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Best RN to MSN Programs in Texas for 2024 (Online & Campus)

Completing an RN to MSN program in Texas opens a path to new career options, leadership opportunities, and higher earnings. Here’s where to start searching for the right school for you.

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Houston, Texas, USA downtown city skyline over Root Square.

Are you a registered nurse eager to take the next step in your career—but not sure how? If you’re interested in a leadership position or curious about working up to a nurse practitioner or nurse educator role, earning your master’s in nursing could be an excellent move for you.

One of the biggest draws of completing an RN to MSN program in Texas is the opportunity to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Many programs offer an accelerated track where you can earn both degrees during your studies, saving you time and money.

Another major benefit to earning a graduate degree in nursing is the increase in your earning power. On average, nurse practitioners earn around $34,000 more per year than registered nurses. Texas employs the highest number of nurse practitioners in the country. Keep reading to see what programs top our list of the best ones for the ’23-’24 school year.

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About the ranking

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Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

Two: Assign Weighting

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS.

The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted.

Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Student/Faculty Ratio

About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

# School Name Type Tuition Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Texas A & M International UniversityLaredo, TX Public $ 1

Texas A&M International offers an RN to MSN degree for nurses who have a Texas license, but didn't previously get their BSN. No work experience as a nurse is required to apply. Once enrolled, students take courses in nursing administration. Because most students work full-time while getting this master's degree, courses are offered at flexible times and all courses are offered virtually. However, there is an in-person clinical experience students must complete to graduate.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing, RN to BSN

  • Credits: 54
  • Length: 2-3 years
  • Cost: $19,818 total
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Accreditation: ACEN
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
21/1
Online
Student %
82%

School Spotlights: Popular RN to MSN Programs in Texas

Accredited RN to MSN programs in Texas offer the affordability, academic excellence, and student support you need to expand your RN career. If you’re ready to take your nursing career to the next level and increase your earning potential, a master’s in nursing may be a great next step for you.

We’ve spotlighted three high-quality programs below to help get you started on your school search.

University of St. Thomas Houston

The University of St. Thomas (UST) Houston offers an excellent online RN to MSN program in Texas. Experienced nurses who hold an associate degree and meet graduate-level admission standards can apply for the program. All coursework is offered online, with simulation labs held at UST’s Center for Science and Health Professions.

UST offers three concentrations that allow you to personalize your educational experience: nursing education, healthcare and nursing simulation, and nursing leadership. A nursing education pathway enables you to influence the next generation of nursing students as an instructor—a great choice because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says demand for nursing instructors is expected to increase by 24% by 2026. The rapidly growing healthcare and nursing simulation pathway focuses on using technology to improve patient care; demand for healthcare simulation educators and experts is growing. The nursing leadership program gives you the knowledge and skills to function as an impactful leader in clinical and administrative roles.

University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington offers an accelerated online RN to MSN program in Texas that’s of great value. This degree is designed for registered nurses who wish to earn a BSN and continue their education to an MSN. The accelerated program can be completed in as little as 36 months, with several classes that count toward a dual degree.

You’ll have the option to pursue nurse education or administration as a specialization—giving you the skills you need to step into a leadership position. Students also will be qualified for a family nurse practitioner certification.

Lamar University

Lamar University offers an online RN to MSN program that busy working nurses can begin on their timeline, as four start dates are possible. Students can finish the program in as little as 36 months. Pursue a path to becoming a clinical nurse leader, certified nurse educator or public health nurse. The school’s bridge program means registered nurses can earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees by taking dual-credit courses.

The university requires all students to have an associate degree or nursing diploma before starting the program. The program offers two tracks: administration and education.

FAQs About RN to MSN Programs in Texas

What Can You Do with an MSN in Texas?

An MSN degree opens a wealth of opportunities that aren’t available to you as a registered nurse. An RN to MSN program in Texas prepares you for nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist roles. You also can pursue an advanced role as a nursing administrator or nurse educator.

An MSN might lead you to a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (typically referred to as a DNP), an advanced degree that equips you with research skills and can prepare you for a leadership role in healthcare.

Will I Earn My Bachelor’s Degree During My RN to MSN Program?

Some Texas RN to MSN programs allow you to earn your BSN degree in the process. Doubling up on credits allows you to earn both degrees cost-effectively and efficiently. UT Arlington’s accelerated program is an example of a dual-degree program. If you want to become an advanced practice registered nurse, these programs will help you get there as quickly as possible.

Some bridge programs do not grant a BSN degree in the RN to MSN program. Be sure to check the specific details of your school and the process for earning your degree.

What Will I Learn in an RN to MSN Program in Texas?

RN to MSN students in Texas complete nursing topics focusing on theory and practice. Much of the curriculum builds on what you have already learned as an RN but will vary by the degree program and specialization you choose. However, in most RN to MSN programs in Texas, you’ll study key foundations, such as biostatistics, pharmacology, and ethics.

Your degree will be broken up into sections. You’ll likely encounter RN-BSN classes, like Nursing Research and Holistic Care of Older Adults, and MSN common courses, like Principles of Research in Nursing and Evidence-Based Practice.

The University of Texas, for example, offers MSN concentrations for an adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, primary care pediatric nurse practitioner, and leadership in diverse settings.

How Long is an RN to MSN Program in Texas?

Going from an RN to an MSN in Texas typically takes you five semesters or more. Program length will vary for those needing to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

For example, Lamar University’s program takes at least three years to complete. Its RN to MSN program allows registered nurses with their associate degree to complete their MSN degree and specialize as nurse educators or nurse leaders.

For students with a bachelor’s in a non-nursing field, an RN to MSN program could take three semesters or more, depending on whether you enroll part-time or full-time.

How Much Do RN to MSN Programs in Texas Cost?

The average tuition for an RN to MSN program in Texas is around $20,000—or around $360 per credit. UT Arlington’s tuition runs $19,500 to complete 68 to 71 credit hours. You can also use the state’s Net Price Calculator to estimate the cost of attending various schools.

Here’s a look at tuition data for three online or hybrid RN to MSN programs in Texas:

Can I Get Financial Aid in Texas to Help Pay for My RN to MSN Program?

Many financial aid options are available to RN to MSN students in Texas. You may be eligible for scholarships, loans, and other programs. Make sure to check each school’s scholarships and awards page to find school-specific scholarships, like those from Texas Woman’s University. UTHealth Houston offers both academic and need-based scholarships to nursing students.

Students pursuing MSN degrees also may be eligible for the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, a low-interest loan forgiveness program offered by the federal government through your university.

For more information on your financial aid search, be sure to read our nursing scholarship guide and our main financial aid guide.

What Requirements Do I Need to Apply for Admission to RN to MSN Programs in Texas?

Specific requirements vary from school to school, depending on the program. However, here are some core requirements:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), or nursing diploma with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree (BS/BA).
  • GPA of 3.0 GPA or higher in prerequisite courses
  • Recommendations
  • Active RN license
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Some schools, like the University of Texas, require full-time RN experience for the family nurse practitioner and pediatric nurse practitioner programs.

Check the course page for the school you are applying to ensure you have all the required application materials.

What Should I Look For in a Quality RN to MSN Program in Texas?

The school’s accreditation is one of the most important things to look for when choosing a program. Organizations like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) evaluate schools for their ability to meet nursing educational standards.

Other factors that may be helpful to look for include graduation rates and types of specializations. If you want to pursue a nursing position in gerontology, you’ll want to make sure that the program has a solid course path for that field.

The Texas Board of Nursing offers helpful resources for evaluating quality RN to MSN programs in the state.

Inside Look at Online RN to MSN Degree Programs in Texas

It’s never been more convenient to earn an advanced degree. Many Texas nursing schools offer an online or hybrid-learning path to earning an MSN degree. Several of the schools we’ve highlighted in this guide, including the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of St. Thomas Houston, offer fully online programs. At UST Houston, for example, you also can participate in simulation labs.

Online RN to MSN programs in Texas offer several learning benefits for students. The biggest advantage is that it gives you time and flexibility to complete your studies, allowing you to juggle other work and family commitments. You’ll communicate with your instructors, connect with fellow classmates, and work through course content using sophisticated online learning platforms.

For more information on what you should expect from these programs, check out our guide to online RN to MSN programs in Texas and around the country.

Can I Earn my MSN in Texas Completely Online?

Texas schools do offer RN to MSN programs that are entirely online and delivered on a flexible schedule. Check out programs like the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of St. Thomas Houston.

Much of the core curriculum in an MSN program can be taught virtually. These classes include RN-BSN classes, like Nursing Research and Holistic Care of Older Adults, and MSN common courses, like Principles of Research in Nursing and Evidence-Based Practice.

You’ll want to look into each school’s clinical requirements to see if there are any on-campus requirements.

Do Employers in Texas Accept Graduates from Online RN to MSN Programs?

Online graduates of RN to MSN programs in Texas are just as competitive in the job market—especially amid growing demand for nurses. The University of Texas Tyler details career paths that former students have pursued, including working at the Texas Board of Nursing and Baylor University Medical Center. To set yourself up best for job opportunities, be sure to look for programs accredited by the ACEN or CCNE.

How Do I Go from Being an RN to an MSN Nurse in Texas?

Through RN-MSN programs, students can bypass having to earn a separate bachelor of nursing degree. Once you have a registered nurse license and some formal work experience, you’re eligible to consider an MSN program.

Besides your RN license, the most important thing you’ll need is an ADN or a nursing diploma. RNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree also can consider these bridge programs.

More than 350,000 licensed nurses currently work in the state, according to the Texas Board of Nursing. Beginning or continuing your career path in the state is a wise choice.

Texas nurses are in luck: Dallas and Houston are the two cities with the country’s highest number of employed nurses. In addition, many Texas hospitals are ranked highly by U.S. News and World Report. Once you complete your MSN program successfully, you’ll have a booming job market in your backyard. Keep reading to find out what you can expect.

How Much Do Texas RN to MSN Graduates Earn?

On average, RNs in Texas make $62,997 per year. However, nurses with MSN degrees command average salaries of $107,119 per year—more than a $40,000 jump. Common roles for nurses with an MSN degree include a nurse practitioner and a nurse anesthetist. The national median wage for a nurse practitioner is even higher, at $120,000, according to the BLS.

Texas has the highest number of nurse practitioners in the country, slightly more than California and New York. The median wage for nurse practitioners in Texas is $117,890, with Dallas and Houston among the cities with the highest employment numbers.

What is the Job Market Like for Registered Nurses with an MSN in Texas?

No matter which role you pursue after earning your MSN degree, you’ll likely find a plethora of job openings. Texas has the highest number of nurse practitioners in the country—and the number is expected to increase over the next decade. The demand for nursing instructors is expected to increase as well, with a 24% jump by 2026, according to the BLS.

If you’re starting your search, it can be helpful to browse online job boards to see current positions. There are several job boards for nurses in Texas, including the Texas Nurses Association Career Center, the Texas Nurse Practitioners Career Center, and the Texas Organization for Nursing Leadership Career Center.