Training to Become an RN in Texas
Nursing is a fascinating and challenging career and the ideal choice for anyone passionate about taking care of patients in a healthcare setting. The process to become a registered nurse (RN) includes educational and licensing exam components.
The Texas Board of Nursing (TBON) regulates the field of nursing and sets policies to ensure the standards of nursing practice are met and nurses are competent in their practice. The TBON enforces the state nurse practice act; administer licensing by overseeing the licensing exam and taking action against nurses who have exhibited unsafe nursing practice.
An RN candidate is required to complete a nursing program approved by the TBON at a college or university accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and earn a minimum of an Associate’s degree. Approved nursing programs include class work and clinical training.
To become a licensed nurse in Texas candidates must one of three exam options. Those options are the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE) or be licensed in another state with requirements equivalent in another state.. A passing score for the NCLEX-RN is 75% and a passing score for the SBTPE is 350. Texas is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact and only graduates who reside in Texas are allowed to take the NCLEX-RN in Texas. Graduates who reside in other Compact states, but graduate from a Texas nursing program, must take the NCLEX in their home state.
Applications to test include a fingerprint card and a criminal background check and a 2”x2” passport type photograph taken within six months of applying for the exam.
Once the educational component is completed, graduates must apply to take the NCLEX-RN or the SBTPE. The application to test is submitted to the TBON. Graduates who opt to take the NCLEX-EN must register with Pearson VUE Testing Services, the NCLEX-RN administrator. Graduates opting to take the SBTPE will schedule that exam through the TBON. Applicants who pass either exam will be issued an RN license.
RNs are required to renew their license every two years. Renewal requirements include completing 20 approved continuing education hours every renewal period. Licenses may be renewed up to 60 days before expiration. RNs that renew their licenses after the deadline will be required to include 20 additional continuing education hours. RNs will not be able to practice until the additional 20 hours are completed. Licenses expire on the last day of the RNs birthday month and during the odd year if the RN was born in an odd year or the even year if the RN was born in an even year. The initial license may be considerably shorter than two years depending on the year of graduation and the RNs birthday month.
The average annual RN salary in Texas is $62,000 and the average annual entry level salary for a new graduate is $46,000. Actual salary often depends on geographic location, area of specialty, facility where employed, years of experience and level of education completed. Healthcare facilities in major metropolitan areas will tend to offer higher salaries than facilities in suburban or rural areas.
RNs will find employment is a variety of facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals, occupational healthcare centers, rehabilitative healthcare centers, educational and government centers, vacation and recreational venues, clinic and doctors offices. Other nursing opportunities include nurse staffing organizations, visiting nurse and hospice organizations, RN help lines and traveling nurse agencies.
RNs enjoy a variety of duties and tasks and the actual duties and tasks will vary depending on the facility and level of nursing. Typical RN duties include preparing patient care and treatment plans, monitoring those plans and making changes when necessary, dispensing medication including injections and monitoring reaction to the medications, recording patient history, coordinating treatment and care with other healthcare departments and facilities, performing emergency procedures, performing and monitoring diagnostic testing and providing education to the patient and families regarding the patient’s condition and care and treatment plan.
Schools With RN Programs in Texas
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- Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration
- Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator