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Help me decide between 2 Nursing schools


Hey Everyone:

First post! I need some advice and guidance. I have been accepted into two Nursing programs in 2 different states. One in Iowa and one in Texas.

The nursing program in Texas is an LVN program and the one in Iowa is an RN Program. I would like to be an RN and that is my goal.

The RN Program in Iowa seems very well put together as far as curriculum (for instance, pre-requisites are in the curriculum), but I've heard some negative feedback from RN graduates. Some have said they didn't feel prepared for the NCLEX and failed the first 2 attempts.

The LVN Program in Texas is in my hometown and has an excellent reputation. I have to take Pre-requisites to get into their RN Program. These same pre-requisites are offered in Iowa's RN Program.

I'm not sure which program to pursue. I would spend a year at Texas with their LVN program, then have to wait a year while I get the remainder of my pre-requisites and work as an LVN and then apply for their LVN to RN Program in the fall, so it might take me at minimum 3 years from now to become an RN

In Iowa's program, I would enter as an RN student and graduate in August 2011 as RN with an Associates Degree. With Texas, the very soonest I could finish any RN degree would be May of 2012. My LVN training would be from August 2009 to August 2010, then a year off to take care of pre-requisites, then apply to the LVN to RN Program.

With Iowa's RN Program, I start and finish as an RN. With Texas, I start as an LVN and then finish that and then reapply to finish as an RN. Iowa is a 2 year program and I don't have to worry about waiting lists or being accpted. With Texas, what if I don't get accepted into their LVN to RN program when I apply for it? What if I have to wait another year and still no guarantee of acceptance.

That's what's holding me back from the Texas LVN Program. While I believe that Texas has the better training, Iowa has the RN program.

I'm going to be new to nursing and I was wondering, if I went with Iowa, how would that affect me working in Texas? Would I have to do additional training to be licensed in Texas?

I would prefer Texas as far as location and family but would be very disappointed to go through the LVN program and then not get accepted into their RN program. With Iowa, I would not have to worry about that.

What would you do? If Texas was the place you would eventually want to end up, but Iowa has accepted you into their RN Program? Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

u are so great --- congratulations !

in fact, u have maken a clear between them

and u have get a clear about what u want !

last , u seem have ur answer in ur mind ---

then , just go on and try ur best , u will get it !

good luck to u , my girl ---

Hi jimmydaves, I was previously in a similar dilemma deciding which path to pursue lpn to rn or rn, ihave most of my pre reqs done, and after a dream I had recently decided to just pursue the asn degree in nursing to be an rn. If I were you I would just pusue the rn. I don't know if you are totally coming out of pocket for school but in my opinion it makes more sense to pursue an assosiates degree in nursing than to spend a year in school to become an lpn then have to go back to school to be an rn then to have to go back to get your bachelors degree which you will need to continue to practice as an rn. Just go for rn. The payback is better in the long run. But weigh it out, if u do lpn you can work and gain experience and get into a lpn to rn bridge program, you'll have experience, and can most likely get into schools that offer lpn to rn bridge program. If u go straight for rn you are knocking outt what u will eventually have to do anyway. Time is valuable just pursue rn and if anything apply to other nursing schools for rn in texas and c if u get accepted. Well that's just my advice that's what I would do. Good luck and know whatever you decide will be what is meant 4 u 2 do, and the answer will come to u in some form or another like my answer came in a dream... u will be where u are meant to be think it through be realistic, and weigh ur pros and cons and the answer will come, keep us posted

i would go with iowa

JenRN30, BSN

Specializes in Endoscopy/MICU/SICU. Has 10 years experience.

I would go Iowa also. Doesn't make sense spending at least 3 years to get to your ultimate goal of RN, when you could be done in two. Another option is to apply to a few RN schools near you....then you could stay in Texas!


Specializes in L&D,Lactation. Has 28 years experience.

Go for the RN

CrufflerJJ, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 5 years experience.

I have been accepted into two Nursing programs in 2 different states. One in Iowa and one in Texas.

The nursing program in Texas is an LVN program and the one in Iowa is an RN Program. I would like to be an RN and that is my goal.

The RN Program in Iowa seems very well put together as far as curriculum (for instance, pre-requisites are in the curriculum), but I've heard some negative feedback from RN graduates. Some have said they didn't feel prepared for the NCLEX and failed the first 2 attempts.

The LVN Program in Texas is in my hometown and has an excellent reputation. I have to take Pre-requisites to get into their RN Program. These same pre-requisites are offered in Iowa's RN Program.

Sounds like a rough choice. By doing the LVN in your home town, it might be less expensive (travel costs, at least). You know your home town, and are probably comfortable there.

The Iowa program is umpteen miles away, but it would result in you achieving your goal - RN.

You should be able to find the Iowa program's first time NCLEX pass rate (either from the school or the Iowa Board of Nursing). Don't let a few (hopefully it's just a few) bad comments sour your impression of the program.

I'd probably recommend the Iowa RN program.

Good luck, and CONGRATS on being accepted to two different nursing programs.

Thanks for the input so far, I have really learned so much and it has helped me quite a bit.

I looked up the pass rates at 2 nursing programs I've been accepted at and the Iowa RN program Pass rate for the past 4 years has been 82, 82, 69, 77. Not overly impressive but not bad.

The Texas School's RN Pass rate was between 85 to 99 percent for the past 4 years and their LVN Pass rate was in the upper 90's for those 4 years.

My family lives in Texas and I was born and raised here and it's a hard decision. I would like to spend my time in Texas because they are elderly but after looking at current job openings in my area, there are 5 times as many openings for RN's as LVN's. I also happen to be in my 40's and I feel that Nursing will be the career that I want to be in from this point to my retirement. I am already in the medical field but in a technical aspect. It's a good job, good pay, but so specialized that I have to go where the jobs are instead living where I want to and have jobs available.

I only talked to those 2 RN nursing grads who complained about not being ready for the NCLEX boards. I looked on Craigslist for students who might be selling books at a discount and found two and in the process I asked them what their thoughts were about this particular school they went to in Iowa and one of them was negative in the fact that she did not feel prepared at the end of 2 years to take the Iowa Boards. The other graduate was more "iffy" like "yeah, it was ok, but not great" so I don't know what other way to find out "honest" information about this school.

I do like the idea of having an Associates degree in nursing and being an RN after 2 years and not having to worry about completing the Texas LVN Program and then waiting a year and then applying and not getting accepted for their LVN to RN Program.

I have the option of doing what a couple of other people I know have done and that is to get their LVN certificate and then finish their RN training online. I know someone who did this and got a very nice RN Position, so that's an option.

The other main difference between the Iowa and Texas school (and this might give away the name of the school in Iowa even though I'm trying to be confidential LOL). But in the Iowa RN program, during the summer before the Fall start date, you are required to take a Nursing Assistant Certificate Program for 2 months and that is main pre-requisite. Now I personally think this is a great idea. Not only do you get a taste of what nursing life is going to be but at the end of the Summer, you have a Nursing Assistant Certificate and you could work as a CNA on weekends while you go to school.

The other major issue is that the Pre-requisites that I will be required to have for the Texas RN program are offered in the Iowa Program's curriculum. For Example, the Texas RN program requires Anatomy I &II, Microbiology and College Math as Pre-requisites. So even though I've been accepted into the Texas LVN Program, I am spending this Summer taking both Anatomy classes. Then after LVN graduation, I will look for a job while I take Micro and Math at night so that I will have all 4 Pre-reqs by the time the LVN to RN Program comes around the next fall.

The Iowa RN program has Anatomy I and II and Microbiology as part of their Curriculum! I wouldn't have to spend time and money getting those classes done on my own time, they would be part of the classroom curriculum. I think that's great.

So instead of spending this summer in Texas taking these Anatomy classes (which I've already taken, but are now over 5 years old), I can spend the summer taking the Nursing Assistant training. And then I don't have to worry about any other pre-reqs since they are part of the curriculum.

I think I may have been offered accepted into both of these programs because I am already in the medical field and went to a 2 year school and have 5 years experience and passed that program and passed the boards as well, so they probably assumed that I could handle this program too.

Either way, I have to jump on one ship or another because I'm going to run into a timing issue and really have to make a decision right after Memorial day. It's too late for me to look into other programs here in Texas beause the deadline for most of these programs was either Feb or March.

My parents of course want me to stay in Texas but everyone else has told me to go for it at the Iowa program. I mean, if I'm going by a student or two who didn't pass the Iowa boards twice, is that the program's fault or the student's issue? Aren't there classes, books, study groups that people can get into to prepare for the Nursing Boards? You will always run into a disgruntled student or employee but that doesn't necessarily mean the school or the job is a bad one.


Specializes in Med/Surg. Has 1 years experience.

Try St. Ambrose University in Iowa. BSN!!


Has 4 years experience.

RN route is best. you can always go to a review course for the NCLEX. An LPN is fine for people who only want to provide that level of care and have no aspirations to going for the RN. also those with kids and life situations that my be complicated to do the RN route but my suggestion is to do what you want first instead of piecing together a path to the same goal. you are more likely to get to your goal if you set out to do what you really want.

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 11 years experience.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about the NCLEX pass rate of the program. I'm of the opinion that pass rates are as reflective of admission policies as they are of program content.

If you use a good review guide you shouldn't have a problem.

All of you have been so helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to give some good advice. It's hard to ask a family member this question because they of course want you to stay close by.

I know that if I were to stay in Texas, that getting into an LVN to RN program is going to be difficult even if I have all the pre-requisites and everything lined up. It seems that the nursing profession and education is pretty competitive and just the thought of having to wait a minimum of a year before I can even apply to the LVN to RN Program doesn't fit well with me. I was wanting to apply to the same school where I'd be doing the LVN training, but what if I don't get into their LVN/RN program the next year or the year after that or the year after that? That would be frustrating.

I have a good friend who went to the same school 10 years ago for the LVN Program and after that she got her RN training online and her license and Associates degree and then got a great RN job as well. So that's been an option I've been thinking about but I really don't know how you all feel about the online option.

The other question I had was: If I were to get my training as an RN in Iowa and I finished and graduated, if I wanted to go back to Texas and practice, should I take my NCLEX in Iowa or wait and take it in Texas? From reading the Texas BON web page, I would have to get re-certified in Texas and take a test and get certified again as an RN for Texas.

It seems like the market is healthy here, but I did another internet search with respect to the number of job openings within 30 miles of where my familiy lives and my hometown in Texas and for LVN/LPN's there were about 16 posts and for RN there were about 160 posts.

I know going to Iowa would disappoint my parents who are elderly and my dad is disabled, but they're the only ones who are telling me to stay and everyone else, personally and professionally are telling me to definitely go for the RN school.

JenRN30, BSN

Specializes in Endoscopy/MICU/SICU. Has 10 years experience.

Hey Jimmydaves,

You can tapply for your licensure in whatever state you want. So, you can be living in Iowa and apply to the Texas BON for your license, take the NCLEX in Iowa or Texas, pass and get your Texas RN license!! Also, I believe Texas and Iowa are both compact states, so you really have a multi-state license, including those two states and about 20 others that you could practice in. So, the licensing shouldn't be a problem.

I know it's hard to leave your parents, but if you let them know you'll be back for sure in two short years, maybe they will cut you a little slack....

Good luck with your decision!!


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTC, Rehab, Hospice, Endocrine. Has 4 years experience.

OP-Just something to think about. If you want to ever transfer states, you have to be careful about taking the LVN/LPN-RN route online. Some states will not accept online RN schools, or are very selective on what schools they will accept. If you have the time and inclination, go straight for the RN route. For some, it's easier to do the LVN/LPN to RN route, just because you get to work in the field at a decent pay sooner. If I could have I definitely would have gone straight for my RN.

Kylea, I agree with your assessment and that's what I'd really want to do. I feel that it's easier to do the LVN and then the LVN to RN Route. In Texas where they accepted me into their LVN Program, I originally applied for the RN program, but my pre-requisites were over 5 years old, so what I took in 2002-2004 would not be considered. The head of the Nursing Department told me that I would have a better chance at being accepted into their LVN Program, so I applied for that and got accepted. Of course, at the same time, I received an acceptance letter from Iowa for their RN program.

The school in Texas has 4 pre-requisite classes and they also give credit for 5 of the classes offered in their RN Program and they are called co-requisites. So there are 4 pre-reqs and 5 co-reqs. The 4 co-requisites carry more value with respect to grades and are used in the determininig process for acceptance into the RN Program. The 5 classes are called co-requisites and you are given credit for taking those 5 classes before the start of the RN Program but you get 1 point credit for each of the classes you've taken. Then the remaining factor is your scores on the TEAS Test which I believe is used, primarily in Texas, as an entrance test for RN's here.

The Iowa RN program has those pre-requisite classes as part of their curriculum, so instead of making taking Anatomy I & II this Summer in Texas, Iowa would offer those same classes in the Fall and Spring. Likewise for Microbiology and Math, same thing.

The plan of action that the head of Nursing came up with in Texas was for me to get Anatomy I & II out of the way during this summer, take the LVN Program from August 2009 to August 2010, then because I would still need Microbiology and Math, get a job as an LVN and then take a night class in the 2 remaining pre-requisites and any co-requisite classes and then in the Fall, apply to the LVN to RN Program which would also give me time to study and take the TEAS test as well.

The Texas program, compared to the Iowa program, just seems a little bit complicated. I'm taking classes (pre-reqs) that they don't teach in their program and I'm having to use my time and money to get those classes for the Nursing dept. to use towards my eligibility for acceptance into the LVN/RN program. Now, this wouldn't be so bad if I knew I would be accepted into that LVN/RN program which would be starting in Fall 2011 and I'd finish in May of 2012. Now compare that with Iowa. I would start in the Fall of 2009 and finish in August of 2011. Almost a year's difference. Plus I would not have to take any of those Pre-reqs that Texas requests because they are offered in Iowa's curriculum.

The one pre-requisite for every student at Iowa though is taking a Nursing Assistant Certificate Progam over the Summer. 2 days a week at 6 hours a day and in 2 months, you have a Nursing Assistant Certificate before you even enter into Iowa's RN Program. Iowa just seems to have a very logical system set up. Having students go through a 2 month Nursing Assistant program I think is a great way for someone to get right into what nursing is all about and get a taste of what their chosen career path is going to be, plus you could use that Nursing Assistant Certificate as a means to work on weekends maybe and make some money during the school year.

I have a 2 year Iowa RN program vs a Texas LVN program with the "possibility" of getting into Texas' LVN/RN program a year after graduation, in the Fall of 2011. The RN is my goal. What if I don't get accepted into Texas' RN classes in the Fall of 2011 or the Fall of 2012, 2013, etc. I think at that point, I would be kicking myself for not taking Iowa's 2 year program and have that RN degree under my belt. If I had more of a guarantee of being accepted in Texas, I could do this, but I feel that the Nursing field is just getting more and more competitive as people change careers into a field that is more secure than others.

I have to do this for myself and as much as I want to stay in Texas, my chances for what "I" want are much better in Iowa. With the exception of getting my LVN in Texas and then getting into an online LVN to RN program, then I would look into that seriously. I do have a close friend that graduated from the same school in Texas as an LVN and then went online to get her RN degree, passed the RN Boards and got a very nice job in Texas as an RN. I have not really looked into the Online thing, but that may be the "only" thing that would keep me in Texas and close to my family.

I really appreciate all of the advice that I have received because I feel it's been fair and unbiased and you don't always get that from friends or family and this website and forum are just excellent. I'm glad I found it and it has been very informative and useful. Thank you.

Edited by Jimmydaves

hi jimmydaves, u are right there are many options so many its hard to choose between the two, try making a realistic list of all pros vs cons in all aspects, such as options in education, relocation, finances, ultimate goal, time frames, travel time ect. after making list whichever has more pros than cons go for it, good luck. which ever u decide is where u were meant to b

jimmydaves ask ur friend what online school she went to maybe u could go to the same one and online education for nursing is becoming more and more popular nowadays allnurses has forums on online nursing schools, start researching these schools now and making calls, if u really dont feel comfortable with relocating then dont but apply to other rn schools in texas. thats one of the great things about nursing there are so many options that iit is limitless. just get excellent grades and u may not have 2 worry about getting accepted into the lvn/rn program u will b accepted get excellent grades in school and test and network with school dept of nursing and instructors.

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