Texas promises exciting employment growth in the healthcare sector, with plenty of entry-level jobs for those interested in a career in nursing. A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Texas — often referred to as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) program in the “Lone Star State” — can take as little as nine months, making it a quicker alternative to becoming a registered nurse (RN). After graduation, LVNs can start their new career at a hospital, doctor’s office, or another healthcare provider in Texas.
LVNs in Texas: Quick Facts
- LVN programs take 9-12 months to complete so students can enter the workforce quicker than those studying for a four-year nursing degree.
- The average base salary for an LVN in Texas is $28.36 per hour, according to research from Indeed.com. That’s $50,911 a year.
- The average overtime salary for an LVM in Texas is $8,000 a year.
- The most common benefits for LVNs in Texas are 401(k)s, paid-time-off, referral programs, tuition reimbursement, and license reimbursement.
- The LPN/LVN job outlook is bright with a 10.7% increase by 2028, according to Projections Central.
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Overview of LPN/LVN Schools in Texas
As of June 2021, the Texas Board of Nursing, the organization responsible for regulating nursing within the State of Texas, has approved 91 LPN/LVN programs. These programs share a similar curriculum that comprises anatomy, physiology, patient care, basic nutrition, infection control, home health, human growth and development, and other nursing care. Specialist courses cover training in pediatrics, geriatric care, maternity care, and other disciplines.
LVN students learn many of the same elements as those studying for a four-year nursing degree. However, LVN programs take place over a shorter period and are therefore more time-intensive.
Two organizations recognize LVN programs in Texas:
- The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional accrediting agency for all nursing programs in the Southern United States.
- The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the national accrediting agency for nursing programs at the associate, diploma, baccalaureate, and graduate levels in the U.S.
The Texas Board of Nursing also approves nursing programs in the State of Texas.
LPN/LVN Admissions Requirements
Most Texas LPN/LVN programs require:
- A high school diploma or GED, or equivalent certificate
- The completion of prerequisite courses for the program with a C+ average
- A GPA of 2.75+
- A proficient score on the ATI TEAS examination
- The applicant to pass a drug test and background check
- The applicant to live in Texas
Prospective students should contact learning providers for specific requirements for LPN programs.
Tuition & Costs
LPN students in Texas typically pay for tuition, program supplies, accommodation, and general living expenses.
Total costs vary depending on whether:
- The learning provider is a public or private institution. (Public institutions charge lower tuition fees than private ones.)
- The student is living on campus or not.
Frankly, an organization that helps students apply for financial aid, estimates it costs $5,000-25,000 to study an LPN at a public school and $20,000-40,000 to study at a private school in Texas.
Students can reduce these costs in two ways:
- Some programs offer eligible LPN students grants or financial aid.
- Some healthcare providers reimburse tuition costs and other expenses if an LPN student works for their organization after graduation.
LPN Licensing Requirements in Texas
Earning an LPN diploma is the fastest way to become a nurse. It typically takes 9-12 months to get an LPN diploma, compared to four years for a nursing degree.
Checklist to become a Texas LPN
- Get an LPN diploma.
- Apply for a license from the Texas Board of Nursing.
- Complete a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course at a local test center and obtain a CPR card.
- Pass the NCLEX-PN examination.
The National Council Licensure Examination for Practice Nurses (NCLEX-PN) — sometimes called the “boards” or “state boards” — is an exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) in Texas via the Texas Board of Nursing. It tests the competence of graduate nurses and covers four categories:
- Safe and Effective Care Environment
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Physiological Integrity
Most nurses take this exam at their LPN school or a local test center around 45 days after graduating from an LPN program. Nurses must pass the exam before working for a healthcare provider in Texas.
- LPNs from other states achieve certification in Texas through endorsement, where nurses prove they have a license from a recognized learning provider.
- LPNs from other countries achieve certification in the U.S. by passing an evaluation from the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) and completing the NCLEX-PN exam.
LPN Salaries in Texas
LPNs in Texas earn, on average, a base salary of $28.36 per hour or $50,911 a year, according to Indeed. Entry-level LPNs earn, on average, $47,864; those with 3-5 years of experience earn $52,566; and those with over ten years of experience earn $54,669.
Here are the biggest metropolitan areas in Texas with the highest-paying LPN/LVN salaries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington ($52,230 per year)
- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission ($49,800)
- Austin-Round Rock ($49,570)
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land ($48,960)
- San Antonio-New Braunfels ($47,090)
LPNs with additional certifications typically earn more than those who don’t. An LPN with a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) license in Texas, for example, earns 53 percent more than an LPN in Texas without this license.
Job Outlook for LPN/LVNs in Texas
Employment opportunities are abundant for LPNs in the “Lone Star State.” That’s because Texas will face a shortage of nurses by the year 2030, according to research from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The study also estimates that demand for LPNs will exceed supply by 2029, based on current trends. As a result, healthcare providers are enticing LPNs with benefits like 401Ks, referral programs, and reimbursed tuition.
Top LPN/LVN Schools in Texas
San Jacinto College
Houston, TX 77049-4599
13735 Beamer Rd
Houston, TX 77089
San Jacinto College’s full-time vocational nursing program attracts students from across Texas to one of its two campuses in Houston. Approved by the Texas Board of Nursing and Texas Education Agency, the school has a high NCLEX-PN pass rate, combining academic learning with hands-on nursing experience. The course comprises 560 classroom hours and 864 clinical hours.
Bell Tech Career Institute
12000 Richmond Ave, Suite 130
Houston, TX 77082
For almost 20 years, Bell Tech Career Institute has welcomed nursing students to its Houston campus, and its LPN/LVN graduates have had successful careers in various healthcare disciplines. Students, who learn from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a contemporary classroom environment, can earn their LPN in just one year and then provide long-term care to patients.
Howard College at San Angelo
St. John’s Campus of Shannon Medical Center
3501 N. US Hwy 67
San Angelo, TX 76905
A popular 12-month vocational program that offers college credit and prepares students for a rewarding career in nursing. Approved by the Texas Board of Nursing and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), this school has provided nursing training for over 50 years.
Alvin Community College
3110 Mustang Rd
Alvin, TX 77511
Renowned nursing program with a 92 percent NCLEX pass rate and a 93 percent job placement/transfer rate. Located in San Angelo, this school provides nurses-to-be with a wealth of classroom training and hands-on experience.
South Plains College – Levelland
202 Clubview Drive
Levelland, TX 79336
South Plains College’s Levelland campus has an intensive nursing program that nurtures students for an exciting healthcare career. Students garner experience through one of the college’s many affiliations with local healthcare providers.
Odessa College Nursing Program
201 NW Avenue D
Andrews, TX 79714
Odessa College prepares nurses for future careers in healthcare with a one-year certificate program that’s approved by the Texas Board of Nursing.
2200 West University Drive
McKinney, TX 75071
A new vocational nursing program that started in January 2021. Collin College nursing students will learn a broad range of skills and could become an LPN in just 12 months.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Dallas Campus)
2101 Waterview Pkwy
Richardson, TX 75080
Part-time and full-time LPN courses that help students kick-start their nursing careers. Graduates now work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, rehab centers, specialty hospitals, and other healthcare settings,
2100 Memorial Blvd, CMB 6226
Kerrville, TX 78028-5697
A one-year program that takes place from January through December with an 85 percent rate.
Institute of Allied Healthcare
7434 Louis Pasteur Dr #15
San Antonio, TX 78229
A practical nursing program that prepares students for the NCLEX-PN. Students learn the skills required to work in a healthcare setting, including nutrition, medical terminology, and medical administration.
Learn more about becoming an LPN in Texas:
Texas Board of Nursing: An organization that has regulated nursing programs in Texas for over 110 years. Responsible for administering the NCLEX-PN in Texas.
333 Guadalupe #3-460
Austin, TX 78701
Texas Education Agency: The state agency that supervises all primary and secondary public education in Texas.
William B. Travis Bldg
1701 N Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701-0000
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN): The parent agency of the Texas Board of Nursing and other state nursing boards. Responsible for developing the NCLEX-PN and other exams for nurses and healthcare professionals.
111 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2900