Texas is one of the largest employers of nurse practitioners in the nation. The state ranks third among all states in the number of nurse practitioners employed at 12,020 as of May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

What’s more, the number of pediatric nurse practitioners in Texas and other states is expected to rapidly grow. Federal projections call for a 43.8% increase in the number of nurse practitioners in the state between 2016 and 2026.

Nurse practitioners also do well with salaries in the Lone Star State. Texas nurse practitioners had a mean annual salary of $111,060 in May 2018, higher than the national mean annual salary.

Those type of numbers have led to more registered nurses deciding to earn a Master of Science in Nursing with a focus on becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner in Texas.

Training For a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Texas

Pediatric nurse practitioners focus their studies on learning to treat patients between birth and 21 years old. Every state has requirements to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, including Texas. The steps to meet Texas requirements for entering the field are as follows.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Those wishing to become a pediatric nurse practitioner in Texas must first earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In some cases, nurses first become a registered nurse (RN) without earning a bachelor’s degree. That’s why Houston Christian University offers an RN to BSN program that quickly allows nurses to earn their BSN.

Become Licensed by the State

To work as an RN in Texas, nurses must first pass the NCLEX-RN examination and earn a Texas Board of Nursing license. Many have done so – Texas has the second highest employment of nurses in the nation at 210,350.

Gain Work Experience

Before entering a master’s degree program, you will want to work at least one year in the nursing profession. Many choose to work for three to five years. This helps a nurse decide that the pediatric nurse practitioner field is the right one for them.

Earn a Master’s Degree

A Master of Science in Nursing – Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree (MSN-PNP) prepares graduates for leadership roles in pediatric care in a variety of settings. Every program differs, but the Houston Christian University hybrid MSN-PNP program gives students the chance to earn a graduate degree in 24 months. Students earn 36 credits and have 504 clinical contact hours as part of their education.

Earn Certification and Licensure

Every pediatric nurse practitioner in Texas must obtain certification and licensure from the state. A quality master’s degree program prepares graduates for the exams they need to pass. For example, the Houston Christian University program prepares graduates to sit for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care certification examination from either the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

These are the steps and training needed to become a pediatric nurse practitioner in Texas. While’s it’s a challenging road, it’s one worth taking for those who wish to focus their nursing careers on working with pediatric patients.