There are six universities in the state of Texas with online programs for registered nurses (RNs) looking to pursue a graduate degree in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialty. Two schools in the University of Texas System, UT Arlington and the UT Medical Branch at Galveston, offer online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs designed for RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) who want to become nationally certified FNPs. Angelo State University and the Texas Tech University Health Science Center both have online BSN to MSN FNP tracks as well, along with post-master’s FNP certificate programs for students who already possess a graduate degree in nursing. For RNs interested in earning their doctorate as an FNP, Texas Christian University offers a BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program online. Meanwhile, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi gives students the choice of four online FNP tracks: a BSN to MSN program, a RN-Bridge program for RNs with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, a post-MSN certificate program, and an RN to MSN program, which requires an ADN for admission.
All of the online FNP programs mentioned above are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and designed to help prepare graduates for national APRN certification. While lectures and coursework in these programs are delivered online, students are still required to complete clinical practice hours at a local health care facility. Of the six schools in Texas that offer online FNP programs, only UT Arlington does not require students to visit campus during the program for orientation or immersion sessions. The other five programs require students to make a limited number of campus visits throughout their studies, ranging from one to five depending on the school. To learn more about each school’s online offerings, and get information about FNP licensing requirements in Texas, see below.
Program Information: Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs in Texas
Located in San Angelo, and part of the Texas Tech University System, Angelo State University has two online options for students who want to specialize as family nurse practitioners. The first path is an online MSN program, which is open to licensed RNs who have earned a BSN. Angelo State’s online BSN to MSN program consists of 49 credits, and requires 600 clinical hours to graduate. Courses are delivered online through asynchronous instruction, and students only need to visit campus three times during the entire program. The school also offers an online post-master’s certificate in the specialty, designed for RNs who already possess an MSN, but wish to pursue national certification as an FNP. Depending on a gap analysis of their graduate nursing transcripts, post-master’s students may need to complete anywhere from 25 to 37 credits. Like the MSN track, this program also requires 600 clinical hours, and three campus visits over the entire course of study. Both of the online FNP programs at Angelo State are available on either a full- or part-time basis.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) offers four FNP paths online, providing options for students at all stages of their nursing education. Their online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program is designed for RNs who possess a BSN, while their RN-Bridge Entry program is for RNs with both an ADN and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The traditional BSN to MSN program requires 49 credits and 630 clinical hours, while the RN-Bridge Entry option requires 67 credits and 675 clinical hours. Only available part-time, TAMU-CC’s online MSN FNP program can be completed in 32 months (44 months for RN-Bridge Entry students), and requires one weekend-long visit to campus during the Advanced Health Assessment course.
For students who have already earned an MSN, the school offers an online Family Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s Certificate program. This track is comprised of 37 course credits, and entails 630 clinical hours and the same on-campus visit as the MSN program. Lastly, registered nurses with their ADN can pursue an MSN in the FNP specialty through TAMU-CC’s online RN-MSN program track. This entry option requires 70 credits to graduate, and the completion of 675 clinical hours. RN-MSN students can expect to finish the program in roughly four years, making one campus visit over their entire course of study. All of the online FNP programs at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi utilize asynchronous instruction, meaning students are free to watch lectures and complete coursework at any time they choose.
Texas Christian University in Fort Worth has one online option for students interested in specializing as an FNP: a Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. Their online BSN to DNP Family Nursing Practitioner track requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, as well as current RN licensure and at least one year of work experience as a registered nurse. DNP FNP students at Texas Christian must complete 69 credits and 1,000 clinical hours to earn their degree. The program can be pursued on either a full- or part-time basis, with the full-time, nine-term program taking approximately three years to complete, and the part-time program spread out over 18 terms and up to six years of study. At Texas Christian, online coursework is delivered through primarily asynchronous instruction, and DNP students are only required to visit campus four times throughout the entire program.
One of four institutions that comprise the Texas Tech University System, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) has campuses in Lubbock, Dallas, El Paso, Abilene, Amarillo, and the Permian Basin. Depending on their particular level of education, students can enter one of two online FNP tracks offered by the school: their traditional BSN to MSN program or a post-master’s certificate option. TTUHSC’s online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program is available part-time, and consists of 48 credits and 630 clinical practicum hours. Students can expect to complete the nine-term program in three years, making five mandatory campus visits over their entire course of study. The FNP post-master’s certificate track at Texas Tech University Health Science Center is open to registered nurses who have earned an MSN. This part-time program can be completed in two years (six academic terms), and requires 30 credits to graduate, and 630 clinical hours. As with the traditional MSN track, online students in the post-master’s certificate program will need to visit campus five times throughout their studies. Both FNP tracks at TTUHSC require applicants to hold RN licensure, and have at least one year of RN work experience.
The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) offers an online BSN to MSN program for RNs who want to become licensed family nurse practitioners. The program, which is only available part-time, consists of 46 course credits, and students must complete 720 clinical hours before graduating. With eight start dates throughout the year, the online MSN track at UTA is designed to be completed in 31 to 36 months. Students are not required to visit campus at any point during the program. Along with a BSN and current RN license, prospective students must have a minimum of two years of clinical RN experience.
Another part of the University of Texas System, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston also has an online MSN FNP program designed for RNs who possess a BSN. Their BSN to MSN program requires 49 credits and 720 clinical practice hours. Students need to visit the UTMB campus four times throughout the seven-semester program, which can be completed in 28 months of part-time study. UTMB uses a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction to deliver its MSN coursework, which means students may be required to attend some online lectures or class events at scheduled times. Applicants to the online FNP program at University of Texas Medical Branch must hold current RN licensure, with the school preferring at least one year of RN experience prior to enrollment.
Texas FNP Licensing Requirements
In the state of Texas, APRN licensing is handled by the Texas Board of Nursing. The first step to becoming licensed as a family nurse practitioner in Texas is to have RN licensure in the state, or RN licensure in an outside state that is party to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows RNs to practice in other compact states. Next, prospective FNPs will need to complete a graduate degree program in the specialty from a nursing school accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), or another state-approved accrediting body.
In accordance with the APRN Regulatory Model, the Texas Board of Nursing requires students to have completed the following core courses as part of their FNP degree program: pathophysiology, pharmacotherapeutics, and advanced physical assessment with a clinical component. Additionally, all RNs who completed their program after January 1, 1998 must demonstrate that their training included a course in APRN role preparation, clinical major courses in their advanced practice role and population focus, and a supervised practicum, preceptorship, or internship that provided the opportunity for direct patient care.
Once they have successfully earned a master’s degree or above in the FNP specialty, students will need to take a national certification exam administered by either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Both of these organizations, as well as the Texas Board of Nursing, require that RNs complete at least 500 clinical hours in their advanced practice role as part of an educational program in order to qualify for certification. Earning national APRN certification as an FNP qualifies RNs to apply for state licensure through the Texas Board of Nursing.
As part of the application process, RNs will need to submit an online application form, a $100 fee, evidence that they have completed a graduate-level FNP program and earned national certification in the role, and a copy of their RN license. Applicants must have completed their advanced nursing degree program within the last 24 months, or have completed a minimum of 400 practice hours in their role in the last 24 months. If their FNP program was completed outside of that timeframe, applicants must also fulfill at least 20 contact hours of continuing nursing education before qualifying for APRN licensure in Texas.
Universities in Texas with Online FNP Programs
|Angelo State University||MSN (BSN Required)||Online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)|
|Angelo State University||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Online Post Master's Certificate - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)|
|Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi||MSN (BSN or Non-Nursing Bachelors accepted)||Online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program (Traditional and RN-Bridge entry options)|
|Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Online Family Nurse Practitioner Post-Masters Certificate program|
|Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi||RN to MSN (ADN required)||Online Family Nurse Practitioner RN-MSN entry option|
|Texas Christian University||DNP (BSN Required)||Online Doctor of Nursing Practice BSN to DNP Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center||MSN (BSN Required)||Online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Track|
|Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Online Post-Master's Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate program|
|University of Texas at Arlington||MSN (BSN Required)||Online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston||MSN (BSN Required)||Online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)|