Florida Nursing Schools: Information and Resources
The sprawling state of Florida reflects a wide range of healthcare needs. In particular, the state’s growing retiree population has many in-depth care needs. That makes this a great place to explore nursing career options. At several nursing schools in Florida, you can take the first or next step in your nursing education. Several institutions even have online study options for busy students. Whether you want to earn an RN, BSN, MSN or doctoral degree, you can explore options here.
Across the state, you’ll find nursing schools in Florida that help aspiring nursing professionals and working nurses take the next step in their career. With training options ranging from one to four years, it’s important to compare Florida nursing programs and choose a degree that aligns with your career goals.
Home of Disney World and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the Sunshine State was discovered by Ponce de Leon in 1513 in his search for the fountain of youth. The state’s sun and surf draw thousands of people to Florida each year. Some experts are projecting the state’s population will continue to grow, and a large number of those newcomers may be retirees. A rapidly growing and aging population can increase demand for health care services, and often results in a call for nurses to expand their role within the healthcare workforce. You can start your nursing career at one of the nursing schools in Florida.
We have compiled a list of all the available nursing schools in Florida to save you time and effort while you search for schools. Simply choose the type of nursing program you are interested in from the choices at the bottom of this page, and follow the link to find schools.
Nursing Education in Florida
Florida offers more than 140 nursing schools, with programs that range from diplomas and associate degrees to doctoral degrees. The Florida Board of Nursing maintains a list of approved and accredited nursing programs on their website, and notes NCLEX pass rates for both LPN and RN populations. Pass rates for LPNs and RNs alike tend to hover around the 70% mark in Florida, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (2014).
Nursing Education & Career Information in your City
2017 Career Outlook for Nursing Professions
Once you’ve finished your training at one of Florida’s registered nursing education programs, the licensure process begins. All paperwork goes through the Florida Board of Nursing, and you may want to start ahead of time to streamline the process.
There’s no doubt that healthcare is a huge industry in Florida. It is, in fact, one of the largest industries in this state. In 2015, Florida hospitals created over 900,000 new jobs (Saint Peters Blog, 2017).
This is obvious when you look at job growth statistics in the field of nursing. In Florida, demand for nurses is growing more quickly than the amount of nurses graduating from approved programs or coming into the state. From 2014 through 2024, demand for licensed practical nurses may increase 22% in Florida (O*Net, 2017). During this same decade, job openings for registered nurses may swell 25% (O*Net, 2017). A staggering 47% jump in job openings is expected for nurse practitioners during this time frame (O*Net, 2017).
Nursing salaries in Florida reflect national averages. You may find that salaries tend to be higher in areas of the state that consistently suffer from a shortage of healthcare providers. This often includes rural areas and those that have an above-average elderly population. If you attend licensed practical nurse education programs, you may be interested to know that the average salary in the nursing field is $42,960 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). At the registered nursing level, the average salary is $64,630 per year (BLS, 2017). Nurse practitioners report a mean annual income of $95,650 (BLS, 2017).
Nursing Degree Programs in Florida
Nursing Bridge Programs
Graduate Nursing Programs
- All Masters in Nursing Programs in FL
- All DNP and PhD in Nursing Programs in FL
- All Nurse Practitioner Programs in FL
Entry Level Nursing Programs
- All LPN/LVN Programs in FL
- All Associate Degree Nursing Programs in FL
- All Four-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs in FL
- All Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs in FL
- Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing Programs in FL
- Registered Nursing
Florida LPN Programs
- Admissions requirements: High school diploma, good physical health, and no record of felonies
- Credits required for graduation: 30 to 45 credits
- Online training unavailable; students must complete several hundred hours of clinical work
- Licensing exam: NCLEX-PN
Licensed practical nurses work in a variety of settings. This may be an excellent way to get started in your nursing career, since the average LPN program only lasts one year. Upon completion of an LPN degree, you may complete a bridge program to earn an ADN or BSN degree.
BSN Programs in Florida
- Admissions requirements: High school diploma, good physical health, and no record of felonies
- Credits required for graduation: 120 to 130 credits
- Online training may be available for general education classes; clinical requirements rule out the possibility of an online program
- Licensing exam: NCLEX-RN
New high school graduates often choose to earn a BSN from a nursing school in Florida. Some of the best nursing schools in Florida focus on baccalaureate education, since BSN-level nurses may work in many different specialties and care settings. From start to finish, this degree requires about four years of full-time education.
Florida MSN Schools
- Admissions requirements: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, current nursing license, and one to two years of full-time nursing experience
- Credits required for graduation: 30 to 50 credits
- Online training available for those in nursing leadership, nursing research, or nursing informatics
- Licensing exam: Completed through a national certification agency; agency depends on whether you become an NP, CNS, or CRNA, and which population you work with
After earning a BSN, you might want to expand your scope of practice or move into a more specialized area of nursing study. For many students, a Master of Science in Nursing is the obvious solution. You may go into administrative specialties, such as nursing leadership or informatics. You can also focus on clinical work by becoming a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist.
DNP and PhD Nursing Programs in Florida
- Admissions requirements: A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, one to two years of nursing experience, and a current Florida nursing license
- Credits required for graduation: 80 to 100 credits
- Some courses are available online, but extensive in person experience is mandatory
- Licensing exam: Dependent on which area of specialty you choose and whether or not you work with patients
The highest level of study in nursing is the doctorate degree. The DNP is primarily aimed toward students who want to go into advanced clinical practice, while the PhD is ideal for those who want to go into research or administration.
Nursing Colleges in Florida with Nursing Bridge Programs
A growing number of Florida nursing schools offer bridge programs for working nurses. You may use your current nursing education to significantly reduce the amount of credits you need for a more advanced degree. If you have a registered nursing Associate’s degree, you may complete a BSN or MSN bridge program. RN to BSN bridge programs last about 18 to 24 months, while RN to MSN programs last roughly three years. With these programs, you can use your time in nursing to work toward an advanced degree in less time.
Accelerated nursing programs in Florida are ideal for students who currently possess a Bachelor’s degree in another area of study. An accelerated BSN program lets you earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 12 to 18 months by completing a rigorous curriculum of clinical courses. A direct entry MSN program is another popular option. The direct entry MSN program is designed for students with a Bachelor’s degree in another field. You begin by earning the credits needed for a BSN and earning your license. At that point, you work through a set curriculum of MSN courses. As a result, you may graduate much more quickly than if you went through a standard BSN program and then waited to start your graduate courses.
Tips for Choosing the Top Nursing Schools in Florida
By now, you should know which type of degree you’d like to earn. This makes it easy to narrow down your list of potential schools. You may want to start requesting information from schools at this point. The sooner you start exploring schools, the more time you give yourself to make an informed decision.
One of the most important factors to consider is accreditation. Students who graduate from non-accredited schools may be able to earn their nursing license, but it is not guaranteed. Accredited schools are verified to meet the training standards of the Florida Board of Nursing. The two largest accrediting agencies in the United States are the ACEN and the CCNE.
Most of the time you spend evaluating the best nursing programs in Florida is spent thinking about your personal education needs. You may need to tour multiple nursing schools to figure out which environment improves your learning and empowers you to ask questions and grow. When you tour local nursing schools, spend some time talking to current students and instructors.
What Should I Consider as I Choose a Nursing School?
- The NCLEX pass rate; this often reflects how well a school prepares its students for the the NCLEX and how much assistance students get
- Financial aid; many schools have established scholarships for students that meet academic standards
- Clinical experience opportunities; you may want to work in different settings to decide which career path suits you
Your work opportunities depend on the type of clinical experience you get, the reputation of your school, and how you perform academically. Clearly, the school you choose is an important factor in the future of your career. For more assistance on your nursing path, use our nursing resources page. If you plan on attending a licensed practical nurse degree program, you may want to select a school that works with other programs for transfer credits. Those planning on earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree may choose between public and private institutions. If you’re pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing, make sure your school offers plenty of experience in your chosen specialty.