The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for RNs will grow 7% between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than average. This page lists the best nursing schools in Texas. The following sections review requirements for nursing degrees, common nursing courses, and scholarships for nursing students.
What Can I Do with a Degree in Nursing?
Nursing degrees prepare students to provide medical care for patients. Nurses require a specialized skill set to work with patients and address critical healthcare needs. Most careers in nursing require at least a certified nursing assistant certificate to practice. More advanced or higher-paying careers ask for at least a bachelor of science in nursing.
Nurses choose from a variety of career opportunities based on their interests, education, and experience. For example, nursing professionals with an associate degree can work as RNs, and those with a master's degree (MSN) can work in administrative positions.
Earning a higher degree allows nurses to advance in their current career or start a new one. Advanced degrees also open up higher paying job opportunities. For example, nurses can earn an MSN to specialize in a field and earn a higher salary.
Graduate Degree Options for a Career in Nursing
Students interested in furthering their education may pursue nursing graduate degrees. Earning a graduate degree in nursing can lead to increased earning potential and career advancement. Many nursing professionals with graduate degrees go on to work in leadership and teaching positions.
Nurses with graduate degrees may choose to increase their expertise in a specific area of the field. For example, a nurse may specialize in anesthesiology, obstetrics, or pediatrics. Nursing professionals with a graduate degree can also obtain advanced practice registered nurse status.
Students who do not pursue graduate education can develop their resume by earning certifications. Certifications for career advancement include wound care or hospice and palliative care. Students can also join organizations, like the American Academy of Nursing, to increase their professional networks.
Accreditation for a Degree in Nursing
Prospective students should check a school's accreditation status prior to application. Accreditation ensures that schools offer consistent and quality education to students. Organizations recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) perform a rigorous accreditation process. Students also benefit from attending an accredited school. For example, only students enrolled in an accredited school can apply for federal grants and loans.
Schools may receive either national or regional accreditation. National accreditation agencies accredit schools across the country. Regional organizations focus on schools in a specific location. Students may benefit more from attending a regionally accredited school. For example, credits from regionally accredited schools transfer more easily than those from nationally accredited schools.
In addition to CHEA, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits nursing programs. The U.S. Secretary of Education recognizes the CCNE as an independent national accrediting agency. The CCNE assesses nursing programs to ensure they meet an effective standard of education. Find out a school's accreditation status.
|What is required to be a RN in Texas?||Students first need to enroll in a nursing degree program to become an RN. Graduates can then apply for licensure. Texas also requires students to take a licensing exam.|
|How many years does it take to get a RN degree?||RN degrees typically take two to four years to complete. This timeline depends on the type of degree. The number of courses taken each semester also affects this timeline.|
|What is the yearly salary for a RN?||According to the BLS, RNs earned a median annual salary of $73,000 in May 2019. Annual salary depends on education level and industry.|
|How much do nurses earn in Texas?||The BLS reports that RNs in Texas earned a median annual wage of $74,540 in May 2019. RNs in Texas earn slightly more than the national median annual salary.|
What are the Requirements for a Degree in Nursing?
Students seeking their first or second degrees may apply to bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs. BSN programs typically ask prospective and enrolled students to complete certain requirements to obtain their degree.
Most BSN programs require at least a 2.5 GPA to qualify for admission. Many also ask applicants to take an admissions assessment exam. These exams include the Test of Essential Academic Skills or Health Education Systems Incorporated exams. Programs may also require math and science prerequisite courses on transcripts.
To graduate with a BSN, students complete coursework in different areas of nursing. These areas include nursing care for women, mental health clients, and newborns. Students also participate in clinical rotations, labs, and simulation activities to gain practical nursing experience.
Courses in a Nursing Program
A bachelor's in nursing prepares students for careers as RNs or graduate work in the field. Nursing programs offer courses that teach students skills needed to practice. Some basic courses include health assessment and pathophysiology.
The top nursing schools in Texas teach students specialized care practices. These specialized courses focus on certain populations, such as the elderly, families, or children. Courses in specialized areas help students determine possible career paths. Students may take these courses toward the end of their degree program.
The following list provides a sample of courses found in nursing bachelor's programs. Not all programs offer the courses listed below. Rather, these courses represent a sample curriculum from nursing programs in Texas.
- Health Assessment
This course introduces principles and practices of client assessment. Students typically study standardized assessment tools and interviewing strategies. These tools help nurses accurately diagnose clients. These diagnoses then inform the nursing process and practice. Students also learn expected and unexpected findings during assessments. Common variations in assessments also appear in this course. Instructors may utilize laboratory experiences to provide practical experience. Health assessment courses develop students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Courses in pathophysiology focus on the manifestation of human disease. Students learn about the causes, effects, and symptoms of disease throughout a human's life. They also study disease prevention, progression, and treatment. Students examine disease on cellular and multi-system levels. This also includes abnormal functioning of tissues and organs. This course typically analyzes disease though different variables such as genetics or ethnicity. Students prepare for nursing illness management and health restoration in this course.
- Child and Adolescent Healthcare
This course prepares students to care for children and families in various healthcare settings. Students learn developmental, psychosocial, and physical needs of children. This informs their health assessment in the field. This course also focuses on health promotion, maintenance, and restoration when caring for children and families. Students typically study current research and practices in nursing methods and developmental theories. Many programs also offer a clinical placement associated with this course. Clinical placements allow students to apply theories on children's healthcare in a practical setting.
- Reproductive Health
Courses on reproductive health focus on the healthcare of childbearing families. Students learn nursing and communication theories related to providing healthcare to families. This includes health assessment, health promotion, and disease prevention. This course typically focuses on prenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum periods. This prepares students for careers as nurses specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. Many programs offer a clinical placement in obstetrics or gynecology associated with this course. Clinical placements in these areas help students apply theories on women and infant's healthcare in a practical setting.
- Geriatric Nursing
This course examines common nursing theories and issues related to aging. Students learn care coordination for older people. This helps students to understand their unique healthcare needs. Geriactric nursing courses also explore common physical, societal, and psychological changes in older adults. Instructors teach students health assessment, health promotion, and client management. Many programs allow students to work directly with older people in clinical placements. Clinical placements help students apply geriactric nursing theories in diverse settings.
Certifications and Licensure for Nursing Majors
Licensing and certification help nurses in career advancement. Obtaining licensure or certification also allows nurses to demonstrate their expertise in a specific area. The following list provides examples of licenses and certifications to assist nurses in their careers. This list also includes the qualifications of licensure and certification recipients. Each license and certification asks for specific requirements to earn the credential.
Certified Emergency Nurse
CENs qualify nurses to work in emergency rooms. Nurses need a valid RN license to take the certification exam. Although not required, the Board of Certification recommends two years professional experience prior to application. The CEN exam focuses on research and practices in emergency nursing.
RN licensing qualifies students for nursing practice. Prospective RNs must complete an accredited nursing program. They also need to pass the national licensing exam. Obtaining RN licensure allows nurses to pursue certification in a specialized area. Each state holds different RN licensure requirements. For example, Texas requires prospective RNs to initiate a criminal background check.
Family Nurse Practitioner
FNPs qualify nurses to provide healthcare to families. Obtaining an FNP demonstrates a nurses' clinical knowledge of families at various life stages. Nurses take the FNP exam to receive this certification. The FNP exam focuses on healthcare for various populations. These populations include infants, adolescents, and older people.
Professional Organizations for Nursing Students
Joining professional organizations provides networking and career advancement opportunities for nurses. Nurses can join a national or local nursing organization. They can also join organizations based on their specialization area. Membership varies for each organization. For example, only school nurses may join the National Association of School Nurses. Most memberships also require yearly fees to join. The following list provides some examples of professional organizations available to nurses.
- National Student Nurses Association
NSNA connects and mentors student nurses finishing bachelor's programs. An NSNA membership helps nursing students meet experienced nurses and other students. Membership with NSNA promotes leadership development. NSNA also offers scholarships and awards to members. Students must demonstrate enrollment status in a nursing or pre-nursing program to qualify for membership.
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Nurse practitioners (NPs) can apply for membership with AANP. AANP offers education resources for NPs. Members also receive career and practice support through online forums. NPs, students, graduates, and retired NPs can join the organization. Each membership type has different requirements. All AANP memberships require annual dues.
- National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health
NPWH facilitates leading conversations regarding women’s health. This organization also provides education and resources on this topic. Members can continue their education through courses and self-study materials provided by NPWH. NPWH members also receive discounts for certification in midwifery and women's health. Current and retired nurses qualify for membership. NPWH also offers student membership.
- American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
AACN connects acute and critical care nursing professionals. This organization provides educational resources and leadership opportunities to members. Members receive access to continuing education courses and clinical toolkits. AACN members also receive discounts on conferences and certifications. Students interested in critical care qualify for membership. NPWH also offers membership to current and retired critical care nurses.
Scholarships for Nursing Students
Scholarships help students fund their education. Many nursing students utilize scholarships to earn their degrees. Students enrolled in accelerated nursing programs in Texas may qualify for various scholarships. They can apply to multiple scholarships based on their qualifications. This list includes scholarships available to students earning a nursing degree.
- Greta James Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship awards prospective and currently enrolled nursing students. Applicants submit a 250 word essay detailing their motivation for entering the nursing field. They must also discuss their qualifications to receive this scholarship. Peers in the nursing profession vote on the recipient of this scholarship.
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) Scholarships
Who Can Apply: NAHN offers a variety of scholarships for hispanic nursing students. Applicants must be NAHN members to qualify for these scholarships. Students seen as role models and leaders in the field receive these scholarships. NAHN bases recipient selection on academic achievement, financial need, and supporting academic documentation.
Amount: up to $5,000
- Barbara Rhomberg Nursing Scholarship
Who Can Apply: B4 Brands awards this scholarship to a nontraditional nursing student each year. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate nursing program. Nontraditional students include those who took at least a three year gap between high school and college enrollment. This includes individuals who entered the workforce or military directly after high school.
- Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) Scholarships
Who Can Apply: ENA offers a variety of scholarships to nurses pursuing bachelor's degrees in nursing. Depending on the scholarship, applicants typically hold ENA membership. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA to qualify for these scholarships. They must also submit two recommendation letters. Recipients provide confirmation of their school's accreditation to the ENA.
- Niche Nursing Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship awards high school and college students interested in studying nursing. Prospective or current students enrolled in nursing or nursing-related majors can apply. This scholarship helps students pay for tuition, books, or other education-related costs. Recipients of this award are determined through a random drawing.