Nursing salaries and job prospects often vary by role, employer, and sector, but registered nurses (RNs) consistently earn higher salaries and enjoy higher growth projections for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs earned a median annual salary of $73,300 in 2019. The BLS projects jobs for RNs to grow 7% between 2019 and 2029.
What Can I Do With a Degree in Nursing?
Top nursing schools in Florida focus on foundational nursing skills, including critical thinking, decision-making, communication, and attention to detail. BSN programs meet educational requirements for RN licensure and prepare nurses to care for diverse populations, including children and mothers, aging adults, mentally ill and chronically ill adults, and people from various backgrounds.
Depending on their specializations, interests, and aptitudes, nursing degree graduates choose from dozens of nursing-related careers in multiple fields and contexts. BSN graduates interested in fast-paced nursing work often pursue jobs as emergency room nurses, paramedics, or transplant or surgery nurses. Graduates interested in public health often work in community health clinics or participate in public health research. Some nurses work in niche fields such as pediatrics, cosmetology, home health, and hospice.
Nurses interested in travel can find high-paying, temporary contracts in various locations around the world. Some BSN graduates pursue master's or doctoral degrees that qualify them for nursing management, research, and teaching careers.
Graduate Degree Options for a Career in Nursing
Some BSN graduates pursue more advanced degrees that can prepare them for promotion, salary advancement, or career transition. Unlike the accelerated BSN, the master of science in nursing (MSN) allows nurses to specialize in fields such as gerontology, midwifery, or anesthesiology.
BSN graduates seeking master's degrees often enroll in two-year BSN-to-MSN programs that include core skills in advanced patient care, evidence-based practice, and health assessment. These programs often require 200-600 clinical practice hours. Many MSN graduates use this degree to obtain leadership roles, research careers, or access to doctor of nursing practice or Ph.D. in nursing programs.
Many BSN-holders seeking specialization and career advancement use professional certification programs and professional organizations rather than pursuing an advanced degree.
Accreditation for a Degree in Nursing
As you research the best nursing schools and programs in Florida, pay close attention to accreditation. You can use the Department of Education's searchable Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to verify schools' and programs' academic quality. Only enrollees at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid.
Students should note that only degrees and credits from regionally accredited schools transfer to other regionally accredited schools. This is because regionally accredited schools meet the higher academic standards applied by regional accrediting agencies. National accrediting agencies serve many professional or religious schools, while regional accreditors evaluate academic colleges and universities.
The best nursing schools in Florida may also feature programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
|What is required to be an RN in Florida?||Florida's board of nursing requires RNs to demonstrate successful performance in an accredited nursing education program. RNs must also pass the NCLEX-RN examination.|
|Is Florida a good state for nurses?||Ranked the nation's third-highest nurse-employing state, Florida holds many opportunities for nursing professionals. Given the state's high geriatric population, gerontology or hospice specializations may prove particularly useful to job-seekers.|
|What is the yearly salary for RNs?||Ranked the nation's third-highest nurse-employing state, Florida holds many opportunities for nursing professionals. Given the state's high geriatric population, gerontology or hospice specializations may prove particularly useful to job-seekers.|
|How much do nurses earn in Florida?||The BLS indicates that Florida's RNs earn a median annual salary of $67,610. However, salary figures depend on various factors.|
What Are the Requirements for a Degree in Nursing?
Accelerated second-degree nursing programs in Florida typically require enrollees to possess a prior bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field, a 2.5-3.2 minimum GPA, successful performance in prerequisite coursework and sometimes on the Test of Essential Academic Skills or other standardized tests.
Accelerated BSN programs typically follow a designated, sequential curriculum that meets Florida RN educational requirements. Enrollees complete about 60 credits of core coursework that surveys major types of nursing care, such as acute nursing, mental health nursing, and family nursing. Enrollees must complete supervised practicums or internships to graduate.
Courses in a Nursing Program
Accelerated BSN programs at the best nursing schools in Florida do not feature elective or concentration options because these programs follow a set curriculum aligned with Florida nursing education guidelines. The accelerated BSN curriculum covers core topic areas including family health, chronic and aging patient care, mental health care, and public and community health.
Enrollees explore nurses' roles in various situations, contexts, and systems. The best nursing schools in Florida also cultivate scientific understanding of health and nursing by including courses on nursing research. Many nursing courses feature lab, clinical, and practicum components that allow students to develop and hone clinical skills under supervision from experienced nurses.
Patient-Centered Care: Essentials of Nursing Practice
One of the first courses taken in many nursing programs in Florida, this course emphasizes clinical skills for wellness promotion and illness prevention. A standard requirement in pre-licensure nursing programs, this course highlights best practices and techniques used for nursing processes, therapeutic communication, and health promotion. Learners gain skills in nursing safety, health education, and care quality. Students learn how to adapt care techniques based on patients' cultural membership.
Nursing Care of Women, Children, and Family
Another core requirement in pre-licensure programs, this course covers family care through phases such as childbirth, child development, and parenting. Integrating community, social, and cultural perspectives on the family, this course helps students understand how to encourage health and treat injury or illness within families. Enrollees typically complete a clinical course that includes practicing nursing care in various clinical settings.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
This essential course prepares participants to provide nursing care for acutely and chronically mentally ill patients. Course topics include psychopharmacology and psychopathology treatment across the lifespan. Enrollees learn the role that nurses play in mental health care, including collaboration, communication, and referral to community resources. This required course helps BSN students meet educational requirements for RN licensure.
Public Health Nursing
This course introduces students to public health nursing issues, strategies, and practices. Focal points include health management, promotion, and prevention. Enrollees learn public health strategies for reducing health risks and supporting health and wellness. Participants also gain clinical experience in diverse communities. Most BSN programs require public health nursing coursework. This subject proves particularly essential for aspiring public health, community service, and clinic managers.
A core component throughout or at the end of nursing programs in Florida, nursing practicums or internships consist of supervised practice at providing care in approved settings. Faculty, students, and approved agencies work together to set up these practicums that encourage learners to integrate nursing theory with clinical skills and practices.
Certifications and Licensure for Nursing Majors
Nursing majors can enhance their employability and career options by obtaining professional credentials, such as RN licensure. Many nursing positions require official licensure from the state board. Nursing majors can also earn various other nursing-related credentials that demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills. See below for three credential options for nursing majors.
- Licensed Practical Nurse
Aspiring LPNs must complete a state board-approved practical nursing program or meet alternative pathway requirements specified by their state board. All LPNs in the United States must pass the NCLEX-PN examination. Additional requirements vary by state. Many states allow LPNs to transfer their license from another state with similar requirements. As nurses, medical assistants, or aides, LPNs often provide direct care to patients in medical facilities or at patients' homes.
- Registered Nurse
Aspiring RNs must meet state board-stipulated education requirements, which entail successfully completing a board-approved RN program. All U.S. RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN. Other requirements differ by state, and RN licensure may transfer across state lines. RNs may work as nurses, case managers, legal nurse consultants, or nurse informatics specialists.
- Certified Health Education Specialist
This certification requires successful performance on the CHES examination. Applicants need a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited school and a degree in health education or sufficient credits in seven topic areas. Career paths associated with this certification include community health educators, organizers, and coordinators; education program or case managers; health education programmers; and family services specialists.
Professional Organizations for Nursing Students
Professional organizations offer many benefits to nursing students, including scholarships, career guidance, and networking opportunities. These organizations run conferences, publish resources, and provide continuing education and professional certifications. See below for a sampling of the many nursing-related professional organizations available.
A nonprofit offering career development and licensure guidance and support, NSNA emphasizes mentorship and professional standards and ethics guidelines. NSNA also runs conferences, provides resource guides and publications, and advocates for accessible high-quality healthcare and nursing education.
Since 1896, ANA has worked to advance the profession through advocacy, career development, and promotion of nurse health and safety. ANA also establishes professional standards and maintains the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the American Academy of Nursing, and the American Nurses Foundation. ANA supports networking through various events and an online mentorship program.
This professional organization for emergency department nurses serves over 42,000 members worldwide. The ENA provides a diverse array of continuing education, networking, and employment opportunities for nursing students and professionals, plus a large body of clinical resources useful to working emergency nurses.
The nation's oldest professional nurse organization, NLN promotes public policy initiatives, professional networking and development, research grants, and testing for nursing students and professionals. NLN offers many career resources, including a job board, resume posting, networking tools, and interviewing and career advancement tips.
Scholarships for Nursing Students
Nursing students can apply for scholarships awarded based on financial need, academic performance, or group membership. Granted by various public or private funders, these scholarships vary widely in award amount and do not require repayment. Nursing students should consider applying to the scholarships below.
- Nurse Corps Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, this scholarship goes to U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents pursuing professional nursing degrees at accredited U.S. nursing schools. Recipients agree to work at a Critical Shortage Facility after graduation. Application requirements include two recommendation letters, a resume or C.V., three short essays, and various required documentation forms.More Information
Amount: Varies, but typically covers tuition, fees, books and supplies, and a monthly living stipend
- American Nephrology Nurses Association Career Mobility Scholarships
Who Can Apply: ANNA provides six different scholarship types to bachelor's or graduate students in nursing. Applicants need two years of ANNA membership and must be actively involved in nephrology-related healthcare. Some scholarships require additional criteria, such as professional certification from the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission.More Information
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses Nursing Scholarships
Who Can Apply: NAHN offers various scholarships and awards to NAHN members enrolled in full-time, accredited nursing programs. Eligible applicants demonstrate good standing for six months prior. The United Health Foundation Diverse Scholars Initiative scholarship requires candidates to hold a 3.0 minimum GPA. The award pays for recipients to attend the NAHN Annual Conference Gala and the United Health Foundation Diverse Scholar Initiative Forum.More Information
- National Black Nurses Association, Inc.
Who Can Apply: Eligible applicants hold both NBNA and NBNA local chapter memberships, demonstrate good academic standing in a nursing program, and have at least one year of enrollment remaining. Applicants submit two recommendation letters, a written essay, and official transcripts, plus a professional headshot and documented evidence of involvement in student nurse activities in the African American community.More Information
- Catching the Dream Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Candidates must prove at least 25% American Indian heritage and enrollment in a U.S. tribe. Eligible candidates must be enrolled full time in an accredited, academic, on-campus, U.S. bachelor's or graduate program. Applicants must submit three recommendation letters, an essay, a financial needs analysis, and standardized test scores.More Information
Amount: $500-$5,000 annually
Accelerated Campus Nursing Programs in Florida 2020
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
Save this list:
|1||University of Florida Gainesville, FL||Tuition $11,313||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A public research university in Gainesville, UF offers an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for students with a bachelor's or graduate degree in another study area.
Similar to many accelerated nursing programs in Florida, UF's curriculum entails 60 credits and 765 clinical hours. Enrollees take courses in nursing principles, clinical reasoning, and pathophysiology and pharmacology practice. Additional courses examine nursing research, policy and change, and nursing leadership and innovation.
Applicants need a non-nursing bachelor's degree from an accredited school and a 3.0 minimum GPA for the last 60 credits completed or for a graduate degree. Enrollees must complete six prerequisite courses, including anatomy and physiology, microbiology, statistics, and human nutrition.
University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|2||University of Central Florida Orlando, FL||Tuition $13,016||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A public research university in Orlando, UCF offers an accelerated, second-degree bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for working students seeking to switch to nursing careers. This upper-division program only admits applicants with a bachelor's or graduate degree in a non-nursing field. Candidates must demonstrate completion of several prerequisites, a 3.0 minimum GPA, a successful Test of Essential Academic Skills exam, and a satisfactory background check.
The curriculum emphasizes the sciences and includes service learning and clinical rotations in underserved communities. Coursework resembles that of other accelerated nursing programs in Florida, covering essential nursing areas such as pharmacology, health assessment, adult nursing, and mental health nursing.
The program takes four semesters to complete, starting and ending with a summer term. Enrollees move through this accelerated curriculum as a cohort, and graduates possess the education needed for registered nurse licensure. Qualifying students receive Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarships.
University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|3||University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa, FL||Tuition $10,460||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
USF's accelerated, on-campus bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) serves bachelor's degree-holders from non-nursing fields who seek nursing careers. Composed entirely of core coursework, this curriculum helps learners accumulate the coursework and clinical hours needed for registered nurse licensure.
Coursework covers nursing practice; complex health nursing; pathophysiology; and health assessment, wellness, and prevention access across the lifespan. Additional requirements include pharmacology, psychiatric mental health nursing, public health nursing, and leadership in nursing. This hands-on program requires ongoing clinical rotations and a preceptorship practicum that synthesizes theory and practice. Enrollees can complete this 62-credit, full-time program in 16 months.
Applicants need a 3.0 minimum GPA and a non-nursing bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school. They must also complete 7-8 nursing prerequisites before beginning the program.
University of South Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|4||Florida International University Miami, FL||Tuition $9,180||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A Miami-based public research university, FIU features an accelerated option (AO) bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for aspiring nurses with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. The AO BSN program emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and hands-on clinical skills. Enrollees can finish this 61-credit program in just one year.
The first semester, which starts in October, entails five foundational nursing practice credits. The 19-credit, six-course spring semester covers nursing care of adults, pharmacology and pathophysiology, nursing leadership, and health assessment and promotion. The 18-credit summer semester continues coursework on nursing care of adults and adds courses on family and child-rearing nursing care. The final, 19-credit fall semester includes courses in psychosocial nursing, global health, community health, and a senior practicum and synthesis.
Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|5||University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL||Tuition $10,809||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Part of Florida's state university system, UNF in Jacksonville offers an accelerated, pre-licensure bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for aspiring nurses with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. Enrollees typically sit for the registered nurse licensure exam following graduation.
This concentrated program starts in May or August and requires four full-time consecutive semesters spread over 15 months. Learners progress in a 36-person cohort and complete a sequential curriculum of 11-15 credits per semester. This program emphasizes scientific study and varied, community-based clinical experiences. Students complete clinical hours and nursing practica with UNF's partner community agencies. Applicants complete 5-8 prerequisite courses and need a 3.2 minimum GPA for entry.
UNF's nursing school is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. University of North Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|6||Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL||Tuition $24,557||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
One of the best nursing schools in Florida, JU's Keigwin School of Nursing provides a second-degree program that allows enrollees with prior bachelor's degrees from accredited schools to complete an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) in just 16 months. Moving through the curriculum as a 41-person cohort, students begin courses in May and finish by September of the following year.
The curriculum prepares enrollees to pass the NCLEX-RN exam upon graduation. Enrollees complete 64 nursing credits and 120 total degree hours. BSN coursework covers essentials and foundations of nursing, nursing assessment, adult health, pharmacology, and family nursing. Other courses include community care nursing, pathophysiology, nursing research, and nursing leadership.
Applicants submit three recommendation letters, an admission essay and nursing questions, official transcripts demonstrating a 2.5 minimum GPA, and evidence that they will have completed six prerequisite courses by the program's designated start date.
Jacksonville University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|7||Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL||Tuition $21,820||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Among the best nursing schools in Florida, FAU's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing in Boca Raton offers an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for aspiring registered nurses with a non-nursing bachelor's degree. This 60-credit program follows a fixed, sequential curriculum of 12-17 credits per semester for four terms, starting in the fall and ending after a second fall term.
FAU's curriculum aligns with standard Florida nursing course requirements, beginning with health assessment, foundations of nursing care and practice, and pharmacotherapeutics and pathophysiology. Additional coursework topics include chronic care, acute care, family care, and psychiatric care. Degree-seekers take two professional development courses that cover nursing law, ethics, and leadership. Enrollees also complete a supervised nursing practice immersion experience.
Applicants need a 3.0 minimum GPA, an above-average percentile score on the Test of Essential Academic Skills examination, and completed nursing prerequisite coursework. Prerequisites include anatomy and physiology, chemistry, nutrition, and microbiology. FAU's accelerated BSN program may allow transfer of up to six credits in upper-level health assessment or general pathophysiology.
Florida Atlantic University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|8||Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, FL||Tuition $9,486||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Founded in 1887, FAMU is a historically black public university in Tallahassee. The school offers a fast-track RN-to-BSN program serving registered nurses (RNs) seeking a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Many RNs use this program for career advancement and upskilling to meet current healthcare and medical developments.
This flexible, 30-credit program consists of three semesters entailing 8-12 credits. The curriculum often begins with introduction to professional nursing, health assessment, and pathophysiology. The second semester includes courses on evidence-based practice and quality care, promotion of health in various populations, and individualized study. The third semester often covers complex health systems leadership and management, free electives, and a professional transition practicum.
Applicants need a 3.1 minimum GPA, a B or higher in all nursing prerequisites, and three recommendation letters.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|9||University of Miami Coral Gables, FL||Tuition $26,135||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Serving nursing students with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field, the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) at UM's School of Nursing and Health Studies in Coral Gables meets Florida's educational requirements for registered nurse examination.
Enrollees can complete this fast-track, 55-credit program in one year by taking 15-21 credits per semester over three semesters. Students can begin this program in May or January.
UM's curriculum integrates classroom learning and clinical experience and prepares graduates to take the NCLEX-RN examination.
One of the top nursing schools in Florida, UM works with 170 clinical partners who provide clinical rotations for nursing students. UM's nursing school features cutting-edge facilities, including a simulation hospital that facilitates hands-on application of classroom learning.
UM's nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. University of Miami is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|10||Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL||Tuition $3,099||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A private university in Fort Lauderdale, NSU provides an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for aspiring registered nurses (RNs) with a non-nursing bachelor's degree. Only available at NSU's Fort Myers location, the accelerated program requires enrollees to live within 150 miles of the campus and to attend the on-campus program full time.
This 64-credit program features a four-semester, lock-step curriculum aligned with Florida RN education requirements. Enrollees complete coursework on core nursing topics, including population health, maternal-child nursing and families, and pathophysiology. The curriculum also explores nursing leadership and management, the contemporary healthcare environment, and nursing research. To graduate, accelerated BSN students must complete a six-credit nursing practicum during their fourth semester.
Applicants need a 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA with a 2.75 minimum science GPA, a C or higher in all prerequisites, a non-nursing bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, and successful performance in an on-campus interview and pre-admission test.
Nova Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.