Examine the school listings to decide if the program is the right fit for your needs. Along with links to cost & curricula, we’ve provided a quick summary of admissions requirements, program characteristics, and quality factors. Thinking of going the distance? Scan our section on online Texas RN to MSN programs. Watching your budget? Take a look at the cheapest RN to MSN programs in Texas.
But the MSN is just the beginning! To help you make some important career decisions, this guide also contains a discussion of Texas’s healthcare landscape and a comprehensive job section. Here you’ll find ideas on where to focus your job search and links to important resources, including TX nursing associations and the BON.
Online RN to MSN Programs in Texas
Public universities in Texas are willing and able to offer online RN to MSN programs. Each one has unique admissions requirements (e.g. non-nursing bachelor’s vs. associate degree or diploma), so check the school profiles first to see if you qualify for entry. Here are some more distinguishing factors:
- Lamar University: Lamar’s Online RN to MSN is taught by the same instructors who teach on campus. With multiple start dates and a short time-frame, it’s been designed with working professionals in mind. Be aware that it’s offered in Administration or Education (not NP specialties).
- Texas Woman’s University: TWU’s has online options for almost every type of RN. The concentrations in Nursing Education, FNP, and Health Systems Management with a Minor in Business are 100% online. Other options will be hybrid and on-campus. The FNP track has 3 intakes per year and a streamlined structure, but check the page on State Authorizations for FNP to confirm you can apply.
- The University of Texas at Arlington: UTA’s Online RN to MSN is available in Administration, Nurse Educator, or FNP. The FNP is offered in 5- and 10-week courses, with multiple starts throughout the year. However, residents of certain states are not eligible to enroll in UTA accelerated online programs. See program map for details on each concentration.
- The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley: UTRGV’s 100% online programs in Nursing Administration and Nursing Education are open to ADNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The page on State Authorization has details on availability. UTRGV is part of NC SARA, but California is not included in this compact.
- West Texas A & M University: WTAMU has two RN to MSN concentrations, but only the Comprehensive MSN is offered in the online accelerated format. In the Comprehensive degree, you can specialize in Nursing Administration/Management or Nursing Education. There are no pre-scheduled clinical hours and no campus attendance is required.
Do you live near a university campus? Be sure to consider the hybrid options, too! For example, all of TAMUCC’s MSN concentrations are offered in a 100% online format (clinical practicums will take place in your own geographical area). And UTHealth offers a blended model for the MSN that only meets on campus 2-4 times per semester.
Cheapest RN to MSN Programs in Texas
Our ranking of the most affordable Texas RN to MSN programs was calculated using per credit graduate tuition rates. But we want to point out that it’s just a ballpark! Each program in our school listings has a unique number of credits and additional fees. That means some schools with higher tuition rates (e.g. UTRGV) may actually be more affordable than the names you see here.
What’s more, universities often have different undergraduate tuition rates for bridge coursework. And others might accept transfer credits and a portfolio review on selected bridge courses. Talk to the program coordinator about the total cost, including fees.
- West Texas A & M University: In-State & Online (Out-of-State is higher for campus programs)—View Tuition Rates
- Texas Woman’s University: In-State (Out-of-State is higher)—View Tuition Rates
- The University of Texas at Arlington: Administration & Nurse Educator Programs (FNP tuition rate is higher)—View Tuition Rates
- Lamar University: View Tuition Rates
- The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston: View Tuition Rates
Texas’s Healthcare Landscape
Texas is a study in contrasts. On the one hand, you have a booming network of cities, packed with high-powered medical centers, NIH-funded research projects, state-of-the-art facilities, and some of the best healthcare in the nation. In the BCBS Health Index Map, you’ll see that counties in the west and northwest and places around urban areas are relatively healthy.
- Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW): With its numerous hospitals and patient care centers, Texas Health Resources is one of the top three employers in the DFW area. Baylor Health Care System, UT-Southwestern Medical Center, and HCA North Texas aren’t far behind. Many hospitals have been expanding facilities in recent years (e.g. Methodist Dallas Medical Center) and healthcare companies are moving in.
- Houston: Some of Houston’s largest employers are healthcare organizations, including Memorial Hermann Health System, The University of Texas MD Anderson, The Methodist Hospital System, and UTMB Health. They’re part of the Texas Medical Center—the largest medical center in the world. TMC has been estimated to have a regional annual economic impact of $20 billion. In fact, the healthcare sector has helped to sustain the city when other sectors have flagged (e.g. energy).
On the other hand, you have a state with significant troubles. If you examine Texas in America’s Health Rankings, you’ll see a place that’s facing a high prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular deaths, high obesity rates (especially among youth), increased mental distress, and a lack of primary care physicians. The high rate of uninsured residents is a particular concern. The state government has resisted efforts to expand Medicaid, which has left a number of folks on the healthcare margins.
The hardest hit are in the countryside. Texas invariably struggles in the U.S. Rural Health Report Card. The state has a higher poverty rate in rural areas than urban areas; it often leads the nation in rural hospital closures; access to care is extremely limited for rural residents; and the all-cause mortality rate can be almost 20% higher than the rate in urban counties. If you’re interested in rural healthcare, you’ll be very much needed.
Jobs for Texas RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
It will come as no surprise that Texas is home to a massive number of APRNs. One look at the job maps on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s page for Nurse Practitioners is evidence enough. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston have some of the highest NP employment levels in the country, employing 3,000+ nurse practitioners in each metropolitan area. Many of the hospitals in these two cities top the U.S. News & World Report rankings of Best Hospitals in Texas.
Keep in mind, too, that university campuses in these areas have to employ Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. Thanks to the presence of well-known names (e.g. UTD), Dallas-Fort Worth is a particular hotspot in the nurse educator arena.
But your choices aren’t limited to the two behemoths:
- Austin is emerging as a strong job center for nurses. UT, in particular, has been driving innovation in medical research and training (e.g. Dell Medical School, Capital City Innovation, etc.), which is leading to new employment opportunities.
- San Antonio is the third fastest growing economy in the country, with much of the growth coming from healthcare and emerging bioscience technologies.
- Even El Paso and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission (i.e. Rio Grande Valley) will have opportunities for nurses with advanced training.
Determined to help the rural populace? Texas is facing an impending nursing shortage and rural towns are often the first to feel the effects. For example, vacancy rates for APRNs in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) are almost always high. To remedy the shortages, Texas NPs have been lobbying for full practice authority in recent years, but they’ve faced stiff opposition. Check the TNP’s section on Advocacy Issues for the latest updates.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Texas Nursing Job Boards
- TNA Career Center: Openings for Texas nurses, including APRNs
- TNP Career Center: Job listings for Texas NPs
- TONE Career Center: Job listings for Texas nurse leaders
Texas APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Texas Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Listed under “Nurse Practitioners” and “Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary”
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Texas Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
TX Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN): Texas Chapters
- National Black Nurses Association (NBNA): Texas Chapters
- Texas Action Coalition (TAC)
- Texas Nurses Association (TNA)
- Texas Nurse Practitioners (TNP)
TX Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – Texas Chapter (APNA Texas)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Texas (AWHONN – Texas)
- Consortium of Texas Certified Nurse-Midwives (CTCNM)
- Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists (TXANA)
- Texas Association of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (TAPAN)
- Texas Clinical Nurse Specialists (TXCNS)
- Texas Emergency Nurses Association (TXENA)
- Texas League for Nursing (TLN)
- Texas Nursing Students’ Association (TNSA)
- Texas Organization of Nurse Executives (TONE)
- Texas School Nurses Organization (TXSNO)
- Texas State Association of Occupational Health Nurses (TSAOHN)