Top Nursing Schools in Florida
|Rank||School Name||Score||Tuition||Student/Teacher ratio||Program count||Graduation Rate|
|1||University of Miami||87.00||$$$$$||12:1||1||81%|
|2||Santa Fe College||86.50||$$$$$||22:1||20||61%|
|3||University of Florida||86.00||$$$$$||21:1||8||88%|
|4||Florida Gateway College||85.75||$$$$$||14:1||20||48%|
|5||Florida Southern College||84.50||$$$$$||14:1||5||65%|
|6||Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale||84.25||$$$$$||12:1||12||55%|
|7||The University of Tampa||83.75||$$$$$||17:1||5||62%|
|8||University of North Florida||82.75||$$$$$||20:1||12||55%|
|10||Saint Johns River State College||82.25||$$$$$||20:1||20||41%|
|12||Nova Southeastern University||81.75||$$$$$||16:1||4||46%|
|13||University of South Florida-Main Campus||81.50||$$$$$||25:1||8||67%|
|14||Florida State College at Jacksonville||81.25||$$$$$||22:1||12||36%|
|15||Florida Gulf Coast University||81.25||$$$$$||22:1||12||49%|
|16||Pensacola State College||80.75||$$$$$||21:1||12||33%|
|17||Florida Atlantic University||80.50||$$$$$||24:1||8||46%|
|18||Florida State University||80.25||$$$$$||26:1||12||79%|
|20||Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University||80.00||$$$$$||15:1||20||40%|
|21||Florida International University||80.00||$$$$$||26:1||5||54%|
|22||Adventist University of Health Sciences||80.00||$$$$$||9:1||12||35%|
|23||City College-Fort Lauderdale||79.75||$$$$$||10:1||20||40%|
|24||University of Central Florida||79.25||$$$$$||31:1||8||70%|
|25||Gulf Coast State College||79.00||$$$$$||19:1||20||33%|
|26||Daytona State College||78.50||$$$$$||18:1||20||36%|
|27||Indian River State College||78.25||$$$$$||26:1||20||39%|
|28||College of Central Florida||78.25||$$$$$||28:1||20||41%|
|29||The University of West Florida||78.00||$$$$$||23:1||20||51%|
|30||St Petersburg College||77.25||$$$$$||22:1||12||33%|
|31||Northwest Florida State College||77.25||$$$$$||26:1||20||40%|
|33||Palm Beach Atlantic University||76.75||$$$$$||13:1||38||55%|
|35||South Florida State College||75.75||$$$$$||17:1||38||39%|
|36||State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota||75.75||$$$$$||22:1||20||31%|
|37||Palm Beach State College||75.50||$$$$$||30:1||20||34%|
|40||Miami Dade College||73.00||$$$$$||23:1||20||33%|
|41||Edison State College||71.25||$$$$$||27:1||20||33%|
|42||Polk State College||70.75||$$$$$||26:1||20||27%|
|43||Seminole State College of Florida||69.00||$$$$$||29:1||38||38%|
|44||Pasco-Hernando State College||68.50||$$$$$||27:1||38||34%|
Florida requires that nursing programs within its borders stay in good standing by ensuring at least 70 percent of their graduates pass the NCLEX. Unfortunately, according to a 2015 exposé by the Sun Sentinel, a third of schools failed to meet this threshold, and those that do not improve will go on probation. This means it is vitally important to carefully vet nursing schools in Florida and choose one with a good track record of preparing students to pass the licensure exam. The search tool below can help.
In Florida, all nurses receive their licenses through the Florida Board of Nursing, including RNs and advanced practice nurses. In addition, the board monitors and educates licensees to ensure they are providing quality care to patients. The agency also disciplines nurses who have been reported for professional violations. The initial licensing process is detailed below:
Requirements for Initial Licensure in Florida
- Graduate from a board-approved nursing program with a valid NCLEX code
- Electronically submit an application to the Board of Nursing along with a $110 application and licensing fee
- Register for the NCLEX-RN with Pearson VUE, pay the mandatory testing fee and pass the exam
- Schedule an appointment with a LiveScan service provider for electronic fingerprinting
Anyone who does not pass the NCLEX-RN must reapply. Those who fail three times and wish to take the NCLEX a fourth time must enroll in a state-approved refresher course. RNs with a valid license to practice in another state, who have completed the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE) or the NCLEX, or have actively practice nursing elsewhere in the US for two of the preceding three years in good standing can apply for licensure by endorsement.
Applicants with criminal records must supply additional materials, including an explanation of the offense, parole records, and three letters of recommendation.
Renewal Requirements in Florida
Florida mandates that nurses renew their license every two years. Most, but not all, RNs and APRNs can renew their licenses online. The renewal process involves:
- Submitting a renewal application online or by mail
- Paying an $80 fee
- Presenting evidence of 29 hours of continuing education in specified areas, including medical error, Florida laws and rules, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, recognizing impairment in the workplace, and general hours
Nurses who have let their licenses lapse for more than two years may have to take an exam to show they remain competent in the field.
Becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse in FL
In Florida, advanced practice nurses are known as Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs), a group that includes nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives. ARNPs need to first have an RN license in the state. They must also:
- Fill out an application
- Pay a $100 fee to transition from an RN to an ARNP license or $210 for a joint RN/ARNP license
- Have a master’s degree in their specialty
- Show evidence of national certification in the specialty
- Have taken a two-hour course entitled Prevention of Medical Errors
- Submit documentation of malpractice insurance via the board’s financial responsibility form
- Have their fingerprints taken
Since everyone’s situation is different, it may be helpful to reference the state’s Board of Nursing website for more information on advanced nursing requirements.
With more Americans having access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, and with an aging population developing chronic conditions that require regular medical care, the country will see a dramatic surge in the need for nurses. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2014 and 2024, jobs in the nursing profession will increase by 16 percent across the country. And jobs for nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives are expected to increase by an astonishing 31 percent. The lion’s share of that job growth will be generated in 10 states, with Florida being one of them. See below for how those jobs will pay.
Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Florida
|Area||Hourly Median Wage||Annual Median Wage|
|Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach Metropol||$33.12||$68,880|
|West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach Metropolitan||$31.88||$66,300|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach||$30.41||$63,250|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Florida vs. National Numbers
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central
According to FANA, there are 3,500 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists in the state. It represents all of them, as well as the patients they help, by serving as the main advocacy group for the specialty in the state.
The Board of Nursing is the best resource for information related to licensing. It covers healthcare professionals from practical nurses to registered nurses to advanced practice nurses.
Nurses who specialize in emergency care can join the Florida Emergency Nurses Association to connect with others in their subspecialty. In recent years, the group has partnered with emergency physicians, worked alongside a state task force on workplace violence, and provided scholarships to attend emergency nursing certification courses.
FNA is a constituent member of the American Nurses Association. The organization provides its members with job leads, professional publications and networking opportunities.
The Florida Nurse Practitioner Network is dedicated to providing professional development to nurses through education, events and job leads. It publishes a vibrant calendar of opportunities on its website.
The Florida Nursing Students Association provides resources to students who are working on their nursing degrees. Members can join simply by participating in their college’s local chapter.