Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Houston

Houston's best nursing schoolsAccording to the United States Department of Labor, the need for nurses will be jumping an incredible 19% by 2022. That’s the biggest increase in demand for any job in the country, so you’re smart in pursuing a degree in nursing, and isn’t surprising why so many individuals are looking for factual information on becoming a nurse. But how do you know which schools are the best nursing schools in Houston and which are the best for you? There is a multitude of options when it comes to nursing schools in Houston, Texas alone, and they offer a variety of degree and certificate options, including Practical Nursing, Associate Degree in Nursing (and online associates degree in nursing), RN to BSN, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and even advanced degrees nursing.

10 Best Nursing Schools In Houston Texas.

School Name NCLEX-RN Pass RateCredit Hours
University of Texas Health School of Nursing96.6%60
Alvin Community College94.5%60
Houston Baptist University89.8%127
Prairie View A&M University89.8%64
San Jacinto College – Central 82.5%72
Lone Star College – Cy-Fair82.3%60
Lee College81.8%60
Lone Star College – North Harris78.8%60
Lone Star – Kingwood77.8%60
Houston Community College75.5%60


Top Nursing Schools In Houston Texas 

What it comes down to is picking the nursing school that will give you the best shot at success.  That means not only job placement but also opportunity for furthering your education and advancement in the field of nursing. There’s no sense in picking a nursing school that’s cheap if it doesn’t prepare you for the field of nursing, and on the flipside, it’s foolish to spend a fortune on an expensive school that doesn’t get results.  Fortunately, we have already researched Houston nursing schools that provide results.

1. University of Texas Health School of Nursing

UTHealth School of Nursing offers two tracks for students to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree: the “Pacesetter BSN” and “RN to BSN” options. The Pacesetter BSN is for students who have no degree or a degree in another field. It is geared towards preparing a student to both earn their BSN degree and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, the test you need to pass to become a Registered Nurse. The Pacesetter BSN program is a full-time, 15-month track program. What makes the Pacesetter program unique is that it allows students to immerse themselves in the world of nursing, particularly in the last term of the program.

The RN to BSN program is a little different. It is for Registered Nurses who want to earn their BSN degree and advance their careers. In addition to the RN to BSN track, UTHealth School of Nursing also offers advanced degrees in nursing, including a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Ph.D. in Nursing, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), making UTHealth School of Nursing the most comprehensive nursing school in Houston.

A Top Tier Nursing School with Top Tier Students

As you might expect, UTHealth School of Nursing is the most competitive nursing program in Houston. According to The Fort Bend Star, the Pacesetter program typically gets 600 to 800 applicants for only 125 openings. Also, to apply you must have already completed 60 credit hours of perquisites with a minimum GPA of 2.75.

If you’re admitted, you’re almost guaranteed a job after graduation, though, thanks to the shortage of nurses in the areas and UTHealth School of Nursing’s affiliations with prominent local medical centers, including Houston Methodist Hospital, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph Medical Center, The University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center, and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. If you’re looking to get to the top of the nursing field, there is no better option with nursing schools in Houston than UTHealth School of Nursing.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.6%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 60
  • Admission Requirements: 60 credit hours of prerequisites, minimum 2.75 GPA
  • In-state Tuition: $14,174
  • Accreditation: Yes

2. Alvin Community College

Alvin Community College, located just 33 miles from downtown Houston, is ranked #24 out of all community colleges in the country, and its nursing program has a proven track record of preparing students for a career in nursing, with consistently high pass rates on the NCLEX-RN exam. Alvin Community College offers a two-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program and a one-year LVN to RN Transition Program for nurses who are already LVNs.

Readying You for Success in the Field of Nursing

According to Alvin Community College, “Graduates report that they start their careers as a Registered Nurse earning $50,000 or more.” In addition, the school has affiliations with both community medical care facilities and the Texas Medical Center in Houston, making job prospects even brighter.

The best part about Alvin Community College is its accessibility, both financially and when it comes to admission requirements. You do need to already be enrolled as a student before applying to the ADN program, but because it’s a community college, the application process is much easier. In addition, the tuition fees are drastically cheaper than a four-year college or a private nursing school, particularly if you live in-district.

If you do hope to go on to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at a four-year college at some point, you can transfer your credits from Alvin Community College to a four-year college while you’re already working in the field as an RN.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.5%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 60
  • Admission Requirements: Enrollment at Alvin Community College and separate application to nursing program
  • Tuition: $2,468 for in-district students, $4,088 for out-of-district students
  • Accreditation: Yes

3. Houston Baptist University

Houston Baptist University is a four-year, private Christian college with three routes for earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree: a standard track, Honors track, and RN to BSN track. Whichever track you might choose, you’ll get clinical experience at Texas Medical Center’s major hospitals and at various local and community health centers in the Houston area.

A Traditional Four-Year College Experience

The number one benefit of attending Houston Baptist University is that you can take all of your general education and BSN nursing program courses on one campus, with a traditional four-year college experience. There is no need to complete prerequisites before applying to the four-year program. In addition, the university boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio, and all nursing classes and clinical experiences are taught by current nursing faculty.

Houston Baptist University delivers all the benefits of a private university, but also comes with the high tuition cost of a private university. At $29,800 per year, you’ll be spending a lot more money to become an RN than compared to other schools, but you do walk away with fuller college experience, a BSN degree, and the prestige and job opportunities that come with graduating from a private university.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.8%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 127
  • Admission Requirements: high school diploma
  • Tuition: $29,800/year
  • Accreditation: Yes

4. Prairie View A&M University

The value of earning a degree at a four-year university is that you give yourself more career opportunities and flexibility, and that is certainly the case at Prairie View A&M University. CollegeNet recently ranked Prairie View A&M University as the #2 college in the country when it comes to social mobility, meaning that graduates not only have ample career opportunities but also have less student loan debt compared to students who go to more expensive universities.

The College of Nursing at Prairie View A&M University offers several tracks for earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, as well as advanced degrees, including a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). To apply to the BSN program, you must first complete the prerequisites of a pre-nursing program and maintain a 2.75 GPA. These pre-requisites can be completed at Prairie View A&M University or at any other accredited college, including community colleges.

95 Years of Success Teaching Nurses

Perhaps the biggest draw to Prairie View A&M University’s College of Nursing is the fact that it has been training nurses for 95 years and is located in the Texas Medical Center. The school boasts state-of-the-art classrooms and clinical facilities and has a proud heritage of educating African American nurses. As the second oldest public university in Texas, it boasts something private universities can’t: low tuition. Not including room and board and other related costs, tuition for completing your BSN at Prairie View A&M University is only $2,816, a price that’s a bargain, even compared to the most affordable community colleges. With a value like this, there’s no reason not to apply and get started on your BSN right now.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.8%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 64
  • Admission Requirements: complete pre-nursing program with minimum 2.75 GPA
  • In-state Tuition: $2,816
  • Accreditation: Yes

5. San Jacinto College – Central

San Jacinto College is one of the top 100 community colleges in the country, with state-of-the-art training facilities in automotive, science, allied health, music and fine arts. It offers several nursing programs, including routes for earning your Vocational Nursing certificate (LVN) or Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). The central campus has a track record of preparing students to pass the NCLEX-RN test, and has a network of local hospitals and healthcare facilities where students get real-world experience, including at the Texas Medical Center.

A Nursing Program with Flexibility

Like the other community colleges that offer nursing programs in Houston, the benefit of attending San Jacinto College is the low tuition and flexibility. If you decide to earn your BSN degree at some point in the future, you can transfer your credits from your ADN degree at Jacinto College to a four-year college. On the other hand, if you decide you need to begin working as a nurse early on in your education, you can first earn your LVN at San Jacinto. With your LVN, you then have the option to be working and receive your ADN in San Jacinto’s LVN to ADN transition program at the South campus. The South campus has an even better pass rate for the NCLEX-RN test at 89.7%.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.5%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 72
  • Admission Requirements: high school diploma
  • In-district Tuition: $4,372
  • Accreditation: Yes

6. Lone Star College – Cy-Fair

Community colleges continue to offer some of the best value when it comes to vocational programs, and Lone Star College is no exception, particularly when it comes to its nursing program. Lone Star College has a total of five different campuses, and the Lone Star – Cy-Fair campus continually has the best results when it comes to students passing their NCLEX-RN examinations. Located in Cypress, 29 miles from downtown Houston, Lone Star College – Cy-Fair offers a unique associate degree in nursing, the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing, which is geared towards students who want to enter the workforce quickly.

Get Working as a Nurse and Go On to Get Your BSN if You Want

The AAS degree in Nursing is a two-year, 60 credit hour program designed to prepare you to work in the nursing field immediately, whether you hope to go on to earn a BSN or not. If you do decide to continue your education afterward, Lone Star College – Cy Fair has worked out arrangements with numerous four-year colleges to make transferring into their BSN programs easy, including Prairie View A&M University, University of Phoenix, The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC),  Kaplan University, University of Houston at Victoria, Lamar University,  The University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Tech University, Western Governors University Texas, Grand Canyon University, and University of Texas at Tyler.

Compared to other Associate level degrees in nursing, Lone Star College – Cy Fair does have slightly higher standards with the HESI-A2 entrance exam, but the unique degree offers more flexibility.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.3%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 60
  • Admission Requirements: high school diploma, separate application to nursing program
  • In-district Tuition: $4,620
  • Accreditation: Yes

7. Lee College

Twenty miles east of downtown Houston, in Baytown, Texas, is Lee College, a community college that has been educating students since 1934. Ranked in the top 10 percent of community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute for two consecutive years, Lee College offers more than 130 degrees and certificates, including a vocation nursing (LVN) certificate, and two tracks for an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in nursing. The traditional AAS track is geared towards preparing students to pass the NCLEX-RN test and enter the workforce as registered nurses.

A History of Gainful Employment for Graduates

Similar to many other community colleges, Lee College requires you to complete your prerequisite courses before applying to the nursing program with a minimum 2.7 GPA and to take an entrance exam. The program is a two-year, 60 credit-hour program, and is geared towards finding employment in the nursing field, with 85% of nursing students having gainful employment by their fourth quarter in the program. In addition, Lee college has a proven track record with graduates successfully transferring to top-tier four-year universities, in case you’re considering going on to earn your BSN in nursing.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.8%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 60
  • Admission Requirements: Prerequisites with minimum 2.7 GPA, separate application to nursing program
  • In-State Tuition: $2,238
  • Accreditation: Yes

8. Lone Star College – North Harris

Lone Star College – North Harris, like the Lone Star – Cy-Fair campus, boasts small class sizes, flexible class schedules, and a focus on career preparation. Best of all, it’s affordable and has a proven track record of success with preparing students for the nursing field. Also, it’s located in Houston itself, north of down town.

The North Harris campus offers two tracks for earning your Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree on your way to becoming an RN: an integrated curriculum program, and a transitional program for students who have already graduated from an LVN or Paramedic program. Both tracks are 60 credit hour programs.

Get Job Experience While Going to School

Both tracks also allow students to earn a medical assistant certificate after earning 29 credits hours, which means you can start working in the field as an assistant after your first year of study. This is a huge benefit for students who can’t afford to attend college full-time for two years before entering the work force.

Perhaps the best part about Lone Star College – North Harris is how affordable it is. Particularly if you are an “in-district” resident, your tuition rates will be much lower than compared to four-year or private nursing schools in Houston, Texas. You’re considered “in-district” if you live in Aldine, Conroe, Cy-Fair, Humble, Klein, Magnolia, New Caney, Splendora, Spring, Tomball and Willis Independent School Districts.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 78.8%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 60
  • Admission Requirements: high school diploma, separate application to nursing program
  • In-district Tuition: $4,620
  • Accreditation: Yes

9. Lone Star – Kingwood

Similar to the other Lone Star campuses, Lone Star – Kingwood offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in nursing, meaning you’re on the fast track to start working as a nurse. The Kingwood campus also offers programs to earn your nursing assistant certificate or vocational nursing (LVN) certificate, either on their own or on the way to earning your AAS in nursing. Whichever route you choose, you’ll be well on your way to jumping into the nursing field.

Job Flexibility and State-of-the-Art Facilities

The campus is located in Kingwood, Texas, 24 miles from downtown Houston, and similar to the other Lone Star campuses, the Kingwood campus’s nursing program offers two tracks for earning your nursing degree, a Basic Track program for students with little or no nursing experience, and an LVN to RN program for students who are already licensed vocational nurses.

Also like the other Lone Star campuses, tuition is highly affordable at the Kingwood campus, especially if you live in the Kingwood district. Also, like the other campuses, Lone Star – Kingwood features modern laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment so that nursing students walk away with not only a degree, but real world experience.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 77.8%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 60
  • Admission Requirements: high school diploma, separate application to nursing program
  • In-district Tuition: $4,620
  • Accreditation: Yes

10. Houston Community College

Houston Community College is a proud supporter of armed forces veterans, and like most of the other community colleges, it is an open admission campus, meaning admittance is guaranteed as long as you meet the minimum requirements. Houston Community College offers both vocation nursing (LVN) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs. Also, there is an LVN to RN AAS track. If working in the field early on in your education is an imperative, completing the LVN program first is a great way to get started, and it leaves you with the option to continue your education and advance your career.

Making it Easy to get Started in Nursing

The nursing program at Houston Community College is a 46 credit hour program with a mandatory 14 prerequisite credit hours needed before applying. Like all the other community colleges with nursing programs in Houston, Houston Community College boasts affordable tuition and a proven track record of preparing students for the field of nursing. Whether you’re looking to simply enter the field, become an RN, or take the first step toward earning a bachelor degree in nursing, Houston Community College has all your options covered.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 75.5%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 60
  • Admission Requirements: Prerequisites with 3.0 GPA and separate application to nursing program
  • Tuition: $4,068
  • Accreditation: Yes

Affordability and Options

Houston is a great city for nurses, with some options for getting a degree. Whether your budget is large or small…whether you want to be on the fast track to a career in the field or want to take your time and get a traditional four-year college experience, there are no excuses anymore. We’ve done the leg work for you. There are a great variety of nursing schools Houston has to offer, and even more opportunities for a meaningful career once you graduate, so get started now! There are other great nursing schools in Texas that you can research also.

How The Schools Were Ranked

Houston, Texas nursing schools were ranked based upon their student passing rates on for the NCLEX test for Registered Nurses. A weighted score was given to each school, based on their last five years of student scores, from 2010 to 2014, with the most recent years weighted more heavily.

NCLEX-RN scores are readily available and were obtained from the Texas Board of Nursing. In cases where NCLEX-RN scores were equal, rankings were based upon tuition rates for the nursing programs, with lower tuition rates warranting a higher ranking.

Information on job projections in the nursing field were based upon data from the United States Department of Labor.