West Texas A and M University will be starting a new nurse practitioner online degree program, focused on addressing and aiding the mental health needs within the Texas Panhandle’s rural and underserved communities.

WT officials detailed that the program was approved by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Feb. 9, giving students the option to enroll in the new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner degree program in fall 2024 pending the final approval of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

School officials say the new program is significant since a new mental health hospital will be being built soon  Amarillo.

 The Texas Workforce Commission says nurse practitioner is the second-fastest growing career in Texas and that the field is projected to grow 66% between 2020 and 2030.