Best Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Programs in Texas

Acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) examine, diagnose, and treat patients with severe short-term medical needs or those with chronic issues that have become life-threatening. ACNPs work in fast-paced environments that require quick thinking, versatility, and a desire to continue learning.

This guide includes a list of the top ACNP programs in Texas. Review the process of finding, applying, and paying for the right graduate program in the state.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best acute care nurse practitioner programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about acute care nurse practitioner programs, or go straight to our list of the best ACNP programs in Texas.

What Can You Do as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner?

An ANCP is anurse practitioner (NP) who specializes in the care of patients with acute illnesses or intensifying chronic conditions. ACNPs often work in emergency rooms, operating rooms, critical care units, trauma units, intensive care units, and transplant units.

Responsibilities include coordinating patient care, assessing health history, ordering diagnostic tests, providing treatment, and prescribing medication. Their ability to carry out these tasks autonomously depends on the state in which they practice.

Full practice states allow NPs to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication without physician oversight. Reduced access requires physician oversight to prescribe medication only. Restricted access requires physician oversight to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication.

What To Look For in a Texas Acute Care NP Program

When deciding to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in acute care, review various aspects of the programs to make sure they are the right fit. While programs vary by institution, the key factors remain consistent. Identifying and examining the following qualities can help determine if the program is appropriate for each individual applicant.

1. Admission Requirements
Admission requirements for ACNP programs are similar for each institution. However, some requirements, such as the ability to attend full-time vs. part-time or on-campus requirements, may vary. Researching the specific requirements of each institution can help applicants make sure they meet the school’s conditions for acceptance.

2. Program Curriculum
Even though most programs offer similar core classes, applicants should determine if the school offers their chosen specialty, such as adult-gerontology or pediatric acute care.

3. Clinical Experience
ACNP programs typically require students to have a certain amount of previous clinical experience prior to enrollment. Students are also obligated to complete clinical hours as part of the program’s prerequisites for graduation.

4. Accreditation
The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) are the two bodies responsible for providing nursing programs with accreditation. Attending an accredited program ensures students receive the best education. Programs without accreditation may impact a graduate’s ability to continue their education or find the best employment opportunities.

5. Program Length
Standard ACNP master’s programs require roughly 48 credit hours, which typically take two years to complete. However, the length of a program can vary based on the students’ availability (part-time vs. full-time) and educational background (associate vs. bachelor’s degree). Pay close attention to a program’s structure to determine how long it will take to complete.

6. School NCLEX Pass Rate
Although prospective ACNPs have already passed the NCLEX, a program’s NCLEX passing rate can provide prospective students with insight into how well the school prepares its graduates for the exam. The success of an undergraduate program typically carries over into the institution’s graduate programs.

7. School Graduation Rate
Graduation rates provide applicants with insight into how committed a school is to graduating its students. Although these rates are determined by calculating the number of undergraduate students who finished their program within a certain time period, the success often translates into graduate programs.

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Applying to an Acute Care NP Program in Texas

Before applying to an ACNP program, students should review the admission requirements to make sure they meet all prerequisites. Then, applicants must compile admission materials.

Admission Materials

Bachelor of science in nursing; valid RN license; official transcripts; letters of recommendation; personal statement; background check

GPA Requirement

Other Requirements

Live or recorded interview

Why Is Acute Care NP Program Accreditation Important?

Choosing an accredited ACNP program provides benefits for students and their future employers. Accreditation verifies that the program meets the highest of standards, ensuring students are properly educated on the best nursing practices.

    • The accrediting bodies (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) verify that a school’s nursing program meets the state and national standards.

    • If a student wants to transfer from one school to another or continue their education, most nursing programs do not accept transfer credits from institutions that are not accredited.

    • Accredited degrees open nurses up to more lucrative employment positions and a higher earning potential.

Paying for an Acute Care NP Program in Texas

When applying to an ACNP program, the cost can be one of the determining factors in a prospective student’s choice. Tuition varies based on the exclusivity of the school, the length of the program, the location of the institution, and the enrollment status of the student (full-time vs. part-time).

Fortunately, there are a variety of resources for those who need help paying for their nursing degree. Students can access financial aid,scholarship opportunities, grants, and loans to help meet costs.

Scholarships are awarded based on merit, talent, or academic performance. Grants are provided based on financial need. Loans consist of borrowed money students will eventually need to pay back. Some programs and states also offer loan forgiveness and cancellation programs that can help eliminate some or all of a student’s debt.

Learn More About the Top Acute Care NP Programs in Texas

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

LocationSan Antonio, Texas
AccreditationYes

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Percent Online Enrollment3%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio enrolls nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in its BSN-to-DNP program, preparing them for high-level jobs in the industry. One of the school’s advantages is a strong graduate college with 22 master’s degrees. A notable option includes the on-campus BSN-to-DNP program.

Qualified professors teach the curriculum and can serve as mentors. They teach both theoretical knowledge and technical skills used in this fast-growing field. Graduates leave the program more competitive in the marketplace because of their advanced training.

Tuition costs about $3,114 per year for Texas students and $11,772 for those who live in other states. Many learners turn to financial aid opportunities like scholarships, grants, and loans to help fund their education. Enrollees benefit from the college’s investment in support services like tutoring and degree planning.

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Texas Woman’s University

LocationDenton, Texas
Admission Rate93%
Graduation Rate43%
AccreditationYes

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Percent Online Enrollment60%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Texas Woman’s University is recognized for its on-campus master of science in nursing program. Learners complete the top-ranked curriculum in Denton. The school heavily invests in graduate education, which includes 44 master’s degrees.

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a related field may find the program appealing. Other qualified degree-seekers can also apply. Enrollees often pursue this degree to study advanced concepts in their field and get research experience. Graduates can apply for more technical and specialized jobs than bachelor’s degree-holders.

The cost of attendance is around $4,973 for in-state graduate students, and $12,569 for those who do not live in Texas. The financial aid department can work with learners to identify funding streams such as grants and scholarships. Prospective students can also explore loans to help cover tuition.

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University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

LocationBelton, Texas
Admission Rate87%
Graduation Rate51%
Instituation TypePrivate
AccreditationYes

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Percent Online Enrollment21%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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University of Mary Hardin-Baylor is a good institution for graduates with a bachelor’s degree in nursing who want to earn an affordable master’s degree. The Belton-based college offers a master of science in nursing that ranks highly for academic and career preparation. Financial aid programs can help make this degree more affordable.

Texas students pay around $16,830 per year. About 95% of degree-seekers use grants, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid to lower the costs. Loans help about 68% of enrollees pay tuition.

Master’s degree-holders may enjoy more upward mobility and other perks than graduates with only a bachelor’s. Graduates qualify for managerial jobs and research-related positions. Master’s degree-holders interested in higher education and research positions may choose to pursue a doctorate.

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Common Questions About Acute Care NP Programs


How much do acute care nurse practitioners make in Texas?

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not track ACNP compensation, they do note that the national average salary for NPs is $120,680. In Texas, NPs can expect an average salary of $117,890.

According to PayScale data from May 2022, ACNPs earn an average annual salary of $105,450. Those working in Texas can expect their salary to be above or below the national average depending on their location in the state: Abilene ($98,370), Arlington ($104,451), Austin ($110,015), Dallas ($102,990), El Paso ($100,000), Fort Worth ($103,190), and Houston ($112,270).

Are nurse practitioners in high demand in Texas?

According to the Texas Health and Human Services Administration, between 2018 and 2032, the state’s supply of NPs could exceed its demand. However, due to the number of nurses leaving the field because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s demand could increase.

How long does it take to earn an acute care NP degree in Texas?

The length of time it takes to become an ACNP depends upon the individual’s educational path. Prospective nurses who follow the traditional path, which includes starting out by earning their bachelor of science in nursing followed by their master of science in nursing can become an ACNP in 6-8 years, with those pursuing their doctor of nursing practice finishing in 8-10 years.

What is the role of an acute care nurse practitioner in Texas?

ACNPs provide advanced care to patients who are suffering from acute or exacerbated chronic conditions. However, since Texas is currently a restricted proactive state, the law requires NPs to have physician oversight with regard to diagnosing, treating, and prescribing medications. NPs in the state are unable to practice independently.

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