Top 7 Florida RN to MSN Programs

With a master’s of science in nursing (MSN), nurses qualify for high level administrative and leadership positions they can’t typically apply for as a registered nurse (RN). Graduates from RN-to-MSN online programs in Florida can pursue management roles in hospitals or clinics, enter specialized careers in pediatrics, anesthesiology, and acute care, teach in nursing training programs, or open independent practices as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Florida ranks among the top five states for nurse practitioner employment with 10,380 documented nurses in 2017 and an annual mean wage of $99,930. RN-to-MSN bridge programs in Florida help nurses expand their skills and reach their career potential. This page covers RN-to-MSN programs in Florida, including school rankings, application requirements, licensure, and job outlook for nursing professionals.


1. South University

200x100_south-university-campus

Highly Recommended & 100% Online! In this fully online nursing program, you will boost your knowledge that you use as an RN, and will develop your clinical teaching skills and will learn to use your research in the practice of nursing. After you graduate, you will have the knowledge and skills with your MSN to compete for good-paying advanced nursing positions all over the country.

  • Campus: Tampa, West Palm Beach, Online
  • Type: For-Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Per Credit Hour: Inquire
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nurse Administrator, Nursing (MSN), Nursing with a specialization in Nurse Administrator (MSN)

2. Simmons School of Nursing and Health

SimmonsSHHS-2u (1)

Featured! Designed for licensed registered nurses (RNs), Nursing@Simmons delivers the renowned nursing degree programs of the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SNHS) in an innovative, online format.

Nursing@Simmons online program include:

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner (for bachelor’s degree holders)
  • RN to MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner (for non-bachelor’s degree holders)
  • Post-BS/BA to DNP (for bachelor’s degree holders)
  • Post-MSN to DNP (for MSN degree holders)

4. University of Central Florida

This accredited program allows you to finish your BSN and MSN concurrently. It is designed for you if you have an associate’s degree or a diploma in nursing. You can choose three tracks: clinical nurse leader, nurse educator and nursing leadership/management. This is a bridge program that leads to an MSN, and you also will need to be admitted to the BSN program in addition to the master’s program. You can earn your BSN and MSN in three years.

  • Campus: Orlando
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Per Credit Hour: in state $368, out of state $1192
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months for Masters
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

5. Florida State University

The MSN Nurse Educator program is set up to prepare you, the well qualified nursing professional, to become a well-paid nurse educator so that you can enjoy a career in patient education, staff nurse education and pre-licensure nurse education. You will be able to qualify for such positions at community colleges and in universities after you complete your master’s degree. All courses are offered online and you need to complete 38 credit hours for your master’s degree. You may complete your degree in two years – full time.

  • Campus: Tallahassee
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Per Credit Hour: in state $428; out of state $1029
  • GRE/GMAT Required: Yes
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

6. University of North Florida

In this fully online MSN program, you can become a nurse practitioner that will be highly skilled in meeting all of the healthcare needs of people and families across the country. You will be eligible after graduation to take the family nurse practitioner certification examination. You can choose to focus your studies on the nurse practitioner track, or on the clinical nurse specialist track.

  • Campus: Jacksonville
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Per Credit Hour: in state $492; out of state $1043
  • GRE/GMAT Required: Yes
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

7. University of West Florida

This MSN degree has a focus in nursing administration and will help you to learn the skills that you need to succeed in nursing leadership and management. Another track in nursing education will help you to become a skilled nursing educator. Whether you choose to specialize in nursing administration or nursing education, you will be well qualified for many nursing-related positions at both health care organizations and universities.

  • Campus: Pensacola
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Per Credit Hour: $333 in state; $960 out of state
  • GRE/GMAT Required: Yes
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

8. Nova Southeastern University

This online Master of Science in Nursing offers you three different tracks that will help you to meet your career goals. The tracks include education, health systems leadership and nursing informatics. The education track is for those who want to move into academic and staff development; the health systems leadership track is for nurses who want to move into health organization leadership; and the nursing informatics position is for nurses who are interested in working in computer technology for nursing.

  • Campus: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Fort Myers, Orlando, and online
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Per Credit Hour: $600
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

9. The University of Tampa

This program is fully accredited and is designed for the experienced nurse with an associate’s degree. You can earn your BSN and your MSN together and save thousands in tuition and two years of time. In the MSN program, you can focus on adult or family nurse practitioner training. You will be well prepared to work as an advanced practice nurse. Courses include Current Perspectives, Nursing Theory, Nursing Research, Professional Issues, and Family Theory.

  • Campus: Tampa
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Per Credit Hour: $546
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No – waived if you take NUR 600 Scholarly and Professional Communication in Nursing
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid

Requirements for RN-to-MSN Programs in Florida

Online RN-to-MSN programs in Florida typically require students to hold a bachelor’s degree from a program accredited by the National League for Nursing, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. A strong applicant needs a minimum 3.0 GPA, especially in the last two years of undergraduate studies. Some programs also require a minimum 2.0 GPA from a college-level statistics course, a registered nursing license, and at least one year of clinical experience.

Beyond grades and general prerequisites, most schools ask for a personal statement and letters of recommendation. The personal statement should answer questions like: Why are you passionate about medicine? What career opportunities will you pursue with a MSN degree? Similarly, your letters of recommendation should illustrate you as a student. Approach former professors, employers, colleagues, and mentors and ask them to describe your skills, dedication, and promise to your chosen institution.

Last but not least, almost all schools charge a fee to process your application, which usually costs $40-$80. If you’re on a tight timeframe, you might consider researching accelerated RN-to-MSN programs in Florida, which are more intensive but can be completed faster. As you weigh your options, bear in mind the financial burden of multiple applications and longer programs.

Nursing Licensure Requirements in Florida

The Florida Board of Nursing regulates the profession statewide by administering exams, registering qualified nurses, and managing recertifications. Beyond the National Council Licensure Examination for RN certification (NCLEX-RN), the board also administers the APRN exam.

To sit for this exam, you must hold an MSN degree and a valid RN license. Further, the state requires all nurses to have malpractice insurance and to submit electronic fingerprints. Applicants may be denied licensure if convicted of a felony. Check out the Board of Nursing licensure page for more details. The advanced practice exam and licensure costs $110.

To maintain status, you must renew your license every two years. Recertification requires a record of active working and ongoing education credits, including 18 credits in general nursing education, 3 credits in prescriptions and controlled substances, 1 credit in HIV/AIDS treatment, and 2 credits each in prevention of medical errors, Florida state law, workplace impairment recognition, human trafficking, and domestic violence. It costs $55-$60 to renew an active license and $110-$215 to renew an expired license.

Employment Outlook For MSN Graduates in Florida

Graduates from RN-to-MSN online programs in Florida benefit from a strong job market. According to PayScale, an MSN averages an annual salary of $92,000 nationwide. Nurse practitioners work with patients to assess needs, gather medical histories, perform exams, and plan and execute patient care programs. This profession comes with a significant degree of independence and allows nurses to serve as general practitioners in communities with few doctors.

Like independent practice, most nursing positions work autonomously with patients. For example, nurse midwives follow women through the stages of pregnancy, birth, afterbirth, and neonatal care. Similarly, nurse anesthesiologists combine careful assessment and data analysis with understanding of the physiological and psychological effects of medication to help patients through surgery, therapy, and rehabilitation.

MSNs also qualify to teach future nurses, working with universities and professional organizations to provide the latest information on medications and therapies, administer exams, and ensure quality student fieldwork. According to BLS data, the professional outlook for an MSN graduate is positive, with job growth projected to rise 31% over the next decade.

The Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nurse Practitioners in Florida

Location Employment Mean Annual Salary
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL N/A $164,180
Panama City, FL 60 $139,780
Homosassa Springs, FL 70 $127,420
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL N/A $120,920
Northwest Florida nonmetropolitan area 60 $112,830

Source: BLS


The Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nurse Midwives in Florida

Location Employment Mean Annual Salary
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 40 $113,020
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan Division N/A $94,230
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL N/A $94,210
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 160 $93,380
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Metropolitan Division N/A $92,340

Source: BLS


The Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nurse Anesthetists in Florida

Location Employment Mean Annual Salary
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 580 $193,190
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL N/A $164,180
Jacksonville, FL 200 $144,840
Panama City, FL 60 $139,780
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL N/A $138,870

Source: BLS

The Largest Hospitals in Florida

Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL

With over 40 medical and surgical specialties and nearly 6000 employees, the Mayo Clinic is one of the leading healthcare institutions in Florida. This institution prides itself on diversity and hosts a conference on equity and inclusion, which aims to reduce bias in the healthcare profession.


Tampa General Hospital, Tampa Bay, FL

This hospital specializes in diabetes, gastroenterology, nephrology, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology and is ranked among the best hospitals nationwide by the U.S. News & World Report. This institution is well suited for nurses interested in surgery or cardiovascular specializations and it serves over 500,000 patients each year.


University of Florida Health Shands Cancer Hospital, Gainesville, FL

This hospital focuses on cancer treatment, heart health, transplants, neuromedicine, and maternity and neonatal care, and the staff serve over 85,000 patients annually. UF Shands operates one of only five American Burn Association–verified burn centers in the state.


Nursing Resources in Florida

  • Florida Nurses Association: Dedicated to bringing Florida nurses together, regardless of specialization, FNA promotes local and state-wide activities and boards to increase awareness and promote community outreach. Their special interest groups cover topics like health policy and ethics, health literacy, and student advocacy.
  • Florida Nursing Students Association: As a branch of the National Students Nurses Association (NSNA), FNSA seeks to foster community and set education standards for incoming professionals. Members can meet other students and active RNs, and qualify for NSNA grants and scholarships.
  • Florida Center for Nursing: This state-run organization is entirely focused on increasing the number of qualified healthcare professionals in Florida. FCN is an excellent resource for data on your local workforce, including industry-specific employment and retention information for nurses.
  • Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists: FANA is a one-stop resource for nurse anesthetists. Nurses can find resources like exam prep materials, industry news, job listings, peer discussion groups, documentation on standard practices, and licensing guidelines. You can find similar professional organizations for other areas of interest, too, like the Florida chapter of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.