steps

You’ve found schools you’re interested in and are ready to start applying. But before applying, you should spend more time researching each school to make sure it’s a good fit. 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. 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 additional information, such as volunteer experience and/or 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. 

Show Me Texas Nursing Programs

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 take factors like tuition into account. 

Additional 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 its nursing program adheres to strict national standards.

Getting a Nursing 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 41 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

FAQs

  • What is the number one nursing school in the state of Texas? 

  • Is nursing good in Texas? 

    • Texas is a great state to work as a nurse, with relatively high wages and a low cost of living. Additionally, it’s a great state to train as a nurse, with many teaching hospitals and nursing programs for students.
  • How long is RN school in Texas?

    • ADN programs take around 2-3 years while BSN programs take around 4-5 years in Texas. Accelerated programs can take around 1-2 years. 
  • What is the fastest way to become a nurse in Texas? 

    • If you have a Bachelor’s in another field, you can take an accelerated nursing program in as little as one year in Texas. If you don’t have a Bachelor’s, however, an ADN program may be completed in 2-3 years. 
  • How much does it cost to go to nursing school in Texas? 

    •  Cost varies by school and program,  but you can expect to spend between $10,000 and $40,000 a year for nursing programs in Texas. 
  • What prerequisites do I need for nursing in Texas?

    • Each school sets its own prereqs, but in general, expect good grades in anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and microbiology to be required for any nursing program.

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 become an RN, you’ll be eligible to work as a nurse in 41 states!

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References:

Angelina Walker
Angelina Walker
Director of Nursing Content and Social Media

Angelina has her finger on the pulse of everything nursing. Whether it's a trending news topic, valuable resource or, heartfelt story, Angelina is an expert at producing content that nurses love to read. She specializes in warmly engaging with the nursing community and exponentially growing our social presence.

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