Texas continues to grow faster than any state in America. This is especially true in the larger metro areas of Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. For those who want to get into the nursing profession, there never has been a better time to become a registered nurse in Texas.

The demand is extremely high. State officials project a shortage of 60,000 registered nurses in Texas by 2030. That’s due in large part to the state’s popularity, which continues to grow (the population has already reached about 29 million).

Federal projections call for a 24.1% increase in the number of registered nurses in Texas by 2026. Nationwide, that number is 15%. Additionally, both the Houston and Dallas metro areas are ranked in the Top 10 metropolitan areas in the country for nursing jobs.

For those interested in entering an RN to BSN program, they position themselves for the top jobs in a state that looks to have plenty of them.

How to Become a Registered Nurse in Texas

The pathway to becoming a registered nurse in Texas is straightforward. It’s essentially a three-step process:

  • Graduate with a BSN or associate’s degree
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam
  • Take continuing education courses that Texas requires for licensed nurses

While you can enter the nursing profession with a two-year degree, it’s becoming increasingly important to earn a BSN. Schools such as Houston Baptist University have created an online RN to BSN program that features both online classes.

Here’s a closer look at all three steps.

Earning a BSN in Texas

For nurses who wish to have a better chance of earning the top jobs in nursing, a BSN provides the education they need. At HBU, coursework focuses on teaching the latest skills involved in nursing and how to apply these skills in real-world situations.

The school is in the heart of Houston, which is one of the largest centers for the healthcare industry in the country. HBU is a member of the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world and home to the world’s largest children’s hospital and cancer hospital.

The NCLEX-RN Licensing Exam

You must first earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree before becoming eligible to take the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, which is the exam taken by nurses around the country. Eligibility for the test also requires an Authorization to Test, which is issued by the nursing regulatory body. In Texas, that’s the Texas Board of Nursing.

Continuing Education

Texas requires nurses to continue their education after earning a degree. For registered nurses in Texas, the requirements include 20 contact hours every two years in the nurse’s area of practice, according to nurse.com. For example:

  • Two contact hours related to forensic evidence collection for those who work in an emergency room setting
  • Two contact hours related to older adults and geriatric populations for those who work with patients from these populations (such as in assisted living homes)
  • Two contact hours of education related to nursing jurisprudence and nursing ethics before the end of every third two-year licensing period for all nurses

Becoming a registered nurse in Texas is a smart move for those who want to become nurses in a state that ranks among the best for healthcare professionals. Entering an RN to BSN program can be an important part of the process.