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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Barry, a private institution in Miami Shores, with approximately 7,200 students, offers bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing. Undergraduate nursing students need to complete a pre-nursing program consisting of general education classes and prerequisites. This two-year sequence of courses prepares students for the traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or accelerated BSN program options.
Incoming students can also transfer the necessary classes to bypass the pre-nursing component. BSN enrollees can receive scholarship money toward their degrees and secure employment post-graduation by participating in Barry's employment program with Baptist Health South Florida.
The accelerated BSN best serves students who already possess a bachelor's degree in an outside field. This intensive program prepares them to sit for the national council licensure examination. Students can complete the accelerated program in four semesters.
Barry's master of science in nursing program helps nurses develop the necessary leadership skills to advance their careers. The program caters to working nurses and features flexible classes once a week and on the weekends. An incoming master's student with a BSN degree automatically receives a 25% tuition scholarship.
PBA is a private nonprofit school in West Palm Beach. The interdenominational Christian university holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. PBA boasts nearly 3,800 students and features both bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing for on-campus students.
The bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) comprises at least 123 credits for graduation. Required nursing major classes include nursing research, community nursing theory, medical-surgical nursing, and complex nursing clinicals, in addition to 67 credits of general education courses. Each BSN applicant must possess a 3.0 or higher GPA with a 2.75 or higher GPA in science and math courses. Prospective BSN students must also submit their TEAS scores for consideration.
The MSN program focuses on developing students' problem-solving and healthcare leadership skills. Enrollees need to complete at least 36-39 graduate credits to finish the program. A graduate student typically takes four semesters to finish the master's, including at least 300 leadership practice hours in a healthcare setting.
The 124-credit undergraduate nursing program prepares students for leadership and managerial roles in healthcare settings and nursing practice. A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) applicant must complete 27 credits of prerequisite classes, including elements of statistics, nutrition, and microbiology.
UWF expects each BSN candidate to possess a 3.0 or higher GPA with a minimum 75% composite score on the TEAS exam. Beyond general education requirements, BSN enrollees usually need at least two years to complete nursing requirements.
Master of science in nursing (MSN) students can pursue degrees in family nurse practitioner, nurse executive, or nursing education at UWF. Depending on the program, an MSN student needs at least 39-45 credits for graduation. The university expects an applicant for any of the three MSN tracks to possess a BSN with a 3.0 or higher GPA from an accredited institution. Graduates can complete this program in 24-30 months.
FAMU is a public school in Tallahassee with regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. As a historically black university established in 1887, the university now boasts approximately 10,000 students. On-campus learners take advantage of its undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing.
The four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program provides students with a liberal arts education and applied theory studies in nursing. Learners prepare for careers in community clinics, in-home care, and hospitals. BSN enrollees need 60 credits of nursing core classes to graduate. Learners who already possess registered nurse (RN) licensure can complete the fast track RN-to-BSN program, which requires 30 credits of nursing core courses.
The master of science in nursing program features a concentration in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. Master's degree-seekers need to complete 42 credits to graduate, including core classes in health policy and nursing, primary care for adults across the lifespan, and advanced health assessment theory. Full-time master's enrollees usually need five semesters to finish the program.
UT enrolls approximately 9,300 students as a private institution. Established in 1931, UT now offers bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and master of science in nursing (MSN) programs for on-campus learners.
The BSN takes four years to complete and requires students to finish at least 125 credits. The program best serves incoming high school students or transfer students without nursing college credits. Required BSN classes include clinical human nutrition, health assessment, introduction to pathophysiology, and clinical preceptorship.
Each candidate needs to submit a pre-nursing application reflecting the completion of several prerequisite courses. A competitive applicant possesses a 3.25 or higher GPA and a "C" or better grade in all prerequisites. Prospective BSN students must also submit TEAS scores.
The MSN at UT prepares learners for careers as advanced practice nurses, including clinical leaders and primary care providers. Students choose from concentrations in adult-gerontology nurse practitioner or family nurse practitioner. An MSN applicant needs a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA from an accredited institution.
FGCU, a public school located in Fort Myers, offers on-campus master's and bachelor's nursing programs. The school serves approximately 15,000 students as a part of the state university system of Florida.
FGCU currently accepts applications for the master of science in nursing (MSN). Learners in this program develop advanced nursing knowledge and the essential managerial and leadership skills required of modern nurse educator professionals. MSN courses include foundations of nursing education, advanced nursing research, pharmacotherapeutics, and advanced health assessment. Each enrollee needs at least 38 credits with a 3.0 or higher GPA to graduate.
Undergraduates can also pursue a 124-credit bachelor of science in nursing at FGCU. Learners must maintain a 2.0 or higher GPA to remain in good standing with the department. Required undergraduate courses include child health nursing clinic, reproductive health, evidence-based nursing practices, and mental health nursing. All undergraduates also need to complete a senior nursing practicum. Each applicant needs to submit their TEAS scores and possess a 3.0 or higher GPA.
Established in 1957 in Panama City, GCSC is a public institution that offers an RN-to-BSN nursing program. The college now serves approximately 5,700 students and holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
GCSC prepares registered nurses (RNs) who possess associate degrees or diplomas for careers and leadership roles in today's modern nursing field. The program also prepares students to pursue nursing education at the graduate level.
BSN degree-seekers each complete at least 120 credits. Required classes include community health, healthcare policy in economics, clinical decision-making, and the research process for professional nursing. Each nursing student must also complete a two-credit capstone practicum. Most full-time enrollees complete this program in six semesters.
Each GCSC applicant needs a history of completed prerequisites, including principles of nutrition, basic adult care, and maternal-infant nursing, in addition to an RN license, at the time of application.
CF in Ocala offers on-campus students a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. The public school holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and currently enrolls approximately 6,900 students.
Its RN-to-BSN degree focuses on generalist nursing training and prepares professionals to meet the demands of their communities or pursue graduate degrees. The nursing program accepts both full- and part-time learners and requires at least 120 credits. An accepted student needs to earn an unencumbered registered nurse license before their second semester.
Each applicant needs at least a 2.0 GPA in general education and lower-division classes. Enrollees need to complete the majority of required general education courses before engaging in upper-level nursing coursework. Required classes include community nursing with laboratory training, nursing leadership and management, and healthcare policies and economics. Full-time learners typically complete this program in four years.
MDC in Miami serves 55,000 students with regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The public institution offers on-campus students a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).
This program best serves Florida-licensed registered nurses (RNs) with an associate degree in nursing. Graduate students possess exceptional leadership and management skills, advanced nursing methods, and cultural awareness. Required courses include globalization of nursing practice, nursing research, leadership in management, and advanced health assessment.
Bachelor's degree-seekers choose from full- or part-time options. MDC also offers a "pre-select track" for students currently finishing their associate-level nursing degree, who plan to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination upon acceptance to the BSN program.
Prospective students without unencumbered Florida RN licenses must obtain one within six months of gaining acceptance to the program. Competitive applicants for the BSN possess 2.0 or higher cumulative GPAs.
DSC is a public institution located in Daytona Beach with regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Founded in 1957, the school features a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. Upon completion of the program, students can provide effective generalist nursing care for patients across the lifespan in many healthcare settings.
BSN degree-seekers need to complete at least 120 college-level credits for graduation. Required classes include nursing research and evidence-based practice, legal and ethical aspects of nursing, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. At least 25% of the overall degree requirements must come from classes completed at DSC.
Prospective students need a 2.5 or higher GPA for consideration. Applications should include two letters of recommendation and documentation of an associate degree or diploma in nursing from a regionally accredited institution. DSC also expects each incoming enrollee to possess an unencumbered nursing license in their state of residence.
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