Students attending nursing school online in Texas plan to pursue a fast-growing healthcare position. There are nearly 3,000,000 registered nurses in the U.S., and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15% job growth for RNs by 2026 — twice the growth rate of the average occupation. Texas is home to the second-largest number of registered nurses, with the Houston and Dallas metro areas boasting particularly high numbers of RNs. Still, Texas faces a nursing shortage. The Texas Nurses Association projects there will be 60,000 unfilled nursing positions by 2030.
Though Texas RNs earn slightly lower than the national average of $68,000 per year, specializing in fields such as geriatrics or cardiology results in higher salaries. Texas students can take advantage of the growth in the nursing field by earning an online nursing degree.
How to Become a Nurse in Texas
To become a registered nurse, individuals must complete an on-campus or online nursing degree program, such as those offered through nursing colleges in Texas. After completing nursing school in Texas, aspiring nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN and submit to a criminal background check. In Texas, the NCLEX-RN costs $100, plus a $186 endorsement fee. The Texas State Board of Nursing provides a list of NCLEX-RN pass rates by school; the state’s pass rate exceeds the national average.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
An associate degree is the minimum level of education required to become an RN in Texas, but many nursing students choose to complete an online BSN program in Texas. After earning a bachelor’s degree from a nursing school in Texas, students who plan to become nurse anesthetists, family nurse practitioners, or college-level nursing instructors must earn an advanced nursing degree, such as a master’s degree (MSN) or a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP).
Earn Your Nursing Degree
To prepare students for licensure, online nursing programs in Texas require clinical practice on an approved site. Therefore, online nursing degrees are rarely offered as fully online programs. Most associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs at nursing schools in Texas require applicants to pass an admissions exam and meet general requirements. ASN programs take 12 to 24 months, and BSN programs take about four years. Nursing degree coursework includes science classes, general education courses, nursing classes, and clinicals.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
Graduates of nursing schools in Texas must pass the NCLEX-RN to earn licensure. Online nursing degree programs prepare students to pass the exam, which costs $100 and takes six hours. Most successful test takers also study daily for at least two months prior to the exam. The Texas Board of Nursing grants licensure to candidates who complete an approved nursing program, pass the NCLEX-RN, and pass a criminal background check. Jobs, while plentiful, are not guaranteed to any nurse.
Nursing Licensure in Texas
The NCLEX-RN, which is required for licensure, tests entry-level nursing practices and nursing-related information. To be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN, students must complete an accredited nursing degree program — an ASN, BSN, or diploma program. At Texas nursing schools, approved BSN programs include nursing practice coursework, science classes, and clinical components. Graduates of online BSN programs in Texas have more career options than ASN or diploma holders.
The Texas Board of Nursing licenses nurses in Texas. After passing the NCLEX-RN, students undergo a background check; felony convictions or unresolved criminal charges may eliminate a prospective nurse. Once licensed in Texas, nurses can practice in a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state. Likewise, nurses licensed in an NLC state may transfer their license to Texas.
Nursing Licensing Costs in Texas
Exam Fee $100
Career Outlook for Nurses in Texas
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas healthcare centers employ more than 207,800 registered nurses, the second-largest number of RNs of any state. The Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas are the nation’s fourth- and seventh-largest metro centers for nursing employment, respectively. Although Texas has a large concentration of nurses — and Projections Central projects a 4% growth rate in the profession — Texas suffers from a nursing shortage, meaning graduates of online nursing degree programs will have ample job opportunities.
Texas nurses specialize in a variety of areas, in positions such as certified dialysis nurse, legal nurse consultant, and nurse midwife. Spanish-speaking students at nursing schools in Texas will find professional opportunities focusing on the healthcare needs of the Hispanic population.
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Biggest Hospitals in Texas
Texas employs the second-largest number of nurses of any state. Along with Texas’ large population, the number of nurses reflects the state’s commitment to healthcare. Texas has more than 600 hospitals, including respected institutions such as Baylor University Medical Center and Houston Methodist Hospital. With these hospitals employing a large number of nurses, as well as the ongoing nursing shortage, Texas presents plenty of entry-level opportunities for online nursing degree graduates.
- Texas Medical Center: The world’s largest medical complex, Texas Medical Center serves 10 million patients annually. TMC is home to the largest cancer hospital and the largest children’s hospital in the world and employs about 106,000 people. TMC’s breakthrough research and cutting-edge practices make it a great setting for innovative nurses.
- Tenet Healthcare Corporation: With 77 hospitals and 137,000 employees, Tenet Health is the third-largest investor-owned healthcare company in the United States. From its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, Tenet Health operates hospitals and facilities in 47 states. The corporation employs 38,000 nurses and serves 11.3 million patients each year.
Additional Nursing Resources in Texas
Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Recognizing the growing role of certified registered nurse anesthetists in Texas, TxANA advances the profession and advocates for general healthcare. Nursing students may join TxANA, but all members must also join the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
Greater Texas Chapter of NAPNAP
The Texas chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners promotes children’s health. The organization hosts a quarterly educational dinner, sponsors awards, and conducts advocacy and outreach efforts. Members receive continuing education units.
Texas Nursing Students' Association
Representing more than 3,000 Texas nursing students, TNSA maintains chapters at many nursing schools in Texas. Members have access to online forums, a scholarship competition, and an annual conference. Members are also constituents of the National Student Nurses Association.
Texas Nurses Association
As Texas’ oldest and largest association for nurses, TNA advocates for nursing-related public policy initiatives, provides continuing education, and develops resources to aid in nursing practice. TNA operates an online career center and a peer assistance program for nurses with concerns about substance abuse or mental health.
Texas Clinical Nurse Specialists
Founded in 2003, this coalition of clinical nurse specialists advocates for general healthcare and the profession, while supporting research in relevant fields. TxCNS members attend events and join an online job board. TxCNS is an affiliate of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Texas
Below is a list of all accredited online nursing degree programs in Texas, including ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. Online RN programs in Texas typically require some in-person components. Students earning advanced nursing degrees may specialize to increase their earning potential after graduation.