Texas RN Requirements and Training Programs

Registered nurses have their pick of well-paid employment in a variety of health care settings across Texas. Apart from a highly competitive salary, nurses receive great health benefits, incentives for advancing their education, and opportunities to enhance their position and income potential. Nursing careers are among the fastest growing occupations according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The demand will continue well beyond 2020 as the population ages and access to healthcare expands. With the higher than average shortage of nurses in Texas, the state relies on new nursing graduates to meet public demands for healthcare. The associate’s degree remains the most common nursing degree for Texas RNs with an average enrollment of 49% in the pre-licensure program. As the state calls for more BSNs in response to the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation, enrollment in BSN programs increases to 39.6% by 2013. Whether they complete an ADN or BSN, nurses will always be an integral component of the health care system. The profession poses numerous challenges, including physical demands, but it is extremely rewarding for someone who accepts the calling to care for others.

Education Requirements

The Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program prepares students to provide direct patient care in various health care settings. Graduates of approved programs may apply for the NCLEX-RN administered by the Texas Board of Nursing to work as registered nurses and continue their education to earn a BSN degree.

The two-year curriculum includes educational and practical experiences for students to develop the knowledge and skills to function as effective practitioners of nursing. The classroom instruction covers general education topics and nursing courses that follow a defined sequence from simple to complex. Course topics include microbiology, introduction to professional nursing, integrated nursing skills, health assessment across lifespan, lifespan growth and development, common health needs, psychiatric nursing, integrated patient care, geriatric nursing, and medical surgical nursing. The coordinated clinical experience follows after a specific amount of hours in the classroom and may take place in conjunction with later courses. During the clinical experience, students apply nursing concepts and develop clinical judgment and critical thinking skills as they work under the direction of faculty in a long-term or acute care medical facility.

There’re approximately 68 associate’s degree programs in Texas. This degree is the most common point of entry for new nurses, so enrollment is competitive. As you compare schools, it is important that you investigate the program’s credentials before you invest your time and money. The program should be approved by the Texas BON or another state board if you’re considering a program in another state. According to the BON, there are six schools operating without the Board’s approval. Graduates of the nursing programs offered by these schools will not receive authorization to take the NCLEX-RN. The Board recognizes programs from other states as long as they’re approved by the respective Board of Nursing. Online programs and those offered via correspondence should be accredited and recognized by a licensing authority and have a clinical component to facilitate the development of patient care skills and clinical judgment.

Eligibility Criteria

Admission to the college is the first step to enrollment in a nursing program. General admission does not guarantee admission to the ADN program at most schools as you’ll have to meet additional requirements to begin the nursing courses.

For admission to the college, a high school diploma or GED, an interview, transcripts, and an admission test are standard requirements.

Pay close attention to deadlines to submit all the required documents on time. A pre-nursing information session will provide essential information for enrolling in the nursing program.

After successful entry to the college the following are some requirements for enrolling in the nursing program:

  • Passing score on a pre-nursing exam (Kaplan, TEAS, etc.).
  • A minimum grade C on prerequisite courses, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition, statistics, and psychology.
  • Official transcripts – separate transcripts needed for the nursing department.
  • Completed physical exam form signed by a licensed physician.
  • Proof of current CPR for Health Care Providers.
  • Proof of medical insurance.
  • Required immunization, varicella, MMR, Hepatitis B.
  • Malpractice insurance.
  • A drug screen and criminal background check.

Felony convictions and misdemeanor convictions will disqualify you from involvement in the clinical rotation and enrollment in the nursing program.

Duration and Cost

Your total cost per semester for the ADN program is the sum of your tuition, textbooks, laboratory fees, student fees, nursing kits, and other supplies. The special nature of the nursing program means nursing students often pay more than students enrolled in other majors. Apart from the highly expensive specialized nursing textbooks, you’ll need to purchase a uniform, a lab coat, patches, stethoscope, a watch with a second hand, skills kit, and normal school supplies. Other major costs will include medical insurance, immunization, CPR, a physical exam, assessment fees, state board fees, criminal background check, and registration for the licensure exam.

Texas RN Licensure Requirements

Graduates of Associate Degree in Nursing and Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing programs approved by the Texas Board of Nursing can apply for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Candidates for licensure must submit an application, ideally, before their expected graduation date to avoid delays, complete a criminal background check, and pass the Nursing Jurisprudence Exam to take the NCLEX.

Licensure By Examination

There are two ways to submit your application to the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) to take the NCLEX-RN: online or paper submission. The online application is not available to persons with prior misdemeanors of felonies, and foreign or US graduates with no social security number.

To apply for licensure, you must:

  • Use the paper submission and mail your application to the Board if you do not meet the requirements for online submission. Otherwise, you can submit your application online if you have a United States social security number and no prior criminal convictions.
  • Pay the $100 application fee using a check, cashier’s check, or money order. Make payment to the Texas Board of Nursing. The application fee is non-refundable.
  • Schedule an appointment for electronic fingerprinting by MorphoTrust USA – available at multiple IdentoGo enrollment centers across the state. You can schedule the appointment online or over the phone. You must have the Fingerprint Service Code to schedule the appointment. Take your photo ID on the scheduled date to submit your fingerprints and pay the fee. MorphoTrust will submit your fingerprints to DPA and the FBI and issue a receipt. Do not throw away the receipt.
  • Provide the Board with the appropriate information and documents (indicated next to the question) if you answer yes to the eligibility questions. Examples of documents to provide include, certified copies of charges, disposition of charges, and verification of compliance with aftercare recommendations.
  • Declare your primary state of residence and list the states where you intend to practice for the Nurse Compact Declaration. You may need to provide a driver’s license, your home address, voter registration card, federal income tax return declaring your primary state of residence, or a W2 from the US Government.
  • Register for the NCLEX-RN with Pearson Vue 30 days before your graduation date. The registration fee is $200.
  • File an application for the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Exam. Prepare for the exam during the 15-day wait period then follow the instructions to log on and complete the online exam. The exam is two hours’ long, and you may retake it after 24 hours if you fail on your first attempt. You must pass the NJE before receiving the ATT from Pearson Vue.
  • Verify that your nursing program submitted the affidavit of graduation directly to the BON. If you graduated outside of Texas, print the affidavit of graduation and request that the school’s director complete the form and mail directly to the BON.

International Candidates:

Submit the following additional requirements if you graduated from a program outside the United States:

  • Proof of passing an English proficiency exam if your program was conducted in a language other than English. Acceptable test/scores are TOEFL/560 paper based or 220 computer based, TSE/50 and TWE/4.0, IELTS/6.5.
  • An original Credential Evaluation Service (CES) Full Education course-by-course report from one of the following approved agencies – sent directly to the BON.
  1. Educational Records Evaluation Service Inc.
  2. International Education Research
  3. Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
  • Verification of Licensure from all countries of states of licensure.
  • Proof of nursing practice for two years after graduating from a nursing program. You must take a Foreign Educated Nurse (FENS) refresher course comprising of classroom and clinical instruction (120 hours each) if you did not practice for at least 2 years after graduating.

The BON recommends submitting your application 120 days prior to your expected graduation date. Incomplete submissions will delay approval of the ATT, Graduate Nurse Permit, or permanent license. The application will remain open for one year from the date of receipt at the Board’s office. You must complete all the requirements within that timeframe, or the application will be terminated, and your payment made null and void. Another application and fee will be necessary for state licensure. After the Board receives the final item to complete the application, the processing time for the ATT will be approximately 10 business days.

If you requested a Graduate Nurse permit and met the eligibility requirements, the BON will post it online within five business days of granting your eligibility to take the exam.

NCLEX-RN Registration: The Board cannot grant approval to take the test if you do not submit your registration and fee to Pearson Vue. Register for the exam approximately 1 month prior to graduation. You can register online, over the phone, or by third party registration. Make sure to register for the correct exam (NCLEX-RN) and submit your name exactly as it appears on your ID. Discrepancies in the name could prohibit you from taking the exam and being counted as a no-show, which will require another application and fee. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), reasonable accommodations will be available if you have a qualifying disability and place a request in advance. Once the Board approves your application, the ATT that Pearson Vue administers will be valid for 75 days. After successfully passing the test, you’ll receive a certificate and can print your license, available online, as proof of licensure.

Licensure By Endorsement

Registered nurses licensed in another state can receive a permanent license in Texas without taking the NCLEX-RN. To be eligible for licensure by endorsement, you must have:

  1. Graduated from a registered nursing program that is equivalent to the requirements of the Texas BON.
  2. Successfully passed a recognized US exam.
  3. Either practiced as an RN or taken the NCLEX within the four-year lead-up to the application for endorsement.
  4. Obtained licensure from another US state or territory.

If you’re eligible for endorsement, you must:

  • Use the paper submission and mail your application to the Board if you do not meet the requirements for online submission. Otherwise, you can submit your application online if you have a United States social security number and no prior criminal convictions.
  • Pay the $186 application fee using a check, cashier’s check, or money order. Make payment to the Texas Board of Nursing. The application fee is non-refundable.
  • Schedule an appointment for electronic fingerprinting by MorphoTrust USA – available at multiple IdentoGo enrollment centers across the state. You can schedule the appointment online or over the phone. You must have the Fingerprint Service Code to schedule the appointment. Take your photo ID on the scheduled date to submit your fingerprints and pay the fee. MorphoTrust will submit your fingerprints to DPA and the FBI and issue a receipt. Do not throw away the receipt.
  • Provide the Board with the appropriate information and documents (indicated next to the question) if you answer yes to the eligibility questions. Examples of documents to provide include, certified copies of charges, disposition of charges, and verification of compliance with aftercare recommendations.
  • Declare your primary state of residence and list the states where you intend to practice for the Nurse Compact Declaration. You may need to provide a driver’s license, your home address, voter registration card, federal income tax return declaring your primary state of residence, or a W2 from the US Government.
  • Secure verification of your license from all licensing authorities – original and current states of licensure. The verification must indicate the basis for licensure, date of issue, licensure status, and disciplinary history. You can initiate the verification through NURSYS if your state participates or use the Texas BON Verification of Licensure Form.
  • Take and pass the Nursing Jurisprudence Examination (NJE) before you receive a permanent license. Your name will be added to the database to take the exam 10 business days after the BON receives your endorsement application. Follow the instructions to log on and take the exam.

You may be eligible for a one-time temporary license. The BON will confirm your completed application and fee before reviewing your eligibility for the 120-day temporary license. Incomplete applications, issues related to your education or primary address, and not signing or dating the application can delay the process. If you answer yes to the eligibility questions, you must provide a letter of explanation, at minimum, to receive consideration for the temporary license. The license cannot be extended or renewed. Applications are valid for one year only.

Renewal Requirements

Update your demographic information as you renew your license online for faster processing. The online renewal service facilitates prompt renewal, and you should be able to verify your renewed license within two business days of submitting the request. You’ll need your license number and the last four digits of your SSN to log in. Pay the $60 renewal fee using a credit card or web check.

You cannot renew online if you:

  • Defaulted on a Texas Guaranteed Student Loan
  • Did not meet the continuing education requirements.
  • Have been selected for a Criminal Background Check and did not complete it.
  • Changed your primary state of residence from Texas to another state.
  • Attempted late renewal and your license is on delinquent or inactive status.

Paper submission is available if you’re not eligible to renew online or prefer to pay via money order or check.

Late renewal will incur a late fee. Use the delinquent renewal form if your license has expired. There is a one month grace period for practice if your application is postmarked before the license expiration date. There is no grace for applications dated after the license has expired.

Continuing Education Requirements for Texas RNs

Registered nurses with an active Texas license must demonstrate continuing competency for renewing a license. The candidate must complete 20 contact hours of CNEs in the area of practice every two years. Mandatory continuing education requirements include two hours of Nursing Jurisprudence and Nursing Ethics (completed prior to the end of each third two-year renewal cycle), two hours of Older Adult or Geriatric Care (for every renewal cycle), and Forensic Evidence Collection for nurses who perform forensic exam on a sexual assault survivor.

Keep records of your continuing education documents for a period of three years after renewal to present if you’re selected for an audit.

Texas Salary and Job Outlook

Texas is one of 14 states with an annual employment growth rate of 20% or more for registered nurses. It is also one of 10 states that contribute to more than 50% of the growth rate on a national scale. In a 2013 report, the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce established that the supply of nurses in Texas remains low in comparison to the national numbers. The number of RNs per 100,000 population is below the US average although the supply of new nurses increased by 57.9% between the years 2000 and 2013. Retiring nurses will add to the shortage as more than half of baby boomers will be eligible for retirement by 2020, which will create a massive outflow in the workforce.

As the nursing workforce moves toward the Institute of Medicine’s goal for 80 percent of nurses to have a bachelor’s degree, the number of nurses with a BSN has almost doubled as more than 52.1% of RNs had a BSN or more advanced degree. About 65.5% of RNs work in outpatient or inpatient hospital care.

The current shortage of RNs per 100,000 population combined with the outflow of retiring nurses and increased demand for health care services bodes well for incoming nurses who can expect to begin working within months of graduating. The job outlook for RNs is, therefore, very good. The median annual salary for Texas RNs in 2014 was $67,580.

Contact the Board of Nursing
Texas State Board of Nursing
333 Guadalupe, Suite 3-460
Austin, TX 78701-3944
Phone: (512) 305-7400
Fax: (512) 305-7401

Texas Registered Nursing Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:

Alvin, TX ADN Programs
Alvin Community College
3110 Mustang Road, Alvin, TX 77511
281-756-3500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.31%

Amarillo, TX ADN Programs
Amarillo College
P.O. Box 447, Amarillo, TX 79178
806-371-5000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 77.60%

Austin, TX ADN Programs
Austin Community College
5930 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, TX 78752-4390
512-223-4ACC(4222)
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.37%

The College of Health Care Professions
6505 Airport Boulevard, Suite 102, Austin, TX 78752
800-487-6728
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Everest College
9100 US Highway 290 East, Building 1, Suite 100, Austin, TX 78724
888-223-8556
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Bayton, TX ADN Programs
Lee College
200 Lee Drive, Baytown, TX 77520
281-427-5611
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.48%

Beeville, TX ADN Programs
Coastal Bend College
3800 Charco Road, Beeville, TX 78102
1-866-722-2838
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.95%

Brenham, TX ADN Programs
Blinn College
902 College Avenue, Brenham, TX77833
979-830-4000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87.25%

Brownsville, TX ADN Programs
Texas Southmost College
80 Fort Brown, Brownsville, TX 78520
956-295-3600
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 46.36%

The University of Texas at Brownsville
One West University Boulevard, Brownsville, TX 78520
956-882-8200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Carthage, TX ADN Programs
Panola College
1109 West Panola, Carthage, TX 75633
903-693-2000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.83%

Cisco, TX ADN Programs
Cisco College
101 College Heights, Cisco, TX 76437
254-442-5000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.89%

Clarendon, TX ADN Programs
Clarendon College
P.O. Box 968, 1122 College Drive, Clarendon, TX 79226
806-874-3571
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Corpus Christi, TX ADN Programs
Del Mar College
4101 Old Brownsville Road, Corpus Christi, TX 78405
361-698-2894
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.68%

Corsicana, TX ADN Programs
Navarro College
3200 West 7th Avenue, Corsicana, TX 75110
1-800-NAVARRO
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83.75%

Cypress, TX ADN Programs
Lone Star College- CyFair
9191 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress, TX 77433-1383
281-290-3200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 70.13%

Dallas, TX ADN Programs
Mountain View College
4849 W. Illinois Ave, Dallas, TX 75211
214-860-3629
NLCEX-RN Pass Rate: 51.43%

Dallas Nursing Institute
12170 North Abrams Rd, Dallas, TX 75243
214-351-0223
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.96%

El Centro College
801 Main Street, Dallas, TX 75202
214-860-2000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.47%

Brookhaven College
3939 Valley View Lane, Farmers Branch, Dallas, TX 75244-4997
972-860-4700
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 77.33%

Denison, TX ADN Programs
Grayson College
6101 Grayson Drive (Highway- 691), Denison, TX 75020
903-465-6030
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 78.79%

Early, TX ADN Programs
Ranger Colleges
300 Early Blvd, Early, TX 76802
325-647-2479
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 68.42%

El Paso, TX ADN Programs
El Paso County Community College
10700 Gateway East, El Paso, TX 79927
915-831-EPCC
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.14%

Fort Worth, TX ADN Programs
Tarrant County College
1500 Houston Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102
817-515-8223
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.97%

Gainesville, TX ADN Programs
North Central Texas College
1525 West California Street, Gainesville, TX, 76240
940-668-7731
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84.42%

Galveston, TX ADN Programs
Galveston College
4015 Avenue Q, Galveston, TX 77550
409-944-4242
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.27%

Hillsboro, TX ADN Programs
Hill College
112 Lamar, Hillsboro, TX 76645
254-659-7500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 66.67%

Houston, TX ADN Programs
Houston Community College
1900 Pressler Drive, Houston, TX 77030
713-718-7486
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 70.86%

Kaufman, TX ADN Programs
The Trinity Valley Community College
800 Ed Hall Drive, Kaufman, TX75142
972-932-4309
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.38%

Killeen, TX ADN Programs
Central Texas College
P.O. Box 1800, Killeen, TX 76540-1800
254-526-7161
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.61%

Kilgore, TX ADN Programs
Kilgore College
1100 Broadway, Kilgore, TX 75662
903-983-8209
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 67.52%

Lake Jackson, TX ADN Programs
Brazosport College
500 College Drive, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
979-230-3000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.71%

Laredo, TX ADN Programs
Laredo Community College
West End Washington Street, Laredo, TX 78043
956-722-0521
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 75.76%

Levelland, TX ADN Programs
South Plains College
1401 College Avenue, Box 5, Levelland, TX 79336
806-894-9611
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.36%

Lufkin, TX ADN Programs
Angelina College
3500 South First Street, Lufkin, TX 75904
936-639-1301
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.96%

McAllen, TX ADN Programs
South Texas College
3201 West Pecan, McAllen, TX 78501
956-872-8311
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.21%

McKinney, TX ADN Programs
Collin College
2200 West, University Drive, McKinney, TX 75071
972-548-6790
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.91%

Mesquite, TX ADN Programs
Carrington College
3733 W. Emporium Cricle, Mesquite, TX 75150
972-682-2815
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Midland, TX ADN Programs
Midland College
3600 North, Garfield, Midland, TX 79705
432-685-4500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.61%

Mt. Pleasant, TX ADN Programs
Northeast Texas Community College
P.O. Box 1307, Mt. Pleasant, TX 75456-1307
903-434-8100
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 68.75%

Odessa, TX ADN Programs
Odessa College
201 West University, Odessa, TX79764
432-335-6400
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 53.95%

Orange, TX ADN Programs
Lamar State College
410 West Front Street, Orange, TX 77630
409-882-3307
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.23%

Paris, TX ADN Programs
Paris Junior College
2400 Clarksville Street, Paris, TX 75460
903-785-7661
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84.00%

Pasadena, TX ADN Programs
San Jacinto College
8060 Spencer Highway, Pasadena, TX 77505
281-998-6150
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.12%

San Angelo, TX ADN Programs
Howard College
3501 North, US Highway 67, San Angelo, TX 76905
325-481-8300
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.65%

San Antonio, TX ADN Programs
Baptist Health System
111 Dallas Street, San Antonio, TX 78205
210-297-7000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.11%

Career Point College
4522 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX 78202
210-298-6258
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%

Concorde Career College
4803 Northwest Loop 410, Suite 200, San Antonio, TX 78229
210-428-2000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Galen College of Nursing
7411 John Smith, Suite 300, San Antonio, TX 78229
210-733-3056
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 72.91%

Hallmark University
10401 IH-10 West, San Antonio, TX 78230
1-800-880-6600
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 61.90%

San Antonio College
1819 N. Main Avenue, San Antonio, TX, 78212
210-486-1852
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 69.97%

Temple, TX ADN Programs
Temple College
2600 South First Street, Temple, TX 76504
254-298-8648
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.48%

Texarkana, TX ADN Programs
Texarkana College
2500 North, Robison Road, Texarkana, TX 75599
903-823-3456
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 63.27%

Texas City, TX ADN Programs
College of the Mainland
1200 Amburn Road, Texas City, TX 77591
409-938-1211
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.71%

Tyler, TX ADN Programs
Tyler Junior College
1327 South Baxter Avenue, Tyler, TX 75701
800-687-5680
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.88%

Uvalde, TX ADN Programs
Southwest Texas Junior College
2401 Garner Field Road, Uvalde, TX 78801
830-278-4401
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.86%

Vernon, TX ADN Programs
Vernon College
4400 College Drive, Vernon, TX 76384
940-552-6291
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 70.79%

Victoria, TX ADN Programs
Victoria College
2200 East Red River, Victoria, TX 77901
361-573-3291
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84.38%

Waco, TX ADN Programs
Texas State Technical College
3801 Campus Drive, Waco, TX 76705
254-799-3611
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.47%

ITT Technical Institute
3700 South, Jack Kultgen Expy, Suite 100, Waco, TX 76706
254-523-3940
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 45.83%

McLennan Community College
1400 College Drive, Waco, TX 76708
254-299-8622
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87.78%

Weatherford, TX ADN Programs
Weatherford College
225 College Park Drive, Weatherford, TX 76086
817-594-5471
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.80%

Wharton, TX ADN Programs
Wharton County Junior College
911 Boling Highway, Wharton, TX 77488
979-532-4560
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.96%

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