Best DNP Programs in Texas

November 12, 2021 , Modified on May 19, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Choosing a quality school to attend to obtain a DNP degree is a very important decision. Texas has many great programs to get you off to the right start.

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Best DNP Programs in Texas
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The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is the highest level available in the nursing field. There are other nursing degrees considered terminal, such as a Ph.D in Nursing, and a DNS (Doctor of Nursing Science) degree.

DNP programs in Texas focus on advanced clinical practice, whereas other terminal nursing degrees are associated with research, scholarly education, and specialty skills. This guide will help you find the best nursing programs in Texas that offer DNP degrees.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best DNP programs in Texas, making it easier to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: Academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about DNP programs, or go straight to our list of the best DNP programs in Texas.

How do DNP Programs Work?

The DNP program builds on master-level nursing curriculum. Most DNP programs in Texas require a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) as part of admission requirements, but there are some BSN-to-MSN bridge programs.

Programs often require around 33 to 43 credits and at least 500 clinical practice hours. Full-time master level nurses can usually complete the program in 18 months to two years, while it takes three years on average for part-time students. For BSN students, it takes three to six years on average for DNP bridge program completion.

Common course topics include statistics and data analysis, epidemiology and health promotion, nursing philosophy, and leadership and advanced clinical skills.

Featured Online DNP Programs

What To Look For in a Texas DNP Program

The admission requirements detail education level prerequisites, and whether nurses need to provide minimum graduate school admission test scores, such as the MAT or GRE tests. The admission requirements section will also include any course prerequisites and the minimum GPA required for admission.

There are 15 specialty areas to choose from at the doctoral level in nursing. Most institutions do not offer all 15 areas of practice. Before researching schools that offer DNP programs, select an area of practice, then ensure the institution offers your preferred practice area. Learn more about potential DNP specialties.

While most accredited DNP programs in Texas require 500 hours of clinical practice, the time spent performing clinical rotations can vary from program to program. Online students should check out where, geographically, the clinicals are scheduled.

Some programs allow you to set up clinical practicums in your home state, others require clinicals near the campus, which involves travel time and expenses. Be sure to explore institutions that provide help with ‌scheduling clinical placements.

Accreditation is perhaps the most important factor when searching for DNP programs in Texas. Accreditation offers a guarantee that the program curriculum meets the criteria for certification for APRN and other certifications. Overall, accreditation equates to a quality education.

Consider the program length, particularly if you are working, and/or have family, or other obligations. The longer the program, the higher the cost when factoring in living expenses, loss of earning potential while away from work, and other factors.

The institution’s graduation rate informs prospective students of their chances of completing the program, based on the number of prior students who completed the program requirements.

Applying to a DNP Program in Texas

Once you have selected the DNP program you want to attend, submit your application. The application process includes several steps:

  1. Complete an admission application (often online)
  2. Submit letters of recommendation
  3. Submit official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  4. Submit a current resume
  5. Provide copies of RN license and professional certifications
  6. Provide a professional education statement and/or a personal essay
  7. Participate in a phone or in-person interview

A Bachelor of Science (BSN) or Master of Science (MSN) from an accredited nursing school, one year full-time RN job experience, a current and an unencumbered RN license.

Minimum 3.0 GPA

Additional documents or proof of specific experience may be required, depending on the track/concentration selected.

Why Is DNP Program Accreditation Important?

A DNP program becomes accredited after passing a review of curriculum, instructors, and NCLEX-RN test pass rates. Accreditation of a DNP program in Texas has many benefits, including:

  • Assurance of the overall program quality
  • Earning transferable credits (school credits may not be transferable from non-accredited institutions)
  • Qualifying for financial aid (non-accredited programs may not qualify for federal student financial aid)
  • Gaining knowledge to pass certification tests, such as the APRN nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist certification exams (non-accredited courses may not provide the curriculum required to pass exams)
  • Qualifying for better job prospects (accredited program often result in opportunities for better jobs)

Paying for DNP Programs

Earning a DNP degree is a wise financial investment, but you may wonder how to pay for your DNP graduate degree. Many factors can affect ability to pay for DNP programs in Texas, including yearly income, program cost and length of program, tuition (i.e., private institutions, vs. in-state or out-of-state tuition) and travel expenses for distance students traveling to on-campus requirements.

Despite the cost of DNP programs in Texas, there are many financial aid programs available that can help you pay for your graduate nursing degree. Not all institutions offer the same financial aid programs; do your due diligence and check out what is available at each school you are considering. Examples of sources of financial aid include:

  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Private lenders' loans
  • Federal student loans and grants
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Nurse associations
  • Colleges and universities

Learn More About the Top DNP Programs Schools in Texas

  • Baylor University

    Dallas, TX

    Baylor’s Post Master’s DNP program has been built on a strong foundation of academic, scholarship, clinical skills and experience. The course work has been designed to prepare students academically to take on leadership roles within the healthcare industry with a finer focus of serving the most vulnerable of the community.

    • Campus: Dallas
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $1,437.00/credit hour
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months of full time study
    • Online Available: No
    • Degree Requirements: Students must complete a minimum of 75 credit hours and 1000 hours of clinical practice in order to obtain their degree.
    • Programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

  • Texas Christian University

    Fort Worth, TX

    The Doctorate of Nursing Practice program at Texas Christian University is a terminal academic program that is designed to prepare students to step into leadership positions in a wide range of healthcare, business, government, and educational organizations. The coursework of the program focuses on grasping and managing the complex issues of the healthcare environment.

    • Campus: Online
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $1,125.00/credit hour
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 2 years
    • Online Available: Yes
    • Degree Requirements: Requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework and completion in addition to 6 credit hours of clinical practice and a final advanced project
    • Programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

  • Texas Tech University

    Lubbock, TX

    Texas Tech’s Doctorate of Nursing Practice program provides students with the highest possible education practice in the field of nursing. Students who choose to concentrate their practice on a doctorate level will be able to utilize their education and expertise in leadership roles in many avenues of their profession. They will also be in a position to take on the responsibility of teaching the next generation of clinicians and leaders in the healthcare industry.

    • Campus: Lubbock
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: Estimated total of $732.07/semester credit hour
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 2 years
    • Online Available: Yes
    • Degree Requirements: Students will be required to complete 45 credit hours over 6 semesters.
    • Programs: Post Masters Advanced Practice Nursing, Post Masters Executive Leadership
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

  • University of Texas at Arlington

    Arlington, TX

    The DNP program at the University of Texas has been specifically designed as the next step in the field of nursing after the Masters degree has been completed. Students who embark on this program are seeking to land leadership roles in their careers that will require extensive clinical expertise and innovation in a number of areas while they are working on their problem recognition and resolution skills.

    • Campus: Arlington
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: Approximately $1,300.00/credit hour
    • Minimum Time Commitment: A full time student should plan on 2 years to complete the required course work and a part time student should expect to spend between 3-5 years to complete.
    • Online Available: Yes
    • Degree Requirements: Students must complete a 36 credit hour program, which includes 33 credit hours of required courses and 3 semester hours of electives.
    • Programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

  • University of Texas at Houston

    Houston, TX

    The University of Texas Houston Doctor of Nursing Practice program prepares advanced nurses, managers, and directors to be clinical scholars and nurse executives for exceptional evidence-based patient care and leadership roles in the nursing industry. The program delivers an intense level of instruction where they pack a high level of education into a limited time frame.

    • Campus: Houston
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $862.00/credit hour
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 3 years
    • Online Available: Yes
    • Degree Requirements: Students must complete 32-43 credit hours and a Clinical Scholarship Portfolio, which includes a Practice Inquiry Project over 8 semesters.
    • Programs: Doctor of Nursing practice
    • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions About DNP Programs in Texas

What can you do with a DNP in Texas?

Direct patient care affords graduates an opportunity to work in their chosen fields, including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists. Nurse practitioners can focus on a particular area of practice, such as acute care, family care, adult-gerontology, women’s health, and more.

Non-APRN career options include the fields of nurse leadership and administration (such as Directors of Nursing and Nurse Managers), Nurse Educators, and Public Health Nurses.

How much do nurses make in Texas?

The salary for graduate nurses in Texas varies depending on many factors, such as the area of practice, whether nurses are APRN certified, the workplace environment (e.g., clinics, acute care or urgent care settings, etc.).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for nurse practitioners in Texas is $117,890. Nurse Midwives earn around $85,030 annually and nurse anesthetists, the highest paid of all the APRNs, make $197,540 per year on average. Learn more about DNP graduate salaries.

Is now a good time to earn a DNP?

Yes. A DNP degree can elevate your salary potential, giving you an edge in the nursing job market. Some institutions are requiring a DNP for specific Certified Nurse Practitioner tracks, such as the Family Practice Nurse Practitioner certification.

The future of advanced practice is shifting from a master's level to a doctoral degree (DNP). As the number of nurses with DNP degrees increases, it's necessary to pursue a DNP to keep up with the competitiveness of the nursing job market.

How long does it take to earn a DNP in Texas?

The program length depends on how many credits are required, whether you have a BSN or an MSN degree when starting the DNP program, and the rate at which you complete the program (i.e., part-time, half-time or full-time). It can take between 18 months to three years.

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