Texas Nursing License Requirements
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- To become a registered nurse in Texas, you must pass a nursing jurisprudence exam.
- Your first license is valid for 6-29 months, depending on your birth month and year.
- You’ll complete 20 hours of continuing education each renewal cycle to renew your license.
Getting a registered nurse (RN) license in Texas involves several steps. Find out the requirements set by the Texas Board of Nursing to get, transfer, and renew your license.
Texas State Board of Nursing
The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) regulates standards for nursing license and practice for the following positions:
- New and current licensed vocational nurses (LVN)
- New and current registered nurses (RN)
- New and current advanced practice registered nurses (APRN)
- Retired nurses only practicing nursing on a volunteer basis
The BON issues nursing licenses, renews licenses, approves nursing education programs, and regulates nursing education and practice, according to the Nursing Practice Act.
Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Texas Nursing Education Requirements
The BON requires you to earn a nursing degree from an accredited program before issuing a nursing license. You can complete these educational requirements with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
An ADN focuses on building practical nursing skills, so you can practice ethically, legally, and safely. If you’d like to get a nursing degree that costs less and requires about half the credits of a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), consider choosing an ADN program.
Bachelor's in Nursing (BSN)
A BSN provides an in-depth nursing education with classes in nursing informatics, leadership, and research and statistics. Many healthcare settings require or prefer BSN-prepared nurses. It is also the minimum education requirement for leadership positions in nursing. If you already have an RN or LVN license, you can also complete a bridge program to get your BSN.
Applying for a Nursing License in Texas
The BON issues RN licenses to nursing graduates or licensed nurses from another state through two pathways: licensure by examination or licensure by endorsement.
New graduate nurses receive their Texas license by passing the NCLEX-RN, or license by examination. Nurses practicing in another state receive their Texas license by endorsement — verification that they passed the NCLEX-RN and currently hold an active license in another state.
RN Licensure by Examination
If you have not taken the NCLEX-RN, you must apply for licensure by examination. You must pass the NCLEX-RN to receive your RN license. Before setting up your testing appointment, the BON requires you to send the following items:
- An application
- A $75 application fee
- A criminal background check
- A passing score on the nursing jurisprudence exam
- An affidavit of graduation from an accredited nursing program
If you received your nursing degree outside of Texas, you must print and complete your affidavit of graduation. If you graduated from a nursing program in Texas, your nursing program will automatically complete it.
RN Licensure by Endorsement
If you have an RN license in another state, or you passed the NCLEX-RN within the last four years but do not have an RN license, you can apply for licensure by endorsement.
If you have ever held a Texas nursing license, you need to renew or reactivate your nursing license. To apply for your Texas nursing license by endorsement, you’ll need to submit:
- A completed endorsement application
- A $150 application fee
- Fingerprints for the criminal background check
- Verification of nursing licensure sent directly to the BON
Texas requires you to pass a nursing jurisprudence exam to become licensed. The BON may ask you to provide additional documentation, including your driver’s license or verification of your degree, after they review your application. It takes ten days to review your application.
How to Maintain Your Nursing License in Texas
Your Texas RN license remains active for 6-29 months, depending on the month and year you were born. After your initial renewal, you'll need to renew your license approximately every two years.
The BON will send a renewal reminder to your last known address sixty days before your license expires. You’ll have sixty days to complete any continuing education requirements and renew your license online.
To renew your license, you’ll need to:
- Complete 20 hours of continuing education each licensing period
- Sign a statement testifying that you completed your required continuing education
- Pay the $68 renewal fee
You do not need to complete any continuing education requirements to renew your Texas nursing license the first time unless you collect forensic evidence in your nursing practice. If you do, you’ll need to complete a one-time required course in forensic evidence collection.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Texas
How long does it take to get a Texas RN license?
It takes about 3-5 years to get your Texas RN license. You'll spend most of your time in school earning either a two-year ADN or four-year BSN. After graduation, you'll have up to a year after starting your application to pay the application fee, submit the necessary paperwork, and pass the NCLEX-RN and nursing jurisprudence exam.
What do you need to become a RN in Texas?
To become an RN in Texas, you'll need to earn an ADN or BSN, complete a background check, pay the application fee, and pass the NCLEX-RN and nursing jurisprudence exam.
How much does an RN earn in Texas?
As an RN working in Texas, you can earn an average of $84,320 per year or $40.54 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How often do you renew a Texas nursing license?
After your first renewal, you'll renew your Texas nursing license every two years according to the last day of your birth month. If you were born in an odd-numbered year, you must renew your license every odd-numbered year. If you were born in an even-numbered year, you must renew your license every even-numbered year. Your initial license is active for 6-29 months, depending on what month and year you were born.