Career Resources / Nursing Licensure / Texas
The largest state in the lower 48, Texas has wide open spaces and big cities, arid deserts and subtropical landscapes. Texas has innovative hospitals, constant sunshine, and no state income tax.
In this article, we will cover:
- How to get your Texas nursing license by exam
- How to get your license by endorsement
- How to renew your Texas nursing license
- Licensing fees
- Continuing education requirements
- How to contact the Texas Board of Nursing
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How to get your Texas nursing license by examination
Step 1: Education
The Texas Board of Nursing provides approval for more than 200 nurse education programs and licenses more than 27,000 new nurses each year. Whether you’re about to complete your associate’s degree or you’re graduating from a baccalaureate program, the completion of your nursing degree marks the time to begin the licensure application process.
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing for those who have achieved a bachelor’s degree and who take the additional classes necessary to become a registered nurse.
Step 2: Apply
All applications for nursing licensure in Texas must be completed online through the secure Texas Nurse Portal and all applicants must have a valid email address where they can access and receive emails. Start by creating your account, and once that’s been established you’ll be able to use the same point of entry for renewals, name changes, and more. Note that the portal does not support access from mobile devices such as phones or tablets.
To become eligible for a Texas nursing license, you must complete the online application process through the Nurse Portal and submit the $75 examination fee. You will also need to complete a criminal background check, ensure that the Board has received the Affidavit of Graduation from your nursing program, and take the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Examination.
Approximately 30 days before your graduation date, register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX exam. The fee for the test is $200.
Step 3: Submit Affidavit of Graduation
If you have graduated from a Texas-based school of nursing that has been approved by the Texas Board of Nursing, the school will automatically submit an online affidavit of graduation on your behalf. Graduates of out-of-state nursing programs are required to print the affidavit of graduation and submit it to the dean of your nursing school for completion. The form should be mailed directly to the Board of Nursing at:
Texas Board of Nursing
1801 Congress Avenue, Suite 10-200
Austin, Texas 78701
Step 4: Criminal Background Check (CBC)
All applicants for a Texas nursing license must submit to a criminal background check.
If you live in Texas, make an appointment to be electronically fingerprinted by MorphoTrust USA at one of their IdentoGo enrollment centers using this link, or download the TX Fingerprint Service Code form here and call 1-888-467-2080 to make an appointment. You will be asked for the service code, which is 119TF2. Bring your photo identification and fee to your appointment. Personal checks and cash are not accepted. Your fingerprints will be submitted electronically to DPS and the FBI. You will not receive a printed fingerprint card.
If you live outside of Texas, you must pre-enroll with MorphoTrust USA to submit fingerprint cards. The easiest way to pre-enroll is to follow this link and click “Schedule an Appointment.” You will be prompted for your zip code, but instead click the “Pay for Ink Card Submission” button. Complete all required fields on the following page and pay the fee. You will receive a confirmation document with a barcode. Print this document and complete by signing the waiver and filling in all of the appropriate contact information. You will receive fingerprint cards.
If you prefer to pre-enroll by phone, download the TX Fingerprint Service Code form from this link, then call 1-888-467-2080. You will be asked for your service code, which is 119TF2. Tell the MorphoTrust representative that you wish to pre-enroll for a “hard card submission.” Once you have paid you will receive a summary confirmation document by email. Print the confirmation document and complete by signing the waiver and filling in your contact information.
You can have your fingerprints processed by a criminal law enforcement agency on an original FBI APPLICANT fingerprint card that includes the Texas Board of Nursing ORI – TX920440Z. ALL requested information must be provided on the fingerprint card, and you and the official taking the fingerprints must sign the card. Once you’ve obtained your fingerprint cards, follow the mail-in directions found on the MorphoTrust Pre-Enrollment Confirmation Page that you previously printed and completed.
Step 5: Take the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Examination
Fifteen days after you file your application for license by examination, the Texas Board of Nursing will send you instructions to log on and complete the online nursing jurisprudence exam. Prior to that, you are encouraged to view a copy of the state’s Nursing Practice Act and the Board Rules and Regulations and to take the online jurisprudence prep course.
There are 50 items on the jurisprudence examination and it should take you no more than two hours to complete. To pass you must correctly answer 75% of the questions. It can be taken again after 24 hours if you do not pass. The cost of the examination is included in your application.
Step 6: Take the NCLEX
After the Texas Board of Nursing has received your application and fees, your criminal background check, your affidavit of graduation, and you have passed the jurisprudence exam, they will notify Pearson VUE that you are eligible to proceed with the NCLEX test. Pearson VUE will email you an Authorization to Test. You have 75 days from receipt of this authorization to schedule and take the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX tests your comprehension and retention of the material covered by your nursing program and confirms your readiness to move forward with your nursing career. Topics include:
- Safe and Effective Care Environment
- Management of Care
- Safety and Infection Control
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Physiological Integrity
- Basic Care and Comfort
- Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
- Physiological Adaptation
Once you have passed the NCLEX examination, you will receive a certificate and can access your license at www.bon.texas.gov to complete an online verification that you can print as proof of licensure.
If you fail the NCLEX exam you will need to take it again. Texas allows first-time nursing school graduates to retake the NCLEX exam every 45 days for four years. If you continue to fail after this period, your testing eligibility will be revoked, and you must enroll in and complete a board-approved nursing program again.
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Licensing by endorsement (already have RN licensure)
Nurses who are licensed in another state can switch their license to Texas by applying for licensure by endorsement. The application is submitted through the Texas Board of Nursing portal for a fee of $150. Within ten business days of receipt of your application, the Board of Nursing staff may issue you a temporary license that allows you to practice as an RN in Texas for a total of 120 calendar days from the date of issuance.
To be accepted for licensure, you must have a Social Security number and no eligibility issues such as criminal or disciplinary history. You must have practiced as a registered nurse or have taken and passed the NCLEX within the past four years. You also must:
- Provide verification of licensure from every state where you hold or have ever held a nursing license. If your state(s) of licensure participate with the NURSYS system, you can request verification from each through their process and pay their $30 fee for each verification. Nurses licensed in non-participating states must send the Verification of Licensure to the states’ Board of Nursing and request that they submit it to the Texas Board of Nursing by email to [email protected]
- Pass the Nursing Jurisprudence Exam. You can register for the NJE at https://www.bon.texas.gov/licensure_nursing_jurisprudence.asp.html. To prepare, view a copy of the state’s Nursing Practice Act and the Board Rules and Regulations. You can also prepare for the exam by taking the online jurisprudence prep course.
- To pass, you must correctly answer 75% of the questions. It can be taken again after 24 hours if you do not pass. The cost of the examination is included in your application.
- Submit to a criminal background check. If you live in Texas, make an appointment to be electronically fingerprinted by MorphoTrust USA at one of their IdentoGo enrollment centers using this link, or download the TX Fingerprint Service Code form here and call 888.467.2080 to make an appointment. You will be asked for the service code, which is 119TF2. Your fingerprints will be submitted electronically to DPS and the FBI.
- If you live outside of Texas, you must pre-enroll with MorphoTrust USA to submit fingerprint cards by follow this link and clicking “Schedule an Appointment.” Click the “Pay for Ink Card Submission” button, complete all required fields and pay the fee. Print and complete the confirmation document. You will receive fingerprint cards.
- You can have your fingerprints processed by a criminal law enforcement agency on an original FBI APPLICANT fingerprint card that includes the Texas Board of Nursing ORI – TX920440Z. ALL requested information must be provided on the fingerprint card, and you and the official taking the fingerprints must sign the card. Follow the mail-in directions found on the MorphoTrust Pre-Enrollment Confirmation Page that you previously printed and completed.
How to renew your Texas nursing license
Step 1: When to submit your renewal application
After licensure by examination or endorsement, your initial Texas license is valid for a period of 6-29 months, depending on your birth month and year. After your first renewal, your license will expire on the last day of your birth month, typically every 2 years. Licensees born in odd-numbered years will renew in odd-numbered years. Licensees born in even-numbered years renew in even-numbered years. The renewal fee is $68. Sixty days prior to your license expiring, the Texas Board of Nursing will mail a renewal postcard to your last known address in their system.
Step 2: Fulfill continuing competency requirements
To remain in good standing and renew their license, Texas nurses must attest to completing a minimum of twenty (20) contact hours of continuing education. First time licensees by examination and endorsement are exempt from this requirement upon their first renewal. You will only be asked to provide copies of the continuing nursing education (CNE) certificates upon notification of an audit. The Texas Board of Nursing accepts CNE programs that are approved by national nursing organizations, their affiliates, and other state boards of nursing.
Step 3: Submit your renewal application
Renew your registered nurse license on the Texas Board of Nursing portal.
Texas nursing licensing fees
Below are the fees for becoming a nurse in Texas whether you are a first-time nurse or are moving to Texas from another state. For more information visit the Texas licensing page.
Licensing fees by examination (first-time nurses):
- NCLEX exam: $200
- Application fee: $75
- Fingerprint processing fee: $39.75
Licensing fees by endorsement (already have RN licensure):
- Application fee: $150
- Fingerprint processing fee: $39.75
License renewal fees:
- Application fee: $68 (RN); $45 (LPN); $54 (APRN, Rx authority = $50)
Additionally, Texas is a nursing compact state, which allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses.
*Fees are subject to change.
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Continuing education requirements
RN/LVN: Renewal period every 2 years
- complete 20 contact hours of continuing nursing education (CNE) in the nurse’s area of practice; OR
- demonstrate the achievement, maintenance, or renewal of a Board-approved national nursing certification in the nurse’s area of practice
APRN: Renewal period every 2 years
- complete 20 contact hours of continuing nursing education (CNE) in the nurse’s area of practice appropriate to the advanced practice role and population focus area recognized by the Board; OR
- demonstrate the achievement, maintenance, or renewal of a Board-approved national nursing certification in the nurse’s area of practice; AND
- meet the applicable targeted continuing education requirements
Incredible Health offers ANCC-accredited continuing education courses for nurses in all 50 states, 100% free and online. The Texas Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.
How to contact the Texas Board of Nursing
Texas Board of Nursing
Phone: (512) 305-7400
Fax: (512) 305-7401
Texas Board of Nursing
1801 Congress Avenue, Suite 10-200