Getting an associate degree in nursing is a quick and affordable way to become an RN and launch your career. You’ll find excellent state-approved ADN programs in Houston, TX, all of which prepare you to take the NCLEX-RN exam and start your first job as a registered nurse. This guide is designed to help you select the two-year nursing program in Houston that best suits your individual needs and professional goals. Plus you’ll find lots of great information on the advantages of earning your ADN versus other healthcare credentials, the knowledge and skills you’ll gain in your Houston-based ADN program, salary and job growth expectations for RNs, and much more.
College Spotlights: Best ADN Programs in Houston
We’ve surveyed the state-approved ADN programs currently offered in the Houston area and selected three of the very best to spotlight. Our choices are based on an evaluation of several important program elements, including accreditation, affordability, NCLEX-RN exam pass rates, quality of staff and facilities, and access to student support services. These three standout programs provide a good idea of what you can—and should—expect from the ADN program in Houston you choose.
Alvin Community College
Like most two-year nursing programs in Houston, the AAS in Nursing program at Alvin Community College offers degree pathways both for students first entering the nursing profession and for current vocational nurses looking to advance their careers by becoming RNs. Students new to nursing complete the full four-semester (two-year) AAS in Nursing, which includes general education and nursing coursework, nursing labs, and hands-on clinical rotations. All nursing classes and some labs are completed on campus; other labs and all clinical rotations are completed at hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the Houston/Galveston area. The total cost for this ADN program in Houston, TX, (including tuition, fees, uniforms, supplies, textbooks, transportation, etc.) is approximately $9,000 for Texas residents and $11,000 for out-of-state residents. You can start the program in January or August.
Current LVNs complete the three-semester (one-year) Nursing Transition (LVN to ADN) curriculum. The LVN to ADN program starts once each year in June. Total program cost is $7,000-$8,000. Admission requirements for both ADN options include a high school diploma (or equivalent), successful completion of the HESI-A2 test, and completion of prerequisite college courses.
Lone Star College
Lone Star College (LSC) offers its AAS in Nursing degree program with tracks for students who are new to nursing and for current LVN/LPs looking to complete their ADN. The Block Curriculum Path, which is available only on LSC’s Cy-Fair campus, offers a two-year, four-semester full-time program (not counting prerequisites) leading to an AAS in Nursing degree. The Integrated Curriculum Path also leads to an AAS in Nursing degree but provides options for earning either a Nursing Assistant Level 2 Certificate or a Vocational Nurse Level 2 Certificate after the first year. The Integrated Curriculum Path is available on LSC’s campuses in Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball.
LSC’s Transition to Professional Nursing track allows graduates of an LVN or paramedic program to earn their AAS in Nursing degree with three semesters of study (not counting prerequisites). The full track is offered on the Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball campuses and can be partially completed online.
San Jacinto College
With several locations in Houston and Pasadena, San Jacinto College (SJC) is another great public community college offering a two-year nursing program in Houston. The Associate Degree in Nursing program is for students new to the nursing profession and features a unique five-semester curriculum (including two consecutive summer terms) that provides all academic nursing coursework, labs, and clinical rotations needed to qualify for the NCLEX-RN exam. In the final term, students take Professional Nursing: Leadership and Management, which acts as a capstone experience. The ADN program is available on SJC’s North and Central Campuses. Paramedics and LVNs may earn their AAS in Nursing through SJC’s four-semester LVN/Paramedic to ADN Transition program.
Graduates of either ADN option can continue their education to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree through the RN to BSN program available at SJC’s Central Campus.
2-Year ADN Nursing Programs in Houston Approved by the Texas Board of Nursing
As mentioned above, there are currently many ADN programs in Houston and the surrounding area that are approved by the Texas Board of Nursing and qualify graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam leading to Texas RN licensure. Here’s a complete list:
|School Name||City||NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020)|
|Alvin Community College||Alvin, TX||96%|
|Brazosport College||Lake Jackson, TX||85%|
|College of the Mainland||Texas City, TX||88%|
|Galveston College||Galveston, TX||66%|
|Houston Community College||Houston, TX||78%|
|Lee College||Baytown, TX||81%|
|Lone Star College Montgomery||Conroe, TX||98%|
|Lone Star College North Harris||Houston, TX||88%|
|Lone Star College Tomball||Tomball, TX||91%|
|San Jacinto College Central||Pasadena, TX||97%|
|The College of Health Care Professions||Houston, TX||57%|
Source: Texas Board of Nursing; Latest data available as of February 2022
Why Choose an ADN Program in Houston?
The nursing profession is unique in that it has multiple entry points. You can start your career in just a few months as a vocational nurse or nurse assistant, or you can wait and complete a full four-year BSN degree. Entering the nursing profession as a fully licensed RN via a two-year ADN program in Houston provides a great middle ground with several key advantages.
- Finish nursing school in less time and with more money left in your pocket.
If you want to be an RN in Texas, you have two options: the ADN degree and the BSN degree. Both qualify you for the NCLEX-RN exam. But if you’re looking for the quickest and least expensive option, the clear choice is an ADN program in Houston, TX. Excluding prerequisite coursework, most ADN programs require a two-year academic commitment—half the time (and half the money) you’ll likely spend earning a BSN. And remember, community college per-credit tuition rates are substantially lower than public and private four-year colleges.
- Higher earnings potential compared to other entry-level nursing professions.
Along with registered nurse, the most common entry-level nursing occupations are vocational nurse and nursing assistant. And when it comes to earnings potential, the big winner is registered nurse. As the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics figures listed below indicate, RNs in the Houston area enjoy substantially higher salaries than vocational nurses and nursing assistants.
|Mean Hourly Pay in the Houston Metro||Mean Annual Pay in the Houston Metro|
|Registered Nurse (RN)||$40.85||$84,960|
|Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)||$23.54||$48,960|
|Certified Nursing Aide (CNA)||$14.11||$29,360|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020
- Strong demand for registered nurses in Houston.
Another big concern for any career is job security and growth potential. The good news for students starting ADN programs in Houston, TX, is that strong job growth is projected for registered nurses in the area both in the short term and for many years to come. Check out the most recent data from the Texas Workforce Commission’s Labor Market and Career Information website, which estimates job growth of just under 23% between 2018 and 2028 for RNs in the Houston metro area. That’s nearly 9% better than the combined total for all occupations in the area and 13% greater for all occupations nationwide between 2020 and 2030.
- Ability to further your nursing education and career down the road.
As an ADN graduate, you’ll be well prepared to advance your nursing career by continuing your education to earn a BSN or graduate-level nursing degree or certificate. That’s because most of the credits earned in an ADN program in Houston, TX, can be transferred to most BSN and many graduate nursing degree programs in the state and elsewhere. The University of Houston’s RN to BSN program and the RN to MSN Online Program at the University of Texas Arlington are just two examples.
To learn more about advanced nursing degree options for registered nurses in your area, be sure to visit EduMed’s guides to Texas online RN to BSN programs and online RN to MSN programs.
Inside Look at Online ADN Programs in Houston
Distance learning plays an important role in postsecondary education, with many degree programs available today mostly or entirely online. That’s not the case, however, when it comes to ADN programs in Houston, TX. The need for hands-on training means students complete most, if not all, degree requirements in person on their program’s campus and at healthcare facilities in and around the Houston area.
Nevertheless, you’ll find that most ADN programs in Houston include at least a few online components, such as reading materials, written assignments, recorded lectures, etc. Plus, it’s common for some required general education and nursing theory courses to be offered fully or partially online. Examples include Lone Star College’s LVN to ADN program, which features a partially online option, and Blinn College District’s AAS in Nursing program, which offers several nursing and general ed courses in fully online and blended (part online/part in person) formats.
FAQs About ADN Programs in Houston
What nursing knowledge and skills do you learn in ADN programs in Houston?
An ADN program in Houston, TX, is all about giving you the knowledge and skills you’ll need for a strong start to your career. Looking for specifics? Here are just some of the learning outcomes you can expect to gain from your ADN program in Houston:
- A strong foundation in nursing theory, biology, and psychology.
- The ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with patients, families, and healthcare team members.
- The ability to use an evidence-based approach to problem solving, resulting in proper care that meets both common and complex patient needs.
- The ability to work as part of a healthcare team delivering proper, competent, and effective treatment.
- Personal, professional, and social responsibility that meets or exceeds applicable ethical standards.
To get an idea of the subjects you’ll cover in your Houston, TX, ADN program, be sure to check out the curriculum at San Jacinto College and Wharton County Junior College.
How much do ADN programs cost in Houston?
If you’re planning to attend an ADN program in or around Houston, TX, you’ll do so through a public community college. That’s good news for your pocketbook because public community colleges offer some of the most affordable tuition rates to be found. Below are the tuition rates for three ADN programs in Houston, TX, to give you a better picture of what you can expect to pay. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that your total program price will be substantially more once you factor in program fees and costs for books, supplies, uniforms, parking, transportation, etc.
College of the Mainland
Total Credits: 60
$45/credit (in-district residents); $85/credit (out-of-district residents); $115/credit (out-of-state residents)
Houston Community College
Total Credits: 60
$84.50/credit* (in-district residents); $180.50/credit* (out-of-district residents); $227* (out-of-state residents)
Wharton County Junior College
Total Credits: 60
$95/credit* (in-district residents); $156/credit* (out-of-district residents); $198* (out-of-state residents)
*Includes tuition and fees.
Can I get financial aid to help pay for my ADN program in Houston?
A number of funding sources are available to qualifying students in ADN programs in Houston. These include loans (like those from the Federal Student Aid program), scholarships, grants, work-study programs, loan repayment opportunities (like those from the HRSA), employer tuition reimbursement programs, and more.
Be sure to contact the financial aid office at each of the colleges you’re considering to find out about specific funding opportunities, including those sponsored by the State of Texas. And be sure to check out EduMed’s financial aid, nursing scholarships, and graduating from nursing school debt-free guides for more great information on paying for your ADN program in Houston, TX.
How long do ADN programs in Houston take to finish?
ADN programs in Houston, TX, are similar when it comes to program lengths. Students with no previous professional nursing experience complete approximately two years of full-time study to earn an ADN from most Houston-area programs. There are a few exceptions, though. For example, San Jacinto College’s AAS in Nursing program (spotlighted above) extends slightly past the two-year mark with a second summer session. And the AAS in Nursing program at Houston Community College requires slightly less than two years, beginning in the fall semester of the first year and ending after the fall semester of the second year. Transition track ADN programs (for current LVNs and paramedics) typically require three semesters over a one-year period.
It’s important to remember, however, that all ADN programs in Houston require prerequisite courses that may take a full semester prior to starting the nursing curriculum.