Our comprehensive guide breaks down the essential rules, requirements, and regulations you need to know to obtain and maintain your nursing license in Texas. Tailored for both seasoned professionals and newcomers to the field, this resource is your roadmap to licensure success and professional excellence in Texas nursing.

Since its inception in 1909 by legislative decree, the Texas Board of Nurse Examiners has been a steadfast guardian of the public’s health, rigorously upholding the standards of nursing in Texas for over a hundred years. Esteemed for its role, the Board vigilantly shields the community from hazardous nursing practices, endorses more than 200 nursing education programs, and annually licenses upwards of 27,000 nurses. These licenses are granted following rigorous evaluations for fresh graduates and by endorsement for specialists from other regions seeking Texas nursing licensure. Furthermore, this authoritative entity provides essential guidance on nursing practices and pedagogy to a vast cohort of over 350,000 licensed nurses within the state.

Operating within the nursing sphere, the Texas Board of Nursing and myriad professional nursing groups each play distinctive roles. Contrasting the Board, nursing associations offer unique services and bolstering to their member nurses and the wider populace.

The paramount aim of the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) is to fortify and elevate the welfare of Texas’s citizens. This mission is fulfilled by certifying that every nurse bearing a license possesses the requisite expertise to provide safe care. In pursuit of this end, the Texas Legislature has bestowed upon the BON the authority to oversee vocational, professional, and advanced nursing practices, ensuring the highest standards of healthcare for all Texans.

Texas Board of Nursing Contacts

Texas Board of Nurse Examiners Email[email protected]
Texas Board of Nursing Phone number(512)305-7400 (512)305-7401
TX BON AddressGeorge H. W. Bush State Office Building1801 Congress Avenue, Suite 10-200Austin, TX 78701
Texas BON Portalhttps://www.bon.texas.gov/

State of Texas Board of Nursing Examiners Laws, Rules & Regulations

In Texas, policymaking is a joint activity shared by the legislature and the governor. While the governor shapes the agenda and vetoes bills, the Texas Board of Nursing implements legislation in their specific disciplines.

The Board, while influential, does not engage in drafting legislation. Neither the Board nor its staff are permitted to advocate for or against proposed bills during legislative sessions. This prohibition extends to lobbying the legislature about any bill that might come before the Texas Legislature, potentially amending the Nursing Practice Act or other statutes that fall within or outside the BON’s purview and affect nurses.

The Board convenes regularly to fulfill its duties in administering the laws governing nursing practice and education. It employs a team of professionals and support staff to enact the law’s provisions, along with the policies and regulations the Board has set. The Board commits to its mission by maintaining minimum standards for nursing education, licensing eligible individuals as nurses, informing licensed nurses about legal changes, investigating suspected violations, and dispensing suitable disciplinary actions against those who breach the BON’s statutes, rules, and policies.

  • Licensing

The BON issues licenses to graduates of accredited nursing education programs and nurses from other jurisdictions seeking endorsement licensure in Texas. Nurses must renew their licenses and provide documentation of CNE.

  • School Approval

The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) approves schools that prepare nurses for initial entry into nursing practice.

  • Enforcement

The BON enforces the Nursing Practice Act and its Rules and Regulations. It establishes minimum standards for nursing practice and education, probes complaints against nurses, and adjudicates these complaints.

The BON website is a repository of valuable information, featuring the Nursing Practice Act, BON Rules and Guidelines, Position Statements, agency location, disciplinary actions, and licensure details. Publications and issues of the Texas Board of Nursing Bulletin (Newsletters) are accessible upon request for a nominal fee.

Texas Board of Nursing Application Process

The Texas Board of Nursing’s Application Process has evolved into a significant milestone in the realm of nursing licensure. The Texas Nurse Portal, a confidential and secure digital platform, revolutionizes how applicants embark on their licensure journey, whether it’s through examination, endorsement, or renewal. This innovative, paperless method allows both new and existing licensees to submit applications for fresh licenses or renewals up to two months before their expiration. To engage with this streamlined process, candidates are required to register and establish an account via the Texas Nurse Portal, significantly accelerating their licensure journey.

Embarking on the path to nursing licensure involves completing the Online Examination Application. A month before your graduation, you should register with Pearson Vue to take the National Council Licensure Examination at their official portal. The fee stands at $200.

  • Submit your application for the examination with the Texas Board of Nursing. 

You will need to wait 15 days. During this interval, prepare for the exam by reviewing the Nursing Practice Act (NPA) and the Board’s Rules and Regulations. Additionally, consider taking the online jurisprudence prep course offered on the Board’s website. Although voluntary, this course is a treasure trove of information about the NPA and the Board’s regulations.

If you’re unsuccessful on your first attempt or encounter system issues, you can retake the exam after a 24-hour gap. The cost of this examination is covered by your application fee.

Upon graduation from an approved nursing school, Texas nursing schools will directly submit an online affidavit of graduation to the BON.

Criminal Background Check

A crucial step in this process is the criminal background check. This check is based on fingerprints provided to MorphoTrust (IdentoGo). Remember to adhere to the timeline — initiate this process ten business days after your application submission to the BON.

The BON is updating its fingerprint submission process with MorphoTrust, transitioning to a system using service codes for a more streamlined experience. This new method will employ a unique identifier unrelated to social security or BON numbers, typically in the form of an email.

It’s important to note that the TX BON cannot accept fingerprint cards or criminal background check results sent directly by applicants or those completed for other facilities, even if done through the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). After successfully passing the background check applicants receive a “Blue Card” from the Texas Board of Nursing.

If you’ve previously completed a criminal background check with the BON, this step can be skipped. Student applicants who haven’t undergone this process should contact their prospective nursing programs for guidance.

Depending on your residence, the process varies slightly. Applicants Residing in Texas follow a specific set of instructions, as do Applicants Residing Outside of Texas and those Without a Social Security Number.

Nursing Board of Texas NCLEX Examination Rules

After the BON receives your application, fees, criminal background check, Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Exam results, and affidavit of graduation, it will verify your registration with Pearson/Vue for the NCLEX®. Pearson/Vue will then email you an authorization to test (ATT), which is valid for 75 days.

Your test results from Pearson/Vue will reach the BON within five days of your exam. Successful candidates will receive a certificate and can verify their license online at the BON website. Unsuccessful candidates will receive a diagnostic profile to help understand their performance on the exam.

NCLEX Eligibility for International Candidates

International candidates must follow additional steps, including submitting an Application by NCLEX® Examination, all fees, a criminal history report, and proof of English proficiency if their nursing program was not in English. They must also provide a Credential Evaluation Service (CES) report and a Verification of Licensure (VOL) form from all places where they’ve held a license.

Applicants must have worked within the four years before applying and be within four years of their date of eligibility to sit for the NCLEX. If there’s any doubt about an applicant’s eligibility, the BON may request a ‘statement of practice’ detailing their work experience.

Texas Board of Nursing Licensure by Endorsement Requirements

Texas State Board of Nursing Licensure Eligibility Requirements

The Texas State Board of Nursing implements exacting standards to ascertain that only those adequately qualified hold the esteemed right to a nursing license. Nurses, both aspiring and established, seeking to renew their licenses, are required to fulfill specific prerequisites that mirror their professional demeanor, legal record, and overall capability to practice proficiently. 

  • Professional and Judicial Conduct

Disciplinary Record: Candidates are obligated to report any punitive measures imposed on their nursing credentials, regardless of location, be it in Texas or elsewhere. This encompasses suspensions, probations, or varied sanctions.

Criminal History: An exhaustive examination of one’s criminal past is undertaken. Scrutiny includes all previous arrests, convictions (be it minor offenses or major crimes), pleas (inclusive of nolo contendere or no contest), deferred adjudications, and any current criminal litigations.

Additional Licensing Disclosures: Should the applicant possess or have previously held other professional licenses, any punitive actions related to these must be revealed.

  • Health and Capability for Practice

Substance Misuse: Central to the evaluation is the probing of any substance abuse history, encompassing alcohol and narcotics, particularly focusing on the preceding five years.

Mental and Physical Well-being: The Board rigorously evaluates if any prevailing health conditions could potentially hinder the applicant’s capacity to execute nursing duties safely and efficiently. This assessment is pivotal in ensuring that the nurse can undertake their responsibilities without compromising patient welfare.

  • Supplementary Factors

Current Investigations: Applicants must notify the Board if they are presently the target of any grand jury or official body’s investigation.

Rehabilitation Program Engagement: Disclosure is required if the applicant has partaken in any diversion, peer assistance, or alternative disciplinary programs, especially those confidential.

Texas Board of Nursing Licensure by Endorsement Requirements

The process of attaining a permanent license in Texas for nurses from other jurisdictions hinges on the assessment that the applicant adheres to the same criteria as Texas-based nurses. This is delineated in Rule 217.1.

According to Rule 217.5(a), to qualify for licensure by endorsement, applicants must have achieved the following milestones:

  • Completed a recognized program for licensed practical nurse/vocational nurse (LPN/LVN) or registered nurse (RN).
  • Undertaken the relevant U.S. examination.
  • Either been actively engaged in nursing or have attempted the US NCLEX® exam within the four years leading up to their application.

Applicants are required to set up an account on the Texas Nurse Portal and submit their Endorsement application online. Post submission, detailed application requirements can be found both within the Nurse Portal and on the Endorsement web page. The final step in licensure is processed within 15 business days following the receipt of the last document necessary to complete the application.

From January 2, 2024, nurses migrating to another state within the compact will have a 60-day window from their relocation date to apply for a new license by endorsement in their new primary state of residence. For a visual representation of states participating in the compact, visit the dedicated compact state map page.

Who is Ineligible for the Nurse Licensure by Endorsement in Texas

Regarding ineligibility, applicants will not qualify for endorsement application if any of the following applies:

  • Previous possession of a Texas nursing license. In such cases, renewal or reactivation of the existing Texas license is required. Further information on this process can be found under Licensure Renewal.
  • Non-graduation from an approved nursing program.

International nursing program graduates must consult the Non-Approved International School(s) list to confirm their program’s approval by the Board and their eligibility for a Texas license.

TX BON Licensing and Certification

Nurses in Texas can choose to achieve, maintain, or renew a Board-approved national nursing certification within their licensing period. These certifications are considered to be substantively equivalent to the traditional CNE contact hours required by the Board of Nursing (BON) for licensure renewal. The certifications encompass a wide range of specialized nursing fields and are accredited by reputable organizations.

  • Any national nursing certification accredited by ABSNC, achieved, maintained, or renewed within the licensing period and relevant to the nurse’s practice area.
  • The NCCA accredits many certification programs. However, not all certifications accredited by NCCA meet the BON’s continuing competency requirements.

It’s important to note that certification cannot be used to meet the Nursing Jurisprudence and Nursing Ethics CNE requirements.

TX Board of Nursing License Renewal

The Texas Board of Nursing stopped sending yellow postcards as reminders for renewal eligibility as of August 31, 2023. Starting from September 1, 2023, nurses are notified about license expiration through email if they’re registered in the NCSBN Nursys e-Notify system. 

Board Rule 216.8 outlines the specifics of the re-licensure. If your license has been delinquent for four or more years refer to Rule 217.6 and for licenses inactive for four or more years to Board Rule 217.9.

Texas nursing licenses are generally issued for a 2-year duration. This means nurses usually have to renew their licenses biennially. However, there are certain situations where the timeline might deviate:

  • A nurse’s initial license is valid for a timeframe ranging from 6 to 29 months, depending on the nurse’s birth month and year, as well as the issuance date.
  • For nurses renewing a delinquent license or reactivating an inactive one, the first licensing period post-renewal or reactivation can also range from 6 to 29 months.

After the initial renewal, and following any delinquent renewal or reactivation, the nurse’s licensing period reverts to the standard 2-year cycle. Licenses are set to expire on the last day of the nurse’s birth month – in odd-numbered years for those born in odd-numbered years, and conversely for even-numbered years.

When renewing your license, you’ll be obliged to confirm that you’ve met all continuing competency requirements. It’s essential not to initiate your license renewal until you’ve fulfilled all requirements.

Texas Nursing Board Continuing Education Requirements

Every Texas nurse, at each licensure renewal, must adhere to Board Rule 216.3, which stipulates two paths for maintaining professional competence:

  • complete a minimum of 20 contact hours of CNE relevant to their specific field of nursing during each licensing cycle.
  • showcase the attainment, ongoing validity, or renewal of a Board-recognized national nursing certification within their practice area, as well as within the licensing period.

For CNE opportunities, local academic institutions, nursing schools, and major hospitals often provide a roster of available courses or maintain a mailing list. Additionally, many nursing publications and professional organizations list these educational offerings. A plethora of CNE options are also accessible online. Any course, program, or activity offering CNE contact hours, provided it falls within the nurse’s practice domain and has the endorsement of a credentialing body acknowledged by the Board, qualifies for licensure renewal.

The Board acknowledges a range of credentialing agencies and providers, all of which conform to nationally established standards for endorsing CNE programs and providers. These include:

Several of these recognized agencies and providers have the authority to endorse additional CNE providers. Programs accredited by these entities, especially under the auspices of a Texas BON-recognized credentialing agency are also acceptable by the Board.

CNE Requirements for APRNs in Texas

In addition to the stated 20 contact hours, each APRN with prescribing power must complete at least 5 extra contact hours of pharmacotherapeutics continuing education. Additionally, certain APRNs may have extra prescribing obligations (e.g., opioid prescriptions, Texas Prescription Monitoring Program) that count toward the 20-hour requirement for all nurses.

Except for the Nursing Jurisprudence and Nursing Ethics CNE requirements, APRNs can use Category I continuous Medical Education (CME) contact hours to complete their BON continuous competency requirements.

Texas Board of Nursing

Texas Board of Nursing Complaints and Disciplinary Actions

The Texas Board of Nursing ensures transparency in its disciplinary actions, as mandated by the Nursing Practice Act (NPA). This act obligates the Board to keep the public informed about its disciplinary measures. Being a public entity, the Board adheres strictly to open record laws.

When formal accusations are leveled, these cases become public records from the moment of filing. They remain in the public domain throughout the entire disciplinary process, as detailed in Sections 301.158 and 301.463 (c).

Texas Board of Nursing License Verification

To confirm the status of a nursing license in Texas, one can utilize the Board of Nursing License Verification Portal. This platform offers multiple search methods, including searching by Name, License Number, or NCSBN ID. For more precise results, it’s advisable to use the “Search by License Number” or “Search by NCSBN ID” options. The portal also accommodates partial name searches.

Additionally, the Nursys National Licensure and Disciplinary Database serves as an alternative resource for verifying nursing licenses in Texas. This comprehensive database provides verification for licensure, disciplinary actions, and practice privileges for RNs and LPN/VNs licensed in participating nursing boards. It also facilitates online verification for nurses seeking endorsement to practice in other states, as well as generating license lookup reports for employers and the general public.

Texas BON Useful Online Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

FAQs About the Texas Board of Nursing

  • How do I contact the Texas Board of Nursing?
    If you need to get in touch with the Texas Board of Nursing, there are several ways to do so. For email correspondence, you can contact them at [email protected], which is their official email address. They also have two phone numbers available: (512)305-7400 and (512)305-7401. Additionally, a wealth of information, including further contact details and updates, can be found on their official online portal at http://www.bon.texas.gov.
  • How to apply Texas Board of Nursing?
    To apply, navigate to the Texas Board of Nursing’s official website and complete the online application form. The process entails submitting necessary documentation and fees. The website provides a detailed guide and checklist to assist applicants through this procedure.
  • Does the Texas Board of Nursing accept NetCE?
    The Texas Board of Nursing acknowledges continuing education credits from providers approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center or other recognized entities. Verifying whether NetCE is accredited by these organizations is crucial to confirm its validity for continuing education credits.
  • How to renew a Texas Board of Nursing license?
    License renewal with the Texas Board of Nursing is conducted via their online portal. It involves completing 20 mandatory contact hours along with other continuing education requirements, submitting the renewal application, and paying the necessary fees.
  • Can Texas nurses work in California?
    Texas nurses aspiring to practice in California must obtain licensure by endorsement from the California Board of Registered Nursing. This process includes verifying your Texas license and fulfilling specific licensing criteria set by California.
  • What is rule 217.11 Texas Board of Nursing?
    Rule 217.11 delineates the Standards of Nursing Practice in Texas. It specifies the scope of practice, professional duties, and the expected ethical conduct for nurses operating in the state.
  • What is a Texas Board of Nursing Blue Card?
    A “Blue Card” is a clearance document issued by the Texas Board of Nursing, signifying that an applicant for a nursing license has successfully passed the criminal background check. This card is a critical component of the licensing journey.
Still have questions? Do not hesitate to contact us