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For our inaugural rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on over 3,200 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. We included the following states within our Southwest rankings: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. We evaluated each nursing school in the region on three dimensions:

  • The institution’s academic prestige and perceived value
  • The breadth and depth of nursing programs offered
  • Student success, particularly on the NCLEX national licensure exam

We then combined these assessments into an overall score and ranked the schools accordingly. For a detailed description of our assessment methodology and dimension weights, please see here.

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#31: Chamberlain College of Nursing - Houston | Houston, TX
Chamberlain College of Nursing’s Houston campus offers a unique three-year BSN program. The curriculum is designed so that students can earn their degrees – and start their careers – more quickly than at a traditional four-year school. Chamberlain offers small class sizes, conducts year-round study, and doesn’t mandate any prerequisite courses, helping to speed things along. There are no waiting lists, and all Chamberlain students receive hands-on experience in the college’s state-of-the-art SIMCARE CENTER™. This nursing skills laboratory challenges students to react in real-time to critical patient scenarios, including childbirth, seizure, or cardiac arrest.


#32: Valley Baptist Medical Center | Harlingen, TX
Valley Baptist Medical Center’s School of Vocational Nursing offers a certificate in licensed vocational nursing (LVN), which prepares students to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). VBMC has educated hundreds of LVNs over the years, typically graduating 25-40 new nurses each year. These students consistently enjoy strong licensure pass rates: since 2008, VBMC graduates have passed the NCLEX exam 93% of the time on their first attempt. The school’s employment rates are also excellent, with many newly minted LVNs choosing to work at VBMC after graduation.


#33: Houston Baptist University | Houston, TX
HBU’s School of Nursing and Allied Health prepares the highest-quality RN clinicians and leaders through its BSN program. The program offers three pathways: a traditional plan of study, an Honors College curriculum that students may complete in just three years, and a fully online RN-to-BSN program. HBU students gain hundreds of hours of hands-on experience in renowned clinical settings, an on-campus simulation lab, and Bradshaw Fitness Center. The school’s prelicensure graduates, typically 50-80 each spring, have scored a cumulative 90% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, including several recent classes with stellar pass rates of 94-100%.


#34: University of Mary Hardin-Baylor | Belton, TX
The Scott White College of Nursing at UMHB offers two nursing programs: a traditional four-year BSN for students seeking initial licensure, and an RN-to-BSN track for ADN-prepared nurses seeking a BSN degree. The college offers clinical experiences at local hospitals, and it provides numerous opportunities to train at the Clinical Simulation Learning Center, which features a simulation hospital, a standardized patient clinic, and skills and physical diagnosis labs. More than 150 students complete the traditional BSN program each year. They have enjoyed a solid NCLEX pass rate of 85% over the past eight years, including several impressive years above 90%.


#35: Oral Roberts University | Tulsa, OK
Oral Roberts University is home to the Anna Vaughn College of Nursing. In addition to traditional BSN and RN-to-BSN programs, the school offers outstanding study abroad opportunities in Mexico, Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. Graduates are routinely hired at leading Tulsa-area hospitals, OSU Health Care Center, and the Tulsa Health Department. Students also enjoy success on their licensure exams: since 2008, the prelicensure BSN program’s 30-60 annual graduates have posted an average NCLEX exam pass rate of 93%.


#36: Computer Career Center, A Division of Vista College | Las Cruces, NM
Computer Career Center offers a licensed practical nursing (LPN) diploma program designed to require just 48 weeks of fulltime study. This timeframe is readily achievable: 100% of students that completed the program during the 2013-14 academic year did so in 48 weeks. The school offers a diverse practical nursing curriculum, with real-world instruction in areas ranging from health science to child health nursing to pharmacology. Computer Career Center also boasts strong licensure pass rates: the past seven graduating classes have scored an average NCLEX-PN pass rate of 93%, with three classes achieving a perfect 100% pass rate on the exam.


#37: University of St. Thomas | Houston, TX
UST’s Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing offers a traditional four-year BSN program grounded in patient-centered nursing. The school’s newly developed curriculum integrates healing and holistic care within the religious, ethical, and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education. Incoming freshmen begin prerequisites immediately, but most students don’t formally apply to the nursing school until the end of freshman year. Admission is competitive, with just 20-40 students in each nursing cohort. The university also reserves space in the BSN program for high-performing high school seniors upon their acceptance into UST as freshmen.


#38: Texas Wesleyan University | Fort Worth, TX
Texas Wesleyan University offers a range of in-demand graduate programs in nurse anesthesia. In addition to the popular MSNA and DNAP degrees, the university leads a three-semester certificate for nurse anesthesia education. Texas Wesleyan also conducts an online master’s degree in the field of health science, providing existing CRNAs up to seven years to complete the coursework. MSNA students have access to 24 clinical sites in 11 states, and graduates of the program have achieved a 92% first-time pass rate on the NBCRNA certification exam over the past five years. Within six months of graduation, both the exam pass rate and the employment rate are 100%.


#39: Brazosport College | Lake Jackson, TX
Brazosport College has twice been recognized as one of the top ten community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute, a DC-based educational and policy studies organization. The school offers an 11-month LVN curriculum and two ADN pathways: a two-year option for non-nurses and a three-semester bridge program for existing LVNs. Graduates of all programs enjoy healthy employment prospects; for example, the LVN class of 2014 had an 81% job placement rate. Graduates are also well-prepared for their licensure exams. Brazosport College’s ADN students have achieved an 85% NCLEX-RN pass rate since the program’s inception, and the LVN program has posted a perfect 100% NCLEX-PN pass rate for at least eight consecutive years.


#40: Western Governors University | Austin, TX
WGU Texas offers a wide breadth of nursing programs. Traditionally an online university, Western Governors University recently launched a prelicensure BSN program in Texas with local clinical experiences such as high-fidelity simulations, agency-based hospital rotations, and personalized guidance from an experienced clinical coach. Existing nurses can pursue several bridge programs (e.g., RN-to-BSN/MSN) and two MSN specializations (education, leadership) entirely online. The College of Health Professions also leads several online degree programs in adjacent healthcare fields, including a BS in health informatics, an MS in integrated healthcare management, and an MBA in healthcare management.


The accredited schools below also offer highly regarded nursing programs in the Southwest region.

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