Online Nursing
Programs in Texas

Thinking about becoming a nurse in Texas? Learn about
state-approved online RN programs that fit your active
schedule and find other key info about nursing in Texas.

Last Updated: 10/22/2020
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If you live in or near Texas and are interested in pursuing or advancing your registered nursing career, earning a nursing degree online from a Texas college or university could be your best option. Schools with online nursing programs in Texas offer several important benefits to busy nursing students, including affordability, schedule flexibility, and the convenience of attending class from anywhere there’s access to a high-speed internet connection. Living near school means you’ll be able to complete your clinical requirements locally, take advantage of program-related networking opportunities, and attend classes or labs in-person class if required. You’ll also be completing a  degree program that supports Texas state RN licensing requirements.

In this guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about online RN programs in Texas, starting with a look at the different types of online programs available. We’ve also included a step-by-step guide to becoming a Texas RN, answers to frequently asked questions about online nursing programs in Texas, and a list of useful online resources.

What It’s Like Earning Your Nursing Degree Online in Texas

Online classes in nursing are practically identical to those taken on-campus in terms of course content, assignments and activities, student resources, and even the amount and quality of interaction you’ll have with teachers and peers.

Online nursing programs in Texas typically feature fully online coursework consisting of lectures, assignments, discussions, and testing. Most Texas nursing programs offer online courses in an asynchronous format, allowing students to access and complete their coursework at a time that fits their busy schedules. Students are usually able to access important student services, such as program and career advisement, entirely online. As a result, online nursing students may not be required to come to their school’s campus at any time during their degree studies. You can expect to complete in-person clinical requirements at a program-approved facility in your local area, although some programs require clinicals to be completed at facilities in or around the school’s local community.

Every online nursing degree program has its own curriculum, online learning platform, course formats, and established protocol, so it’s crucial to have a clear and detailed understanding of all degree and course requirements before enrolling in any online nursing degree program.

Popular Types of Online RN Programs in Texas

Online nursing schools in Texas offer programs to prospective and current nurses at every career and education level. Many of these programs feature fully online and hybrid format options. Explore some of the most common online RN and other nursing degree programs currently available in Texas.

Pre-Licensure Online RN Programs in Texas

ADN Programs

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs in Texas provide students with basic nursing competencies and qualify graduates to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). ADN programs include general education course requirements and typically require two years of full-time study to complete. While online ADN programs aren’t common in Texas, many schools offer general education courses that can be taken online. Some programs, like Blinn College District’s ADN program, offer nursing theory courses in online and blended formats. All Texas ADN programs include in-person clinical components.

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs are structured to allow pre-licensure students to earn a BSN degree in less time than the four years typically required. There are two basic types of accelerated BSN programs available in Texas that feature online coursework. One program is for students who currently hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing major that allows them to apply credits earned for their non-nursing bachelor’s to the accelerated BSN program. The other program is for students who haven’t earned a bachelor’s degree but have earned a substantial number of transferable college credits or have committed to completing credits upon acceptance into the program before advancing to the nursing curriculum.

Online RN Bridge Programs in Texas for Current Nurses

LVN to RN Programs

LVN to RN programs in Texas are commonly described as “bridge” or “transition” programs because they provide currently licensed vocational nurses a simplified path to qualify to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and advance their nursing careers as licensed RNs. These programs typically require 12 months of study and culminate in the awarding of an ADN degree. As with traditional ADN programs in Texas, LVN to RN programs are primarily offered on-campus, although some required courses may be available in fully or partially online formats. LVN to RN programs include in-personal clinical components.

RN to BSN

RN to BSN programs are designed to provide currently employed RNs who’ve already earned a nursing associate degree or diploma a convenient and time-saving way to earn their bachelor’s degree. RN to BSN programs are popular in Texas and nationally because earning a BSN makes RNs more attractive to employers, provides them with advanced practice and leadership skills, and prepares them to continue on to graduate-level degree opportunities. Coursework for these programs is often completed entirely online with clinical requirements completed through the student’s current employment. Program lengths vary (typically between two and five semesters) depending on the student’s choice of full- or part-time study and previous education.

RN to MSN

Online RN to MSN degree programs are designed for currently licensed RNs who are interested in streamlining their education and moving quickly into advanced practice and leadership positions. Most RN to MSN programs essentially act as combined BSN/MSN programs, with students awarded the BSN credential upon completion of either the program’s undergraduate requirements or at the end of the entire degree program alongside the MSN. RN to MSN programs often include substantial online and hybrid coursework, especially on the graduate course level. Program lengths vary, but can typically be completed in three years of full-time study. Part-time options are sometimes available. Specialization tracks, like administration, education, and family nurse practitioner, are available.

Other Online Nursing Programs in Texas You May Be Interested In

Spotlighting Online Nursing Schools in Texas

To give you a better idea of what you might expect when pursuing your nursing degree online, we’ve spotlighted three Texas universities with exemplary online nursing programs. These programs were selected based on a number of factors, including accreditation, affordability, curriculum comprehensiveness, and study flexibility. These online nursing schools in Texas offer a range of accredited undergraduate and graduate nursing degree options, with curriculums featuring substantial online and hybrid course components. They offer strong support services for online students and have high NCLEX exam pass rates for their graduates.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi

The College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Texas A&M Corpus Christi offers seven nursing degree programs that feature online study. The college’s e-Line BSN and e-Line BSN Military (for those with prior military medical training) programs are pre-licensure tracks for students without a previously earned nursing diploma or associate degree who are seeking to become RNs while earning their BSN. All coursework in these tracks is accessed and completed online, with clinical components attended in-person in the student’s local area or at regional program-affiliated clinical facilities throughout the state. Some clinical components are completed online via virtual clinical experiences. Both tracks require at least 42 credits of prerequisite requirements prior to admission and five semesters of full-time study once in the program.

TAMUCC’s RN to BSN program features fully online coursework that allows current RNs to earn their bachelor’s degree by completing 60 credit hours of core curriculum, nursing support, and upper-division nursing courses. On the graduate level, TAMUCC offers three online MSN options (Family Nurse Practitioner, Leadership in Nursing Systems, and Nurse Educator) as well as a part-time post-master’s-degree DNP for RNs interested in advancing their careers into top FNP and nurse leadership positions.

Texas Woman’s University

Don’t let the name fool you. Men and women are eligible to earn a nursing degree through one of Texas Woman’s University’s five online nursing degree programs. TWU’s RN to BSN program features 100% online coursework in seven-week course formats designed to allow students to continue full-time nursing employment throughout their study. All course clinical requirements are completed through class projects and capstone projects with an instructor. Applicants holding an unencumbered RN license who meet certain other criteria are automatically awarded 28 credits, enabling them to earn their degrees by completing 32 credits of upper-division nursing coursework.

Online graduate nursing degree offerings from TWU include an MSN – family nurse practitioner, an MSN – nursing health systems management, an MSN – nursing education, and a Ph.D. in nursing science. TWU additionally offers online post-master’s certificate options in all three MSN specializations for current MSN degree holders seeking to advance their careers in those specialized areas of practice.

University of Texas at Arlington

With over 20 online nursing undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate options to choose from including five BSN programs, the University of Texas at Arlington is the clear leader in online nursing education among Texas colleges and universities. There are two pre-licensure options available. The 51-credit hour BSN Online program features 100% fully-online coursework and supervised in-person clinical experiences completed at any one of a number of locations in metropolitan areas throughout the state. Acceptance into the program requires completion of 70 credit hours of coursework prior to starting the program. An additional pre-licensure option is UTA’s unique Professional Nursing Pathways Program, which provides current ADN students at other colleges a streamlined process for earning credits toward BSN courses while completing their ADN curriculums. Once the ADN program is completed, students transfer to UTA where they can earn their BSN in as little as nine months.

UTA online degree programs for current RNs include its RN to BSN,RN to MSN (with nurse administrator and nurse educator track options), and RN to MSN – family nurse practitioner programs. All three of these programs feature online coursework and clinical experiences that can be completed in the student’s geographical area.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in Texas

Can I earn my nursing degree in Texas completely online?

It depends on the program and how you define “completely online.” For example, with the exception of online ADN programs, the majority of online nursing programs at Texas schools today feature coursework that can be completed 100% online. However, all pre-RN licensure programs, some online RN to BSN programs, and most graduate-level nursing programs include in-person clinical components. In most cases, RNs will complete these in-person requirements at their current places of employment.

Will my online Texas nursing degree be considered less valuable by employers?

Most likely not. There was a time when degrees earned online were thought to be of lesser quality than those earned through a traditional on-campus program. That’s simply no longer the case. Employers today (and for many years now) are fully aware that online nursing degree programs meet the same academic standards and feature the same curriculum requirements as their traditional on-campus counterparts.

If I plan to work in a different state, will my online Texas nursing degree meet RN licensing requirements there?

It will depend on your state’s specific licensing requirements, so it’s crucial that you clearly understand those requirements prior to enrolling in any Texas nursing degree program. You can get the licensing information you need by contacting the board of nursing in the state in which you intend to practice. The most important factor in choosing any nursing degree program that leads to becoming an RN is that the program qualifies you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, since passing the exam is a requirement to RN licensure in every state in the U.S.

Another way in which an online Texas nursing degree can qualify you for RN practice in another state is through the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC allows an RN licensed in one NLC member state (like Texas) to practice in another member state without having to obtain separate licensure, as long as the RN meets all uniform license requirements.

How Do I Become an RN Online in Texas?

There is more than one path that you can take to becoming a fully-licensed RN in Texas. All paths, though, eventually lead to either a nursing diploma or degree (ADN or BSN) program. It doesn’t make a difference if the program is completed online or on campus, as long it is properly accredited and prepares you to meet all licensing qualifications. Here’s a look at the key steps online nursing degree students need to follow to reach their goal of becoming a Texas RN:

1

Enroll in an Accredited Nursing Program Approved by the Texas Board of Nursing

 The first step toward becoming a licensed RN in Texas is to enroll in a properly accredited nursing degree or diploma program that qualifies you to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination. The degree program must be accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Your Texas online degree program should additionally be approved by the Texas Board of Nursing. The chances are high that the online degree program you’re considering meets these qualifications, but it’s imperative that you confirm this before signing up.

2

Complete Your RN Degree Program

You must successfully complete all degree requirements including courses and clinical requirements and receive your credential in order to qualify to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and meet other specific Texas RN licensure requirements. It’s essential that you take your studies seriously through every part of the academic process and follow up on all documentation requirements.

3

Pass NCLEX-RN Exam

The NCLEX-RN is a written exam consisting of between 75 and 365 multiple-choice questions covering four major nursing-practice categories and eight subcategories. The exam must be taken in-person at one of over 240 Pearson Professional Centers located throughout the U.S. Passing the exam is a requirement for Texas RN licensure. For more information on the NCLEX-RN exam and useful advice and tips for passing it, check out our Beginner’s Guide to the NCLEX.

4

Complete Other Texas Specific Licensing Requirements

Finally, you’ll complete all other nursing licensing requirements required by Texas, ensure that your paperwork and records are in order, and apply for your RN license. Learn more about specific requirements for obtaining and maintaining RN licensure in Texas.

RN Licensing Information and Requirements in Texas

Before beginning any nursing degree or diploma program leading to a Texas RN licensure, be sure you clearly understand exactly what will be required of you to obtain your license. Initial RN licensing and licensing renewals in Texas are administered through the Texas Board of Nursing (BON). Here’s a quick look at the major requirements for obtaining a Texas RN license:

Criminal Background Check

A criminal background check (CBC) is required of all Texas RN licensure applicants and must be completed prior to sitting for the NCLEX-RN in Texas. The background check is conducted through the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI based on the applicant’s fingerprints. Applicants must submit their fingerprints via MorphoTrust, an electronic fingerprinting service that operates over 80 IdentoGo centers throughout the state. Detailed information on the CBC and links to fingerprinting instructions can be found on the BON Licensure-Examination Information webpage.

Professional Nursing Examinations

Texas RN license applicants must take and pass two examinations as part of the licensure process: the NCLEX-RN exam and the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Exam. The Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Exam is an online, open-book test consisting of 50 questions covering rules and regulations related to nursing practice in the state. RN licensure applicants must pass the exam prior to receiving authorization to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam in Texas. Visit the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Exam webpage to register for the exam and to access information on the BON’s exam prep course.

Renewal Timeline and Requirements

The initial RN licensure period in Texas is between six and 29 months, depending on the license holder’s birthdate. Subsequent license periods are two years in length. License renewal requires the holder to either demonstrate maintenance of a BON-approved national nursing certification or, more commonly, complete a minimum of 20 contact hours of continuing nursing education (CNE) in the holder’s area of practice. A clean criminal record during the licensing period must also be maintained. Detailed information on RN continuing education and license renewal requirements can be found on the BON Education – Continuing Competency Requirements webpage.

Salary and Job Outlook for RNs in Texas

Job outlook is an important — though sometimes overlooked — factor in the career selection process. Prospective Texas RNs should give serious consideration to employment prospects and salary levels for RNs in the state before starting any nursing degree program and consider the following:

Are registered nurses in high demand in Texas?

When it comes to career security, the future looks good for registered nurses in the U.S., where job growth is predicted to increase by over 12% between 2018 and 2028. The figures are even better for RNs in Texas, where 17% job growth is estimated for the same period. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this robust demand for registered nurses is fueled by an aging population and an increase in the need to care for patients with chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and dementia.

The table below offers employment figures going forward for RNs in Texas and nationally:

Job Outlook for Registered Nurses in Texas

Employment (2018) New Jobs
(2018-2028)
Job Growth Rate (2018-2028) Average Annual Openings (2018-2028)
Texas 216,120 36,210  16.8%   16,130 
United States 3,059,800  371,500  12.1%  210,400

Source: Projections Central

How much do RNs make in Texas?

Registered nurses are respected professionals in the truest sense of the word, with salaries that match their professional status. According to the BLS, the annual median wage for RNs in the U.S. as of May 2019 was $73,300, substantially higher than the $39,810 median wage for all occupations combined. Earnings for Texas RNs are closely in line with national earnings for RNs (slightly higher, in fact) as evidenced by the figures below:

Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Texas

10th Percentile 50th Percentile (Median) 90th Percentile
Texas $53,560 $73,400 $99,880
United States $52,080 $73,300 $111,220
Austin-Round Rock, TX $54,290 $72,070 $94,080
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX $55,220 $75,440 $101,660
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX $59,530 $80,640 $103,740
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX $51,670 $72,210 $96,330

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019

Texas Online Nursing Resources

  • Texas Board of Nursing The Texas Board of Nursing is the state governmental agency tasked with the regulation of nursing practice and the approval of nursing education programs within Texas. It’s through this agency that all Texas nursing professionals, including RNs, obtain their nursing licensure. The board additionally offers a range of nursing resources and services, including CNE online courses and workshops.
  • Texas Emergency Nurses Association (TXENA) The TXENA is a professional non-profit organization providing advocacy, education, and leadership services in support of the professional practice of emergency nursing in Texas. TXENA’s scholarship program sponsors a number of undergraduate and graduate scholarships for TXENA members interested in pursuing or advancing careers in emergency nursing.
  • Texas Nurse Practitioners (TNP) Texas Nurse Practitioners is an association of nurse practitioner professionals and students whose purpose is to advance NP practice and promote the accessibility of quality healthcare provided by NPs to patients throughout the state. Member benefits include organization-sponsored seminars and events, and access to Texas-specific CE programs.
  • Texas Nurses Association (TNA) With over 12,000 members, the Texas Nurses Association is the largest and oldest membership-based association of licensed nursing professionals in Texas. Membership in the TNA provides access to a wide range of services and benefits, such as continuing education courses and job search resources. Student member benefits include scholarship and student loan opportunities.
  • Texas Nursing Students’ Association (TNSA) An affiliate of the National Student Nurses’ Association, the TNSA is an association of over 3,000 nursing students throughout Texas preparing for initial RN licensure. The TNSA sponsors a number of support services for student nurses, including networking events, career search resources, and an annual scholarship. Visitors to the website can access current and past copies of the association’s official publication, The Central Line.
  • Texas Organization for Nursing Leadership (TONL) The TONL is a non-profit organization of current, student, and aspiring Texas RNs, nursing executives and administrators, and other nursing leaders that provides a range of professional services and activities to its members. There are 13 local TONL chapters located throughout the state.
  • Texas School Nurses Organization (TSNO) The TSNO is a professional association of nurses dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of school nurse practice to support students’ well-being and readiness to learn. Membership benefits include several organization-sponsored scholarships to help members advance their nursing educations. The TSNO is an affiliate organization of the National Association of School Nurses, Inc. (NASN).