How to Become a Nurse in Texas
The nursing profession in Texas is overseen by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Licensing and continuing education requirements are handled by the Texas Board of Nursing, which is part of the DSHS. The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies projects a labor shortage in the industry through 2030, and Texas currently has the second highest level of employment for registered nurses, as of 2018. Nursing schools in Texas are abundant and offer locations throughout the state. Learn more about how to earn a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) license, registered nurse (RN) license, advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license, or certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification in Texas below.
How to Get Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certification in Texas
There are a few steps individuals must complete to be registered as a certified nurse aide in Texas. First, applicants must complete a state-approved nurse aide training program and a competency evaluation program. The Texas Health and Human Services department provides a complete listing of eligible programs for the CNA career path on their website.
Next, candidates must complete the competency evaluation program examination. For those who don’t pass the exam the first time, they may retake the exam up to two times. However, if they don’t pass it after three attempts, they must complete the coursework again. Alternatively, aspiring CNAs may qualify to be placed on the Texas Nurse Aide Registry either by waiver or reciprocity.
Unlike other Texas nursing licenses, CNAs don’t have specific expiration dates on their certificates. However, they are required to contact the Nurse Aide Registry every two years to verify employment. This ensures CNAs keep an active license in the state.
How to Get a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) License in Texas
A Texas Licensed Vocational Nurse license requires graduating from an approved LVN training program. All applicants are required to undergo a criminal background check as part of the application process. Once the appropriate nursing program has been completed, aspiring LVNs should request that their school directly send notification of graduation. Then they can fill out an application either online or on paper and submit it with a $100 application fee.
In order to get a Texas nursing license, applicants must also pass the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Exam, along with the NCLEX-LN exam. But first, they must receive an authorization to test after submitting their application materials.
Texas LVN license renewal occurs once every two years. Along with the license renewal form, licensees must submit a fee of $42. LVNs must also complete the continuing competency requirements, which includes 20 contact hours. Renewal forms take two weeks to complete and must be postmarked by the last day of the month before the expiration in order to avoid late fees.
How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in Texas
To become an RN, candidates must first graduate from an approved nursing program in Texas. After completion, the school sends an affidavit of graduation directly to the Texas Board of Nursing. Aspiring RNs can then submit an application along with a $100 fee. A criminal background check is also required in addition to passing results of the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Exam. Candidates should also register to take the NCLEX-RN exam when they send their application to the board.
Once a candidate’s application is approved by the board, the candidate may take the NCLEX-RN exam. Pearson Vue, the NCLEX test administrator, sends verification of the board’s authorization to test, which is available for 75 days. Applicants will receive their RN licenses after they pass the NCLEX.
In Texas, RN license renewals occur every two years. Licensees must complete 20 contact hours of continuing nursing education in the RN’s area of practice during that time. The alternative for this Texas nursing license is to demonstrate achievement of a board-approved national nursing certification, also within the RN’s area of practice. Registered nurses must pay a $65 renewal fee every two years in addition to completing the continuing education requirements.
How to Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) License in Texas
The process to earn a Texas advanced practice registered nurse license requires either an RN license from Texas or from a state that participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact. Applicants must also complete a graduate-level APRN educational program at the graduate level that is approved by the Texas Board of Nursing. It’s also necessary to receive national certification in the role and population focus area that matches the applicant’s program.
Aspiring APRNs must also complete at least 400 hours of practice in an advanced practice role within two years of completing the APRN program. An additional 20 or more contact hours are also required. When applying for this Texas nursing license, applicants must submit a $100 fee for APRN licensure, or $150 to also receive prescriptive authority.
Renewal for Texas APRNs happens every two years. The fee is $115 and licensees must maintain national certification in order to keep their APRN license active for the next renewal period.