Online Nursing Programs in Florida

Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

By Rachel Schneider

Students interested in learning more about online nursing programs in Florida can review this guide to discover opportunities in the state. Readers can explore common courses, online program formats, information about licensure, specific requirements for specializations, employment and salary trends, and resources for nurses based in Florida.

Additionally, readers can learn about the different types of nurses, including nurse practitioners (NPs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), certified nurse assistants (CNAs), and registered nurses (RNs).

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Florida?

Students interested in earning their degrees in a state with low tuition rates should consider online nursing programs in Florida. The state reports the second-lowest tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students attending public four-year institutions.

According to data compiled by U.S. News & World Report, Florida ranks as the 35th most affordable state. In terms of cost of living, Florida ranks 28th, with housing affordability at 42nd in the nation. Students who enroll in online nursing programs in Florida can balance the cost of living with affordable tuition rates to make the most of the state's nursing education opportunities.

How to Become a Nurse in Florida

To become an RN, you need at least an associate degree from an on-campus or online RN program, or you must earn an RN diploma through hospital training. Because nursing is such a tightly regulated profession, most nursing students take similar classes and follow the same steps toward receiving credentials. However, licensing procedures and costs vary by state.

  • 1. Choosing the Path That's Right For You

    Some nurses start as hospital aides and advance to RN positions through an internal diploma program. Others pursue associate degrees from nursing schools in Florida, whih allows them to enter the workforce quickly. However, those who earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) have more employment options available.

    Entering an online RN-to-BSN program in Florida improves employment prospects. Online BSN programs in Florida enable students to take on more advanced roles, such as nurse administrator or community health specialist. Online MSN programs in Florida prepare learners for careers in advanced nursing, research, consulting, and teaching.

  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    Doing distance education through nursing schools in Florida is an affordable, flexible path to earning your degree. Students applying to an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a BSN program need a high school diploma and adequate ACT/SAT scores. They must also fulfill prerequisites.

    Most programs require practical experience earned through fellowships and internships, and all require clinical training. Diploma and associate programs take 1-3 years to complete, bachelor's degrees usually require four, and master's programs typically take an additional two years. Doctorates vary by program.

  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    To qualify for entry-level nursing practice, you must pass the national council licensure examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). Candidates must have an accredited traditional or online nursing degree that reflects the knowledge and experience tested on the exam. Examinees have up to six hours to complete the test. You should start studying for the NCLEX-RN at least two months before the test date.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in Florida

Students interested in pursuing nursing careers can explore online nursing programs in Florida. Nursing degrees in the state are offered at all degree levels, often including specialization opportunities that allow students to tailor their programs to align with their interests and career goals.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in Florida?

Coursework for nursing students in Florida can vary depending on the college or university, degree level, and area of specialization. Courses in these programs prepare degree-seekers with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue successful careers after graduation. Students should encounter some of the following classes:

Health Assessment for the Nursing Professional

Students learn a holistic approach to the assessment of health, reviewing aspects of physical assessment.

Research-Guided, Evidence-Based Nursing Practice

Enrollees explore the roles and responsibilities of professional nurses, emphasizing components of the research process and how to incorporate findings into practice.

Leadership and Management in the Changing Healthcare Environment

This course teaches students to apply leadership skills and decision-making methods to practical management challenges in healthcare environments.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Some online programs use entirely online formats while others operate through hybrid delivery systems, allowing learners to complete both online and in-person coursework. Online nursing degrees typically follow the same program length structures as their on-campus counterparts. Many colleges and universities feature accelerated formats for online students, allowing them to complete more credits during a semester to earn their degrees more quickly.

Many colleges and universities feature accelerated formats for online students, allowing them to complete more credits during a semester to earn their degrees more quickly.

Online programs have the same high-quality course content as on-campus programs, allowing online learners to pursue the same career opportunities as their in-person peers. Many online programs offer asynchronous delivery, which provides additional flexibility for students to complete their coursework while also balancing work or personal obligations.

Nursing Licensure in Florida

Nursing professionals in Florida have varied licensing opportunities, depending on their practice level. All licensing opportunities require candidates to complete some type of training or educational program approved by the Florida State Board of Nursing or the Florida State Board of Medicine. Most licenses require candidates to obtain licensure by examination, though licensure can also be obtained through endorsement if you are already licensed in another jurisdiction.

NPs working in Florida follow restricted practice formats, meaning there are restricted practice and licensure laws limiting the abilities of NPs in at least one area of practice. Florida law requires nurses to have career-long supervision, management, or assistance from a licensed physician to ensure quality patient care.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

Nursing professionals in Florida have many career opportunities across the field. The information below will make it easier to understand the requirements for each specific type of nursing.

Certified Nurse Assistant

To become a CNA in Florida, individuals must follow a training pathway approved by the state's nursing board. After completing an approved training program, candidates for licensure must complete and pass the skills and knowledge sections of the Prometric nurse aide exam. Test-takers can consider multiple formats for their examinations, including a written or audio examination. The written examination includes 60 competency-based, multiple-choice questions.

Test-takers can complete their exams at their own facilities or one of the many regional testing locations throughout Florida. On examination day, test-takers will receive their test results for both parts of the exam. The board then receives the results about a week after the test completion date. Before candidates can complete their exam requirements, they must clear a federal background check.

Florida Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Training program approved by the state nursing board

  • Additional Clinical Hours: N/A

  • Exams: Nursing assistant competency exam

  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years

  • Continuing Education: N/A

Licensed Practical Nurse

Aspiring professionals can pursue LPN roles in Florida by completing a board-approved, accredited nursing degree. After satisfying the educational criteria, LPN candidates must complete and pass the NCLEX-PN examination. Before candidates can complete their exam, they must have their fingerprints taken and submit a license application to the Florida Board of Nursing. The fingerprinting process occurs electronically through Livescan. After submitting fingerprints and an application, test-takers can register with Pearson VUE.

All applicants must submit a licensing fee that covers both processing and initial licensure, along with an exam fee for the testing company. After passing the examination, professionals should expect to receive their licenses in 1-2 weeks after their exam completion date. Any applicants who do not pass their exam must apply for re-examination.

Florida Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Florida-approved and accredited nursing education program or generic associate in nursing degree or higher

  • Additional Clinical Hours: N/A

  • Exams: NCLEX-PN

  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years

  • Continuing Education: 16 general hours, plus two hours in prevention of medical errors, two hours in recognizing impairment in the workplace, two hours in Florida laws and rules, two hours in human trafficking, two hours in domestic violence, and one hour in HIV/AIDS, completed during the renewal period

Registered Nurse

Professionals interested in becoming RNs in Florida should enroll in a board-approved, accredited, professional nursing program. Once candidates satisfy educational requirements, they can complete the NCLEX-RN examination. Before completing the licensing exam, candidates must apply to the Florida Board of Nursing and complete an electronic fingerprinting process through Livescan. Nursing candidates must submit payment for an application fee, an examination fee, and a fingerprinting fee, which vary in cost.

RNs already licensed in another U.S. state or territory can apply for licensure by endorsement by submitting license verification from their current state and paying all of the associated application and fingerprinting fees. RNs must maintain licensure by meeting the renewal requirements every two years, satisfying specific continuing education credits in specific areas of study, and meeting the deadline for renewal applications.

Florida Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Florida-approved and accredited nursing program or a bachelor's degree in nursing

  • Additional Clinical Hours: N/A

  • Exams: NCLEX-RN

  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years

  • Continuing Education: 16 general continuing education hours, plus two hours in domestic violence, two hours in human trafficking, two hours in recognizing impairment in the workplace, two hours in prevention of medical errors, two hours in Florida laws and rules, and one hour in HIV/AIDS prevention

Nurse Practitioner

Nursing students who want to pursue careers as NPs in Florida must complete a master's or post-master's degree in nursing from a board-approved, accredited program. All NP candidates must hold certification from a specialty board. The Florida Board of Nursing recognizes nine national certifying bodies, including the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American College of Nurse Midwives, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center. NPs can hold multiple national certifications, but should pursue opportunities relevant to their patient populations.

All advanced practice registered nurses practicing in Florida must hold liability insurance and complete a mandatory two-hour course in the prevention of medical errors. NP candidates can download their licensing applications online. Applicants who already hold RN licenses must submit payment for a licensing fee, while those applying for both credentials must pay a doubled fee.

Florida Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Master's of science in nursing (MSN) or post-master's degree certification

  • Additional Clinical Hours: Proof of national certification submitted with application

  • Exams: None

  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years

  • Continuing Education: 16 general hours of continuing education credits, plus one hour in HIV/AIDS-related work, two hours in human trafficking, two hours in the prevention of medical mistakes, two hours in domestic violence, two hours in Florida laws and rules, and two hours of recognizing impairment in the workplace, completed during the two-year renewal period

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Florida FAQ

Is Florida a Nurse Compact State?

Florida is a member of the enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC), which allows LPNs and RNs in compact states to practice across state lines in other compact states without pursuing additional licensure.

What Nursing Field Makes the Most Money?

Across the nursing field, professionals can explore career opportunities in different areas and levels of nursing, enjoying many high-paying salary opportunities. Certified registered nurse anesthetists experience the highest salary amounts in the nursing field, with an average salary of $149,648.

How Long Does it Take to Get an RN License in Florida?

Before obtaining RN licensure in Florida, each aspiring nurse must earn a bachelor's degree, typically taking about four years to satisfy program requirements. The licensing process after obtaining a bachelor's degree takes less than a year.

How Should I Choose What Nursing Field to Go Into?

Degree-seekers selecting which nursing field to pursue should consider the different types of patient populations to explore career opportunities relevant to their interests.

Does an Online Nursing Degree Have Any Value?

Nursing professionals can receive their initial training in person and pursue additional degrees in nursing online. Employers across different settings accept degrees from online programs as long as graduates have also completed their in-person requirements.

Florida Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

In the section below, degree-seekers can review salary information and employment trends across some of the most common areas of nursing in Florida. Salary and job growth information can vary, and no specific educational background or particular degree guarantees nurses a certain salary amount or employment opportunity.

Typically, nurses practicing in more advanced roles receive higher salaries than those in entry-level positions. For instance, in Florida, CNAs working in entry-level roles earned mean annual wages nearly $75,000 lower than those working as NPs.

In terms of nursing supply and demand, Florida expects the largest excess supply of nurses compared to demand for the year 2030, followed by Ohio, Virginia, and New York. This means that finding a nursing job in Florida might be more difficult in the future.

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Florida, by Type

  Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth
Certified Nurse Assistant $26,840 17.4%
Licensed Practical Nurse $44,400 19.1%
Registered Nurse $66,210 21.4%
Nurse Practitioner $101,100 44.7%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Projections Central

Annual Mean Nurse Wages in Nearby States

  Certified Nurse Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
U.S. $29,580 $47,050 $75,510 $110,030
Georgia $25,870 $41,690 $68,950 $106,750
Alabama $24,110 $59,470 $59,470 $95,970
Mississippi $23,100 $37,930 $58,490 $109,700

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant

In 2018, CNAs earned annual mean wages of $26,840 in Florida, coming in slightly beneath the U.S. annual mean wage for the occupation of $29,580. Compared to its neighboring states of Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama, Florida reports the highest mean wage for CNAs. The BLS projects a job growth rate of 17% for CNAs in Florida from 2016-2026, which is must faster than the average growth rate for all other occupations. Florida also features the third-highest employment level for the occupation, with 89,860 nursing assistants working in the state.

Licensed Practical Nurse

In Florida, LPNs earn mean annual wages around $3,000 less than the U.S. figures for the profession, with Florida reporting an annual mean wage of $44,400 compared to the U.S. figure of $47,050. In terms of nearby states, Florida reports the second-highest wage, behind only Alabama. The BLS projects a job growth rate of 19% for LPNs in Florida from 2016-2026. Additionally, Florida boasts the third-highest employment level for the profession, with 47,540 licensed practical and vocational nurses in the state.

Registered Nurse

RNs based in Florida received annual mean wages of $66,210 in 2018, compared to the U.S. mean annual wage amount of $75,510. Compared to nearby states, including Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, Florida has the second-highest salary opportunities. Florida reports the fourth-highest employment level for RNs in the country, with 177,600 professionals in the state.

Nurse Practitioner

In Florida, NPs took home a high annual mean wage of $101,100 in 2018 -- just slightly lower than the U.S. annual mean wage for the occupation of $110,030. The BLS projects a job growth rate for NPs in the state of 45%, which is significantly higher than the average growth rate for all other occupations in the United States. Florida has the fourth-highest employment level for NPs in the country, with 10,590 professionals working in the state.

Nursing Resources for Florida

  • Florida Nurses Association FNA is a nursing organization that represents all nursing specialties or practice areas in the state. It partners with other organizations to create a unified nursing advocacy program.
  • Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners FLANP unites NPs and healthcare advocates to improve access to healthcare for citizens in Florida.
  • Florida Board of Nursing The Florida Board of Nursing monitors, licenses, educates, disciplines, and rehabilitates licensed nurses to ensure they provide quality, effective healthcare services for people across the Sunshine State.
  • Florida Center for Nursing This state workforce center established in Florida to provide solutions for nursing shortages aims to educate, inform, and update professionals on any nursing shortages that arise in the state.
  • Florida Nursing Students Association FNSA provides members with access to resources, community events, and conventions, allowing them to seek opportunities for professional development and networking.

Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Florida

The following database includes all accredited ADN, BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, and DNP online nursing schools in Florida. Each online nursing degree varies in format, course offerings, specializations, and professional opportunities. This database will help you find a program that fits your unique career goals.

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