Nursing Schools in San Antonio: Accredited Online & Campus Programs

The best nursing schools in San Antonio are prepared to address the nursing shortage and put more nurses in healthcare jobs in Texas. Learn how you can play a part and what to expect from in-person and online nursing schools in San Antonio.

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Last Updated: 09/22/2021
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Nurses are front and center in every healthcare system in the United States, and they’re in high demand — especially in San Antonio. Whether you’re a new nursing school student or an experienced nurse seeking an advanced degree, your skills will be needed to fill the gap. On-campus and online nursing schools in San Antonio are ready to prepare you for your first nursing job or for new responsibilities in hospitals, outpatient care centers, nursing homes, and more.

With so many nursing schools in San Antonio, how do you choose the one that’s right for you? This guide gives you a look at the best nursing schools in San Antonio, evaluates online and on-campus options, explains what graduates can expect when they move into the workforce, and more. Read on to learn more about the choices and find the school and program that’s right for you.

Best Nursing Schools in San Antonio for 2021

There are so many options for nursing schools in San Antonio and the surrounding region that beginning the search can be daunting. Start your search by reviewing these spotlights of top schools, which score high on affordability, accreditation, and student support services.

Texas Lutheran University

Students looking for bachelor’s nursing programs in San Antonio have two to choose from at Texas Lutheran University (TLU). The bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and the accelerated bachelor’s option provide a path to licensure for students who are just starting out or for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject. The BSN is a traditional program that takes about four years to complete; the accelerated program takes about 16 months.

Students at TLU can expect an average class size of 30, clinical groups of up to 10, and state-of-the-art simulation labs. TLU boasts a pass rate of over 90% on the NCLEX-RN exam, and 95% of nursing students are employed within six months of graduation. These TLU programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

For over 35 years, CCNE-accredited Texas Tech University (TTU) has offered nursing programs in San Antonio. Today that list of potential programs includes two dozen, including everything from the traditional BSN and bridge programs to doctoral programs. Students choose from four undergraduate degrees, nine master’s degree specializations, eight post-master’s programs, and three doctoral programs. The National League of Nursing has named TTU Health Sciences Center as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education.

TTU has unique offerings, including interprofessional degrees in rural community health and global health and the accelerated Veteran to BSN program. This 12-month track allow students to make good use of their military experience to boost their transfer credits and advanced placement assessment. Graduates from all TTU nursing programs in San Antonio can look forward to robust career services and a greater than 95% pass rate for first-time NCLEX takers from this nursing school in San Antonio.

University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio

UT Health San Antonio is home to several programs, including the 22-month BSN, the 15-month accelerated bachelor’s, three doctor of nursing practice (DNP) tracks, and post-graduate certificates in adult-gerontology, pediatric, psychiatric mental health, and family nurse practitioner tracks.

On-campus students hone their skills through the comprehensive medical care offered to the public at UT Health San Antonio, including medical, dental, and cancer services. Graduates of the bachelor’s programs join the ranks of students with an impressive 99% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate–among the best for nursing schools in San Antonio. Those who are concerned about affordability can apply to more than 100 scholarships offered through the school with just one simple application.

UT Health San Antonio is accredited by the CCNE and partners with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to help students build and develop marketable skills in their field.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in or Near San Antonio, TX

Becoming a nurse in San Antonio can mean graduating from an associate degree program or rising through the degree levels to earn a doctorate. Finding the right nursing school in San Antonio can be a matter of carefully choosing your potential career path and then finding the program that is designed to make that dream a reality. Here are the options available at the best nursing schools in San Antonio.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in San Antonio

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

Those who want to become registered nurses will need their associate degree. This two-year degree teaches the basics of nursing and prepares students for licensure in the state of Texas. It’s ideal for those who want to get into the workforce quickly with a registered nursing credential and is available at multiple nursing schools in San Antonio.

Examples of San Antonio, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Alamo Colleges District, San Antonio College
Baptist Health System School of Health Professions

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Traditional BSN)

This bachelor’s degree is considered “traditional” because it takes four years of full-time study to complete. This degree is for those who have no previous college experience or prior training as a nurse. The first two years focus on general education, prerequisites, and basic nursing classes, while the last two years focus strongly on nursing knowledge and skills.

Examples of San Antonio, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Galen College of Nursing
Chamberlain University

Accelerated BSN Programs

Those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field are eligible for this program, available at various nursing schools in San Antonio. Accelerated BSN programs accept previous bachelor’s courses as the core courses for the four-year degree, thus requiring only about a year to become a registered nurse.

Examples of San Antonio, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

UT Health San Antonio
Texas Lutheran University

Nursing Bridge Programs in San Antonio for Current Nurses

LVN to RN and LVN to BSN Programs

Licensed practical nurses or licensed vocational nurses can attend this program to earn their BSN at nursing schools in San Antonio and prepare to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse. This bridge program allows students to continue working in the field as they pursue their BSN and the opportunities for advancement it can bring.

Examples of San Antonio, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Alamo Colleges District, San Antonio College
Wayland Baptist University

RN to BSN Programs

Those who earned their registered nursing license after graduation from an accredited associate degree program can go back to school to earn their bachelor’s degree. The higher degree from a nursing school in San Antonio prepares a graduate with the skills necessary for advancement in the field.

Examples of San Antonio, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Galen College of Nursing
Chamberlain University

RN to MSN Programs

Registered nurses working in the field might choose to go straight to an MSN program, providing the knowledge and skills to become an advanced practice nurse. Many of these programs are offered at online nursing schools in San Antonio.

Examples of San Antonio, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Chamberlain University
University of the Incarnate Word

Advanced Nursing Programs in San Antonio

Traditional MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

Nurses who graduated from a bachelor’s program in nursing and have their nursing license can take this traditional master’s in nursing at nursing schools in in San Antonio to prepare for advancement. Students seeking this degree can also work as advanced practice nurses in Texas.

Examples of San Antonio, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Galen College of Nursing
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and PhD Doctoral Programs

Doctoral programs are as far as a student can go in the nursing field. The DNP is designed for those who want to put their newfound knowledge to practice; the PhD is for those who want to move into research or academia. Applicants typically have several years of experience and a master’s degree, though some BSN to doctoral programs do exist.

Examples of San Antonio, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

UT Health San Antonio
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates

These programs are commonly used to increase knowledge of a particular specialization in the field of nursing, enhancing job prospects and potential pay. In most cases, a student must hold a master’s degree to be eligible for these programs, available at some of the best nursing schools in San Antonio.

Examples of San Antonio, TX Nursing Schools with This Program

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
UT Health San Antonio

Inside Look at Online Nursing Schools in San Antonio

Online nursing schools in San Antonio provide maximum flexibility for nurses already working in the field. However, those who are just starting out will need to look into traditional or hybrid programs. Why? Some prerequisites or general education courses may be offered online, but nursing courses that require hands-on training must be taken in person, with close supervision from a healthcare professional or preceptor.

Those who are in a master’s or doctoral program might find that their work is 100% online, especially if they plan to continue to work in the field while attending school. This work experience helps ensure any practicum requirements are met, which means the rest of the program can be completed at an online nursing school in San Antonio.

Best Online Nursing Schools in San Antonio

Chamberlain University

The College of Health Professions at Chamberlain University offers seven degree options plus nursing certificates, many of which are available online. Some programs are designed for on-campus learning, such as the three-year BSN degree; however, even that program is allowing online learning at the start to better help keep students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other programs are specifically designed for online learning, such as the RN to MSN program, which allows the further option of choosing the traditional track of eight semesters or the accelerated track of three semesters.

Other programs at this online nursing school in San Antonio include the RN to BSN, MSN, MSN with emphasis in adult-gerontology or general nurse practitioner, and DNP. Certificate programs include six options, from the more common ones such as nursing education and nursing informatics to the newer certificate in population health. The nursing programs are accredited by CCNE and approved by the Texas Board of Nursing.

Baptist Health System School of Health Professions

Students looking for online nursing schools in San Antonio are in luck; there are solid degree options at Baptist Health System School of Health Professions. The BSN is available as a completion program, providing RNs who have an associate degree an opportunity to earn their BSN without attending classes in person. The master of science in nursing is available online as well and is only for those practicing RNs who have completed their BSN. Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the program offers an emphasis in nursing administration, thus preparing graduates for advancement into healthcare management roles. The LVN to RN program, which leads to an associate degree, is a blended program with some online coursework; students enter the program in the second semester and complete it in three to four semesters.

Galen College of Nursing

The Galen College of Nursing online nursing school in San Antonio is home to two online programs. The online RN to BSN is offered entirely online and is designed for nurses who already have work experience; the program takes about 12 months to complete and is accredited by the CCNE. The MSN is for registered nurses who hold their BSN. Students can choose from the nurse educator or nursing and healthcare leadership tracks. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in San Antonio

Can I earn my nursing degree in San Antonio completely online?

That depends upon the degree level. Those who are working toward licensure in the state of Texas will attend programs that are either on campus or those that are hybrids, with some courses taken online but clinical work handled in-person. However, students who are already licensed and pursuing their master’s or doctoral degree might be able to find 100% online nursing schools in San Antonio.

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

As long as the online nursing school in San Antonio and its programs are properly accredited and/or approved by the Texas State Board of Nursing, employers won’t care if it was online or not. In fact, they might expect many courses to be taken online, considering how popular the option has become in recent years.

Are online nursing programs in San Antonio more affordable than campus programs?

It’s important to remember that online nursing schools in San Antonio might not be any cheaper just because they are offered virtually. However, there are still some cost savings associated with online learning, such as the lack of a commute to class and the ability to avoid certain fees, like getting a parking pass to park on school grounds.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in San Antonio

Traditional or online nursing programs in San Antonio can come with eye-popping tuition, but keep in mind that’s not really the bottom line. That tuition can decrease through grants, scholarships, fellowships, loans, tuition reimbursement, and even loan forgiveness plans. Look for grants and scholarships through private and public organizations, the schools themselves, or professional organizations. Look for tuition reimbursement or loan forgiveness either from a current employer or the state of Texas. To learn more about financial aid and tuition assistance, check out our nursing scholarship guide and financial aid guide.

How to Become an RN in San Antonio: Licensing Requirements

Becoming a registered nurse in San Antonio requires meeting the criteria set forth for nurses in the State of Texas by the Texas Board of Nursing. Graduates from an accredited or approved nursing program complete their online application, submit to a criminal background check, register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX-RN, take the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Exam, and provide an affidavit of graduation. Upon passing the NCLEX-RN and jurisprudence exam, you become a licensed nurse in the state of Texas. To learn more, visit this guide to nursing programs in Texas.

Job Opportunities for RNs in San Antonio

The job market for registered nurses in San Antonio is strong. The Texas Department of State Health (TDSH) has projected that by 2032, Texas will have a shortage of more than 57,000 registered nurses. In South Texas and the San Antonio area, TDSH anticipates there will be a shortage of more than 2,400 registered nurses by 2032. While San Antonio has many nursing schools, graduates can practice anywhere in Texas (and most of the United States), not just San Antonio.

Like many other metropolitan areas, the primary employers for San Antonio registered nurses will be hospitals and healthcare systems. In San Antonio, some of the major employers of RNs include University Health, CHRISTUS Health, and Aya Healthcare.

How Much You Could Make as an RN in San Antonio

The earnings potential for registered nurses in San Antonio is slightly lower than for nurses in other parts of Texas and the rest of the United States. One thing to keep in mind is that the average cost of living in Texas is about 10% lower than the rest of the country. Even though the average annual salary of a San Antonio RN is less than the national average, after taking into account the reduced cost of living, a San Antonio nurse will have more earning power than the average registered nurse in the United States.

Earnings for Registered Nurses in San Antonio, TX

Median Hourly Wage Mean Hourly Wage Annual Mean Wage
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX $35.72 $36.11 $75,110
Texas $36.21 $35.66 $76,800
United States $36.22 $36.92 $80,010

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020

Additional San Antonio Nursing Resources

Emergency Nurses Association-San Antonio Chapter

The Emergency Nurses Association promotes the interests of nurses from all over the world and local areas (such as San Antonio) through networking, government advocacy, and promoting scientific research.

National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN)--San Antonio Chapter

To advance the professional interests of Hispanic nurses in San Antonio and the surrounding areas, the NAHN helps its members make the most of educational, networking, and healthcare development opportunities.

National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)–Local Chapters

To help nursing students and those in clinical practice, the NSNA offers mentorship and network opportunities as well as promotion of improved nursing standards and ethics. Local chapters are available at nursing schools in San Antonio.

The San Antonio Nursing Consortium

This nursing organization is unique in that it is made up of many other San Antonio nursing organizations. For example, it currently has 15 member organizations, such as the Texas Emergency Nurses Association; the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses San Antonio chapter.

Texas State Association of Occupational Health NursesSan Antonio Texas Chapter

The mission of the Texas State Association of Occupational Health Nurses is to improve the health and safety of the Texas workforce by promoting the professional development of occupational health nurses in the state, including its San Antonio chapter.