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Advance Practice Nursing

The Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas defines an APN as: "A registered professional nurse, currently licensed in the State of Texas, who is prepared for advanced nursing practice by virtue of knowledge and skills obtained in an advanced educational program of study acceptable to the board. The advanced practice nurse is prepared to practice in an expanded role to provide health care to individuals, families, and/or groups in a variety of settings including but not limited to homes, hospitals, institutions, offices, industry, schools, community agencies, public and private clinics, and private practice. The advanced practice nurse acts independently and/or in collaboration with other health care professionals in the delivery of health care services." What this means is that the APN has completed advanced education and clinical practice beyond the 2-4 years of basic nursing education (ADN or BSN). Each state sets its own rules regarding recognition and scope of advanced practice nursing roles, and each state varies its requirements for advanced practice standing. The American Nurses Association has a very comprehensive article about advanced practice roles.

Advanced Practice Degree Program Comparison

The information below applies to applicants seeking an Advanced Practice MSN Degree. Individuals who have completed a MSN degree and are interested in an Advance Practice Certificate, please see Advanced Practice Certificate Programs.

Basic Requirements For Advanced Practice Degree’s

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree OR Associate Degree in Nursing or Nursing Diploma AND a non-nursing bachelor’s degree
  • Undergraduate upper-division and graduate, if applicable, cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) within past five years
  • Current active Texas Registered Nurse License or a license from a BON approved compact state
  • Completion of a Statistics course with a grade of C or higher
Program Comparison of the Advances Practice Degree
Program Required Work Experience as RN Length (Full-Time) Links
MSN Adult-Gerontology (AG) CNS None 48-49 credit hrs
(5 semesters)
AE-MSN - AG CNS None 86-87 credit hrs
(9 semesters)
MSN Family Psych/Mental Health NP None 49 credit hrs
(5 semesters)
AE-MSN Family Psych/Mental Health NP None 87 credit hrs
(9 semesters)
MSN Family NP 2 yrs full-time as RN at the time of application 48 credit hrs
(5 semesters)
MSN Pediatric NP 1 yr of full-time RN experience with children/adolescents within the last 5 yrs at the time of application 48 credit hrs
(5 Semesters)

Common APN Roles

While recognition of specific titles may vary by state, the following are the most commonly accepted APN titles:

Nurse Practitioner

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Difference between a CNS and an NP

Required coursework for recognition as an APN in Texas

Your program of study must include the following courses to be recognized as an APN in Texas:

  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacology & Therapeutics
  • Advanced Pathophysiology

An additional course in Diagnosis and Management is required for prescriptive authority. This is included in our NP programs, but not in the CNS programs, and would need to be taken as a supplemental course.

Pathways to Recognition for Advanced Practice Nursing in Texas (PDF) - This chart describes the process for obtaining APN recognition in Texas.