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Nursing Schools in Florida

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Attending a nursing school in Florida provides graduates with the necessary skills to fill in-demand roles in hospitals, physician’s offices, community health centers, and residential care facilities. Florida ranks as one of the top five largest employers of registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs), making it a great location for prospective nursing professionals.

With so many nursing schools in Florida, each degree-seeker can find a program that matches their academic, professional, and financial needs. Check out our ranking methodology before reviewing the top nursing schools in Florida for 2020.

The Top Nursing Schools in Florida for 2020

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
3 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
4 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
5 Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL
6 Florida International University Miami, FL
7 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
8 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
9 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
10 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
Read about our ranking methodology here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Florida

  • How Long Does it Take to Get a Florida Nursing License?

    Students should check with the Florida Board of Nursing for the most accurate and recent wait time estimates. The board processes most licenses within approximately 1-2 weeks.

  • How Do I Renew My Nursing License in Florida?

    Florida-based nurses must renew their licenses every two years to remain active. Professionals can file renewal applications online or by mail. Each application must include a fee payment and evidence of completed continuing education units.

  • Does a Florida Nursing License Transfer from State to State?

    If transferring an existing nursing license to Florida, a candidate must provide an application, pay fees, submit to fingerprinting, and ask their current board to send license verification to the Florida Board of Nursing.

  • How Much Are Nurses Paid in Florida?

    Salaries depend on the type of nursing. Annual mean wages for RNs in Florida reached $67,610 in 2019, while NPs earned annual mean wages of $101,510 in the same timeframe. Licensed practical nurses, meanwhile, brought home annual mean wages of $45,580.

  • Can an NP Write Prescriptions in Florida?

    As of 2016, NPs with active and unencumbered licenses can now write prescriptions in Florida.

How Do I Become a Nurse in Florida?

Individuals interested in attending Florida nursing schools can choose from several different paths. Individuals who want to enter the field quickly often choose to complete associate degrees in nursing (ADNs). These programs take 2-3 years and allow graduates to work as RNs.

Recognizing that more and more employers seek baccalaureate-educated RNs, some students pursue a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. These programs require approximately four years of full-time learning. Degree-seekers interested in working as NPs often pursue MSNs, which require two or more additional years.

All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to practice, and students starting MSN programs must hold active and unencumbered RN licenses. Many students decide to enroll in online nursing schools in Florida, as these provide more flexibility than campus-based offerings.

Types of Nursing Programs in Florida

ADN Programs

Earning an ADN takes approximately 2-3 years to complete and qualifies graduates to work as RNs. These programs introduce learners to foundational topics in the discipline but do not include as many in-depth courses as a bachelor’s degree. Upon graduating, students can sit for the NCLEX-RN examination to receive licensure in their state.

BSN Programs

BSNs take four years of full-time study to complete, but nursing colleges in Florida also offer part-time and accelerated paths. These degrees prepare graduates for work as RNs and allow them to take the NCLEX-RN exam once they leave school. BSN programs offer a deeper and more nuanced look at nursing topics than an ADN. Employers favor those with BSNs over ADNs.

MSN Programs

An MSN program offers a great path for RNs who worked in the field for a few years and now want to climb the career ladder to an NP position. These programs usually take 2-3 years to complete, but timelines vary based on the degree level of entering students. Those with BSNs graduate more quickly than learners with an ADN. Because each applicant must already hold an RN license upon entering a Florida nursing school, they do not need to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

DNP Programs

A doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree supports individuals who want to work as NPs, nurse leaders, nurse educators, and other nursing professionals in the top echelon of the field. These degrees take 1-4 years to complete, depending on whether the student holds a BSN or MSN upon entering a program. Florida nursing schools offer both traditional and online options to suit the needs of busy degree-seekers.

Florida Nursing Licensure Requirements

All nurses must earn licensure. The Florida Board of Nursing manages this process for the state and sets specific steps and rules for the process.

Graduates of ADN and BSN programs sit for the NCLEX-RN exam to work as RNs. Those who possess MSN and DNP degrees are not required to seek additional licensure, but all nurses in the state must renew their licenses every two years to continue practicing.

To renew a license in Florida, each applicant must pay a fee that corresponds with their title and show evidence of completing the minimum number of continuing education credits. Failing to do so could result in suspension of the license.

Job and Salary Outlook for Nurses in Florida

RNs and NPs working in Florida earn substantial salaries. In 2019, annual mean wages reached $67,610 and $101,510, respectively. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for RNs to grow by 12% between 2018-28, while employment for NPs could grow by an astounding 26% in the same timeframe.

When considering where to work, students should know which types of employers typically hire the largest number of nurses. BLS data indicates that physician’s offices and hospitals employed the largest number of nurses in 2018.

Top Nursing Schools in Florida

  1. University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL

    UF, a public institution located in Gainesville, holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Established in 1853, the school today offers on-campus learners a bachelor of science in nursing.

    The nursing program at UF prepares learners for professional positions in clinics, hospitals, patients' homes, and community health agencies. Required classes include pathophysiology and pharmacology in nursing, principles of personalized nursing care, and clinical reasoning and personalized nursing care.

    A prospective UF nursing student must possess at least a 3.0 GPA and a "C" or higher grade in all required pre-professional courses. Pre-professional courses for this degree include anatomy and physiology, microbiology, epidemiology, and human nutrition. Each applicant must also have experience studying a foreign language, such as two consecutive classes, 8-10 credits at the college level, or documentation of fluency.

    In total, each degree-seeker completes 60 credits and 765 clinical hours for graduation. In most cases, nursing bachelor's students complete the program in three years.

  2. University of Miami

    Coral Gables, FL

    UM, a private university in Coral Gables, holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. On-campus learners can pursue bachelor's and master's programs in nursing.

    A bachelor's degree-seeker must complete at least 121 credits. Required classes include women's health nursing, introductory statistics in healthcare, growth and development, and systemic physiology. On-campus bachelor's enrollees typically need four years to complete this program.

    Students in the master's program choose from specialized degrees, such as adult-gerontology acute care, adult-gerontology primary care, and family nurse practitioner. The adult-gerontology acute care master's program requires learners to complete at least 37 total credits and 616 clinical hours for graduation. This program typically takes full-time students three semesters to complete.

    A competitive applicant for the bachelor's program possesses a 3.7 or higher GPA, with ACT or SAT scores of 24 and 1,100, respectively. Each master's candidate must possess a bachelor's degree in nursing with a 3.0 or higher GPA from a regionally accredited institution.

  3. Florida State University

    Tallahassee, FL

    FSU is a public institution with a traditional on-campus bachelor of science in nursing program. Located in Tallahassee, the school holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    This competitive program admits up to 72 students each year. After completing 60 credits of liberal studies and general education requirements, learners receive admission to the nursing program. Incoming nursing students may also gain acceptance to the nursing program if they possess a transferable associate of arts degree from a public institution in Florida.

    A prospective nursing student needs a 3.4 or higher overall GPA and a minimum 3.0 GPA in science courses. Applicants must include a personal essay and official transcripts. Nursing candidates must also participate in interviews with faculty members. Students typically need two years to finish their nursing requirements after completing general education classes. Overall, students usually earn their degree in four years.

  4. University of South Florida

    Tampa, FL

    Established in 1956 as a public research institution, USF holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. USF offers several undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees, including an accelerated second degree track, a traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), and a master of science in nursing (MSN). Students complete these programs on campus in Tampa.

    Incoming students with a bachelor's degree in non-nursing fields can pursue the accelerated second degree track. This four-semester program helps learners earn their nursing degree quickly, with classes in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Bachelor's students can also take advantage of its 30-credit traditional, five-semester BSN program. Prospective students with training in the Army, Navy, or Air Force can pursue their undergraduate nursing degree in USF's Veteran to BSN V-CARE program.

    The MSN accepts full- and part-time students with a bachelor's degree. Graduate learners choose from concentrations in adult-gerontology, family health nursing, nursing education, occupational health, or pediatric health nursing. Depending on the concentration, degree-seekers can earn a master's degree in approximately two years.

  5. Jacksonville University

    Jacksonville, FL

    JU, a private nonprofit school, offers bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing for on-campus learners. Established in 1934, the school holds regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Bachelor's degree-seekers choose between the freshman acceptance program, traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), or second degree BSN track. The freshman acceptance program welcomes incoming learners with no college experience. An applicant for the traditional BSN should possess an associate of arts degree from a regionally accredited institution.

    JU students without a history of completed undergraduate core classes may also apply for the traditional BSN. A prospective traditional BSN student should possess a 2.5 or higher GPA and satisfy the core curriculum requirements, including coursework in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and human nutrition.

    Master's nursing students at JU choose from programs such as adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, clinical nurse educator, and psychiatric-mental nurse practitioner. Most full-time master's students can complete their nursing programs in approximately five semesters or two years.

  6. Florida International University

    Miami, FL

    FIU, a public institution located in Miami, holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university offers bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing for on-campus students. FIU admits approximately 390 undergraduate and graduate students into the nursing program each year and does not require GRE scores for admission.

    FIU offers undergraduates a traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). A learner who already possesses a bachelor's degree in an outside field can choose an accelerated BSN option. Traditional and accelerated students must earn 124 and 61 credits, respectively. Full-time students in the accelerated track can complete the program in three semesters.

    Master's nursing students choose a degree in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family health nurse practitioner, pediatric primary care nurse practitioner, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, or nurse educator. Full-time graduate nursing students at FIU can complete the program in six semesters.

  7. University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL

    Orlando's UCF offers on-campus bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs. Learners can choose a traditional BSN or second degree BSN track. Active duty military members can also apply for its BSN medical enlisted commissioning program (MECP).

    The 65-credit traditional BSN program typically takes full-time students five semesters to complete. Most incoming nursing students are third-year learners who have completed general education requirements at UCF or other accredited institutions in Florida. Beyond general education classes, BSN learners take required classes, such as pathophysiology for nurses, public and community health nursing, and a nursing practicum.

    Prospective BSN students must complete prerequisite courses with a "C" or higher grade, including human anatomy, human nutrition, and microbiology. A competitive applicant possesses a 3.0 or higher undergraduate cumulative GPA. Each MECP applicant needs at least a 3.5 GPA. All prospective nursing students must submit their scores from the TEAS.

  8. Nova Southeastern University

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    NSU, a private institution located in Fort Lauderdale, holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The nonprofit school offers both bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing.

    Students with the appropriate prerequisite courses and general education requirements can enter the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. Full-time students can finish this degree in two years and three months. Required classes at NSU include theoretical foundations of professional nursing practice, genetics for nursing practice, and the business of healthcare. Incoming students who already possess a bachelor's degree can enroll in its accelerated BSN program.

    Graduate students can also take advantage of traditional master's degrees in nursing. These learners choose from six tracks, including nursing education, nursing informatics, family nurse practitioner, executive nurse leadership, and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. Depending on the track, a graduate student may need to complete 15-21 additional credits of specialized classes and a teaching practicum.

  9. University of North Florida

    Jacksonville, FL

    UNF, a public school in Jacksonville, holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and offers three on-campus bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) options.

    Learners choose from regular, accelerated, and freshman BSN programs. The regular program usually takes five semesters to complete, while the accelerated track takes four. Incoming students in the 120-credit freshman entry program typically need four years to finish the degree.

    The nursing curriculum consists of both professional and laboratory courses. Required classes include health assessment, women's health, pediatric nursing, and fundamental concepts of nursing.

    Applicants for the regular and accelerated programs need at least a 2.9 or 3.2 GPA, respectively. Prospective students for the freshman entry program need a 4.0 or higher weighted high school GPA and competitive ACT or SAT scores. They must also participate in an admissions interview and take the TEAS exam.

  10. Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton, FL

    Established in 1961, FAU is a public institution with bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing for on-campus students. Located in Boca Raton, the school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and serves approximately 29,800 students.

    Undergraduate students choose from freshman direct admit, RN-to-BSN, or accelerated program tracks to the bachelor's degree. The four-year freshman program requires 120 credits for graduation, while the RN-to-BSN and accelerated tracks require 60 credits. Coursework explores general pathophysiology, acute care nursing situations with adults and aging populations, and scholarship for evidence-based nursing practice.

    Master's students at FAU choose from several specialized degrees, including advanced holistic nursing, clinical nurse leader, family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and adult gerontological nurse practitioner. Depending on the program, master's degree-seekers may engage in hands-on teaching practicums or in-person clinical training sessions. Some master's degree nursing students can complete their programs in as little as 24-30 months.

Learn More About Nursing Programs in Florida

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