Guide to Nursing Schools in Austin, Texas

Launch a new nursing career or take your current one to the next level with a degree from one of the best nursing schools in Austin, TX. With thousands of new nursing jobs available over the next several years, now’s the time to take your next step.

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Last Updated: 09/22/2021
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Maybe you already have an established nursing career. Or maybe you’re considering entering the nursing field. You might be a licensed vocational nurse interested in advancement, a professional transitioning from a different industry, or an RN ready for a bachelor’s. No matter your goals, nursing schools in Austin, Texas have programs that meet your needs.

This guide will help you find the best nursing school in Austin for you. You’ll find a list of top programs, info about education pathways (including convenient online program options), details on how they work and what they offer, and specifics on the ways they prepare you for licensure. It also examines the job outlook and salary trends for graduates of the best nursing schools in Austin. With excellent job prospects and continued high demand, you’ll find that this is a great time to be in the field of nursing.

Best Nursing Schools in Austin, Texas for 2021

As you size up your educational options, take a look at these best-in-class nursing schools in Austin, Texas. They all get top marks for accreditation and state approval, affordability, diversity in course offerings, and the student resources you need to succeed.

The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas (UT) at Austin offers graduate and undergraduate education opportunities through its School of Nursing. Designed for freshmen and transfer students, the bachelor of science in nursing combines theory and practice, preparing aspiring nurses for licensure and examination. This nursing school in Austin accepts full-time students and requires 125 credits that most students complete in four years.

Working nurses with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) can enter UT’s BSN program with advanced standing if they meet course prerequisites in biology, chemistry, and statistics. This bridge pathway gives students an opportunity to deepen their technical nursing knowledge and build on their experience. Nurses with a BSN develop further specialization in areas like gerontology and pediatrics through the school’s MSN program. Those with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field do the same using an alternative entry option. UT also offers three post-graduate certificates and two doctoral courses of study.

Texas State University

St. David’s School of Nursing within Texas State University (TSU) boasts an impressive 100% NCLEX pass rate. Its BSN program admits 100 students each year and requires 120 credits allocated across general education and core nursing requirements. This in-person nursing program offers high-level training in evidence-based practice and care delivery across the human lifespan. The program concludes with hands-on clinical components in facilities throughout central Texas.

Active nurses with an unencumbered RN license can take advantage of TSU’s RN to BSN bridge program. The program requires 30 credits of core instruction that some students complete in just two terms. The school delivers coursework for this pathway using hybrid formats that include innovative simulation labs and other digital tools. TSU also offers an MSN course of study with individual concentrations in leadership and administration, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner.

Austin Community College

Austin Community College (ACC) meets the needs of new students and working professionals alike. New students can earn a 60-credit ADN in just two years, graduating eligible for licensure. Working professionals with certification in medical professions like physical therapy and surgical technology can enter the program under an alternate track that expedites completion. Current RNs can obtain a BSN in just 12 months using ACC’s completion program, which readies students for leadership and management roles.

The school also offers a vocational nursing course of study for those interested in entry-level employment. New students complete the program using daytime, evening, or weekend schedules, adopting a pace that fits their needs. All ACC nursing students have access to the school’s skills and computer labs where they can participate in simulations and take practice tests.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in or Near Austin, TX

Most institutions have multiple pathways that accommodate students at different points in their career (including those just beginning). Whether you’re a freshman, a licensed nurse looking for advancement, or a professional coming from a different field, the best nursing schools in Austin, Texas, offer a starting point. Here are some of the most common options.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Austin

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

These entry-level programs provide basic nursing training and satisfy requirements for initial licensure. They provide a path to graduation in 24 months or less and prepare you for supervised work in clinics, physician’s offices, and other treatment centers. The best nursing schools in Austin require around 60 credits, including academic courses and hands-on training.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Austin Community College
San Antonio College

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Traditional BSN)

Traditional BSN programs result in a standard undergraduate degree that students usually complete in four years. BSN programs provide a more comprehensive education experience, including liberal arts instruction and core nursing coursework that builds key skills in pathophysiology and nursing practice. Students also receive NCLEX preparation and supervised clinical placements.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Concordia University, Texas
Aspen University

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated programs of this type offer an expedited path to a BSN designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. The best nursing schools in Austin with accelerated BSN programs focus on foundational nursing competencies–through academic classes and clinical hours–typically delivered on a 15-month timetable. Students must meet prerequisites in science and anatomy.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Texas A&M University, Round Rock
Concordia University, Texas

Direct-Entry MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

This option also caters to aspiring nurses with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees. It offers a pathway to graduate-level credentials that covers core nursing competencies and opportunities for specialization (e.g., adult gerontology and mental health practitioner). Programs at the best nursing schools in Austin, Texas, qualify students for licensure and advanced registered nurse practice.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

The University of Texas at Austin
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Nursing Bridge Programs in Austin, Texas for Current Nurses

LVN to RN and LVN to BSN Programs

Often referred to as bridge programs, these options at nursing schools in Austin, Texas, help licensed vocational nurses advance their careers by expanding their skills. Program components typically involve nursing theory classes, lab simulations, and hands-on clinical studies. These programs recognize previous experience and prepare LVNs for the professional transition to becoming RNs.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Wayland Baptist University (New Braunfels site)

RN to BSN Programs

Active nurses with an ADN and RN license can broaden their professional status through this pathway to a bachelor’s degree. It opens the door to further education and, especially, job opportunities with greater responsibility. Students with enough transfer credit or prerequisites can finish in one year or less at the best nursing schools in Austin, Texas.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Austin Community College

RN to MSN Programs

These programs offer a bridge for RNs seeking a master’s degree in nursing. They use a similar structure as RN to BSN options but require additional courses and more clinical hours. As a result, graduates come away with a comprehensive nursing knowledge base and specialized clinical skills.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

University of the Incarnate Word

Advanced Nursing Programs in Austin, Texas

Traditional MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

This pathway results in the same master’s degree as other options but attracts students who already hold a BSN. Programs focus on developing further competency in research methods, evidence-based practice, and primary care. Full-time students usually graduate in five terms fully qualified for advanced practice positions.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Texas State University
Texas A&M University

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and PhD Doctoral Programs

Designed for working professionals interested in teaching and research, these options lead to the highest levels of educational attainment in nursing. Students learn to train nursing professionals and conduct high-level research that advances the field and furthers scientific inquiry. Most nursing schools in Austin with this track accommodate individualized plans of study.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

The University of Texas at Austin: DNP
The University of Texas at Austin: PhD

Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates

Certificate programs are a great option for graduate-level nurses who want to add more specializations to their skills but don’t want to earn another degree. If your MSN focused on adult gerontology, for example, you can earn a certificate from a nursing school in Austin in mental health or pediatrics, broadening the scope of your practice.

Examples of Austin, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Texas A&M University
The University of Texas at Austin

Inside Look at Online Nursing Schools in Austin, Texas

Students attending online nursing schools in Austin can expect to complete a hybrid course of study. Programs typically use online options in the early stages of study, making it easy for students to complete academic classes and any prerequisites . These virtual courses increase flexibility and accommodate a wide variety of schedules and circumstances.

Classes may involve synchronous experiences, asynchronous assignments, or some combination of the two depending on which online nursing school in Austin, Texas, you attend. Some programs use virtual lab simulations for applied skills; others require in-person attendance for that component. Either way, students can expect a transition to face-to-face learning near the end of their studies for all capstone, practicum, and clinical rotation requirements at Austin’s online nursing schools.

Best Online Nursing Schools in Austin, TX

South University

Georgia-based South University offers 15 online nursing programs from its Austin location using flexible online and hybrid learning formats. RNs with an active Texas license can further their careers with the school’s degree completion program, which results in a BSN. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the program requires 180 credits and accepts up to 90 transfer credits. RNs seeking further opportunities for study can advance using the school’s RN to MSN pathway, which offers concentrations in adult gerontology, family nurse practitioner, nurse administration, and nursing education.

South University uses innovative online classrooms to deliver course material that uses digital books and offers personalized content. Each program in this online nursing school in Austin, Texas, culminates with a capstone synthesis project designed to integrate theory and practice in applied settings that reflect real-world work conditions. The school also administers several post-graduate programs, including a DNP and certificates in education, gerontology, and primary care practitioner.

Western Governors University, Texas

Western Governors University (WGU), Texas, offers a number of online nursing programs in Austin to qualified students at every level of practice. These include an RN to BSN bridge program and multiple pathways to an MSN degree. Most students finish the BSN course of study in 18 months or less, completing 24 classes in biochemistry, community health and wellness, information management, and evidence-based practice. Graduates are prepared for work in hospitals and medical centers, clinics, and public health departments.

Working nurses expand their knowledge through WGU’s flexible MSN program. Pathways include direct-entry admission and bridge options for active RNs and BSN degree-holders. Those admitted typically complete study in 24 months or less with specialization in areas like nursing informatics, nursing leadership, education, and family nurse practitioner. This online nursing school in Austin, Texas, makes all course content available 24/7 using intuitive and responsive learning tools that combine self-paced study with structured interaction.

Texas A&M University, Round Rock

The Texas A&M University (TAMU) regional affiliate in Round Rock offers graduate and undergraduate programs that help new and credentialed nurses advance their careers. Students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field can earn an accelerated BSN in just 15 months. Designed for those in career transition, this online nursing program in Austin, Texas, focuses on core nursing instruction, hands-on skills, and preparation for licensure. Registered nurses with an associate degree can advance their standing through the school’s BSN bridge program, enrolling full- or part-time.

Additional nursing programs offered by TAMU include an MSN and a graduate certificate in forensic healthcare. The MSN program includes concentrations in forensic nursing, nursing education, and family nurse practitioner. It uses online and hybrid delivery methods to maximize both flexibility and immersive training opportunities. TAMU’s online nursing school in Austin, Texas, includes classes in pharmacology, health informatics, population health, and leadership in healthcare policy.

FAQs About Online Nursing Schools in Austin, Texas

Can I earn my nursing degree in Austin completely online?

If you attend an online nursing program in the Austin area you will still need to complete certain in-person requirements, such as clinical training hours. These programs use hybrid delivery methods that combine hands-on capstone or practicum components with online instruction in a virtual learning environment.

Will my online Austin nursing degree be considered less valuable by employers?

Online nursing schools in Austin offer the same high-quality education and training as a traditional course of study. Aspiring nurses should make sure they attend an online/hybrid program that is accredited and approved by the state of Texas. By doing so, potential employers will know that you have attended a rigorous program and are prepared for your nursing role.

Are online nursing programs in Austin more affordable than campus programs?

Most online nursing schools in Austin charge the same tuition rates as an in-person course of study, though those rates do vary each year. These programs eliminate some indirect costs, however. Consider, for example, the money you will save by not commuting to and from campus on a regular basis.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Austin, Texas

Scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid can help defray many of the tuition-related expenses you will incur in your nursing program in Austin, Texas. The best nursing schools in Austin extend these opportunities to new and returning students based on financial need and academic merit. Other stakeholders and professional organizations like the Texas Nurses Association also offer opportunities for financial assistance. If you’re an active nurse it’s worth inquiring whether your employer has incentives, like scholarship programs or tuition waivers. Our nursing scholarship guide provides more information on this as does our main financial aid page.

How to Become an RN in Austin, Texas: Licensing Requirements


The Texas Board of Nursing enumerates all the requirements for licensure in the Lone Star State. Aspiring nurses must complete these requirements in sequence before they can begin practice or obtain employment. Candidates must first complete an approved education program and then successfully pass the NCLEX, a national exam that assesses core areas of nursing competency. Once these steps are complete, aspiring nurses can apply for initial licensure and submit any other required materials (fingerprints, a background check, etc.).

Job Opportunities for RNs in Austin, Texas

Texas ranks second only to California among states with the highest levels of registered nurse employment. According to estimates provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, Texas currently employs over 200,000 RNs in treatment centers, community health clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

The Texas job market for nurses is growing rapidly. Texas nurses will see a 16.8% increase in jobs by 2028, resulting in a labor force that includes over 250,000 licensed RNs and around 16,000 new jobs each year. Those figures outpace national growth numbers for RNs, which are currently at 7%.

The Texas Workforce Commission reports that of the 200,000 RNs currently employed, over 14,000 work in and around Austin. The Austin greater metropolitan area will add over 1,200 new RNs in coming years. These professionals will work in a number of settings, including outpatient and ambulatory care centers, home healthcare services, and medical and surgical hospitals. Major healthcare employers in Austin include St. David’s HealthCare Partnership and Ascension Seton Medical Center.

How Much You Could Make as an RN in Austin, Texas

Current and aspiring RNs with degrees from the best nursing schools in Austin benefit from pay increases and a positive job outlook. The table below details the most recent salary data for RNs, provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Annual earnings for registered nurses in the Austin-Round Rock area remain consistent with national and state averages for the profession. When it comes to national averages for all occupations, RNs in Austin earn nearly double that of other professionals.

Vocational and practical nurses who get their RN licensure see a bump in pay of nearly 48%, from an annual mean wage of $49,570 to the current annual mean wage of $73,280.

Earnings for Registered Nurses in Austin, TX

Median Hourly Wage Mean Hourly Wage Annual Mean Wage
Austin-Round Rock, TX $34.91 $35.23 $73,280
Texas $36.21 $36.92 $76,800
United States $36.22 $38.47 $80,010

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020

Additional Resources for Nursing Students and Professionals in Austin, Texas

Texas Hospital Association

Established in 1930, this entity advocates for nursing leadership and quality healthcare throughout Texas. It publishes a magazine with industry news, hosts conferences and professional development opportunities, and supports public policy that enhances quality care.

Texas Board of Nursing

Overseeing the licensure process, this government organization promotes nursing welfare in Texas. It provides guidelines for professional conduct, sets continuing education requirements, and ensures consistent regulation. It also provides additional resources for nursing students.

Texas Nurses Association

Located in the heart of Austin, the Texas Nurses Association engages in policy advocacy efforts and sponsors professional development events. It hosts an annual meeting for members, recognizes outstanding nursing leadership, and supports local professionals through district charters.

Texas Nursing Students’ Association

This association represents over 3,000 aspiring nurses throughout the Lone Star State, working to provide them with resources for initial licensure. It maintains an active career center for recent graduates, offers scholarships and other financial aid, and shares recent news in the profession.

Texas Department of State Health Services

Bookmark this useful list of nursing practice resources. You’ll find a directory of professional organizations, scope of practice guides, and further information on nursing rules and regulations.