Nursing Programs »

Vocational Nursing Program

El Centro College’s Vocational Nursing program features a 12-month curriculum leading to a certificate of completion. Courses are completed in two 16-week academic semesters and two five-week summer semesters.

The program includes classroom and laboratory work on campus as well as clinical experience at various area health care facilities.

Clinical rotations may take place at: 

Students will need to plan two to three hours of studying and preparation time weekly for each class and/or clinical experience.

The demands of nursing courses are such that students may not be able to work full time while enrolled in these courses. Courses are offered during daytime hours only.

The program’s clinical experience requires that students be physically able to care for sick patients. This involves lifting, moving, bathing and transferring patients into and out of bed. Students will be exposed to patients with infectious diseases.

Students who complete the program receive a Vocational Nursing certificate and are eligible to take the Licensing Examination for Vocational Nurses (NCLEX-PN) in order to become licensed vocational nurse (LVN) within the guidelines set by the Texas Board of Nursing.

How to Get Started

If you are not already enrolled at one of our colleges, you’ll need to complete the regular admission process at El Centro College before you can apply for admission to the Vocational Nursing program. If you haven’t finished high school yet, you must also have earned a General Education Development certificate before applying for admission to the Vocational Nursing program.

Acceptance to the Vocational Nursing program is via a competitive selection process based on grade point average of prerequisite courses.

  • Learn about the application process: By submitting complete application materials, you will be expected to be familiar with the application requirements and process. Check out admission requirements in the Vocational Nursing information packet. You must meet all of the assessment testing and application requirements before you may submit an application packet for admission to the program.
  • When to apply: The application filing period for Vocational Nursing is Jan. 1-May 31 for fall admission. Students will be notified of acceptance by July 1.
  • How to apply: Applicants to the Vocational Nursing program must compile all required materials and submit the materials in a 9" x 12" envelope to the Health Occupations Admissions Office at El Centro College on or before the application filing deadline. Incomplete packets will be returned to the applicant. Application requirements are detailed in the information packet.
Online Information Sessions
Viewing an online information session is required for application to this program and will address program admissions, application, and acceptance policies in detail.

Criminal Background Check/Drug Testing

All students enrolled in Health Occupations programs are required by the Dallas/Fort Worth Hospital Council member facilities to undergo a criminal background check and drug testing prior to beginning their clinical experience. This procedure is conducted after students have been accepted to their respective program and costs approximately $85. For more information on the criminal background check and drug screening, see the Vocational Nursing information packet.


Dallas County residents pay $156 per three-hour class — that’s $52 per credit hour, or just $624 for a full semester load of 12 credit hours.

Compare that to what you’d pay elsewhere! See tuition rates for tuition according to your place of residency.

Rising Star Program

If you are a Dallas County high school graduating senior, you may qualify for Rising Star funds to help pay for this program. The Rising Star program offers academic support services and up to $4,000 for tuition and books, if you have established financial need.

Courses Offered (Curriculum)

Our catalog provides detailed information about the courses we offer and the courses required for our certificate:

LVN-RN Advanced Placement “Bridge” Program

A licensed vocational nurse may complete the Associate Degree Nursing program via the LVN to RN Advanced Placement (“Bridge”) program at El Centro College.

Acceptance to the Bridge program is via a competitive selection process based on grade point average of primary prerequisite courses. The LVN to RN information packet details the procedure for program application. Admission to this program is open to applicants who have not previously been enrolled in an Associate Degree Nursing program, although an applicant may petition the dean for admission consideration.

Applicants must complete all entrance requirements as outlined in the information packet and must possess a current Texas LVN license. The clinical skills expectations of the program require applicants to have had at least six months’ recent work experience as an LVN in a hospital medical/surgical environment prior to admissions.

LVNs who are accepted to the Bridge program enroll in three advanced placement or “bridge” courses: a three-credit-hour lecture course, a one-credit-hour skills component, and a one-credit-hour clinical component that involves two full days of classes for the first semester of the Advanced Placement program. After successful completion of the “bridge” semester, the student enters the final two semesters of the traditional Associate Degree Nursing program. At the completion of the program, 19 additional credit hours are awarded for the first two semesters of the traditional Associate Degree Nursing program.

Accreditation and Affiliations

Each of the Dallas County Community College District’s seven colleges — Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland — is individually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

El Centro’s Vocational Nursing program is approved by the Texas Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (3343 Peachtree Road N.E., Suite 850; Atlanta, Georgia 30326; phone: 404-975-5000; fax: 404-975-5020, email:


Degrees and certificates in our Nursing programs are designed for direct entry into the workforce. However, if you are interested in earning a degree at a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Services website for guidance on the transfer process.

DCCCD has a concurrent enrollment agreement with the University of North Texas System Center in Dallas. This enables our students who meet the UNT admission requirements or complete the Associate in Applied Sciences degree to be automatically admitted to the University of North Texas.

A student may apply for concurrent admission status at the time of first enrollment in a college of the DCCCD or at any later time during enrollment by completing a UNT concurrent admissions application.

Related Programs

Not sure exactly what you want to study?

You may also want to explore some other health-related programs we offer, such as Associate Degree Nursing, Diagnostic Medical Sonography or Radiologic Sciences.

Other Degree and Certificate Options

The colleges of DCCCD offer nearly 350 career and technical degrees and certificates, plus more than 50 academic degrees. For more information, see a chart of our degree plans by college or visit our credit programs home page.

Faculty Profiles

Our Vocational Nursing faculty have not only degrees and certifications in their field but also on-the-job experience, making them able to relate to the challenges you’ll face in the workplace. Our faculty members work closely with you one-on-one, encouraging you and helping you to prepare for your career in nursing.

See profiles of some of our Vocational Nursing faculty.

Contact Us

If you have questions about our Vocational Nursing program that aren’t answered on our website or in our frequently asked questions, please feel free to contact us.

For details about graduation rates, program costs and other important information, view the gainful employment disclosure.