You want to become a nurse practitioner, right?
ALL RNs play a critical role in the healthcare team… but imagine how much more they can do when they are trained to deliver specialized nursing care!
And this is precisely what becoming an NP will allow you to do.
You will be able to provide more advanced and comprehensive health care, while maintaining close contact with patients and their families.
It is also advantageous for you professionally because it will open up many job opportunities with a high salary grade.
But becoming an NP is easier said than done, isn’t it?
It takes many years, has a lot of processes, and requires so much dedication.
But, we’re here to make the process easier for you.
We’ve come up with a simple guide on how to become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Texas. We’ll give it to you in just 5 steps.
We’ll also answer some important questions, such as:
- Are nurse practitioners in demand in Texas?
- How much does a nurse practitioner earn in Texas?
- How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner in Texas?
So, if you’re ready, let’s begin!
How to Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Texas – 5 Simple Steps
Here are the 5 steps to becoming a nurse practitioner:
- Become an RN in Texas and Gain Experience
- Enroll in a Nurse Practitioner Program
- Become Nationally Certified
- Apply for your NP License in Texas
- Maintain Your RN and NP Licenses
Let’s discuss each step.
Step #1: Become an RN in Texas and Gain Experience
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are Registered Nurses (RNs) who receive training in a specialized field or population group.
This means that before you can become an NP, you first need to become an RN.
You can learn how to become an RN in Texas by reading this article, but we will give a few important notes here.
Enroll in an Approved RN Program
The first step to becoming an RN is to enroll in an approved nursing program.
You can choose between an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
If your goal is to become an NP, it would be best for you to take the BSN option. A BSN is usually the minimum educational requirement for NP programs.
But some schools also offer RN to MSN bridge programs for those who graduate with an ADN degree.
Whatever you choose, don’t forget to check if the program is accredited by the Texas Board of Nursing or not.
Get Your RN License in Texas
After graduation, the next step is to apply for your RN license in Texas.
Let’s consider three different ways to be able to practice as an RN in Texas.
Examination If you want to become an RN, you need to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
To qualify for the exam, you need to submit some requirements to the Texas BON.
These requirements include:
- your transcript of records from your nursing school
- a completed criminal background check
- an application fee
- the results from your nursing jurisprudence exam
Once the board processes your application, they will send you authorization to test. At this point, you can schedule your NCLEX exam.
After you pass the exam, your license will be mailed to you.
If you are already an RN in another state (but don’t have a multistate license), then you need to apply for an RN license in Texas.
The requirements are similar to the examination process, but you also need to submit proof of your licensure in the state of your origin.
Texas is a nursing compact state.
So, if you are an RN from another state that is part of the nursing compact, you do NOT need to apply for licensure by endorsement in Texas.
Your multistate license will be accredited in Texas.
After you become an RN, it’s time for you to find your first nursing job.
Gain about 1-2 years of experience before enrolling in a nurse practitioner program.
This is usually a requirement of most NP programs before accepting you.
It’s also a great time for you to gain relevant experience and to decide if becoming an NP is the path you want to take.
Step #2: Enroll in a Nurse Practitioner Program
If you decide that becoming an NP is really what you want to do, then the next step is to find the best NP program for you.
You can opt for a master’s or doctoral degree for nurse practitioners.
One of the most important considerations when choosing an NP program is whether the program is accredited by the Texas Board of Nursing.
There are different types of NPs that you can choose from, based on population group or type of care provided.
Here is a list of the different types of titles that you can have as a nurse practitioner depending on your focus:
- Acute care adult NP
- Acute care pediatric NP
- Adult NP
- Family NP
- Gerontological NP
- Neonatal NP
- Pediatric NP
- Psychiatric/mental health NP
- Women’s Health NP
- Other possible titles
- Critical Care NP
- Emergency NP
- Oncology NP
- Pediatric Critical Care NP
- Perinatal NP
- School NP
Coursework and Clinical Experience
NP programs are usually divided into 2 phases – the didactic phase (or coursework) and the clinical phase (or hands-on experience).
The coursework you take will depend on what kind of nurse practitioner you want to be.
The clinical phase can be anywhere between 500-1000 hours or more.
Step #3: Become Nationally Certified
After graduating from your NP program, the next step is to seek national certification.
There are many national organizations recognized by the Texas BON that offer certification for NPs, depending on your area of focus.
Here is a list based on the type of specialization:
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center’s ACNP
- AACN Certification Corporation’s ACNP
- Acute Care Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (A/GACNP)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center’s A/GACNP
- AACN Certification Corporation’s ACNPC‐AG
- Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACPNP)
- Pediatric Nursing Certification Board’s CPNP‐Acute Care
- Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center’s ANP
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program’s ANP
- Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (A/GNP)
- American Nurses Credential Center’s A/GPCNP
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program’s A‐GNP
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center’s FNP
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program’s FNP
- Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center’s GNP
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program’s GNP
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
- National Certification Corporation’s NNP
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
- Pediatric Nursing Certification Board’s CPNP‐Primary Care
- American Nurses Credentialing Center’s PPCNP
- Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Adult PMHNP
- American Nurses Credentialing Center’s PMHNP (across the lifespan)
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)
- National Certification Corporation’s WHNP
Each of these national organizations offers examinations based on your specialty and may have other requirements as well.
Step #4: Apply for Your NP License in Texas
If you are already nationally certified, then you can apply for your NP license in Texas.
You do this by submitting an application to the Texas Board of Nursing for evaluation.
The requirements in Texas for all types of APRNs are the same.
- a $100 application fee ($150 if you are applying with prescriptive authority)
- your Texas RN license or your RN license from another nursing compact state
- certification of completion of your CNP educational program approved by the Board
- your national certification from the national certifying organization with the expiration date
- completion of a minimum of 400 hours of practice within the last 24 calendar months or completion of your advanced practice nursing educational program within the last 24 calendar months
- completion of a minimum of 20 contact hours of continuing nursing education within the last 24 calendar months or completion of your advanced practice nursing educational program within the last 24 calendar months.
If you are applying for prescriptive authority at the SAME TIME as your application for an NP license, then there is no need to fill up a separate application form. It is already included in your application for NP.
However, if you apply at a separate time, then you need to fill up a separate Application for Prescriptive Authority.
You will need to pay $50 to the Texas Board of Nursing.
You will also need to submit a photocopy of your national certification (with the expiration date) and a photocopy of your multistate RN license (if you hold a license in another compact state).
Step #5: Maintain Your RN and NP Licenses
Becoming an NP is very rewarding. However, it is not the end but the beginning of a lifetime journey.
You must keep your NP license active so that you can keep on practicing as an NP.
To do so, you need to renew both your RN license and your NP license every 2 years.
You can do this by completing 20 contact hours of continuing education related to being a nurse practitioner. The 20 contact hours will be counted for both your RN license and your NP license.
If you are an NP with prescriptive authority, then you need to complete an additional 5 contact hours in pharmacotherapeutics.
Another way to renew your licenses is by maintaining your national certificate and meeting the applicable targeted continuing education requirements.
You will be expected to pay $129 for your RN and NP licenses. You can check the fees here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Texas
We’ve already discussed how to become a nurse practitioner in Texas.
Let’s move on to some important questions you may still have in your mind.
Are nurse practitioners in demand in Texas?
YES! According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the demand for NPs is projected to grow 46.3% from 2015 to 2030.
Since the supply of new NPs is not as high as the demand, it is projected that approximately 25% of the demand will not be met by 2030.
Based on these statistics, we can see that an NP who seeks job employment in Texas will be readily snatched up.
According to the BLS, Texas also has the highest employment level of NPs in the country.
How much does a nurse practitioner earn in Texas?
The annual mean wage of a nurse practitioner in Texas is $ 117,890, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is about $ 56.68 per hour.
How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner in Texas?
Overall, it can take you about 8-9 years to become a Certified Nurse Practitioner in Texas.
This can be broken down into the following:
- RN education program – 4 years
- Licensure and experience – 1-2 years
- Master’s degree for nurse practitioners – 2-3 years
Ready to Become a Nurse Practitioner?
There are a lot of steps involved in becoming a nurse practitioner.
But if you take it one step at a time, you’ll soon find yourself there, and you can enjoy a very fulfilling career as an NP!
So whether you’re starting from scratch – or you’re an RN whose looking to make it to the next level – we wish you goodluck with your journey!
Take it one step at a time, and you’ll be an NP in no time!