Top MSN Programs in Texas: 2023

Now is the ideal time to pursue your master’s degree online or on-campus from these top MSN programs in Texas. Learn what each program entails, how to gain entry, and what you could earn when you graduate.

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Texas is in desperate need of someone just like you — passionate about healthcare and interested in pursuing your master’s degree. The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies projects a shortage of about 57,000 nurses by 2032, and the state just launched an expansive Nursing Shortage Reduction Coalition. Translation: Opportunities abound for master’s-educated nurses in Texas.

When you earn a graduate degree in nursing, you become a solution to the state’s stressed healthcare system. For instance, nurse practitioners can help alleviate the burden on physicians and improve access to patient care by diagnosing illnesses and prescribing medications. And nurse educators can train the next generation of nurses.

If these noble goals sound in line with your future aspirations, keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of the top MSN programs in Texas, along with all the information you need to make a choice about how and where to earn your master’s degree.

Best Accredited MSN Programs in Texas

Now that you’ve been reminded of the why, let’s dig into the how — and we’ve made it easy by creating this list of the top accredited MSN programs in Texas. These are reputable schools that are affordable, offer academic excellence, and can provide the student support necessary to expand your nursing career. Please read about our three high-quality spotlight programs below to help kick off your school search.

Let’s get started with these three Texas MSN programs to explore in 2023:

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

UTHealth Houston School of Nursing offers high-ranking MSN programs. Students can choose from the family nurse practitioner or nursing leadership program, both of which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The degree is also highly affordable — the estimated total cost of the nurse practitioner track, one of the most involved degree options, is $357 per credit for residents and takes seven semesters to complete.

Students choosing to enroll in an MSN program at UTHealth Houston will be learning in a hybrid program that offers opportunities for learning both online and through in-person courses and clinical experiences. This provides students with lots of flexibility to accommodate their busy schedules. And those who complete the program are eligible to take the national certification exams and may also pursue licensure as an advanced practice nurse in Texas.

Texas State University

Texas State University has a highly rated MSN program offered through St. David’s School of Nursing, featuring majors in family nurse practitioner, leadership and administration in nursing (including an RN to BSN to MSN concentration), and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. The graduate programs are accredited by CCNE.

One popular option is the leadership and administration in nursing (MSN-LAN) program, which helps prepare post-baccalaureate registered nurses to practice in nursing leadership and administrative positions at an array of healthcare institutions. This is a hybrid, post-professional master’s degree program that was created for registered nurses looking to advance their careers through graduate education. The program includes 36 credit hours of coursework that emphasizes management and executive competencies as established by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) and the Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing as established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

Stephen F. Austin State University

Stephen F. Austin State University offers several MSN programs — family nurse practitioner, nursing education, and post-master’s certificate family nurse practitioner. This highly rated program is designed to prepare nurses to transition into primary care providers. The institution has a passing rate average for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) of 97.13%, a Texas State Rank of 8, and a national rank of 60. Program fees are especially cost-effective for Texas residents and those who live in the states bordering Texas.

Additionally, the majority of the class instruction occurs online; candidates must also complete 46 credit hours and 720 minimum clinical hours. This enables students to attend school remotely and complete their course load from a wide variety of locations. This also means the degree program can accommodate your busy family and work life, making it a great option for those who plan to continue working full- or part-time.

Key Benefits of Getting an MSN Degree in Texas

In High Demand

One of the top benefits of being an MSN-educated nurse in Texas is that the jobs are in high demand. In fact, Texas companies are one of the top employers of MSN nurses in the entire country. Moreover, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the sector will see a massive 43.8% growth in the number of nurse practitioners in Texas between 2018 and 2028. This makes Texas an excellent state to secure employment as a nurse, nurse practitioner, or nurse educator.

Higher Compensation

Despite having a lower cost of living than many of the bigger states in the country, master’s level nursing jobs pay relatively higher wages when compared to other nursing positions, such as RNs. This means that taking the time to further your education in nursing can pay off in a major way. Therefore, earning a degree from an MSN program in Texas can offer a high return on investment.

Convenient Schedules and Flexibility

Given that master’s-educated nurses are in such high demand, those who choose these positions can enjoy their choice of work schedules. For instance, they may be able to work full-time, part-time, per diem, overnight, etc. This makes it an ideal job for parents, caretakers, and others who may only be available for a limited number of hours per day or per week.

What Should I Look for in an MSN Degree Program in Texas?

Earning your MSN degree provides you with the key skills to accelerate your career by increasing your level of expertise. With the various Texas MSN programs available, identifying the right qualities and specialties will help you choose the right program for you. Here are a few features you should investigate.

State-Approved, Nationally Accredited

One of the key program requirements to investigate is whether it’s state-approved and nationally accredited. This is the only way to ensure that you are learning the proper skills in the safest manner possible. Some accreditations are Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN),CCNE, and others.

Choose Your Specialty

Finding your niche is important, whether you want to be a family nurse practitioner, nurse administrator, nurse educator, or focus on mental health. You should look for a program that lets you explore specialties and, if you already know what you want, has that track for you. You can gain expertise and knowledge specifically in the field that your career is taking you.

Clinical Experience

Lastly, depending on the program, you might need to log clinical hours. If you are looking for a purely online degree, check the requirements for in-person or on-campus hands-on experience. Clinicals play an essential role in your training, as they give you an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and skills to real-world settings. The best MSN programs give you a chance to show that you have mastered the skills needed to provide quality patient care.

Types of MSN Programs in Texas

Traditional MSN programs

These degrees prepare graduates for jobs such as nurse practitioner. They enable existing nurses to elevate to upper-level nurse management positions. Most traditional MSN programs teach skills such as navigating health systems, team supervision, healthcare ethics, health policy, quality improvement, and leadership.

Examples of Texas Nursing Schools with This Program

Texas A&M

Stephen F. Austin State University

Direct Entry MSN

A direct entry master’s in nursing program is designed for students with non-nursing undergraduate degrees who wish to pursue a career as either a registered nurse or advanced practice nurse (APRN).

Examples of Texas Nursing Schools with This Program

The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing

Texas Lutheran University


The RN to MSN programs offer an accelerated path to earning two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing. This program is designed for registered nurses interested in furthering their education and qualifying for an advanced nurse practitioner or other nurse leadership roles.

Example of Texas Nursing School with This Program

The University of Texas at Arlington

Dual Master’s

Earning a dual degree in nursing means you are essentially receiving two degrees in one. One example of this master’s degree pairing is earning a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Health (MSN/MPH). Earning a dual master’s provides nurses with opportunities to advance their nursing skills while also obtaining invaluable knowledge in adjacent fields. It often creates a pathway for nurses to secure well-paid and in-demand leadership roles.

Examples of Texas Nursing Schools with This Program

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

The University of Texas at Tyler

Online MSN Programs in Texas

Online MSN programs in Texas are programs that allow students to earn their degrees partially or fully online. The majority of the institutions offering these programs in Texas are accredited and allow graduates to pursue full or part-time jobs as nurse practitioners or other specialty positions.

FAQs About MSN Programs in Texas

What Jobs Can You Get with an MSN from a Texas School?

Earning an MSN in Texas can prepare you for a wide range of positions, such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists, as well as advanced careers such as nursing administration, chief nurse officer/nurse executive, nurse educators, clinical research manager, nursing clinical specialization, forensic nursing, and nursing informatics. For instance, Abilene Christian University offers a nurse educator and administrator program. It prepares students for a career in nurse education and management. On the other hand, Midwestern State University offers a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) program, preparing students for a wide variety of career opportunities in outpatient and inpatient facilities. Moreover, those who wish to continue their careers after earning an MSN may continue on to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP).

How Long is an MSN Program in Texas?

The amount of time it takes to earn an MSN in Texas depends on the institution you wish to attend. However, generally speaking, earning an MSN in Texas takes around 18 months to two years. On the other hand, if you are only going part-time, it may take up to three years. If you opt for an accelerated degree, it can take around one year to 16 months. If you are interested in an RN to MSN degree, it can take around 36 months to complete.

How Much Does an MSN program in Texas Cost?

The amount of an MSN degree depends on the institution, the type of program you choose, and the financial aid you secure. It also depends on whether you are a resident. However, the overall average cost of tuition for an MSN program in Texas is $11,922 for residents, with total costs ranging from $8,770 to $82,770 for a two-year program. Online programs may be lower because they cost less than in-person instruction. Here are a few examples of MSN program costs in Texas:

In Texas, What Are the Admissions Requirements for MSN Programs?

Generally speaking, those who want to earn an MSN in Texas must possess a BSN degree from a nationally accredited program. You must also have an existing RN license to practice in the state of Texas and your chosen state of residence. You must also have a GPA of at least 3.0 on the most recent 60 hours of undergraduate work. This may not include credits earned at a two-year college. On the other hand, if you are interested in an accelerated program, many institutions require a bachelor’s degree in a non-related field of study. For direct entry MSNs, you may need to provide letters of recommendation/intent, as well as acceptable Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test scores, and you may need to complete a written and/or phone interview with your chosen school.

Is There Financial Aid Available to Texas MSN Students?

If you are searching for financial aid for your MSN program in Texas, you can apply via your chosen school. The financial aid office also will allow you to apply for various grants, which do not need to be paid back, as well as loans, which will need to be paid back once you have completed your degree. Students also can apply for state-specific scholarships. For instance, the Bounce Energy Be More Scholarship is available to Texas residents who are current high school or college students younger than 24 and possess a minimum 3.0 GPA. If you need more help obtaining financial aid,please see our nursing scholarship guide and main financial aid guide for more information.

Inside Look at Online MSN Programs in Texas

When attending an online or hybrid nursing program, you will do most of the learning from the comfort of your home or any other chosen location. Some coursework will be completed asynchronously, meaning you will receive the curriculum and most — if not all — of your assignments upfront, allowing you to get a head start or better manage your time to ensure you submit all assignments on time. Other classes may be synchronous, where all students log on to a digital classroom at the same time and learn/complete work together. When it comes to clinical hours, you will need to visit a local hospital or comparable medical facility to complete those hours for credit. Please visit EduMed’s main page on online MSN programs for more information on what they can expect while studying online.

Standout Online MSN Program in Texas

Texas Woman’s University

Texas Woman’s University has an online Master of Science in Nursing with a family nurse practitioner track. For students already with their BSN, faculty will teach you communication and leadership skills to improve patient quality of life, advance your knowledge of treatment methods, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. This is a hybrid program, with most instruction occurring online, with clinical placement close to home.

Tuition is around $572.40 per credit hour, and the program is accredited by the CCNE. The program takes a minimum of 45 credit hours to complete. In order to gain entrance into the program, students must possess a BSN with a 3.0 GPA. They must also be current RN.

Do Employers in Texas Accept Graduates from Online MSN Programs?

Those attending MSN online programs in Texas can rest assured that they will have most of the same job prospects as those attending school in person. However, most employers want to ensure that graduates attend reputable, accredited institutions. Moreover, you must complete any required clinical hours and have passed all relevant exams, such as the NCLEX-RN.

Although the cost of living is much lower than in many other states, the average salary for MSN-educated nurses in Texas is in the top third of all states. A nurse in Texas who holds a master’s degree in nursing earns, on average more than $105,000, and they can choose positions anywhere from mainstream hospitals to a variety of specialty centers. Additionally, federal agencies project an overwhelming 43.8% growth in the number of nurse practitioners in Texas between 2018 and 2028, which is well above the national average. Therefore, those who choose to work as a master’s-educated nurse in the state can enjoy lots of variety and job security.

Earning an MSN in Texas can be quite rewarding. Not only do these nurses receive high wages and lots of options in terms of where they work, but the degree also affords them the skills to provide high-quality healthcare and enhance the quality of life for their patients. Here are a few of the FAQs often asked by those who want to become an MSN-educated nurse in Texas.

Are MSN Nurses in High Demand in Texas?

Federal estimates project a whopping 43.8% increase in the number of nurse practitioners needed in Texas between 2018 and 2028. This is well above the national average. Moreover, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Texas is actually the top state in terms of the employment of MSN-educated nurses, employing approximately 17,810. In Texas, the Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land area is one of the top metropolitan areas in terms of the employment of master’s-educated nurses.

How Much Do Texas MSN Graduates Earn?

The amount of money you can make as an MSN-educated nurse in Texas varies depending on your level of experience, as well as the type of practice at which you choose to work. According to the BLS, the mean hourly wage for nurse practitioners is $56.68, while the annual mean salary is $117,890. On the other hand, BSN-educated nurses in Texas earn, on average, $38.04 and receive a mean annual salary of $79,120, illustrating the significant difference in salary for nurses who hold a master’s degree.