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Top Florida MSN Programs

Maura Deering, J.D.NurseJournal Rankings Team
Updated November 30, 2023
Interested in becoming an advanced practice registered nurse in Florida? Use these rankings to compare the state's top MSN degrees.
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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

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The top master of science in nursing (MSN) programs in Florida prepare advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), a category of highly trained nursing professionals. These professionals include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, and nurse administrators and educators. APRNs earn higher salaries than other types of nurses and function with greater autonomy.

This guide to the top 10 Florida MSN degrees includes information on program expectations and how to apply. We also answer questions about potential salaries and becoming a licensed APRN in Florida.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best MSN programs in Florida, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

At a Glance: The Top Florida MSN Programs

  1. University of South Florida
  2. Miami Regional University
  3. Florida Atlantic University
  4. Jacksonville University
  5. St. Thomas University

Learn more about the key factors to consider when choosing a program, or go straight to our full ranking of the best MSN programs in Florida.

How Do Florida MSN Programs Work?

Florida MSN programs offer classes online, on campus, or in a hybrid format. Clinical rotations take place onsite at area healthcare organizations. Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN)-holders can expect to spend two years of full-time study earning their MSN. Part-time enrollment may require a longer timeframe but allows RNs to continue working. At some schools, learners with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) and an RN license can pursue accelerated RN-to-MSN programs in Florida, which take about three years to complete.

MSN coursework corresponds to the student’s specialization areas, but the typical curriculum includes advanced health assessment, nursing informatics, nursing leadership, and pharmacology.

Florida ranks fourth among U.S. states for projected long-term employment growth of nurse practitioners from 2020-2030, with a projected increase of 71%. This data indicates that time spent in a Florida MSN program can lead to increased career opportunities.

Featured Online MSN Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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Applying to an MSN Program in Florida

Admission to the top MSN programs in Florida can be competitive, with many schools accepting only 40-50% of applicants. Candidates generally need a BSN from an accredited program (or an ADN for accelerated RN-to-MSN programs in Florida), a current and unencumbered RN license, and prerequisite coursework in subjects, such as health assessment, nursing research, and statistics.

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    Admission Materials

    Expect to submit an application, a personal statement or essay, two or more professional and academic references, a resume or CV, and a criminal background check.
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    GPA Requirement

    Most programs set a minimum GPA requirement at 3.0, but some may prefer a 3.2 GPA. A grade of “C” or higher in prerequisite courses is also a common requirement.
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    Other Requirement

    Some schools may require GRE or MAT scores, an admissions interview, a year or more of RN experience, and/or a drug screening.

Why Is MSN Program Accreditation in Florida Important?

Nursing program accreditation is an extensive evaluation of a program to determine how well it prepares its graduates to practice nursing safely and effectively. An impartial group of evaluators, including practicing nurses and nurse educators, reviews the program’s curriculum and student outcomes, such as grades and board certification scores.

They also look at faculty and staff background and qualifications, quality of the teaching, and school facilities, such as libraries and computer systems. While it is not a guarantee of school quality, it is a close equivalent.

The best MSN programs in Florida are accredited, and this website only lists accredited programs. Few employers consider graduates of unaccredited programs; no accredited schools will accept their transfer credits.

If you are going to invest time and money into an MSN degree, make sure you invest safely by attending an accredited program.

Learn More About the Best MSN Programs and Schools

See our methodology to learn more about how we create our rankings.
#1 Top Florida MSN Programs

University of South Florida

  • Location-markerTampa, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,559
  • Out-of-state$15,473
  • Retention Rate92%
  • Acceptance Rate49%
  • Students Enrolled50,626
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment90%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Top Florida MSN Programs

Miami Regional University

  • Location-markerMiami Springs, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$0
  • Out-of-state$0
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled818
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Top Florida MSN Programs

Florida Atlantic University

  • Location-markerBoca Raton, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,522
  • Out-of-state$14,374
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate75%
  • Students Enrolled30,805
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment97%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Top Florida MSN Programs

Jacksonville University

  • Location-markerJacksonville, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$39,900
  • Out-of-state$39,900
  • Retention Rate69%
  • Acceptance Rate78%
  • Students Enrolled4,053
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment64%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Top Florida MSN Programs

St. Thomas University

  • Location-markerMiami Gardens, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$31,800
  • Out-of-state$31,800
  • Retention Rate49%
  • Acceptance Rate60%
  • Students Enrolled5,601
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment36%
  • AccreditationYes

Frequently Asked Questions About MSN Programs in Florida

What is the average salary for nurses with an MSN in Florida?

Florida salaries for nurse practitioners with an MSN average nearly $104,830, according to 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average salaries in the state’s highest-paying metropolitan areas range from $111,690 in Cape Coral-Fort Myers to $121,460 in Sebring.

Can I bridge an ADN to MSN in Florida?

Some of the best MSN programs in Florida offer an RN-to-MSN option. These programs usually take three years of full-time study. You must have a current and unencumbered license to apply, and typically at least a 3.0 GPA, as well as at least one year of experience.

How long does it take to become an APRN in Florida?

Full-time students can complete a Florida BSN-to-MSN program in about two years. Part-time enrollees, and RNs with an ADN, can expect to spend at least three years earning their MSN. Some APRNs may pursue a doctor of nursing practice degree, which often takes 3-4 years to complete.

What are the requirements to earn your APRN license in Florida?

Florida’s Board of Nursing lists the following requirements for APRN licensing: a valid RN license; a master’s degree or post-master’s certification; national advanced practice certification from a nursing specialty board; proof of malpractice insurance; and electronic fingerprinting for a criminal background check.

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