With Florida's growing population of aging adults, primary care is a huge area of need. Becoming a nurse practitioner may help you utilize your nursing skills in a new way. Keep reading to discover what it's like to work as a nurse practitioner, what type of education you need, and licensure requirements in Florida. Check out the different areas of demand in Florida's healthcare system. Ready to get started? Browse our list of Florida NP programs and contact those in your area.
How Can I Become a Nurse Practitioner in Florida?
Primary care is one of the most essential components of health care, both on a statewide level and on a federal level. Nurses have long been crucial in the operation of various specialties and health care settings. With advanced training, registered nurses may be able to move into the primary care sector and decrease costs for facilities, government agencies, and consumers.
To become a nurse practitioner in Florida, you have to choose between two options. The first is to earn a Master’s degree in advanced practice nursing. The other option is to earn a doctorate. Average Florida requirements can be found below.
Average Requirements for Graduate-Level Nurse Practitioner Schooling:
- Credit hours required: 40 to 50 credits
- Average cost: $650 per credit
- Clinical hours required: No fewer than 500 hours
- Timeframe: Up to 3 years of full-time study
Average Requirements for a Doctoral Nurse Practitioner Degree:
- Credit hours required: In combination with a Master’s degree, up to 90 credit hours
- Clinical hours required: At least 1,000 clinical hours
- Timeframe: A total of 5 to 6 years after a Bachelor’s degree
There are thousands of Florida residents who need access to evidence-based care. Find out how you can take your education further by contacting nurse practitioner programs below.
What Types of Nurse Practitioner Programs Are Available in Florida?
No matter how much experience you have working as a nurse, becoming a nurse practitioner is an entirely different challenge. Rather than being able to provide a basic level of care to all patients, you must be ready to address the advanced needs of a specific population. You choose the population you work with as a new student. Some of the options currently offered at Florida schools include family care, pediatric care, occupational health, adult-gerontology, and oncology. Choose wisely; this choice determines how you spend your clinical hours and which elective courses you take.
In many cases, required courses are the same for both doctoral and Master’s degree students. The main difference is that doctoral students take far more courses in research, leadership, and statistics. Keep reading to find out more about required courses at both levels.
Master’s Courses Commonly Required at Nurse Practitioner Programs FL
- Advanced Health Assessment Across the Lifespan
- Advanced Diagnostics and Procedures
- Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
- Health Promotion Theories
- Research and Evidence-Based Practice
- Systems and Populations in Healthcare
Courses That May Be Required for Doctoral Students
- Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing
- Health Systems Leadership
- Practice Management, Quality Improvement, and Patient Safety
- Fundamentals of Statistics for Clinicians
- Informatics and Patient Care Technology
While students at both levels get quite a bit of experience in clinical care and diagnosis, doctoral students take a more intensive systemic approach to healthcare. In both cases, you should be ready to meet demanding clinical requirements. As a graduate student, you may complete more than 500 hours of clinical work. Doctoral students need at least 1000 hours of clinical work. This is particularly important for those who are interested in online nurse practitioner programs. Even if you can complete the rest of your coursework online, you must be able to do your clinical hours at a local approved site.
How Can I Pay for Nurse Practitioner School in Florida?
There are several ways you can make nursing school a more affordable venture. Early planning is the key. Whether you rely on student loans, grants, or out-of-pocket funding, planning ahead ensures that you are taking full advantage of grant and scholarship opportunities.
Florida Financial Aid Programs
- BestNursingDegree.com Scholarship: Our nurses scholarship program runs four times per year, giving students like you the chance to apply for scholarships worth $2500 each.
- NURSE Corps Scholarship Program: This is a federal program that hopes to alleviate the issue of primary care shortages throughout the country. If you are selected for this program, you’re expected to complete a two-your commitment at a Health Professionals Shortage Area in exchange for your scholarship.
- NHSC Loan Repayment Program: This loan repayment program also requires you to work at an approved worksite for two years. In exchange, you may have up to $50,000 of your student loans paid off.
- Florida Nurses Association: Through the Florida Nurses Association, you may be able to apply for over 15 scholarships that are open to nurse practitioner students.
Licensing and Practice Requirements for Nurse Practitioners in FL
As a registered nurse, you should already be familiar with the licensing requirements in Florida. Through the Florida Board of Nursing, you must provide proof of your Master’s degree from an approved nursing program. You must also provide proof of certification through a national organization. The application fee is $100. Currently, nurse practitioners in Florida have restricted practice rights (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2016). As the primary care shortage grows worse, many groups are lobbying for more freedom of practice for nurse practitioners, so this may change in coming years.
Nurse Practitioner Careers in Florida
As a nurse practitioner, you may choose to work in a variety of settings. Hospitals and clinics often benefit from the services of advanced practice nurses, but you can also look into city and county health programs or private practice. Certain specialties lend themselves to work in specialized clinics, while others put you in a position to work in emergency care or urgent care. Regardless of where you choose to work, you may benefit from a positive job outlook in this field. According to 2017 BLS data, job openings for nurse practitioners are expected to increase 16% between 2012 and 2022 (2016). The average salary for a Florida nurse practitioner is $95,650 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017).
If patient care is your favorite part of working in healthcare, a nurse practitioner degree is the natural next step for you. With Florida’s variety of options, including FNP programs and pediatric programs, you can learn how to best work with your chosen population and meet their healthcare needs. Find out what your degree options are and how you can get started on the next step of your educational path. Consult the list below and get in touch with Florida nurse practitioner programs.
Top NP programs in Florida include:
- The University of Central Florida. Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida offers a DNP-level nurse practitioner program with two NP specialty tracks: family nurse practitioner and adult-gerontology nurse practitioner. Students who enroll in the program will complete their MSN along the way, allowing them to apply for national NP certification and to work as a nurse practitioner while finishing the requirement for their DNP.
- Barry University. Barry University in Miami Shore, FL, offers both MSN and DNP nurse practitioner programs. Students can select the MSN track and specialize as either a family nurse practitioner or acute care nurse practitioner. Or, students with an RN and/or BSN degree can enroll directly in the DNP program; upon completion of the DNP program, students will be awarded both an MSN and DNP and be eligible for national certification as a nurse practitioner.
- Florida Atlantic University. Florida Atlantic University has three campuses: Boca Raton, Broward County/Davie and Treasure Coast. Master's level nurse practitioner classes are offered across the campuses and online; clinical coursework can typically be completed in the student's home community. Specialization options include adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and gerontological nurse practitioner. The school also offers a Web-assisted, weekends-only DNP program.