Nurse practitioners are advanced-practice nurses who hold either a master's degree in nursing (MSN) or doctoral degree in nursing (DNP). Not only do they utilize the nursing process to care for patients, but they also diagnose and treat chronic and acute illnesses, and are responsible for maintaining patients' overall health.

In Texas, nurse practitioners can act as a primary care provider to manage chronic conditions and maintain preventive health, but they need to establish a collaborative agreement with a physician to prescribe medications, and their practice must be supervised by a physician.

Choosing a Nurse Practitioner Program

Registered nurses looking to advance their degree should consider the following when selecting a program:

  • Accreditation- Schools should be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) to ensure rigid educational standards are met for safe practice. Texas has thirty accredited advanced-degree programs available for nurses.
  • Program Cost-Cost can be a deciding factor when choosing a graduate program. The average cost for an MSN program in Texas is around $700 per credit, not including books, supplies, and additional university fees. Out-of-state tuition results in a higher cost. However, many schools have payment plan options, scholarships, and financial aid available.
  • Program Length- If the NP student attends full-time, an MSN can be earned in around three years, DNP in about four to five years. If a bachelor's degree is needed, students can spend an additional year in school, although some schools offer bridge programs or accelerated BSN programs.
  • Internship/Externship Opportunities- Nurse practitioner students must complete a set number of clinical hours to ensure they can practice safely after graduating and becoming licensed. Depending on the degree, the clinical practicum time required can be up to 1,000 hours. Although clinical practicum hours are sufficient for NPs to practice, there are nurse practitioner residency programs available that allow NPs to further build on their knowledge base or focus on a more specialized population group. Texas has several nurse residency programs available for NPs in the areas of Neuroscience, Oncology, and Behavioral Pediatrics.
  • Online/Campus Options- Online or distance learning is ideal for nurse practitioner students who must continue to work during school. It also helps students who live in more remote or rural areas complete an advanced-level degree. Around half of the nurse practitioner schools have up to 99-100% distance learning, which provides ample opportunity for Texas nurses to obtain a higher degree.

Admission and Certification Requirements

Admission to a nurse practitioner program in Texas may vary slightly among the thirty schools, but applicants may be required to:

  • Hold a BSN from an accredited school
  • Have a current, unrestricted RN license
  • Provide transcripts from all prior collegiate coursework
  • Complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Complete a college-level statistics course
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher (individual GPA requirements may vary)
  • Provide letters of professional reference
  • Submit a current resume/ CV
  • Provide a written statement of purpose of goal statement
  • Provide proof of clinical practicum hours (MSN to DNP students)

Since the admission requirements vary, students are encouraged to thoroughly research each school to determine the necessary criteria before applying.

Licensing/ Certification

Graduating from an accredited nurse practitioner program allows the NP to test for national specialty certification. Certification may include:

  • Adult-Gerontology-Acute Care
  • Adult-Gerontology-Primary Care
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (health across the life span)
  • Pediatrics- Acute Care
  • Pediatrics-Primary Care
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health
  • Women's Health

The Texas Board of Nursing lists the recognized national certification agencies on their website.

Along with national certification, the Texas Board of Nursing requires the following for licensure:

  • Current, valid RN license
  • Completion of an accredited advanced-practice registered nurse (APRN) program
  • Have completed a minimum of 500 hours of clinical hours in the APRN program, specific to the population focus area
  • Demonstrate the APRN program included courses in
    • Advanced Physical Assessment
    • Pathophysiology
    • Pharmacotherapeutics
    • APRN role preparation
    • Complete the required, supervised clinical practicum hours
  • Complete a criminal background check
  • Pay applicable fees

Additional information/ FAQs are also included on the Board's website, including information on prescriptive authority and physician supervision.

Texas Nurse Practitioner Agencies and Organizations

Schools That Offer Nurse Practitioner Programs in Texas

Current data shows there is an average of 580 job openings for NPs annually in Texas. This projected increase, along with Texas's plentiful APRN programs throughout the state makes advanced-practice nursing a wise choice for nurses.

SchoolContact Information
Angelo State University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
2601 W. Avenue N
San Angelo, TX 76909
(180) 094-6862 x7
Baylor University
1301 S University Parks Dr
Waco, TX 76798
(800) 229-5678
Midwestern State University
3410 Taft Blvd
Wichita Falls, TX 76308
(940) 397-4000
Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing
2149 Hickory St
Abilene, TX 79601
(325) 671-2399
Prairie View A&M University
P.O. Box 519
Prairie View, TX 77446
(936) 261-3311
South University Austin
MSN Programs
1220 W Louis Henna Blvd
Round Rock, TX 78681
(512) 516-8800
St. David's School of Nursing Building
MSN Programs
1555 University Blvd.
Round Rock, TX 78665
(512) 716-2900
Texas A&M University
400 Bizzell St
College Station, TX 77843
(979) 845-3211
Texas A&M University-Commerce
DNP Programs
2200 Campbell St
Commerce, TX 75428
(903) 886-5102
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5774
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
(361) 825-2753
Texas Christian University
2800 S University Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76129
(817) 257-7000
Texas Tech University
3601 4th St.
Lubbock, TX 79430
(806) 743-2730
Texas Woman's University
304 Administration Dr.
Denton, TX 76204
(940) 898-2000
The University of Texas at Arlington
701 S Nedderman Dr
Arlington, TX 76019
(817) 272-2011
The University of Texas at Austin
110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 471-3434
The University of Texas at Tyler
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
3900 University Blvd
Tyler, TX 75799
(903) 566-7000
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
301 University Blvd
Galveston, TX 77555
(409) 772-1011
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
1201 W University Dr
Edinburg, TX 78539
(888) 882-4026
University of Houston
MSN Programs
4800 Calhoun Rd
Houston, TX 77004
(713) 743-2255
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio - UT Health San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr
San Antonio, TX 78229
(210) 567-7000
University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston
MSN Programs
6901 Bertner
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 500-2000
West Texas A&M University
2501 4th Ave
Canyon, TX 79016
(806) 651-0000