mini logo

Top Texas Nursing Schools and Programs

mini logo
Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

If you’ve ever dreamt of making a difference for others, perhaps even saving lives on a daily basis, then a career in nursing might be an ideal fit. This guide provides everything you need to know about becoming a nurse in Texas, including the educational and certification requirements to become a registered nurse (RN), certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or nurse practitioner (NP).

Keep reading to discover more about online nursing programs in Texas, how to earn nursing licensure, average salary figures, and the job outlook for nursing professionals in the state.

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Texas?

Texas appeals to many professionals for its strong economy. U.S. News & World Report ranks Texas as the 12th best state for fiscal stability and 15th best state in economy. The state’s healthy business environment largely comes from its oil industry.

The healthcare industry has also grown in recent years, creating job opportunities and billions of dollars in revenue, according to a report from the University of Texas at Arlington. Eight of Texas’ top 25 employers consisted of hospitals and research facilities. With such a robust industry, pursuing an online nursing program in Texas can prepare aspiring nurses for jobs in the state.

How to Become a Nurse in Texas

To become an RN, an individual must complete an on-campus or online nursing program, such as those offered through nursing colleges in Texas. Next, each aspiring nurse must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN) and submit to a criminal background check. The Texas State Board of Nursing (BON) provides a list of NCLEX-RN pass rates by school. Texas’ pass rate exceeds the national average.

  • 1. Choose the Path That’s Right for You

    An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the minimum level of education required to become an RN in Texas, but many nursing students choose to complete online bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs in Texas. After earning a bachelor’s degree from a nursing school in Texas, a student who plans to become a nurse anesthetist, family NP, or college-level nursing instructor must earn an advanced nursing degree, such as a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP).

  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    To prepare students for licensure, online nursing programs in Texas require clinical practice at approved sites. Therefore, students can seldom find fully online nursing programs. Most associate and bachelor’s programs at nursing schools in Texas require applicants to pass an admissions exam and meet general requirements. MSN programs take 1-2 years to complete, and BSN programs take about four years. Nursing degree coursework includes science classes, general education courses, nursing classes, and clinicals.

  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    Graduates of nursing schools in Texas must pass the NCLEX-RN to earn licensure. Online nursing programs prepare students to pass the exam, which takes six hours. Most successful test-takers also study daily for at least two months leading up to the exam. Nursing students in Texas must also pass thenursing jurisprudence examination(NJE).

    The Texas BON grants licensure to candidates who complete approved nursing programs, pass the NCLEX-RN and NJE, and complete criminal background checks. While nursing roles are plentiful, they are not guaranteed to any nurse.

Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Online Nursing Degree Programs in Texas

Aside from CNAs, all nurses in Texas need to complete nursing preparation programs or degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, or master’s levels. Many colleges offer these degrees through online learning. To learn more about what to expect from coursework and web-based learning, keep reading the section below.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in Texas?

Every college and university offers a unique curriculum, which means that each school comes with different course requirements and electives. However, online nursing programs in Texas must prepare all students for the same licensure examination. Thus, students can find many of the same course material at various schools, even if the specific courses vary among colleges. Read on for a list of common courses.

Health Assessment

Nurses evaluate patients’ health through interviews and physical assessments. This course trains students on how to take, document, and communicate patient assessments and medical histories.

Pharmacology

Pharmacology involves the study of medicine. Nursing students learn about the different classes of medical drugs and how they can help patients. They also study how drug side effects and abuse can harm people.

Pathophysiology

Pathophysiology deals with the biological processes involved with injuries and diseases. Students learn about the causes of injuries and diseases, along with diagnoses and treatments.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Over 200,000 RNs work in Texas, which has the second-highest rate of employment for nurses in the country. Therefore, there’s no shortage of colleges and universities that offer nursing programs in the state, and several of those schools allow students to pursue their degrees online.

These online programs usually have the same entry requirements and course materials as on-campus programs. The main difference, of course, is that online degrees include web-based coursework. This might include recorded lectures, reading materials, and online discussion groups. Students also upload their assignments online and generally need to participate in supervised, clinical hours on location, at a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic, or another medical center.

Online nursing schools in Texas can offer advantages to anyone who needs schedule flexibility. Students who work full time or care for children often prefer distance learning because they can study on their own time. They also do not need to travel to a college campus, which could prove tricky for learners living in rural areas or small towns.

Some online RN programs in Texas offer accelerated options, allowing students to graduate more quickly than the traditional four-year bachelor’s degree track. However, online learners who enroll part time generally take an extra year (or longer) to complete their degrees.

Nursing Licensure in Texas

The Texas BON sets requirements for nursing licensure in the state. The board also receives nursing candidates’ applications and determines whether candidates qualify for licensure. Additionally, the BON provides a list of approved educational programs for nursing students.

Texas’ nursing licensure requirements do not differ significantly from other states’ standards. RNs, for instance, need an associate or bachelor’s degree, and NPs must attend graduate school. However, unlike many other states, CNAs in Texas do not need a high school diploma or GED.

The following section provides greater insight into licensure requirements for aspiring CNAs, RNs, and NPs in Texas. Read on to learn how to earn and renew a nursing license in the state.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

Texas has different requirements for various nursing licenses. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know in terms of education, clinical hours, exams, and license renewals.

  • CERTIFIED NURSE ASSISTANT

    Individuals can become CNAs in Texas without a high school diploma or GED. Instead, they need to complete a nurse aide training program approved by the state. These programs consist of 60 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours of clinical training. The curriculum generally focuses on basic nursing practices, and it also covers helping patients with dementia and other mental health issues.

    After completing the course, prospective CNAs must pass the Pearson Vue CNA examination. Candidates can take the test twice. If they fail a third time, they must re-enroll in the training program. CNAs receive their certificates about six weeks after passing the exam. CNAs who come to Texas from other states can also apply by reciprocity, so long as they already hold nurse aide certification in another state. After obtaining certification, CNAs must renew their credentials every two years.

    Texas Licensure Requirements

    • Education: No degree required; must complete an approved training program with 60 hours of classroom instruction
    • Additional Clinical Hours: Training program should include 40 hours of clinical training
    • Exams: Pearson Vue CNA examination
    • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
    • Continuing Education: 24 hours of in-service education within the licensing period

  • LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE

    LPNs or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) in Texas need at least a high school diploma or GED to earn licensure. In addition, each candidate must enroll in a state-approved LVN program at a community college or nurse education institute. Students need to earn at least a C grade in all of their courses.

    After that, LVN candidates need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). This exam tests concepts like providing a safe and effective environment for patients; promoting and maintaining health; and psychosocial and physiological integrity.

    LPNs who move to Texas from other states can apply for certification by endorsement. They must hold certification in their original states and they should have work experience or have passed the NCLEX-PN within the past four years. All LPNs should renew their licenses every two years and complete 20 hours of continuing education credits to qualify for renewal.

    Texas Licensure Requirements

    • Education:

      High school diploma or GED; must complete an approved LPN/LVN nursing program

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in LPN/LVN nursing program
    • Exams: NCLEX-PN
    • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
    • Continuing Education: 20 hours within the licensing period

  • REGISTERED NURSE

    To become an RN in Texas, an aspiring nurse should earn either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college or university. Keep in mind, though, that although the state allows candidates with associate degrees to earn licensure, many hospitals require RNs to hold bachelor’s degrees.

    After that, RN candidates can earn licensure either through examination or endorsement. Nurses from out of state generally apply through endorsement, which requires nurses to already hold a license outside of Texas. Nurses who start their careers in Texas, however, must pass a state-issued jurisprudence exam and the NCLEX-RN exam. The jurisprudence exam evaluates candidates’ knowledge of Texas law pertaining to nursing. The NCLEX-RN exam focuses on nursing knowledge, like preparing lab tests and providing basic patient care.

    After RNs renew their licenses for the first time, they need to renew it again every two years. RNs also need 20 hours of continuing education credits for renewal.

    Texas Licensure Requirements

    • Education: Associate or BSN
    • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
    • Exams: NCLEX-RN, NJE
    • Renewal Frequency: Initially in 6-29 months, depending on birth month, and every two years after that.
    • Continuing Education: 20 hours within the licensing period

  • NURSE PRACTITIONER

    Since NPs and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in Texas take on extra responsibilities, they need additional education and training. They must complete MSNs and 500 additional clinical hours. APRNs also choose a concentration in graduate school that informs their licensure concentration. In Texas, APRN license specializations include nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, NP (in areas like gerontology and women’s health), and clinical nurse specialist (in fields such as pediatrics or mental health nursing).

    After APRNs meet their educational requirements, they must take a certification exam within their specialization area. The Texas nursing licensure board provides a list of accepted exams on its website.

    Once licensed, APRNs must renew their credentials every two years. The renewal process requires nurses to complete 20 continuing education hours and at least 400 hours of work within their specialization. Nurses working in pharmacotherapeutics need an additional five continuing education hours for renewal.

    Texas Licensure Requirements

    • Education: BSN and an RN license; plus an MSN
    • Additional Clinical Hours: 500 clinical hours
    • Exams: Several possible examinations depending on candidate specialty
    • Renewal Frequency: Renew every two years
    • Continuing Education: 20 hours within the licensing period; additional 5 hours for nurses working in pharmacotherapeutics

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Texas FAQ

  • IS TEXAS A GOOD STATE FOR NURSES?

    Texas is a great state for nurses, especially regarding employment numbers. Texas is the state with the highest employment for LPNs. It also lands in the top five states for employment of certified nursing assistants, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners.

  • HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN RN LICENSE IN TEXAS?

    It generally takes 2-4 years to earn an RN license, but this timeline depends on many factors. Aspiring nurses who pursue associate degrees usually spend two years on their education, while those who enroll in bachelor’s degrees typically complete their programs in four years. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that speed up the process.

  • HOW SHOULD I CHOOSE WHAT NURSING FIELD TO GO INTO?

    This depends on your personal interests and career goals. NPs often specialize in a certain field and they earn higher salaries than RNs. RNs can also specialize by earning a certification, but the specialization will likely not be as broadly recognized.

  • DOES AN ONLINE NURSING DEGREE HAVE THE SAME VALUE AS AN ON-CAMPUS DEGREE?

    As long as your nursing program holds accreditation and approval from Texas’ BON, then your nursing degree holds value, whether you earned it in a physical classroom or online.

  • IS TEXAS A NURSE COMPACT STATE?

    Yes. This means that nurses who earned licensure in another nurse compact state can work in Texas. Similarly, nurses with Texas nursing licensure can work in 33 other nurse compact states.

Texas Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

Texas offers promising employment prospects for nurses. Texas ranks in the top five for employment for nurses at every level, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Projections Central also projects that employment for nurses may grow significantly over the next decade.

Employment for CNAs and LPNs are projected to increase by about 19%; for RNs, about 24%; and for NPs, as high as 43.8%, far outpacing the 26% growth rate for NPs across the country. Many factors affect salary and job growth, and earning a degree does not guarantee employment after graduation. Below, you will find more information about salaries and employment for nurses in Texas.

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Texas, by Type

Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)
Certified Nurse Assistant $27,030 19.7%
Licensed Practical Nurse $46,990 19.0%
Registered Nurse $72,890 24.1%
Nurse Practitioner $111,060 43.8%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

Annual Mean Nurse Wages in Nearby States

Certified Nurse Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
U.S. $29,580 $47,050 $75,510 $110,030
New Mexico $28,720 $47,560 $71,730 $109,810
Oklahoma $25,690 $41,260 $63,080 $103,280
Louisiana $22,750 $39,480 $63,970 $105,340

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant


CNAs in Texas make a mean annual wage of about $27,030, which is just below the national mean wage of $29,580. In certain parts of Texas, CNAs earn significantly more. For instance, the mean annual salary for CNAs in Tyler comes in at about $38,410, ranking in the top five metropolitan areas for CNA salaries in the U.S. The Texas healthcare industry employs about 88,500 of these professionals, making it the state with the fourth-highest CNA employment.

Licensed Practical Nurse


BLS data shows that LPNs in Texas earn about $46,990 each year — only slightly less than the national mean wage of $47,050. Texas is the state with the highest employment for LPNs, with about 72,030 of these nurses working in the state. On top of that, the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas also have some of the highest employment numbers for LPNs.

Registered Nurse


With a mean annual salary of $72,890, RNs in Texas make below the national mean annual wage of $75,510. However, Texas RNs generally make more than nurses in their neighboring states, including New Mexico ($71,730), Oklahoma ($63,080), and Louisiana ($63,970). In addition, the RN profession in Texas is robust; Texas has the second-highed RN employment rate in the country, with over 210,000 RNs.

Nurse Practitioner


Because of their additional responsibilities, NPs make higher salaries than other nursing professionals. In Texas, NPs earn an annual mean wage of about $111,060, which is about $1,000 more than the national mean wage. The Big Thicket region in Texas, close to the Louisiana border, is the highest-paying nonmetropolitan area for NPs. BLS data shows that NPs in this region take home an annual mean salary of about $143,480.

Nursing Resources for Texas


  • Texas Nurses Association Established in 1907, this group is the longest-running professional association for nurses in Texas. TNA provides professional development resources and a career center, along with a peer assistance program.

  • Texas Nurse Practitioners Specifically for nurses licensed as NPs, this organization participates in both education and advocacy. TNP hosts an annual spring conference and also uploads job postings for members.

  • Texas Board of Nursing The Texas BON regulates nursing in the state. The board grants licenses and enforces safe nursing practices. Nurses can visit this website to check license requirements and read laws and regulations concerning nursing in the state.

  • Texas School Nurses Organization Nurses who work in schools can meet other professionals through this association. The group hosts conferences and other events. It also offers free mental health training through the Texas Youth Suicide Prevention Project.

  • National Nurses United As the largest union in the U.S. for nurses, NNU runs several campaigns to promote nursing interests. The group also offers non-advocacy resources, such as an online forum where members can discuss nursing issues and ask each other for professional advice.

Jump to Another State

Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.