How to Become an RN in Texas – A Simple Guide

How to Become an RN in Texas - A Simple Guide

Working as a registered nurse is something a LOT of Texans want. But the BIG question is:

How do you become one???

The answer is not that easy, because there are a lot of requirements and considerations to factor in.

And these differ from state to state!

But don’t worry. 

Today, we’re here to walk you through the process of how to become an RN in Texas

We’ve broken it down into 3 simple steps, so you won’t be scratching your head wondering where to start and where to go from here. 

We’ll also answer some of the most common questions that people ask about becoming a registered nurse in Texas, such as:

    • What is the job outlook like for RNs in Texas?

    • What is the mean annual salary of RNs in Texas?

    • What is an RN to BSN course?

    • What is an ARPN?

Pursuing your dream starts with knowing how to get there. So, if you’re ready, let’s jump in! 

How to Become a Registered Nurse in Texas: A Simple 3-Step Guide

Here are 3 simple steps to becoming an RN in Texas:

    1. Choose the Best Nursing Program and School for You

    1. Obtain Your Registered Nursing License in Texas

    1. Keep Your Texas RN License Active by Pursuing Continuing Education 

Let’s delve deeper into each step! 

How to Become an RN in Texas Step #1: Choose the Best Nursing Program and School for You

Just like in the other states, there are 2 main programs that you can choose from to become a registered nurse in Texas.

The two programs are Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). 

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

This nursing program only takes about 2 years to complete. 

It is usually offered in community colleges. 

It is faster and cheaper, while still giving you the training you need to provide basic nursing care to a wide variety of patients. 

However, the demand for registered nurses who graduated from a BSN course (instead of an ADN course) is increasing. 

Staying a bit longer in school could open up a lot more opportunities for you!

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

This program takes 4 years to complete. 

It is usually offered in many state universities and private colleges.

It takes longer and is more expensive than ADN, but it prepares you to offer more specialized nursing care.

It also prepares you to have leadership positions in the future. 

BSN-RNs usually have more job opportunities and higher salaries. 

Approved ADN and BSN Programs and Nursing Schools in Texas

Choosing between ADN and BSN is really up to you.

Both have their pros and cons. 

However, whatever you choose, make sure that the nursing program that you enroll in is licensed and approved by the Texas Board of Nursing. 

Otherwise, you will not be eligible to take the licensure exam and get your RN license, which would be such a waste of time and money!

Therefore, before anything else, here is a list of Texas Approved RN Education Programs.

Each of these schools may have different requirements for enrollment, so it would be good to check with the school first.

However, some common requirements include:

    • ACT or SAT score requirements

    • Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam

    • High school and/or previous college transcript

    • Application letter

    • Application interview

    • Letters of recommendation

    • Background checks

How to Become an RN inTexas Step #2: Obtain Your Registered Nursing License in Texas

Whether you have just graduated from an accredited nursing program or have already worked as an RN in another state or country, you will need to apply for an RN license in Texas.

To obtain a license, you will need to send your application to the Texas Board of Nursing. 

There are two application processes – application by examination and application by endorsement. 

Application for Texas RN License by Examination 

If you’re completely new to the world of nursing – and have never taken the NCLEX-RN exam yet –  this is the route for you.

The NCLEX-RN is a nationwide exam, and all aspiring RNs must be able to pass this. 

Typically, once you’ve completed your ADN or BSN program, the requirements to take the NCLEX-RN exam are your transcript of records from your approved nursing program, criminal background checks, and application fees.

However, in Texas, they have an additional requirement.

You also need a passing mark in the nursing jurisprudence exam as part of the requirements to take the NCLEX-RN exam. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for licensure by examination:

    1. Read the Licensure Eligibility section and make sure you are eligible to apply for the examination. 

    • If there are no problems with your eligibility, you can proceed to step 2. 

    1. Complete the Online Application for Examination. 

    • You are advised to print a copy of the receipt so that you have your own record.

    1. Complete a Criminal Background Check. 

    • This is for those who don’t have a criminal background check with the Texas BON yet.

    • You will need to submit your fingerprints through MorphoTrust ten working days after the Texas BON has received your online application. 

    1. Register with Pearson Vue to take the NCLEX.

    • You should do this 30 days before your graduation. 

    • This will cost $200.

    1. Take and pass the Nursing Jurisprudence Examination.

    • To take this exam, you need to file with the Texas BON.

    • After 15 business days, you can log in and complete the exam online.

    • The exam takes 2 hours.

    • If you do not pass the exam, the system will lock up, but you can retake the exam after 24 hours.

    1. Make sure your transcript of records has been mailed to the Texas BON.

    • Your approved school of nursing does this immediately for you. 

    • But if you studied in a school outside of Texas, you will need to request for your school to do this. 

    1. Wait for your email verification from Pearson/Vue that will give you authorization to test (ATT) and instructions on the schedule of your test.

    • The authorization to test is valid for 75 days. 

    1. Take the NCLEX-RN exam!

    1. After you take the exam, Pearson/Vue will send your results to the Texas Bon within 5 working days after you took the exam.

    • If you have passed, then you will be sent a certification.

    • If you were unsuccessful, then you will be provided with feedback on your performance. 

For more detailed information, you can check the Texas BON website. 

Application for Texas RN License by Endorsement

Those who are eligible to apply for licensure by endorsement in Texas are:

    1. those who graduated from an approved RN education program,

    1. those who have taken the appropriate US exam, and

    1. those who have worked as a nurse or have taken the US NCLEX exam within four years before the application

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for licensure by endorsement:

    1. Read the Licensure Eligibility Section and make sure you are eligible to apply for the examination. 

    • If there are no problems with your eligibility, you can proceed to step 2. 

    1. Complete the Nurse Endorsement Application online. 

    • You are advised to print a copy of the receipt so that you have your own record.

    1. Obtain your Temporary License.

    • The Texas BON will issue a one-time temporary license, good for 120 days.

    • If you are eligible, they issue this within fifteen business days after they have received your completed application and fee.

    1. Complete a Criminal Background Check. 

    • This is for those who don’t have a criminal background check with the Texas BON yet.

    • You will need to submit your fingerprints through MorphoTrust ten working days after the Texas BON has received your online application. 

    1. Take and pass the Nursing Jurisprudence Examination.

    • To take this exam, you need to file with the Texas BON.

    • After 15 business days, you can log in and complete the exam online.

    • The exam takes 2 hours.

    • If you do not pass the exam, the system will lock up, but you can retake the exam after 24 hours.

    1. Send your Verified Nursing License(s) to the Texas BON.

    • If your previous license is from a state that is part of the NURSYS database, then you can complete a verification request and pay the appropriate fee on www.nursys.com

    • If your previous license is from a state or place that is not part of the NURSYS database, then you must submit a Verification Licensure Form to your state and request them to send the verification report directly to the Texas BON.

    1. Wait for the Texas BON to issue your permanent Texas RN license.

    • Once you have passed all the requirements and completed all the application processes, the Texas BON will review your application within 15 business days.

For more detailed information, you can check the Texas BON website

What if you graduated from a nursing program in another state, but want to apply for licensure in Texas?

Well, no problem!

The Texas BON will consider you eligible to take the licensure exam and apply for licensure, as long as the nursing program you graduated from was also approved by your state’s BON. 

How to Become an RN in Texas Step #3: Keep Your Texas RN License Active by Pursuing Continuing Education 

Education does not end after graduation or licensure.

As a registered nurse, you need to keep your license active by continuing your education.

You can renew your Texas RN license every two years, by having at least 20 contact hours of continuing education in your area of practice. 

There are many trainings, courses, and seminars that you can attend to achieve the 20 contact hours.

Some ADN-RNs also choose to level up their license by completing a BSN degree. 

If you have already graduated with a BSN degree, you can always consider taking a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or a doctorate degree in nursing.  

Taking a master’s or doctorate degree can help you to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). 

Possible Areas of Specialization for APRNS:

    1. Addiction Nurse or Substance Abuse Nurse

    • These nurses help those who suffer from addiction to drugs, alcohol, or other substances. 

    • They usually work in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, or outpatient care facilities. 

    1. Cardiovascular Nurse

    • These nurses help those with heart disease.

    • They usually work in hospitals, coronary care units (CCUs), and clinics. 

    1. Critical Care Nurse/ ICU Nurse

    • These nurses help those who have very serious conditions and require 24-hour care and observation. 

    • These nurses usually work in intensive care units (ICUs) and CCUs in hospitals. 

    1. Gastroenterology Nurse

    • These nurses help those with gastrointestinal (stomach and digestive system) diseases. 

    • They can assist doctors during colonoscopies and endoscopies. 

    1. Neonatal Nurse

    • These nurses help infants who were born prematurely or have illnesses. 

    • They usually work in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), CCU, or ICU.

    1. Occupational Health Nurse

    • These nurses can work in either a clinical setting or for a corporation. 

    • They are usually employed to help prevent injuries and treat the health issues of those who are employed in the corporation. 

    • They can also be tasked to evaluate medical-related work leaves. 

    1. Public Health Nurse

    • These nurses usually promote the health of the general public through health education and screening. 

    • They usually work for government agencies or NGOs. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an RN in Texas

    • What is the job outlook like for RNs in Texas?

    • What is the mean annual salary of RNs in Texas?

    • What is an RN to BSN course?

    • What is an ARPN?

    • What do the terms CE, CNE, CEU, and CME mean when it comes to continuing education?

What is the job outlook like for RNs in Texas?

Registered Nurses are in high demand in the US, especially in Texas. 

More than that, the demand is expected to rise in the coming years!

This is due in part to a large number of aging people, as well as the increasing focus on preventive health care. 

Texas employs the second-highest number of registered nurses, second only to California. 

This table can be seen on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website.  

Industries with the highest levels of employment in Registered Nurses:

Industries with the highest concentration of employment in Registered Nurses:

As you can see in the table, the highest level of employment of Registered Nurses in Texas is in hospitals, followed by offices of physicians, home health care services, outpatient care centers, and nursing care facilities. 

What is the mean annual salary of RNs in Texas?

According to the Us Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary of RNs in Texas is $79,120.

Here are some of the highest-paying cities in Texas with their respective annual mean wage for RNs, according to the Nursing License Map website,

    • Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land $80,160

    • Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington $74,140

    • San Antonio, New Braunfels $72, 27

What is an RN to BSN course?

This refers to a nursing education course that allows Registered Nurses who graduated from an ADN course to transition to a BSN course.

It takes about 2 years to complete (since most units from the ADN course may be accredited). 

However, some schools in Texas offer some online classes for greater flexibility of schedules. 

What is an APRN?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) refers to Registered Nurses who have obtained a master’s or doctoral degree in an area of specialization. 

To become an APRN in Texas, you need to:

    1. be a registered nurse in Texas or hold a current RN license with multistate privileges

    1. complete an advanced nursing degree (master’s or doctoral) in a specialty area

    1. complete the required clinical hours

    1. pass a national certification exam (that is based on your specialty area)

    1. apply for a Texas APRN license

What do the terms CE, CNE, CEU, and CME mean when it comes to continuing education?

When it comes to continuing education, there are a lot of acronyms, and it can get pretty confusing. 

Here is a breakdown of the different acronyms and terms used:

    1. CE means Continuing Education.

    • It is a general term used by many different professionals.

    • It is not specific to nursing education. 

    1. CNE means Continuing Nurse Education.

    • This is more specific for nurses.

    • If the training was provided by an approved organization, then the RN may use the units gained from the training to keep their license active. 

    1. CEU means Continuing Education Units.

    • This is a generic term used to measure the points earned from continuing education training. 

    • For nurses, the more specific unit of measure is the “contact hours.”

    1. CME means Continuing Medical Education.

    • This is not appropriate for the Registered Nurse to use.

    • APRNs may receive CME contact hours if it is in their area of specialization. 

ALVIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE 3110 Mustang Road Alvin, TX 77511
281.756.5613

AMARILLO COLLEGE
6222 W. 9 th Ave Amarillo, TX 79106 Mailing address: P.O. Box 447 Amarillo,
TX 79178
806.354.6087

ANGELINA COLLEGE
3500 South First Street Lufkin, TX 75904 Mailing address: P.O. Box 1768 Lufkin, TX 75901
936.633.5264

AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
3401 Webberville Road Building 8000, Room 8227 Austin, TX 78702
512.223.5787

ALVIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE 3110 Mustang Road Alvin, TX 77511
281.756.5613

AMARILLO COLLEGE
6222 W. 9 th Ave Amarillo, TX 79106 Mailing address: P.O. Box 447 Amarillo,
TX 79178
806.354.6087

ANGELINA COLLEGE
3500 South First Street Lufkin, TX 75904 Mailing address: P.O. Box 1768 Lufkin, TX 75901
936.633.5264

AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
3401 Webberville Road Building 8000, Room 8227 Austin, TX 78702
512.223.5787

BAPTIST HEALTH SYSTEM SCHOOL OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS
8400 Datapoint Drive San Antonio, TX 78229-3234
210.297.9104

BLINN COLLEGE
1366 Bryan Rd Bryan, TX 77807
979.691.2016

BRAZOSPORT COLLEGE
500 College Drive Lake Jackson, TX 77566
956.230.3370

CENTRAL TEXAS COLLEGE Department of Nursing & Allied Health
6200 West Central Texas Expressway, Building 155 Killeen, TX 76549-4199
254.526.1986

CISCO COLLEGE
717 E. Industrial Blvd Abilene, TX 79602
325.794.4456

CLARENDON COLLEGE Childress Center
1902 Ave G NW, Suite 1 Childress, TX 79201
940.937.2001 ext. 137

COASTAL BEND COLLEGE 3800 Charco Rd Beeville, TX 78102
361.664.2981 ext. 3037

COLLEGE OF NURSING AND ADVANCED HEALTH PROFESSIONS
2101 Waterview Parkway Richardson, TX 75080
469.941.8380

COLLEGE OF THE MAINLAND
1200 N. Amburn Rd Texas City, TX 77591
409.933.8908

COLLIN COLLEGE
2200 West University Drive McKinney, TX 75071
214.491.6287

DALLAS COLLEGE AT EL CENTRO 301 N. Market St Dallas, TX 75202
972.860.5099

DEL MAR COLLEGE Department of Nurse Education 4101 Old Brownsville Road HS-2 Room 132 Corpus Christi, TX 78405 361.698.2860

EL PASO COMMUNITY COLLEGE P.O. Box 20500 El Paso, TX 79998
915.831.4529

GALEN COLLEGE OF NURSING 7411 John Smith Drive Suite 1400 San Antonio, TX 78229
760.715.3204

GALVESTON COLLEGE
4015 Avenue Q Galveston, TX 77550
409.944.1387

GRAYSON COLLEGE
6101 Grayson Drive Denison, TX 75020-8299
903.463.8649

HILL COLLEGE
112 Lamar Drive Hillsboro, TX 76645
254.205.9775

HOUSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE 1900 Pressler Drive, Suite 344 Houston, TX 77030
713.718.7476

HOWARD COLLEGE
1001 Birdwell Lane Big Spring, TX 79720
432.264.5070

KILGORE COLLEGE
1100 Broadway Street Kilgore, TX 75662
903.988.3751

LAMAR STATE COLLEGEORANGE 410 Front Street Orange, TX 77630
409.882.3389

LAMAR STATE COLLEGE-PORT ARTHUR 1500 Procter Street Port Arthur, TX 77640
409.984.6365

LAREDO COLLEGE 5500 South Zapata Highway Laredo, TX 78046
956.764.5254

LEE COLLEGE 200 Lee Drive Baytown, TX 77520
281.425.6541

LONE STAR COLLEGE KINGWOOD 20000 Kingwood Drive SIB 100D Kingwood, TX 77339
281.312.1566

LONE STAR COLLEGE MONTGOMERY 3200 College Park Drive Conroe, TX 77384-4500
936.273.7012

LONE STAR COLLEGE NORTH HARRIS Health Professions Building 17200 Red Oak Drive, Suite 200X Houston, TX 77090
281.943.6877

MCLENNAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE 1400 College Drive Waco, TX 76708
254.299.8354

MIDLAND COLLEGE 3600 North Garfield Midland, TX 79705-6397
432.685.4594

NAVARRO COLLEGE 1900 John Arden Dr Waxahachie, TX 75165
972.923.5122

NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS COLLEGE 1525 West California Street Gainesville, TX 76240
940.668.7731 ext. 4361

NORTHEAST TEXAS COMMUNITY COLLEGE 2886 FM RD 1735 (Chapel Hill Rd) Mount Pleasant, TX 75455
903.434.8372

ODESSA COLLEGE 201 West University Blvd Odessa, TX 79764
432.335.6627

PARIS JUNIOR COLLEGE 2400 Clarksville Street Paris, TX 75460-7661
903.782.0759

RANGER COLLEGE 300 Early Blvd, Suite 105 Early, TX 76802
325.200.4132

RIO GRANDE VALLEY COLLEGE 5419 North Cage Blvd Pharr, TX 78577
956.781.6800

SAN ANTONIO COLLEGE 1819 N. Main Avenue San Antonio, TX 78212
210.486.1178

SAN JACINTO COLLEGE SOUTH
13735 Beamer Road Houston, TX 77089
281.998.6150

SOUTH PLAINS COLLEGE
– LEVELLAND 1401 College Avenue Levelland, TX 79336
806.716.2030

SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE 1101 East Vermont Avenue McAllen, TX 78503
956.872.3114

Visit the Texas BON website for updates.

List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in Texas

Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the Texas BON:

AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE 3401 Webberville Road Building 8000, Room 8227 Austin, TX 78702
512.223.5787

BAPTIST HEALTH SYSTEM SCHOOL OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS 8400 Datapoint Drive San Antonio, TX 78229-3234
210.297.9104

COLLEGE OF THE MAINLAND 1200 N. Amburn Rd Texas City, TX 77591
409.933.8908

COLLIN COLLEGE
2200 West University Drive McKinney, TX 75071
214.491.6287

DEL MAR COLLEGE Department of Nurse Education 4101 Old Brownsville Road HS-2 Room 132 Corpus Christi,
TX 78405
361.698.2860

GRAYSON COLLEGE
6101 Grayson Drive Denison, TX 75020-8299
903.463.8649

LAREDO COLLEGE
5500 South Zapata Highway Laredo, TX 78046
956.764.5254

LONE STAR COLLEGE MONTGOMERY
3200 College Park Drive Conroe, TX 77384-4500
936.273.7012

SAN JACINTO COLLEGE CENTRAL 8060 Spencer Highway Pasadena, TX 77505
281.476.1842

SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE 1101 East Vermont Avenue McAllen, TX 78503
956.872.3114

SOUTHWEST UNIVERSITY AT EL PASO 1414 Geronimo El Paso, TX 79925
915.778.4001

WEATHERFORD COLLEGE 225 College Park Drive Weatherford, TX 76086
: 817.598.6309

Visit the Texas BON website for updates.

Conclusion

And there you have it! 

We’ve given you a clearer picture of how to become an RN in Texas.

We have also answered some common questions. 

We hope you found this article helpful! And we hope that it will help you take the first steps into your nursing career! 

However, if you would like to know more, please leave us a message.

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