Find the Right School
Whether it's the coast or the state's more inland areas calling your name, you'll find nursing schools in Florida from the northern border to the southern tip.
In the north, Jacksonville's Chamberlain College of Nursing offers an accelerated Bachelor of Nursing degree (BSN) program that emphasizes a broad educational foundation as well as extensive clinical practice. A few hundred miles south, the renowned University of Miami boasts the region's first baccalaureate nursing program, which has been around for over 50 years. With bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in nursing, this top-tier university draws students from all over the world.
Another of the many nursing schools in Florida, Keiser University, provides an on-campus associate's program, available at sites in Tallahassee, Daytona Beach, Orlando and more! Additionally, Keiser University has created an online bachelor's program designed specifically for registered nurses (RN's) interested in earning a BSN or training in specialized nursing practice.
Florida Job Market
In 2010, The Miami Herald reported that nursing had become Florida's biggest growth industry. And graduates of nursing schools in Florida will find that the pay range for nurses in the Sunshine State is highly competitive on the east coast and nationally.
According to Salary.com's January 2014 survey, the median national salary for registered nurses in Florida is $66,657. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Nursing Licensure Requirements in Florida
Candidates for nursing licensure in Florida can start their careers with an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing. Before you can practice, however, you will need to apply for licensure as a registered nurse. The state of Florida requires that all RN licensure candidates meet these requirements:
- Graduate from an accredited nursing program approved by the Florida Board of Nursing
- Pass the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN certification exam
- Pay a licensure application (or renewal) fee
Students who earned an RN license in another state or who did not attend nursing school in Florida may be subject to additional requirements.
Advanced practice nurses (APNs) can "upgrade" their current Florida RN license to a specialized certification, which involves providing proof of credentials, completing an application form and paying a fee. To maintain RN licensure, nurses must complete 24 hours of continuing education courses, including HIV/AIDS and domestic education, during the licensure period.
Sources: MiamiHerald.com; Bureau of Labor Statistics; FloridaNurse.org; U.S. Census Bureau; Florida Department of Health.