The Best Florida Online Nurse Practitioner Programs and Requirements

June 3, 2020 | Staff Writers

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Aspiring nurse practitioners (NPs) can explore a variety of nurse practitioner programs in Florida. Learners can follow two different educational pathways to become an NP in the Sunshine State — a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). MSN students typically take about three years to earn their degree, focusing on concepts in health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and pathophysiology. DNP students also take about three years to complete their program, exploring advanced topics in the field.

Master’s programs often allow degree-seekers to pursue a specialization. Common specialization areas include midwifery, adult-gerontology, psychiatric/mental health, nurse anesthesiology, and neonatology.

NPs treat and diagnose acute illnesses, injuries, and infections. They write prescriptions for certain medications and provide care and guidance for patients related to medications and side effects. NPs order and conduct diagnostic tests, including x-rays and echocardiograms. They also examine and record patients’ medical histories, symptoms, and diagnoses. These professionals work with patients to manage their health and develop appropriate treatment plans.

See below for five of the best nurse practitioner programs in Florida.

Read about our ranking methodology here.

Best Florida Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

1. AdventHealth University – Orlando, FL
2. Keiser University – Fort Lauderdale, FL

  1. AdventHealth University
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Associated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, this university focuses on providing healthcare and nursing education. Among the online master of science in nursing options, students can opt for a family nurse practitioner option. An accelerated track allows students to complete the program in five terms (about 18 months).

    Distance learners can complete the majority of their degrees online. However, they need to travel to campus for a seven-day skills session within the advanced health assessment course. Students must also complete 600 clinical practicum hours. Because of the university's religious affiliation, the curriculum also incorporates courses in identity and mission in faith-based healthcare.

    Type: Private

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition:$630/credit hour

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current RN license

    Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Program: MSN - Family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  2. Keiser University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Keiser University offers a master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner track. This degree focuses on health promotion and managing chronic and acute illnesses for patients of every age. Full-time students who take two courses at a time can complete the entire degree in under two years, although distance learners can enroll part time, too.

    The online program includes two in-person residencies at the Fort Lauderdale campus. The advanced assessment course requires three days on campus, while the final course involves the integration practicum, a weekend residency. Students must complete 510 clinical hours. They can expect to dedicate 15-16 hours a week at clinical practicums and 6-8 each week to their online coursework.

    Type: Private

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition:About $28,000/year

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current RN license; three recommendation letters

    Minimum Time Commitment: 1.5-2 yearsfive semesters

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Program: MSN - Family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Florida

The steps required to become an NP in Florida include:

  • Obtaining an RN license at the bachelor’s level. The new requirement of holding a DNP to work as an NP in the state has led to an increase in schools offering direct BSN-to-DNP programs, with students earning RN licensure upon completing their bachelor’s degree requirements. Bachelor’s and master’s programs should boast accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
  • Completing a national certification program for NPs. Available certifications in Florida include a family nurse practitioner credential, an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner option, and an emergency nurse practitioner certification. The family nurse practitioner certification exam is a competency-based exam that allows individuals to demonstrate their knowledge and skills of family and individual healthcare across the lifespan.The adult-gerontology certification exam focuses on competency-based questions reviewing test-takers’ knowledge of adolescents, young adults, adults, and elderly individuals. The emergency nurse practitioner certification exam enables individuals to demonstrate their competencies in emergency specialty care across the lifespan, including prenatal, pediatric, adolescent, adult, and elderly populations.
  • Obtaining licensure through the Florida Board of Nursing. Once individuals obtain certification from the board, they become licensed Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs), while simultaneously holding a Florida RN license. The ARNP license also demonstrates a nurse’s specialization area.The most in-demand specializations for NPs in Florida include anesthesia, primary care, and obstetrics. The primary care specialization requires candidates to hold a current and active RN license. Individuals also must hold a master’s or doctorate from an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner program featuring accreditation from the ACEN or CCNE.Additionally, individuals interested in the adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner specialty must complete graduate-level courses focused on advanced pharmacology, advanced physiology/pathophysiology, and advanced health assessment. They must also satisfy at least 500 supervised clinical hours in the field.Nurses seeking specialization in obstetrics must hold a current RN license and complete an accredited graduate nurse practitioner degree at the master’s, post-master’s, or doctoral levels. Eligible candidates must complete and pass a certification exam within eight years of graduating from their graduate program. Additionally, they must satisfy a minimum of 600 clinical hours completed during their graduate program.Graduate programs must highlight accreditation from the ACEN or CCNE. The national certification exam requires professionals to hold an active RN license and complete a nurse anesthesia educational program, accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA).
  • Maintaining licensure by renewing nurse practitioner license each year through a convenient online option. Renewal requirements for advanced practice RNs include continuing education activities, completing a renewal application, paying the required fees, completing a financial responsibility form, and maintaining contact and practitioner profile information./

In-Demand Nursing Specialty Eligibility Requirements in Florida

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGPCNP-BC)

Years of Experience

: None, but you must have a current RN license

Clinical Hours Required: A minimum of 500 clinical hours, supervised by a faculty member in the adult-gerontology primary nurse practitioner role

Continuing Education: N/A

Other: Graduate-level courses in advanced pharmacology, advanced health assessment, and advanced physiology/pathophysiology

Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP-BC)

Years of Experience

: None, but you must have a current RN license

Clinical Hours Required: A minimum of 600 clinical hours completed during a graduate program accredited by the ACEN or the CCNE

Continuing Education: N/A

Other: Eligible candidates must pass a certification exam

National Certification Examination (NCE)

Years of Experience

: None, but you must have a current RN license

Clinical Hours Required: N/A

Continuing Education: N/A

Other: Candidates must complete a nurse anesthesia educational program featuring COA accreditation

Salary and Career Information

RNs working in Florida experience similar mean salary amounts to the occupation’s national figures. In Florida, RNs earn mean salaries of $66,210, compared to the U.S. mean salary of $75,510. The projected job growth for RNs in Florida is higher than the projected growth rate for the occupation at the national level. Nursing jobs in Florida are projected to grow 21.4%, compared to the U.S. figure of 14.8%.

NPs in Florida earn mean wage amounts of $101,100, compared to the national figure of $110,030. The projected job growth for NPs in Florida is higher than the projected growth at the national level, with Florida reporting a rate of 44.7% compared to the national figure of 36.1%.

Many metropolitan areas in Florida offer high salary opportunities and employment rates for NPs. The Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville area features both the highest salaries and employment levels for the occupation, with a mean salary of $141,800 and an employment level of 410.

 Registered NurseNurse Practitioner
Florida Mean Salary$66,210$101,100
U.S. Mean Salary$75,510$110,030
Florida Job Growth21.4%44.7%
U.S. Job Growth14.8%36.1%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

 SalaryEmployment
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida$141,800410
Homosassa Springs, Florida$139,61040
Port St. Lucie, Florida$112,760220
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida$107,520220
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida$107,42070

Source: BLS

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