The Best Texas Online Nurse Practitioner Programs and Requirements

By NurseJournal.org staff

Last Updated: February 2020



Registered nurses (RNs) seeking to expand their knowledge and training in the healthcare field and specialize in a specific practice area should consider becoming a nurse practitioner (NP). NPs focus on areas that include family practice, midwifery, and pediatric medicine.

Texas NPs provide direct patient care under physician supervision. Their duties include diagnosing and treating patients, prescribing medications, and advising patients about health management. NPs may also handle health administration and business tasks in finance, leadership, management, and policy.

NPs hold either a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). It can take 3-6 years to earn these degrees, but NPs typically command higher salaries and increased opportunities compared to RNs due to their advanced training and skills.

This page highlights the best nurse practitioner programs in Texas, including requirements and employment data. You can also browse additional information, including NP requirements in other states on this page.


Best Texas Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Texas Tech University – Health Sciences Center, School of Nursing

If you want to specialize in family nursing then the School of Nursing in the Health Sciences Department at Texas Tech University could be the place for you. They offer a Master of Science program in family nursing after which graduates can take up a position as a Family Nursing Practitioner (FNP). The program consists of 48 hours of semester credit, most of which can be completed online and is designed for those who wish to work in a more rural setting. The School of Nursing teaches its students while applying the highest possible standards to produce top level nurse practitioners for the community.

  •   Campus: Lubbock
  •   Accreditation: SAC & SCC
  •   Tuition: $15,480 for Texas Residents
  •   Financial Aid: Yes
  •   Scholarships: Yes
  •   Online Availability: Yes
  •   Time Commitment: 48 Semester hours
  •   Requirements: RN License to practice, Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited institute, 1 year experience as an RN, 3.0 GPA, ACLS.
  •   Programs: M.S.N NP
  •   School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

Baylor University – Louise Herrington School of Nursing

Neonatal nursing can be a very difficult post to take, so you need to have the best possible education for this. The Louise Herrington School of Nursing at Baylor University offers several Nurse Practitioner programs, one of which is a very successful Doctor of Nursing Practice in neonatal care. The program is open to people who are already qualified registered nurses and have experience working in this field. There are 75 hours of credit which focus strongly on the advanced care which is needed by infants and toddlers under the age of 2. It follows the guidelines set by the state of Texas as well as several other regulatory and examination bodies.

  •   Campus: Waco
  •   Type: Public
  •   Accreditation: CCNE
  •   Tuition: $1, 437 per semester hour
  •   Financial Aid: yes
  •   Scholarships: yes
  •   Time Commitment: 75 credit hours
  •   Online Availability: some
  •   Requirements: Baccalaureate Degree with a nursing major, GPA 3.0, 2 years study in a level 3 Nicu.
  •   Programs: F.N.P, N.N.P
  •   School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

Texas Woman’s University – School of Nursing

For Acute Care Nursing, look no further than the School of Nursing at Texas Woman’s University. Contrary to what the name suggests, they do admit men also and their Nurse Practitioner programs have many tracks available. The Acute Care specialization consists of 46 hours of credit of which some may be completed online, however, students will need to visit the campus also. It is set up to train students and prepare them for the responsibilities that a leading role in Acute Care Nursing will bring. This will ensure that they have the knowledge and skills needed to provide appropriate health care in an acute care setting.

  •   Campus: Denton, Dallas, Houston
  •   Type: Public but mainly admits women
  •   Accreditation: TBN, CCNE
  •   Tuition: $329 per semester hour
  •   Financial Aid: Yes
  •   Scholarships: Yes
  •   Time Commitment: 46 credit hours
  •   Online Availability: Yes
  •   Requirements: RN license, 3.0 GPA, previous experience in a professional nursing role, GRE
  •   Programs: FNP
  •   School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

University of Texas at Arlington – College of Nursing

In the past, mental health has been seen as a subject not to be talked about, though partly this is because it was not understood very well. In the last few decades, it has become a much more accepted issue and as a result more patients have come forward, more research has been completed and so new treatment methods and options have become available. To some it can be a most fascinating subject and so the Master of Degree in Psychiatry and Mental Health which is offered in the College of Nursing at the University of Texas at Arlington is one of the best programs available for this. Successful completion will allow graduates to obtain a professional position as a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Obviously, the emphasis on this program is around mental health and how it changes throughout the life span of a human. However, the option to specialize in child, adolescent or adult mental health is also available.

  •   Campus: Arlington
  •   Type: Public
  •   Accreditation: CCS & SACS
  •   Tuition: $8,710
  •   Financial Aid: yes
  •   Scholarships: yes
  •   Time Commitment: 48 credit hours
  •   Online Availability: no
  •   Requirements: Bachelors Degree, Current Nursing License, 3.0 GPA, 2 years clinical experience as a registered nurse.
  •   Programs: PMHNP
  •   School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

West Texas A&M University College of Nursing and Health Sciences

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences at West Texas A&M University is a great alternative should you be unable or chose not to enroll at Texas Tech. They have a great Master of Science in Nursing program which allows graduates to gain employment as Nurse Practitioners and it specializes in family health. It teaches student to be able to assess, diagnose and treat medical problems as well as advanced health care methods and techniques. The program involves practice in a range of different settings including health care clinics and so students will be sure to receive training and be able to mange many different types of settings.

  •   Campus: Canyon
  •   Type: Public
  •   Accreditation: CCNE
  •   Tuition: $8,475 per year
  •   Financial Aid: yes
  •   Scholarships: yes
  •   Time Commitment: 2 years
  •   Online Availability: some
  •   Requirements: Cumulative GPA 3.0, 2 years experience as an RN with a current license to practice
  •   Programs: NNP
  •   School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid


Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Texas

To become an NP in Texas, individuals must meet these requirements:

  • Earn a bachelor's degree in nursing, either an RN or a bachelor of science in nursing, at an accredited school. Most advanced NP programs require a bachelor's degree for admittance. Texas requires RN licensing prior to applying for the NP license.
  • Pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCLEX-RN) examination to become an RN. The process includes passing a criminal background check and the Nursing Jurisprudence Exam.
  • Select a specialty focus area. The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies and the Texas Department of State Health Services project increased demand for NPs in geriatrics, acute care, and primary care. Each specialty maintains its own national certification requirements. Other potential specializations include pediatrics, family practice, psychiatric, mental health, women's health, neonatal, and surgical.
  • Earn an MSN or a DNP. Professionals who hold a master's in another field may pursue a post-master's certification program. At minimum, individuals need a master's degree from a nationally accredited or Texas Board of Nursing-approved program to become licensed.


    Individuals interested in higher-level positions, such as nurse mentoring, policymaking, and other leadership roles, may want to pursue a DNP. The state board requires that NP curriculum includes coursework in:

        • Advanced health assessment with related clinical experience that teaches data acquisition, diagnoses, and health management plans
        • Advanced pharmacotherapeutics, in which students learn to use drug therapy for treatment or health promotion
        • Advanced physiology or pathophysiology, which analyzes the relationship between healthy and non-healthy states throughout the human lifespan


    Learners should take clinical course content that prepares them for their specific focus area. Individuals need 500 hours of supervised practicum, internship, residency, or fellowship in a healthcare setting, at which they provide direct patient care and client management.

  • Apply for an advanced practice nursing license from the Texas Board of Nursing. The board offers four license types: nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist. Requirements include paying a $100 license fee or $150 for a license with authority to write prescriptions. Nurses also need national certification in their specialty focus area. Applicants must apply within two years of completing their advanced degree program or supervised training.

License renewal occurs every two years and requires 20 hours of continuing education in a specialty area. For licenses that include prescriptive authority, professionals must log an additional five hours in pharmacotherapeutics education. Renewal also requires 400 practice hours per renewal period and maintenance of national certification in a specialization.

The table below outlines the certification requirements for Texas' most in-demand specialty areas.


In-Demand Nursing Specialty Eligibility Requirements in Texas

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GNP)

Years of Experience: At least one year prior to applying to an advanced degree program

Clinical Hours Required: 500

Continuing Education: 75 hours minimum, including 25 hours of pharmacotherapeutics, plus one or more of the following: academic credit; presentations; project, publication, or research; preceptor hours; practice hours; volunteer service; and assessment

Other: Certification requires passing a computer-based test comprising 175 questions

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGACNP-BC)

Years of Experience: At least one year prior to applying to an advanced degree program

Clinical Hours Required: 500

Continuing Education: 75 hours minimum, including 25 hours of pharmacotherapeutics, plus one or more of the following: academic credit; presentations; project, publication, or research; preceptor hours; practice hours; volunteer service; and assessment

Other: Applicants must pass a 200-question exam

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGPCNP-BC)

Years of Experience: At least one year prior to applying to an advanced degree program

Clinical Hours Required: 500

Continuing Education: 75 hours minimum, including 25 hours of pharmacotherapeutics, plus one or more of the following: academic credit; presentations; project, publication, or research; preceptor hours; practice hours; volunteer service; and assessment

Other: Applicants must pass a 175-question exam


Salary and Career Information

Texas NP salaries exceed the national rate, with the gap widening in the Brownsville-Harlingen metropolitan area. Other cities offering high salaries include the Woodlands-Sugar Land, College Station-Bryan, Midland, and Waco.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texas ranks third in the country for highest employment levels of NPs. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area ranks seventh among U.S. metropolitan areas in the same category. Among non-metro areas, Texas' Big Thicket region tops the list of highest-paying regions. The state's Coastal Plains region comes in fourth.

NP opportunities should continue to grow in Texas, as indicated by the 43.8% projected rate listed below, which also exceeds the national projected growth rate.

As the state's population ages, the in-demand specializations in gerontology should offer high salaries. Nationally, the specialty ranks sixth among the highest-paying NP careers.

RN vs. NP Salary and Projected Job Growth in Texas
  Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
Texas Mean Salary $72,890 $111,060
U.S. Mean Salary $75,510 $110,030
Texas Job Growth 24.1% 43.8%
U.S. Job Growth 14.8% 36.1%

Source: BLS, Projections Central


Texas Metropolitan Areas With the Highest Mean NP Wages
  Salary Employment
Brownsville - Harlingen, Texas $126,380 90
Houston - The Woodlands - Sugar Land, Texas $121,670 3,000
College Station - Bryan, Texas $120,160 50
Midland, Texas $117,520 120
Waco, Texas $117,500 140

Source: BLS