By Rachel Schneider
Students can explore a variety of online nurse practitioner (NP) programs in Texas that allow them to pursue a family nurse practitioner specialization. These programs prepare learners with the skills and knowledge needed to provide primary nursing care to patients across the lifespan.
Learners can consider a variety of educational pathways in the state to earn their master's degree and prepare for licensure. Texas features the third-highest employment levels in the country at 13,620 NPs. These professionals earn an annual mean wage of $115,440 in Texas.
Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs
Students exploring nurse practitioner programs in Texas can consider four different tracks to earn their master of science in nursing. Learners in the state can enroll in a BSN-to-MSN program, an RN bridge program for RNs with an ADN or non-nursing bachelor's degree, an RN-to-MSN program with ADN requirements, or post-MSN certificate programs. Depending on which educational pathway degree-seekers follow, they can expect varying program lengths and degree requirements.
Learners enrolled in BSN-to-MSN programs experience more flexibility than learners in traditional bachelor's or master's programs. Online FNP programs can offer different types of instruction, including asynchronous and synchronous learning. Degree-seekers should pay close attention to accreditation when choosing a BSN-to-MSN program, ensuring the school they choose has been accredited regionally and/or programmatically.
Full-time programs allow learners to earn their degree sooner than part-time formats. Full-time enrollees typically graduate in 15-24 months, while part-time students take about 18-36 months to complete their program. Degree-seekers who want to continue working as they earn their degree might consider part-time enrollment, providing them with more flexibility.
RN Bridge Program for RNs with an ADN or Non-Nursing Bachelor's Degree
Bachelor's degree-holders who earned their degree in a discipline other than nursing along with ADN degree-holders can consider bridge programs that allow them to earn their MSN at an accelerated pace. Enrollees begin these programs by focusing on bachelor's level courses. Once they complete the bachelor's part of their degree, the focus shifts to advanced coursework.
Although admissions requirements can differ depending on the institution, applicants can anticipate similar criteria across programs. During the application process, learners must submit a completed application and official transcripts. Some colleges and universities might also require supplemental materials such as a resume, letters of recommendation, or a personal essay.
RN-to-MSN Program with ADN Requirement
Degree-seekers can explore accelerated RN-to-MSN programs that allow them to move straight into a master's program, earning their degree faster than learners who earn their bachelor's and master's degrees separately.
Depending on the institution, specific credit requirements can vary, but typically require between 68-71 credits to graduate. Admissions criteria can also differ by institution, but prospective students can expect to see similar coursework and training across curricula.
Applicants must hold an unencumbered RN license and are often required to show at least two years of professional experience as a registered nurse. Most institutions require learners to meet a minimum GPA requirement, usually around 3.0 or higher. All applicants should hold an associate degree in nursing and provide official transcripts with their completed application.
Post-MSN Certificate Program
Nurses who hold a master's degree in nursing and want to expand their scope of practice can pursue post-master's certification. These programs enable nurses to go beyond their current roles or population focus areas, broadening their career opportunities. These certificates focus on several types of nursing, such as family nurse practitioner, leadership in nursing systems, nurse educator, and healthcare administration.
Certificate programs typically require fewer credits than traditional master's programs, usually requiring between 21-48 credits, taking learners between 12-24 months to complete. Eligible applicants should hold their MSN from an accredited college or university.
Curriculum in Family Nurse Practitioner Programs
Family nurse practitioners work as advanced practice registered nurses who provide care to patients across the lifespan from infancy to late adulthood. During family nurse practitioner programs, learners focus on building the skills and knowledge needed to provide effective care across settings and patient populations.
While specific course topics can differ depending on the program, degree-seekers can expect to experience similar courses, building the same competencies. Learners focus on advanced health assessment, exploring the principles and practices to evaluate and monitor their patients. They also learn about advanced pharmacology and focus on understanding common medical treatments across clinical settings.
FNP students explore advanced human physiology and pathophysiology to better understand how the human body works and how organ systems function.
How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner in Texas
The pathway to becoming a family nurse practitioner in Texas can vary, typically beginning with earning an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing and obtaining a registered nurse license. Some students enroll in bridge programs, enabling them to earn both their bachelor's and master's degrees simultaneously.
Prospective FNPs must earn a master's degree in nursing. Many programs allow graduate students to pursue a concentration in a particular type of nursing, often including family nursing care. After satisfying the educational criteria, candidates must pass a licensing exam before they can practice professionally.
Texas FNP Licensing Requirements
Before candidates can practice as family nurse practitioners in Texas, they must earn their license. The Texas Board of Nursing regulates the nursing profession in the state and provides licensing opportunities.
Eligible applicants must hold a master's degree in nursing from an accredited institution. The licensing process requires candidates to pass a comprehensive exam, demonstrating their competencies in the discipline. The length of time it takes to earn an advanced practice registered nurse license required to practice as an FNP depends on how long it takes candidates to earn their master's degree.
Licensing allows nurses to demonstrate their skills and knowledge of their profession. The licensing board ensures that all nurses can practice at a high level of patient care, promoting the highest possible quality of healthcare. Candidates can prepare for their licensing exam by completing practice exams. Most master's programs focus on preparing learners to pursue licensure after graduation, emphasizing the concepts and topics on the state's licensing exam.