Best Nursing Schools and Programs in Florida 2020

Providing healthcare in a variety of settings, registered nurses (RNs) need many skills to succeed. As professionals who work with diverse populations, RNs must display multicultural competence, commitment to inclusivity, and respect for human dignity. They also need strong skills in communication, critical thinking, observation, and decision-making.

Nurses enjoy strong job prospects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for nurses to grow 7% between 2019-2029. In Florida, demand for nurses is projected to grow even faster, partly due to the state's high proportion of aging residents.

Typically a four-year program that integrates career-specific training with coursework in science and the humanities, a BSN program gives students the clinical and interpersonal skills needed to enter this fast-growing, rewarding field.

FAQ

Question Answer
What do you study in a nursing program? Nursing programs cover the theory and practice of caring for patients across the lifespan. Learners study essential modalities and practice their skills in simulation and clinical settings.
What degree do I need to become a Registered Nurse? Graduates with an associate degree can sit for licensing exams and work as RNs. However, employers increasingly require or prefer candidates to hold a BSN.
How does nursing school work? BSN candidates usually complete pre-nursing requirements before beginning major courses. Nursing programs include both classroom instruction and supervised clinical hours. Some programs require final exams and/or independent research projects.
How long does it take to earn a degree in nursing? An associate degree typically takes two years of full-time study to complete, while a bachelor's degree takes four. However, some programs offer accelerated timelines.
Best Nursing Schools and Programs in Florida badge

Best Nursing Schools and Programs in Florida 2020

With so many programs available, choosing a BSN program in Florida can feel overwhelming. This list ranks 25 of the best nursing programs in Florida to help applicants find the right program to reach their career goals.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL Tuition $43,305 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

With three campuses in the Miami area, UM has trained nurses for over 70 years. Boasting state-of-the-art training facilities, this private research university is home to one of the best nursing schools in Florida.

Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, UM's four-year, 121-credit BSN program prepares students to sit for RN licensing exams in Florida. Three school-affiliated hospitals and a network of clinical partners provide diverse opportunities for clinical practice. Students build career skills and master healthcare technology at the school's simulation hospital. Multiple student organizations facilitate learning, networking, and peer support.

Applicants with a prior bachelor's degree or RN licensure may consider UM's 55-credit accelerated BSN program or 60-credit RN-to-BSN program. UM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

2 University of Florida Gainesville, FL Tuition $11,313 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

The state's flagship public university, UF trains nurses to enter the workforce as generalist practitioners. The Gainesville-based school offers three paths to earning a BSN degree.

Students in the traditional BSN program complete general education and pre-professional lower-division requirements before pursuing the four-semester BSN program. Students with a previous degree or RN licensure may enter as upper-division students, taking 4-5 semesters of career-specific training through the school's accelerated or RN-to-BSN programs.

The 60-credit BSN curriculum covers subjects including pathophysiology, pharmacology, and clinical reasoning. Nursing students enjoy access to simulation facilities, a teaching hospital, student organizations, and an honors program. Clinical practice allows candidates to gain experience providing care to diverse populations.

UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

3 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL Tuition $13,318 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public research university recognized for promoting diversity, FSU serves almost 42,000 students annually. The school's two-year BSN program, offered on its main campus in Tallahassee, prepares graduates to take national licensing exams.

Before entering the BSN program, students must complete general education requirements in math, science, humanities, and social science. Once admitted, they complete a 60-credit curriculum that covers fundamental nursing concepts and practices. Students can tailor the degree to their interests through electives on topics like women's health; grief, loss, and trauma; substance abuse; and multicultural issues.

FSU freshmen can join the school's Nursing Learning Community, which offers opportunities for learning and mentorship. The school's Veterans BSN program provides special support to veterans transitioning into nursing school.

FSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

4 Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL Tuition $21,820 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located in Florida's largest city, JU's Keigwin School of Nursing offers a BSN program with multiple pathways. While many nursing programs in Florida only admit upper-division students, freshmen can take advantage of the school's Freshman Acceptance Program. Students in this program receive mentorship from senior nursing students and take nursing courses throughout all four years of their college experience.

Students with an associate degree or completed core coursework and prerequisites can apply for the traditional BSN program, which takes 28 months to complete. The school's accelerated, 16-month second-degree program accepts applicants with a bachelor's degree. An RN-to-BSN option, available online and in hybrid format, welcomes practicing RNs with an associate degree.

JU's nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

5 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, UCF enrolls almost 70,000 students annually at its 12 Orlando-area campuses and online. The school's College of Nursing prepares graduates to obtain licensure as registered nurses in Florida.

Students without a nursing background can complete UCF's traditional 120-credit BSN in four years of full-time study. The first two years of the program cover prerequisites and general education requirements. The junior and senior years delve into career-specific coursework and clinical practice.

The school's accelerated, four-semester BSN track is designed for learners with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. Agreements with area community colleges allow students to earn an ADN and BSN concurrently, shortening their time to the degree. The school also offers an online RN-to-BSN program.

UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

6 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 -

Based in Tampa, USF offers several nursing degree programs geared toward first-time college students, individuals with prior degrees, and veterans transitioning to civilian careers. Students in all of the school's BSN programs benefit from a fully accredited simulation lab, study abroad programs, and a community service corps.

The upper-division track accepts students who have completed pre-nursing requirements at USF or other institutions. A freshman entry track allows first-year students to begin nursing coursework earlier than they could at many BSN programs in Florida.

Applicants with medical experience in the military can pursue the four-semester V-Care pathway. ADN candidates at Hillsborough Community College can earn a BSN from USF concurrently. Current RNs can choose from several specializations as part of a 3-5-semester online RN-to-BSN track.

USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

7 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 public research university located in Miami, FIU enrolls over 1,000 students annually in its three BSN programs. Emphasizing technological and multicultural competence, FIU's Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences prepares graduates to sit for NCLEX exams.

FIU's generic BSN program is open to applicants who have completed 60 credits of core coursework at FIC, an associate degree from a Florida community college, or a bachelor's degree. This upper-division program comprises five semesters of nursing coursework.

Applicants who hold non-nursing bachelor's degrees and demonstrate completion of nursing prerequisites may pursue the 61-credit, four-semester accelerated BSN option. Both generic and accelerated program applicants must take the TEAS exam. A 30-credit online RN-to-BSN program admits RNs with a Florida license.

FIU's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

8 Florida Southern College Lakeland, FL Tuition $26,135 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

The oldest private college in the state, Florida Southern offers both a direct-entry BSN program and an RN-to-BSN program. With graduates achieving a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX exams, the Lakeland-based college ranks among the best nursing schools in Florida.

Florida Southern's direct-entry BSN is intended for incoming freshmen. Due to the structure of the program, transfer entry is limited. Direct-entry students begin nursing coursework in their first year. Successful completion of the freshman year curriculum enables learners to progress to clinical practice in their second year. Simulation labs and courses in diverse aspects of nursing practice prepare students for internship and practicum experiences in their senior year. Licensed RNs may apply to Florida Southern's RN-to-BSN program.

Florida Southern is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

9 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL Tuition $25,867 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

NSU offers two undergraduate nursing tracks through its Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing. The 82-credit traditional BSN program accepts applicants with 39 completed credits of general education and prerequisite nursing courses. Once accepted, students typically earn their degree in 27 months.

The school's pre-nursing program covers prerequisite coursework and is designed for underclassmen who plan to apply to the BSN program in their junior year. Applicants who already hold a bachelor's degree may apply for the 64-credit accelerated BSN. This lockstep program requires four semesters of full-time study.

Like many of the best nursing programs in Florida, NSU's programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

10 The University of Tampa Tampa, FL Tuition $30,683 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

UT offers a four-year BSN program through its College of Natural and Health Sciences. Designed for learners without previous nursing education, this 125-credit program is one of the Tampa-based school's most popular undergraduate majors.

Students begin their nursing education by declaring a pre-nursing major. Math and science prerequisites develop students' quantitative reasoning skills. Courses in writing and social science build communication skills and cultural competence. Once they complete prerequisite courses and take the TEAS exam, learners can apply to the BSN program. Major coursework builds professional skills; provides hands-on experience; and addresses topics including leadership, community health, and care across the lifespan.

UT's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

11 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 -

UNF offers four BSN tracks tailored to the needs of students with differing educational backgrounds. These cohort-based programs foster community engagement by placing students with home-based community agencies. Multiple study-abroad opportunities reflect the curriculum's emphasis on global issues in healthcare.

The regular track is designed for applicants who have completed 60 credits of prerequisite and general education requirements. A freshman admit track serves first-year students planning to major in nursing, allowing them to take upper-level nursing courses concurrently with lower-division prerequisite courses.

An accelerated track enrolls students who hold non-nursing bachelor's degrees. These learners typically graduate after four semesters of full-time study. A three-semester online RN-to-BSN track admits practicing RNs.

UNF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its BSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

12 Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach, FL Tuition $24,557 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A private Christian university located in West Palm Beach, PBA offers a four-year BSN program with multiple points of entry. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the 123-credit program integrates traditional nursing coursework with a faith-based approach.

Incoming freshmen who intend to major in nursing can apply for direct admission to the program. The program also admits current lower-division PBA students and transfer students who hold an associate or bachelor's degree. These applicants must demonstrate completion of 67 prerequisite course credits, including general education requirements, introductory nursing courses, and biblical studies classes.

Coursework covers theoretical and practical aspects of medical-surgical, community, and family nursing. Students gain hands-on experience in local healthcare settings. They may also qualify to work as nurse technicians after the first semester of their junior year.

PBA is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

13 St. Thomas University Miami Gardens, FL Tuition $19,476 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located in Miami Gardens, STU offers a traditional pre-licensure BSN program and a post-licensure RN-to-BSN option. The private Catholic university's traditional BSN curriculum comprises 69 credits of classroom and clinical requirements. Learners study topics including pharmacology, pathophysiology, and health assessment. Clinical practice gives students experience working with patients in various life stages and in a variety of healthcare settings. The online RN-to-BSN track entails 30 credit hours and two clinical practica.

Applicants who plan to sit for NCLEX exams must complete two years of pre-nursing coursework through STU's Pathway to BSN program. Prerequisite coursework includes classes in writing, math, science, and religious studies.

STU's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Florida Board of Nursing. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

14 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL Tuition $27,649 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Florida's largest private university, Keiser operates 21 campuses, including its main location in Fort Lauderdale. Applicants can choose from a variety of BSN pathways depending on their previous educational experience.

Comprising 40 general education credits and 80 upper-division nursing credits, Keiser's traditional BSN is designed for first-time college students. Enrollees typically complete the program in under three years.

The school's accelerated program caters to learners with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. The FastTrack program accepts applicants with some college experience who have not earned a bachelor's. Students in the accelerated and FastTrack programs can graduate in about 16 months. All three tracks prepare graduates to sit for the NCLEX licensing exam.

Keiser is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its BSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

15 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL Tuition $9,486 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public university with six campuses in southeastern Florida, FAU offers multiple BSN tracks tailored to the needs of students with differing educational backgrounds. FAU's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing stands out among nursing programs in Florida for its holistic focus. Approved by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation, FAU's BSN programs blend traditional training with opportunities to explore alternative modalities.

Students without prior degrees typically enter FAU's four-year traditional BSN program as freshmen. Learners enrolled in the honors program conduct independent research and culminate their degree with a thesis project. Applicants with a prior bachelor's degree may pursue the program's 15-month accelerated track or a two-year part-time track designed for working professionals. FAU also offers an online RN-to-BSN track.

FAU's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Florida Board of Nursing. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

16 AdventHealth University Orlando, FL Tuition $17,145 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A private university affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, AHU exclusively awards healthcare-related degrees. AHU's blended four-year BSN program combines online course content with day or evening classes on its Orlando campus.

Applicants who intend to sit for the NCLEX exam may apply to the program if they have completed 58 credits of pre-nursing requirements. Prerequisites include classes in anatomy and physiology, social science, and religious studies. Sixty-three additional credits of professional preparation complete the degree. The school accepts transfer students, but it typically gives preference to applicants with at least 12 credit hours at AHU. Licensed RNs may enroll in the school's fully online RN-to-BSN program.

Like many of the best nursing schools in Florida, AHU's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

17 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, FL Tuition $14,692 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Part of the State University System of Florida, FAMU is ranked among the country's top historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The Tallahassee-based school offers the only nursing program in Florida fully housed at an HBCU an upper-division program that trains graduates as generalist practitioners.

FAMU's BSN program accepts applicants who have completed pre-professional nursing requirements at FAMU or another institution. Applicants need a minimum 3.1 GPA. Applicants with an associate degree and an RN license may qualify for FAMU's three-semester, 30-credit RN-to-BSN track.

Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the 48-credit traditional BSN curriculum features courses in health assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. Learners enroll concurrently in complementary theoretical and clinical courses. A practicum and career development seminar culminate the degree. BSN students typically complete the program in five semesters of full-time study.

FAMU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

18 Barry University Miami, FL Tuition $19,293 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located in Miami Shores, Barry offers undergraduate nursing programs geared toward students who plan to take the NCLEX exam. The school offers traditional and accelerated BSN tracks.

Traditional track candidates usually complete their degree in two years of full-time enrollment. Underclassmen typically qualify for BSN entry by completing a two-year pre-nursing course of study. Transfer students may also take pre-nursing courses at Barry before applying to the BSN program. Students who hold a bachelor's degree can complete the accelerated track in about 15 months.

Both nursing tracks are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Florida Board of Nursing. Barry is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

19 Chipola College Marianna, FL Tuition $3,099 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Primarily a junior college, Chipola offers a small roster of baccalaureate degrees, including a BSN. The Marianna-based school's nursing programs afford multiple entry points to meet the needs of diverse students.

First-time college students seeking a BSN begin the program with general education courses. Learners who have fulfilled these requirements at Chipola or another institution may apply for admittance to Chipola's ADN program. This program combines traditional classroom learning, synchronous online classes, simulation labs, and clinical experiences in local healthcare settings. Upon completing the 72-credit associate degree, graduates can sit for licensing exams and apply immediately to Chipola's online RN-to-BSN program.

Chipola's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

20 Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL Tuition $11,716 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located in Fort Myers, FGCU offers a traditional freshman-entry BSN program that equips graduates to sit for licensure exams and enter the job market as licensed nurses in Florida. With 100% of its graduates passing the NCLEX exam, FGCU's Marieb College of Health & Human Services ranks among the best nursing schools in Florida.

The BSN curriculum comprises 61 credits of major coursework and 63 credits of general education and elective courses. Underclassmen typically complete pre-nursing requirements in two years of full-time study. They are then eligible to apply for admission to the upper-level BSN program. Once enrolled in major courses, learners receive instruction in caring for diverse populations and engage in clinical practice at a variety of local sites.

Like many nursing programs in Florida, FGCU's programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. FGCU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

21 The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL Tuition $9,091 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

The Dr. D.W. McMillan BSN Nursing Program welcomes applicants who have completed pre-nursing and general education requirements. This upper-division program is a traditional pre-licensure BSN. UWF's fully online RN-to-BSN enrolls associate-trained nurses who plan to advance to a baccalaureate degree.

Applicants to the BSN program need a minimum 3.0 GPA and a composite score of 75% or higher on the TEAS test. The 124-credit program includes 62 upper-level major credits. Students gain experience in patient-centered care through skills labs and classroom instruction.

UWF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

22 Gulf Coast State College Panama City, FL Tuition $3,128 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public college with a main campus in Panama City, GCSC offers two nursing degrees geared toward applicants with various backgrounds. The RN-to-BSN program accepts associate- and diploma-trained registered nurses. An ADN program welcomes first-time college students and may grant advanced placement status to licensed practical nurses.

Students can graduate from GCSC with a bachelor's degree in nursing by first qualifying for the ADN, then advancing to the RN-to-BSN program. Many courses taken for the associate-level degree count toward the 120 credit hours required for the BSN. Bachelor's students can begin the program in the spring or fall. Full-time enrollees typically finish their degree in two years.

GCSC's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

23 Miami Dade College Miami, FL Tuition $6,393 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Licensed RNs with an associate degree can earn a bachelor's degree in nursing at MDC through its RN-to-BSN program. Students often begin working toward their BSN immediately after graduating from the school's associate degree in nursing program.

Students can choose from full-time and part-time tracks. The ADN program typically takes three semesters of full-time study to complete. Completing the bachelor's typically requires three additional semesters of full-time study. BSN candidates learn online, except for a small number of courses that require on-site clinical hours.

MDC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

24 Daytona State College Daytona Beach, FL Tuition $6,171 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public college located in Daytona Beach, Daytona State offers an RN-to-BSN program that prepares associate- and diploma-trained nurses for leadership roles and expanded employment opportunities. This fully online program accepts applicants who hold a nursing license in their state of residence.

The 120-credit program facilitates seamless transfer for Daytona State students who completed their associate degree at the institution. BSN candidates typically complete the remaining credits in four semesters of full-time enrollment. LPNs and other allied health professionals may enter the program with advanced standing.

Daytona State's nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

25 College of Central Florida Ocala, FL Tuition $6,448 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

CF offers some of the most affordable and flexible nursing programs in Florida. With multiple annual start dates and the option to enroll either part time or full time, the Ocala-based school caters to students with a variety of needs.

Applicants new to nursing begin with the 72-credit ADN program, which prepares them to take the NCLEX exam. Students typically complete this degree in 4-6 semesters. Applicants who are LPNs can complete the ADN program in about a year.

The RN-to-BSN program adds 39 credits of specialized training. Candidates usually graduate in 3-5 semesters. BSN graduates who plan to proceed to advanced degree programs benefit from the school's articulation agreement with State University System of Florida nursing graduate programs.

CF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Career and Salary Outlook for Nursing

Registered nurses can work in a variety of healthcare settings and specialize in diverse areas of clinical practice. Most nurses work directly with patients, though some transition to administrative roles. Hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics, and home healthcare agencies hire the majority of registered nurses. Outside of typical settings, nurses may work in schools, correctional institutions, and community healthcare organizations. Some nurses travel to underserved areas to treat patients.

Nurses make a median annual salary of over $73,000. Factors that affect nurses' earning potential include location, employer, specialization, and experience. Nurses with a bachelor's degree frequently enjoy higher salaries and more opportunities for career advancement than those with an associate degree. Additionally, nurses practicing in cities typically earn more than those employed in rural areas to account for higher costs of living.

Registered Nurses
Bottom 10% Median Annual Salary Top 10%
$52,080 $73,300 $111,220

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Nursing Programs

Accreditation is a process whereby agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation evaluate colleges and universities on several criteria, including curriculum quality, faculty credentials, and student resources. Accredited schools demonstrate adherence to national standards for quality education.

Schools may hold national or regional accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. National accreditation typically applies to for-profit, vocational and technical schools. Regional accreditation applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions.

Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. The best nursing schools in Florida hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Prospective RNs planning to enroll in nursing programs in Florida can use the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to verify a school or program's accreditation status.

Licensing in Nursing

To practice as an RN, individuals must obtain a state license. State boards of nursing set licensing standards to ensure that professional nurses possess the knowledge and skills needed to treat and advise patients safely, ethically, and responsibly.

While licensing requirements vary by state, prospective RNs in all states must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. An adaptive, multiple-choice test, the NCLEX-RN requires examinees to demonstrate the ability to make informed judgments based on their medical knowledge.

In Florida, candidates for licensure need a bachelor's or associate degree from an institution approved by the Florida State Board of Nursing, accredited by the CCNE or ACEN, or issued an NCLEX code by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Additionally, they must submit a fingerprint scan and disclose any criminal convictions. Individuals who have been convicted of medical fraud are prohibited from obtaining Florida RN licensure.

Qualifying as an RN in Florida does not automatically mean an individual can practice nursing anywhere in the country. However, Florida is one of 34 states belonging to the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows Florida RNs to practice in other member states.

Courses in a Nursing Program

Most nursing programs begin with prerequisites that lay the foundation for advanced nursing courses. Students take courses on subjects like anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and nutrition. Additional coursework in sociology, psychology, and composition develops cultural awareness and interpersonal skills.

Upper-division courses introduce professional practices, covering subjects like health assessment, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. Through skills labs, classroom instruction, and supervised clinical practice, students learn to treat patients of diverse ages and backgrounds.

The best nursing programs in Florida provide a balance of classroom and clinical hours; the state nursing board only approves BSN programs that feature at least 40% clinical training.

Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines courses commonly found in nursing programs in Florida.

Foundations of Nursing Practice

Many BSN programs in Florida begin with a class that familiarizes students with basic nursing concepts and processes. These courses typically cover subjects like healthcare terminology, professional ethics, and therapeutic communication. Students explore the role of the nurse as a caregiver, researcher, and advocate. Some classes may also introduce training in psychomotor skills like taking vital signs.

Pathophysiology

Pathophysiology courses cover the effects of disease and injury on the human body. Sometimes taught in conjunction with pharmacology -- the study of how drugs work in living systems -- this course cultivates clinical reasoning and diagnostic skills. Students learn how to identify manifestations of illness and abnormal physical processes in diverse patient populations. They then learn to apply this knowledge to develop appropriate interventions.

Health Assessment and Promotion

Emphasizing a collaborative relationship between nurse and patient, this course focuses on physical assessments of diverse patients. Students learn to gather and interpret health data, mastering various assessment tools like interviewing and physical examination. The course also covers biological, environmental, and sociocultural factors that affect health.

Maternal and Pediatric Nursing

One of several core courses dealing with population-specific nursing practices, this course examines the roles and responsibilities of nurses caring for families experiencing pregnancy, birth, and childrearing. Coursework covers topics like developmental theory, health promotion, and risk reduction. Students explore legal, ethical, and cultural issues that apply to working with children and families.

Nursing Research

This course provides an overview of the history, methodology, and applications of nursing research and evidence-based practice. Students learn how to search for published research, analyze it critically, and apply it to real-life clinical situations. Learners may create and present their own research proposals.

Financial Aid

Many nursing students take advantage of financial aid opportunities to help fund their education, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. Students must submit the FAFSA every year to determine their eligibility for federal aid. Some schools and other organizations also use FAFSA data to determine aid. Learners should submit the application as early as possible, since some awards are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Around the time applicants receive acceptance letters from their colleges, they usually receive financial aid reports. Student loans need to be repaid, and they may be either subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are more advantageous, since they do not accrue interest while borrowers are enrolled in school. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid.

Scholarships for Nursing

Many organizations offer scholarships for nursing students. This list presents a sample of scholarships open to students enrolled in nursing programs in Florida.

AfterCollege-AACN Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to students earning a baccalaureate or higher nursing degree at an AACN member institution. The selection committee may give preference to applicants enrolled in RN-to-BSN and accelerated programs.
Amount: $2,500.00

More Information
NAHN Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Hispanic nursing students, active members of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, and enrolled full time in an accredited program. The organization offers several annual awards.
Amount: $1,000.00 - $5,000.00

More Informatio
Florida Nurses Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: This organization offers a variety of scholarships for Florida nursing students at all levels. After students submit a general application, the organization matches them with relevant scholarships.
Amount: Varies

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American Indian Nurse Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to nursing students of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian descent who plan to work in Native communities after graduation. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited institution.
Amount: $1,500.00 per semester

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NBNA Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: This program offers multiple awards for student members of the National Black Nurses Association. The selection committee may give preference to applicants who demonstrate involvement in the African American community.
Amount: $1,000.00 - $5,000.00

More Informatio