Nurses who work in Texas already know the Lone Star State as one of the top destinations for nursing, especially for nurse practitioners (NPs). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texas employs the third highest number of NPs in the nation. NPs in Texas earn an annual mean wage of $111,060, standing above the national mean wage for these professionals of $110,030.
This resource covers what to expect from an online nurse practitioner program in Texas, including program length, experience requirements, and the differences between master's and doctoral degrees. Next, we cover potential NP careers and the path to licensure, including special requirements for out-of-state nurses.
Before enrolling in an NP program in Texas, you must first become a registered nurse (RN), which likely includes earning a bachelor's degree in nursing. Future NPs should also choose specializations. NPs can pursue many different specialization options, and most lead to lucrative, in-demand positions. Spend some time researching different specializations to discover your ideal career options.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Based in Texas
Regardless of where you study, an online NP master's program takes roughly three years to complete. While students can complete a majority of their coursework online, NPs must gain clinical experience within their specialization. As such, aspiring professionals should plan to complete in-person clinicals during their NP programs in TX. Students should expect clinicals to make up roughly half of their schooling.
While students can complete a majority of their coursework online, NPs must gain clinical experience within their specialization.
Students can pursue most NP specializations online with in-person clinicals. Common specializations include nursing administration, nursing education, adult-gerontology primary and acute care, pediatric primary and acute care, and neonatal. Online NP programs in Texas typically require students to select a specialization as soon as possible, as each specialization influences required coursework and clinicals.
Nearly every online NP program in Texas requires at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and an RN licensure. Some programs also require a few years of professional experience. Other requirements include a minimum undergraduate GPA (usually 3.0), multiple professional letters of reference, a personal essay, and an interview with someone in the program.
Nearly every online NP program in Texas requires at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and an RN licensure.
Lastly, aspiring NPs should note the difference between a master of science in nursing (MSN) and a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). While nurses can begin working as NPs after earning an MSN, many hospitals prefer applicants with a DNP, and some schools have begun replacing MSN NP programs in favor of DNP programs, following the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's recommendation.
Complete List of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Texas
Texas Nurse Practitioner Career Information
Texas NPs earn a higher annual mean wage than the average U.S. NP. Texas' mean annual wage also compares well with other states in the region. According to the BLS, Colorado is the only state in the immediate area with a higher mean annual wage for NPs. According to Projections Central, Texas could see a 43.8% growth in NP occupations, which is well above the national projected growth rate of 36.1%.
Specialization choice also plays a significant role in determining potential pay and job growth. In Texas, 68.7% of NPs specialize in family nursing, so other specializations may rise in demand as well.
Nurse Practitioner Salary and Projected Job Growth in Texas and Nearby States
Aspiring NPs in Texas must fill out the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) application. Eligibility requires applicants to currently practice as an RN in Texas or another compact state. While Texas allows nurses to begin their applications before earning RN licensure, the Texas Board of Nursing will not finalize an APRN application before granting RN licensure. Applicants must also complete an advanced practice educational program (an accredited master's program is sufficient), hold national certification in their focus area, and earn sufficient clinical hours.
The Texas Board of Nursing states that each applicant should either:
Complete at least 400 hours of practice within their field and 20 hours of continuing education either within 24 months of applying
Complete an accredited master's or doctoral program within the past 24 months.
Finally, applicants also pay a $100 application fee.
Currently, the Texas Board of Nursing does not require students to complete a doctoral program, though the board recognizes that many states are starting to shift toward this requirement.
Texas requires NPs to renew their RN and APRN licenses every two years. Fortunately, Texas allows residents to complete both renewals with one application. License renewal also requires a minimum of 20 continuing education credits.
Other Requirements for Texas Nurse Practitioners
Texas outlines specific targeted continuing education credits for NPs. These required credits, in addition to the 20 required continuing education credits, depend on the NP's specialization. For example, an NP that specializes in older adult or geriatric care must complete at least two continuing education credits relating to the field. So, before the two-year renewal period ends, this NP would complete at least 22 continuing education credits. Not all specializations need to earn more than 20 continuing education credits, though. Each NP must submit a $129 fee to maintain both RN and APRN status in Texas.
Texas requires NPs to earn national certification. NPs must maintain their national certification or earn an equivalent certification to keep their licenses. Nurses should plan on completing extra continuing education credits to keep their certifications.
Information for Out-Of-State Nurse Practitioners
Out-of-state nurses have two routes to becoming an NP in Texas, depending on if they currently maintain RN or NP licensure in their state.
Current RNs that are not NPs must hold RN licensure in a compact state. If they do not meet this requirement, they may apply for RN licensure in Texas while completing the NP application. In this instance, applicants must meet requirements for both RN and APRN licensure.
As a member of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), Texas recognizes nursing licensure granted by other compact states. Current NPs with RN licensure in a compact state have an easy route to licensure in Texas. In this instance, NPs simply fill out an application. As long as the NP holds national certification and meets continuing education requirements, they do not need to take any further action. Prescriptive authority, however, varies by state.
Resources for Texas Nurse Practitioners
Texas Nurse Practitioners TNP offers current Texas NPs with continuing education opportunities and information about upcoming conferences. Outside of education, TNP connects NPs from across Texas as an excellent networking resource.
Texas Board of Nursing The Texas BON, as the government organization that issues licenses, covers any questions nurses have about the application process, continuing education, fees, and practicing on its website.
Texas Nurses Association TNA, as the state's largest organization dedicated solely to nurses in all settings and practices, provides its members with benefits and discounts, professional development opportunities, and the chance to get involved through leadership positions.