Licensed vocational nurses, or LVNs, play a key role on healthcare teams by providing important basic medical care and services to patients. Fully trained and licensed LVNs are in high demand across the U.S., including in Texas. Becoming an LVN in Houston requires obtaining a state license, and eligibility requires the completion of a state-approved LVN education program. If you live in or around Houston, you’ll have plenty of accredited LVN programs to choose from.
This guide provides a comprehensive look at the best campus and online LVN programs in Houston and the surrounding area. Below, you’ll find information to help you locate a great campus or online LVN program in Houston and plenty of useful info and advice on program costs, skills taught, salary potential, online study options, and more.
College Spotlights: Best LVN Programs in Houston
Before you can pick the right LVN program in Houston, you have to know what’s available and what each program offers. To help start your search, we’ve spotlighted three of the best LVN programs in Houston. Our selections are based on a number of important factors, including state approval and accreditation, affordability, flexibility, and access to valuable student support services. These three programs are not the only quality LVN programs in Houston, but they’ll give you a good idea of what you should expect from the program you ultimately choose. So, keep reading to discover which LVN programs in Houston stand out in 2022.
Houston Community College
Houston Community College offers two LVN degree paths. The Licensed Vocational Nursing – Certificate Level 1 offered by Houston Community College (HCC) prepares students to provide quality basic medical care to patients, as well as to sit for the NCLEX-PN examination. Most classes are held in person on HCC’s main campus, although some may be available online. Students are required to complete in-person clinical practice hours at program-approved sites in the Houston area during each of the program’s three semesters. Study culminates in a practicum or field experience consisting of general workplace training based on an individualized learning plan developed in collaboration with the student, college, and employer.
The current per-credit cost (tuition plus fees) for this 44-credit program (which includes two pre-requisite classes) is $84.50 for in-district residents, $180.50 for out-of-district Texas residents, and $227.00 for out-of-state residents.
HCC also offers a 60-credit Associate of Applied Science – Allied Health Concentration that allows HCC students who have completed their LVN certificate to obtain their associate’s degree by completing additional coursework.
Lone Star College
Lone Star College’s Vocational Nursing Certificate Level II program is a three-semester, full-time program that requires one full year of academic study. Students attend lecture and lab classes in person on Lone Star’s CyFair, Kingswood, Montgomery, and Tomball campuses. Students also complete 704 clinical training hours under the direct supervision of clinical professionals at practice sites throughout the Houston area. The entire program requires 48 credits with 1,440 contact hours (lectures, labs, and clinicals).
The current per-credit tuition rates are $90 (in-district), $201 (out-of-district Texas residents), and $256 (out-of-state). Students will also need to pay for a variety of items, including books, uniforms, annual drug testing, health insurance, NCLEX-PN exam review, and test fees. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED, HESI A2 entrance exam scores that meet required minimums, and no criminal history (per Texas Board of Nursing background check). Acceptance into the program is competitive, with applicant rankings based on a point system according to the LVN program scoring sheet.
San Jacinto College
San Jacinto College’s 45-credit Vocational Nursing, Level 2 Certificate is completed with one full year (three semesters) of study and includes 560 classroom and 864 clinical/lab hours. Tuition costs are similar to, but slightly lower than, those for neighboring LVN programs. Current per-credit rates are $78 (in-district), $135 (out-of-district Texas residents), and $210 (out-of-state). Along with meeting general San Jacinto admissions requirements, an applicant must be a high school graduate or hold a GED, have a 2.25 GPA on college-level coursework, pass a physical exam, meet immunization requirements, and pass a drug screen and criminal background check. You can start the program in the fall or spring.
San Jacinto offers Vocational Nursing, Level 2, certificate holders the opportunity to continue their studies and earn an AAS – Vocational Nursing Pathway degree by completing an additional 15 credit hours of general education coursework.
FAQs About LVN Programs in Houston
What skills do you learn in LVN programs in Houston?
Coursework in LVN programs in Houston consist of classroom and clinical instruction in a number of medical and healthcare subjects, including nursing concepts, clinical practice, physiology and anatomy, pediatrics, geriatrics, disease prevention and treatment, neonatal nursing, mental health nursing, and many others. Check out these LVN program curriculums from Brazosport College and Houston Community College for specific course examples. A fundamental component of all LVN programs is the student’s development of specific nursing competencies mandated by the states as part of their LVN licensure requirements. These competency areas include professional behavior, patient-centered care, patient safety advocacy, and skills for working effectively as a member of a health care team.
How much do LVN programs cost in Houston?
Costs for LVN programs in Houston vary significantly between those offered by public institutions, with total tuition costs typically around $4,000 to $5,000, and those offered by private providers, with total program costs upwards of $30,000. Here are current costs for three state-approved LVN programs—two public and one private—in Houston and the surrounding area to give you a more specific idea of how much you might pay for your LVN studies. Keep in mind that students are typically required to pay additional costs for such items as uniforms, books and supplies, health insurance, and certification review programs.
Licensed Vocational Nursing Certificate
Total Credits: 41
Tuition cost per/credit: $90.50 (in-district); $124.50 (out-of-district Texas residents); $225.50 (out-of-state)
College of the Mainland
Vocational Nursing Certificate
Total Credits: 44
Total tuition cost (estimated): $4,926 (in-district); $6,256 (out-of-district Texas resident)
The Vocational Nursing Institute
Vocational Nursing Day Program
Total tuition cost: $25,500
Can I get financial aid to help pay for my LVN program in Houston?
Most students in LVN programs in Houston will likely qualify for one or more funding resources, the most common being student loans. Student loans may be available through state and local government, private lenders, and the U.S. Federal government. Other potential funding sources include work-study programs, employer tuition assistance, and scholarships and grants. Many LVN programs in Houston offer their students scholarship opportunities that are either LVN program-exclusive or school-exclusive. Examples include Houston Community College and San Jacinto College.
To find out about specific financial aid opportunities for your LVN program, contact your school’s financial aid department. And be sure to check out our LVN scholarships guide and main financial aid guide for more great information and advice on funding your LVN studies.
How long do LVN programs in Houston take to finish?
Because of the nature of their required components (lectures, labs, and clinical hours), the length of LVN programs in Houston are typically fixed, meaning that all students enrolled in the same class will complete their programs at the same time. The total length of most LVN programs in Houston is three semesters completed with one full year of full-time academic work. However, the Vocational Nursing Institute does offer a VN Evening Program in an 18-month format. Please note that LVN programs in Houston adhere to strict attendance requirements, so students should be prepared to commit fully to meeting those requirements.
Inside Look at Online LVN Programs in Houston
Online courses offer an additional level of flexibility and convenience to your academic studies. Given the hands-on nature of vocational nursing, however, very few LVN programs in Houston or its surrounding area currently offer much in the way of online study options. An exception is the Blinn College Vocational Nursing Program. Located a bit outside the Houston area, the program is available in both traditional on-campus and hybrid (combination of online and on-campus) formats. At other schools you may be able to take a single course or two online, such as at Houston Community College. As a result of the COVID pandemic, many colleges are beginning to move some or all of their classroom-based courses online, a trend that is expected to continue. That said, clinicals and labs still must be completed in person.
Common Questions About Online LVN Programs in Houston
Will earning my credential from an online LVN program in Houston impact my ability to get certified or licensed?
Completing an online LVN program in Houston or online study will not impact your ability to obtain your Texas LVN licensure as long as your program is state-approved and graduation qualifies you to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam.
Will employers care if I took some of my LVN classes online?
While that may depend on the particular employer, it’s doubtful that any employer would care if you completed some or all of your LVN classes online as long as your LVN program is state-approved and you’ve obtained your Texas LVN license.
Are online LVN programs more affordable than campus programs in Houston?
Probably not, at least in terms of tuition and related program fees. Programs tend to be priced the same for both on-campus and online courses, so your total tuition costs will likely be the same. However, since online courses allow you to work from home (or anywhere else you find convenient), you’ll likely save money on the transportation costs (gas, parking fees, etc.) you’d be paying by travelling to and from campus.
Can I complete my LVN training in Houston faster by taking classwork online?
Probably not. Your program will likely require you to follow a formal, semester-by-semester course of study. Considering that, along with completing your in-person clinical hour requirements (mandated by the state for LVN licensure), you probably won’t be able to shorten your total program length.
LVN Licensing Information and Requirements in Houston
As with every other state in the nation, practicing as a vocational nurse in Texas requires first obtaining state LVN licensure. In Texas, the licensing process is administered by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON). The requirements for state LVN licensure for most Texas-based applicants include:
- Possessing a high school diploma or GED certificate
- Completing a BON-approved LVN program (like one of the programs mentioned in this guide) with a minimum C grade in all nursing courses. The program must include a minimum of 558 theory and 840 clinical contact hours.
- Taking and passing the NCLEX-PN examination
- Completing a criminal background check through the Texas Department of Public Safety and submitting fingerprints via IdentoGo.
- Paying the $189 license registration fee
Additional and alternative licensure requirements apply to applicants who received their LVN education in another state or internationally or hold LPN/LVN licensure in another jurisdiction. For more information on gaining licensure by endorsement, visit this Texas BON page.
How Much You Can Earn as an LVN in Houston
The chart below offers current U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for LVNs employed in the Houston area, along with figures for other Texas metropolitan areas, the entire state, and the entire U.S. As you can see, earnings for Houston-based LVNs are slightly higher than those throughout Texas and the nation as a whole. What you make as an LVN will depend on your particular employer and the extent of your nursing experience.
Annual Earnings for Licensed Vocational Nurses in Houston
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021