Getting an Associate Degree in Nursing in Houston: A Quick and Affordable Path to Becoming an RN (2023)

If you're considering a career in nursing and want to become a registered nurse (RN), getting an associate degree in nursing (ADN) is a quick and affordable way to achieve your goal. Houston, TX, offers excellent state-approved ADN programs that prepare you to take the NCLEX-RN exam and start your first job as an RN. In this comprehensive guide, we'll help you choose the best ADN program in Houston that suits your individual needs and professional goals. We'll also provide valuable information on the advantages of earning an ADN, the knowledge and skills you'll gain in your Houston-based ADN program, salary expectations for RNs, and more.

College Spotlights: Best ADN Programs in Houston

We've surveyed the state-approved ADN programs in the Houston area and selected three standout programs 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 programs provide a good idea of what you can expect from the ADN program in Houston that you choose.

1. Alvin Community College

The AAS in Nursing program at Alvin Community College offers degree pathways for both students new to nursing and current vocational nurses looking to advance their careers by becoming RNs. The program includes general education and nursing coursework, nursing labs, and hands-on clinical rotations. All nursing classes and some labs are completed on campus, while other labs and all clinical rotations are completed at healthcare facilities in the Houston/Galveston area. The total cost for this ADN program in Houston, TX, is approximately $9,000 for Texas residents and $11,000 for out-of-state residents. Admission requirements include a high school diploma (or equivalent), successful completion of the HESI-A2 test, and prerequisite college courses.

2. Lone Star College

Lone Star College (LSC) offers an AAS in Nursing degree program with tracks for students new to nursing and current LVN/LPs looking to complete their ADN. The Block Curriculum Path is a two-year, four-semester full-time program 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. 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. The program is offered on multiple campuses and can be partially completed online.

3. San Jacinto College

San Jacinto College (SJC) offers an Associate Degree in Nursing program for students new to the nursing profession. The program features a unique five-semester curriculum 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. SJC also offers a four-semester LVN/Paramedic to ADN Transition program for paramedics and LVNs. 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.

2-Year ADN Nursing Programs in Houston Approved by the Texas Board of Nursing

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 of approved ADN programs in Houston:

  • Alvin Community College: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 96%
  • Brazosport College: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 85%
  • College of the Mainland: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 88%
  • Galveston College: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 66%
  • Houston Community College: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 78%
  • Lee College: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 81%
  • Lone Star College Montgomery: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 98%
  • Lone Star College North Harris: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 88%
  • Lone Star College Tomball: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 91%
  • San Jacinto College Central: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 97%
  • The College of Health Care Professions: NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2020) - 57%

Why Choose an ADN Program in Houston?

The nursing profession offers multiple entry points, and choosing an ADN program in Houston provides several advantages:

1. Quick and Affordable

Earning an ADN allows you to finish nursing school in less time and with more money left in your pocket compared to a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Most ADN programs require a two-year academic commitment, which is half the time and cost of a BSN program. Community college tuition rates are also substantially lower than those of four-year colleges.

2. Higher Earnings Potential

Registered nurses enjoy higher earnings potential compared to other entry-level nursing professions such as vocational nurses and nursing assistants. In the Houston metro area, RNs earn a mean hourly pay of $40.85 and a mean annual pay of $84,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

3. Strong Job Demand

The demand for registered nurses in Houston is projected to grow significantly in the coming years. The Texas Workforce Commission estimates a job growth rate of nearly 23% for RNs in the Houston metro area between 2018 and 2028. This strong job growth provides job security and ample opportunities for career advancement.

4. Path to Further Education

Earning an ADN provides a solid foundation for advancing your nursing career. Many ADN credits can be transferred to BSN and graduate nursing degree programs, allowing you to pursue higher levels of education and specialization. Universities such as the University of Houston and the University of Texas Arlington offer RN to BSN and RN to MSN programs for ADN graduates.

Inside Look at Online ADN Programs in Houston

While distance learning plays a significant role in postsecondary education, ADN programs in Houston primarily require in-person attendance due to the need for hands-on training. However, some ADN programs incorporate online components such as reading materials, written assignments, and recorded lectures. Additionally, certain general education and nursing theory courses may be offered fully or partially online. Examples include Lone Star College's LVN to ADN program and Blinn College District's AAS in Nursing program.

FAQs About ADN Programs in Houston

Q: What nursing knowledge and skills do you learn in ADN programs in Houston?

ADN programs in Houston provide a strong foundation in nursing theory, biology, psychology, effective communication, evidence-based problem-solving, and teamwork. These programs emphasize personal, professional, and social responsibility, ensuring that graduates meet ethical standards. Specific subjects covered in ADN programs can vary, so it's recommended to review the curriculum of individual programs for more details.

Q: How much do ADN programs cost in Houston?

ADN programs in Houston are offered through public community colleges, which generally have more affordable tuition rates compared to four-year colleges. For example, the College of the Mainland ADN Pre-Licensure Track costs $45/credit for in-district residents, while Houston Community College's AAS in Nursing program costs $84.50/credit for in-district residents. It's important to consider additional costs such as program fees, books, supplies, uniforms, and transportation when calculating the total program price.

Q: Can I get financial aid to help pay for my ADN program in Houston?

Yes, there are various funding sources available to qualifying students in ADN programs, including loans, scholarships, grants, work-study programs, loan repayment opportunities, and employer tuition reimbursement programs. It's recommended to contact the financial aid office at each college to explore specific funding opportunities, including those sponsored by the State of Texas.

Q: How long do ADN programs in Houston take to finish?

ADN programs in Houston typically require approximately two years of full-time study for students with no previous professional nursing experience. However, there may be exceptions, such as programs with additional summer sessions or transition tracks for current LVNs and paramedics. It's important to note that prerequisite courses may be required before starting the nursing curriculum, which can add additional time to the program.


Getting an associate degree in nursing in Houston is an excellent choice for aspiring registered nurses. ADN programs offer a quick and affordable path to becoming an RN, with strong job demand and opportunities for career advancement. By choosing the right ADN program in Houston, you can gain the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the nursing profession. Whether you're a new student or a current vocational nurse, Houston's ADN programs provide a solid foundation for a successful nursing career.

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