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How to Become a Nurse in Texas

Are you passionate about helping people? Do you want a career that is fulfilling and meaningful, but still pays well? Here, we’ll tell you more about the different paths of nursing, and how to become a nurse in Texas.

Paths to Become a Nurse

Learn more about how to become a nurse. There are a variety of paths students take to become nurses. Decide if you want to invest time into a degree or if you want to take the quicker route and get a certification.

 

For more information on the different levels of nursing and their roles, visit https://nurse.org/education/nursing-hierarchy-guide/.

Path #1: Associates degree in Nursing (RN)

How Long does it take to become a nurse in Texas: 2 years

Average Cost to Complete: $10,400

Average Salary Range in Northeast Texas: $70,000

Job Outlook: 6% growth (as fast as average)

Typical Responsibilities:

  • Assess patients’ conditions
  • Administer and coordinate patient care
  • Teach patients and public about health conditions
  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Oversee Vocational Nurses and Certified Nurse Aides
  • Calculate dosages and administer medications intravenously
  • Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals

Where they work:

  • Hospitals
  • Private Doctor’s offices
  • Nursing Homes & Rehabilitation facilities
  • Home Health
  • Outpatient clinics

How to become a Nurse with an Associate Degree

  • You can enter the field of nursing quickly by completing an associate degree in nursing program. Associate Degree in Nursing programs train students in the nursing skills and knowledge necessary to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) that certifies nurses to work and teach student how to become nurses. Many students who complete ADN programs enter the medical field and start working quickly, and then have the opportunity to complete an ADN-BSN (Associate Degree to Bachelors Degree of Nursing) online to finish their bachelors while earning. Some employers will even help ADN nurses pay to earn their BSN while they work for them, so students who become nurses through ADN programs can start earning faster and get the rest of their bachelors degree paid for!
  • Most Associate Degree in Nursing programs require students to complete 1-2 semesters of prerequisite courses in subjects like Anatomy & Physiology and Microbiology before they can apply to enter their nursing programs. 
  • After students have completed their prerequisites and are admitted into a nursing program, they typically will complete the program in 5 semesters, or around 2 years. This has significant appeal for students eager to start working as a nurse, because they can get to work quickly and start earning to then move on to their bachelors degree. ADN programs are also often cheaper because of the short duration and lower tuition rates for most community colleges. Instead of spending around $35,000 on a bachelors degree to become a nurse, students can become a Registered Nurse (RN) for only $10,000-$11,000 (cost for in-district students at Texarkana College). Becoming a nurse through an ADN program definitely has great financial benefits for students.
  • Learn more about the Texarkana College Associate Degree Nursing Program.

PATH #2: Certificate in Vocational Nursing (LVN)

An even faster way to enter the field of nursing than an Associate Degree or Bachelors Degree Nursing program, a Certificate in Vocational Nursing prepares students to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), sometimes also called a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Vocational Nurses assist Registered Nurses and Physicians in the basic care of patients.

  • How Long does it take to become a nurse in Texas: 1 year
  • Average Cost to Complete: $8,800
  • Average Salary Range in Northeast Texas: $47,000
  • Job Outlook: 6% growth (as fast as average)
  • Typical Responsibilities:
    • Provide basic care to patients under the supervision of Registered Nurses and Doctors including changing bandages and inserting catheters
    • Monitor patient vital signs (check blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc.)
    • Help patients with comfort (bathing, dressing, etc.)
    • Report patients’ status and concerns to Registered Nurses and Doctors

Where they work:

  • Hospitals
  • Private Doctor’s offices
  • Nursing Homes & Rehabilitation facilities
  • Home Health
  • Outpatient clinics

How to become a nurse with a Certificate in Vocational Nursing

  • With similar benefits to the Associate Degree Nursing Programs, Vocational Nursing Programs, or LVN programs allow students to become trained as a nurse quickly and enter the workforce faster than even an Associate Degree usually takes. With the ability to complete the Vocational Nursing Training in 1 year after completing Anatomy & Physiology prerequisites, students can get to work fast through this program and work while furthering their education. 
  • Vocational Nurses who want to further their education often complete Associate Degree Nursing Transition Programs like the one we offer at Texarkana College. Similar to that of ADN-BSN programs, some employers will even assist Vocational Nurses with the costs to further their education through a Transition program, so it can literally pay to start out as a Vocatoinal Nurse! Even without those employer benefits, Vocational Nurses can work while continuing their education and reduce the amount of loans they may need to pay for their additional degrees. 
  • Learn more about the Texarkana College Vocational Nursing Program here.

PATH #3: Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Certificate

The fastest way to enter the field of nursing is through the Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Certificate. Certified Nurse Aides typically serve in their role as an entry-level position with the intention to further their education and become a Vocational Nurse or Registered Nurse. If you are interested in launching a career in the nursing field quickly, becoming a Certified Nurse Aide may be for you. 

How Long does it take to become a nurse in Texas: 12 weeks

Average Cost to Complete: $700

Average Salary Range in Northeast Texas: $30,310

Job Outlook: 5% growth (as fast as average)

Typical Responsibilities:

  • Clean and bathe patients
  • Help patients use the toilet and dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to Registered Nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat

Where they work:

  • Nursing Homes & Rehabilitation facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Retirement & Assisted Living Communities
  • Home Health

How to become a nurse with a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Certificate

  • A CNA program can be completed in as little as 12 weeks and prepares entry level nursing assistants to have the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to provide basic care to patients and residents of assisted living and rehabilitation facilities. 
  • Learn more about the Texarkana College CNA Program here

PATH #4: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN)

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is the general degree path offered by most universities to train students to become a Registered Nurse. Earning a Bachelors degree in Nursing can lead to an increase in pay as well as some additional career options for specializing in nursing.

How Long does it take to become a nurse in Texas: 4 years

Average Cost to Complete: $35,000

Average Salary Range in Northeast Texas: $77,000

Job Outlook: 6% growth (as fast as average)

Typical Responsibilities:

  • Assess patients’ conditions
  • Administer and coordinate patient care
  • Teach patients and public about health conditions
  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Oversee Vocational Nurses and Certified Nurse Aides
  • Calculate dosages and administer medications intravenously
  • Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals

Where they work:

  • Hospitals
  • Private Doctor’s offices
  • Nursing Homes & Rehabilitation facilities
  • Home Health
  • Outpatient clinics

How to become a nurse with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing

  • Completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing often takes 4-5 years but results in students being prepared to sit for the National Certification Exam (NCLEX) and upon passing the exam, they can become nurses. Most bachelor’s degree nursing programs include two years of prerequisites to accomplish the core credits and classes necessary to be successful in nursing school for the first two years of the bachelors degree education. The nursing training and courses in these types of programs typically come the last two years of the bachelors degree. 
  • Some employers are now requiring nurses to have a Bachelor’s degree. Nurses with a Bachelors degree can enter specialized fields such as Clinical Research, Forensic Nursing, Nursing Education and Policy, or become a Nurse Recruiter or Nurse Informaticist. A Bachelor’s degree in Nursing can also be beneficial for nurses who want to further their education and become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). 

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who further their education to complete a masters or doctoral degree take on roles such as:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
    • Typical Responsibilities: Nurse practitioners serve as primary and specialty care providers, delivering advanced nursing services to patients and their families. They assess patients, determine how to improve a patient’s health, and discuss ways to integrate health promotion strategies into a patient’s life. Nurse 
    • How to become a nurse practitioner in Texas
      1. Become a registered nurse (RN) by obtaining an associate degree in nursing or bachelor of science in nursing degree. 
        • Complete an RN-BSN Program if you obtain an associate degree in nursing. Most master’s degree nursing programs require at least a bachelor’s degree in the nursing field for admission. 
      2. Gain at least 1-2 years of nursing experience working as a registered nurse in a healthcare environment. This experience allows nurses to have expertise often needed for advanced practice roles. 
      3. Complete a nurse practitioner master’s or doctoral degree program. The educational requirements for doctoral degrees are typically more intensive. The nurse practitioner programs are often specialized based on the patient population the provider is interested in caring for such as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, or Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. 
      4. Pass the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Exam for the specialized population you intend to care for. 
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
    • Typical Responsibilities: Nurse midwives provide care to women including gynecological exams, family planning services, and prenatal care. They deliver babies, manage emergency situations during labor, repair lacerations, and may provide surgical assistance to physicians during cesarean births. They also provide wellness care, educating patients on how to lead healthy lives through nutrition and disease prevention. 
    • How to become a certified nurse midwife in Texas
      1. Become a registered nurse (RN) by obtaining an associate degree in nursing or bachelor of science in nursing degree. 
        • Complete an RN-BSN Program if you obtain an associate degree in nursing. Most master’s degree nursing programs require at least a bachelor’s degree in the nursing field for admission. 
      2. Gain at least 1-2 years of nursing experience working as a registered nurse in a healthcare environment. This experience allows nurses to have expertise often needed for advanced practice roles. 
      3. Complete a master of science or doctorate in nursing degree in nurse midwifery and pass the Nurse Midwife Certification Exam by the American Midwifery Certification Board. 
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
    • Typical Responsibilities: Administer anesthesia and provide care before, during, and after surgical, therapeutic, diagnostic, and obstetrical procedures. They also provide pain management and some emergency services. Nurse anesthetists give a patient general anesthesia to put the patient to sleep so they feel no pain during surgery or administer local anesthesia to numb an area of the body. During the procedure, nurse anesthetists monitor patient’s vital signs and adjust the anesthesia as necessary. 
    • How to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Texas
      1. Become a registered nurse (RN) by obtaining an associate degree in nursing or bachelor of science in nursing degree. 
        • Complete an RN-BSN Program if you obtain an associate degree in nursing. Most master’s degree nursing programs require at least a bachelor’s degree in the nursing field for admission. 
      2. Gain at least 1-2  years of nursing experience working as a registered nurse in a critical care environment or intensive care unit. This experience allows nurses to have expertise often needed for advanced practice roles. 
      3. Complete a master of science or doctorate degree in nurse anesthesia accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). 
      4. Pass the Registered Nurse Anesthetist Certification Exam. 

These Advanced Practice Registered Nurse career paths are great options for individuals looking for a stable career with a great income and work-life balance. Serving as leaders and diagnosticians, these APRNs often perform physical exams, observe patients, diagnose various health problems, conduct research, analyze test results or changes in a patient’s condition, and alter treatment plans as needed. To learn more about how to become a nurse, even with the end goal of becoming an advanced practice nurse, speak with the Texarkana College Health Sciences Enrollment Specialist

  • Average Salary: $123,780 per year
  • Job Outlook: 40% growth (much faster than average)

 

Whether you’re looking to enter the nursing profession quickly with a CNA certification or you’re in it for the long haul working your way up to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, starting your path to becoming a nurse in Texas is easy at Texarkana College. We’re here to help you learn how to become a nurse, start training, and get to work making a positive impact in your community. 

To start your path to becoming a nurse in Texas, visit texarkanacollege.edu/health-sciences or sign up for an information session with our Health Sciences Enrollment Advisor, Karen Holt, at 903-823-3351.


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