Do you want to pursue a nursing career in Texas?
Are you thinking of becoming an LVN?
Well, there’s no better time to pursue a nursing career! The demand for nurses nationwide is increasing.
This is because of the growing number of elderly people with different kinds of diseases. They need more medical care.
People, in general, are also becoming more aware of their health and many are seeking preventive healthcare services.
This makes an LVN career both meaningful and advantageous.
But what is the process of becoming an LVN in Texas?
How long does it take? How much can you expect to earn?
We will answer all these questions by giving you a simple guide on how to become an LVN in Texas. It only consists of four steps!
We’ll also answer FAQs through the following questions:
- What is the difference between an LVN and an LPN?
- What is the average salary of an LVN in Texas?
- Are LVNs in demand in Texas?
- How long does it take to become an LVN?
- Is Texas a nursing compact state?
We have a lot of ground to cover!
So, if you’re ready, let’s start!
How to Become an LVN in Texas - 4 Simple Steps
The process of becoming an LVN is not that complicated. Here are the steps:
- Get the Necessary Training to Become an LVN
- Register for Your LVN License in Texas
- Find Your First Job as an LVN and Pursue Further Education
- Keep Your LVN License Active
Let’s discuss each step, one by one.
Step #1: Enroll in a State-Approved LVN Training Program
As an LVN, you will be handling people with different health problems or concerns.
To be able to do this, you need a level of specialized knowledge and skills.
This is why it is vital (and a requirement) to get the necessary training from an approved nursing program.
State-Approved LVN Programs
When choosing which LVN program to enroll in, you have to make sure that it is approved by the Texas Board of Nursing.
Otherwise, it will not be credited or qualify you to become an LPN.
There are a lot of approved programs in Texas, most of which are offered in junior colleges and technical schools.
To check whether your program is state-approved or not, you can check their website.
Aside from state approval, you should check the NCLEX passing rate of your school to see if the graduates perform well in this exam.
A high passing rate is an indication that the school prepares its students well for the exam.
You should also check the location, schedules, faculty, and facilities of the program you are interested in.
Program Length or Duration
The program usually takes 1 year to complete if you are a full-time student.
It can extend to 2 years if you go part-time.
Some programs offer a hybrid of online and face-to-face classes, while others may offer night classes or weekend schedules.
The exact course content will depend on the school, but there are many common subjects across schools.
Some of the subjects may include:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Normal Growth and Development
- Nursing Fundamentals
- Patient Education
- Medical-Surgical Nursing
- Communicable Diseases
- Gerontological Nursing
- Maternity Nursing
- Pediatric Nursing
- Ethical and Unethical Conduct
- End–of–Life Care
Aside from classroom instruction, you can expect laboratory work and actual clinical experience in different healthcare settings.
Clinical experience is very important to make sure you know how to apply the theories and skills you learned in the classroom. You will be supervised and evaluated by RNs.
Texas requires a minimum of 1,398 hours for the LPN program, divided into 558 hours for classroom instruction and 840 hours for clinical practice.
Requirements for Enrollment
The exact requirements may vary depending on what school you plan to enroll in.
You should contact or visit the school directly.
But to give you an idea, some common requirements may include:
- Be a high school graduate or GED certificate holder
- Submit TEAS test scores (minimum scores may apply)
- Submit proof of TSI status
- Submit criminal background check and pass a drug test
Getting a certificate or diploma can cost you anywhere from $2,160 - $34,330.
This is usually just the tuition fee and does not include textbooks, uniforms, and other fees.
However, you can look for schools or organizations that offer financial assistance or loans for LVN students.
Step #2: Register for Your LVN License in Texas
After you graduate, you still have to undergo a process before you can be licensed to work.
Licensure by Examination
All aspiring LVNs need to pass a national examination - the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for LPNs/LVNs.
This examination evaluates if you have the necessary knowledge and skills to become an entry-level LVN.
But to take the exam, you need to apply through the Texas Board of Nursing. They will evaluate your application and see if you qualify.
To apply for a license by examination, you should:
- Read the eligibility requirements, mostly having to do with disciplinary actions and criminal background checks. You should also have a U.S. social security number.
- If you do not have any problems with the eligibility requirements, then you can proceed to step 2.
- If you have problems, then you will be required to fill up the paper application and submit more documents.
- Fill up the Online Examination Application and print a copy of the receipt for your records.
- Complete a criminal background check through the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which will be based on fingerprint results provided to MorphoTrust.
- You don’t need to go through this if you already have a criminal background check on file with the Texas BON.
- Register with Pearson VUE for the NCLEX exam and pay the examination fee of $200.
- Take and pass the nursing jurisprudence examination.
- Make sure your nursing school has sent an online affidavit of graduation directly to the BON.
- Pay the initial application fee of $50 to the BON and the nursing jurisprudence exam fee of $25.
- Wait for the BON to evaluate your application and for Pearson/Vue to email you the authorization to test (ATT). They will also provide you with instructions on how to schedule your exam. Your ATT is valid for 75 days.
- Take the NCLEX exam and wait for the results.
- If you pass the exam, you will receive a certificate. You can access and print your license at www.bon.texas.gov and complete online verification.
- If you do not pass the exam, you will receive feedback on your performance. This is helpful if you plan to retake the exam.
Licensure by Endorsement
If you already passed the NCLEX-PN before and are an LVN/LPN in another state, then you don’t need to go through the examination process to get a license in Texas.
You can apply through the endorsement process instead.
To apply for a license by endorsement, you should:
- Complete the Endorsement Application form.
- Pay the endorsement fee of $125.
- Complete a criminal background check and be fingerprinted.
- Take the Nursing Jurisprudence Examination and pay the examination fee of $25.
- Have all the nursing licenses that you hold verified and sent directly to the Texas Board of Nursing.
- Provide further information or documentation if and when requested by the Texas BON.
- Some further documents they may require include (but are not limited to) a copy of your nursing education certificate, a copy of your current driver’s license, or a Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) report.
It is important to note that Texas is part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC).
The eNLC allows LPNs/LVNs from all nursing compact states to hold one multistate license.
This means they can practice their profession in their home state and any other compact state either physically, electronically, or telephonically.
Since Texas is part of the eNLC, then you can have a multistate license which allows you to practice in any other eNLC state!
On the other hand, if you are an LPN or LVN from another compact state and would like to practice in Texas, you do not need to apply for a separate license by endorsement.
To qualify for a multistate license, you should:
- Meet the requirements for licensure in your home state (state of residency);
- Graduate from a board-approved education program or an approved international education program;
- Pass an English proficiency examination (if you come from an international program that was not taught in English or if English is not your native language);
- Pass the NCLEX-PN® Examination or a predecessor exam;
- Be eligible for or hold an active, unencumbered license;
- Submit to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks;
- Have no state or federal felony convictions;
- Have no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing;
- Not be a participant in an alternative program;
- Disclose if you have any current participation in an alternative program;
- Have a valid United States Social Security number.
Step #3: Find Your First Job as an LVN and Pursue Further Education
Finally! In this step, you already have a license as an LPN and can start your career!
The great news is that LVNs are in demand and there are many opportunities out there for you.
But if you’re wondering where to start looking for a job, here are a few suggestions:
- Nursing care facilities
- Home health care services
- Offices of physicians
- General medical-surgical hospitals
- Continuing care retirement communities or assisted living facilities for the elderly
According to the BLS, these are the top 5 industries with the highest level of employment for LPNs/LVNs.
You can also explore the less conventional routes, such as:
- Personal care services
- Office administrative services
- Insurance carriers
- Health and personal care stores
- Junior colleges.
According to the BLS, these are the top 5 industries with the highest pay for LPNs/LVNs.
Aside from looking for a job, you can think about how to advance your career.
You can specialize and gain certifications in certain fields such as:
- Certified Hemodialysis LPN
- Certified Peritoneal Dialysis LPN
- Developmental Disabilities LPN
- IV Therapy LPN
- Long-Term Care LPN
- Transplant Coordinator LPN
- Urology LPN
- Wound Care LPN
Other than that, you might consider becoming an RN.
Some schools offer LVN to RN bridge programs, which are usually faster than regular RN programs. It can take you about 16 months to complete an accelerated program, and you can often work at the same time!
Step #4: Keep Your LVN License Active
Sometimes we become so busy with work and other concerns that we forget this crucial step.
But keeping your license active is necessary if you want to continue practicing as an LVN!
In Texas, you need to renew your license every 2 years.
The requirements for renewal can be a bit confusing because some requirements need to be fulfilled every two years, every 6 years, and as a one-time requirement.
- Every 2 years, you need to fulfill 20 hours of continuing education.
- If you work in direct patient care, then this must include a course on human trafficking.
- If you work with the elderly, then 2 out of the 20 hours should be about geriatrics.
- If you don’t work in direct patient care or with the elderly, then you can choose which nursing topics to engage in.
- Every 6 years (or 3 renewal cycles), you must finish 2 hours on nursing jurisprudence and nursing ethics.
- There is also a one-time requirement for those who work in emergency rooms. They need to finish a course on forensic evidence collection which should be at least 2 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an LVN in Texas
We’ve completed the four steps to becoming an LVN in Texas.
But you may still have a few questions about LVNs and the career outlook for those in Texas.
Let’s answer some relevant questions here.
What is the difference between an LVN and an LPN?
LVN stands for Licensed Vocational Nurse, while LPN stands for Licensed Practical Nurse.
They are two different names for the same nursing position.
The terms can even be used interchangeably, although only California and Texas officially use the term LVN. All the other states use the term LPN.
LPNS and LVNs have the same educational requirements and NCLEX exams.
They also perform essentially the same functions in different healthcare settings.
What is the average salary of an LVN in Texas?
According to the BLS, the mean annual salary of an LVN in Texas is $50,220.
This is lower than the national average, which is $51,850.
But your exact salary range will depend on what kind of facility you are working in, what your position is, how much experience you have, and what city you are in.
According to www.indeed.com, the top five highest-paying cities are Austin, Fort Worth, Corpus Cristi, Dallas, and Houston.
You can also increase your salary by gaining certifications or specialized training.
Are LVNs in demand in Texas?
Yes! The demand for LVNs is projected to grow by 6% all over the country from 2021-2031. This is about 58,800 job openings for LVNs/LPNs each year.
But what about Texas?
Well, it’s the state with the second-highest employment level of LPNs in the country!
You can see this chart on the BLS website.
Employment per thousnad jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
How long does it take to become an LVN?
It usually takes 1 year to complete an LVN program if you are a full-time student.
This can extend to 2 years if you study part-time.
You can start processing your license by examination before you graduate, and then you can take the NCLEX-PN very soon after graduation.
You will get the results of the exam within a few days as well.
Is Texas a nursing compact state?
Yes! Texas is part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC).
This allows LVNs and RNs from Texas to gain a multistate license which will allow them to practice in any other compact state without having to apply for a separate license there.
And there you have it!
We’ve discussed the four steps to becoming an LVN in Texas.
We’ve also answered FAQs that will give you a better grasp of what it’s like being an LVN in Texas.
The job of an LVN can be very meaningful and rewarding for you, especially as you help people with various health conditions.
It is also a good stepping-stone if you want to go deeper into the healthcare field and advance your career.
We hope you found this guide helpful!
And we wish you all the best as you pursue your LVN career!