2021 - Best ADN Programs in Florida
On average, RNs in the state of Florida earn $64,890 each year, and in the decade between 2017 and 2027, employment is expected to grow by an impressive 23.45%. There are two paths to becoming a registered nurse in FL – a two-year ADN program and a four-year BSN program
. Of a total of 301 RN programs accredited by the Florida Board of Nursing, 211 of these are ADN programs. There are far more ADN programs in Florida due to their inherent popularity among students, and this is driven by the overall low cost associated with obtaining the degree as well as the two-year program length. Below, we have ranked the 10 best ADN programs in Florida to help you find the best possible opportunity. They have been ranked based on their NCLEX-RN pass rates, which are an accurate reflection of a school’s ability to provide you with the education you need to succeed.
| Florida Board of Nursing Approved RN Programs |
| ADN || 211 |
| BSN || 88 |
| Total || 301 |
Florida Associate Degree in Nursing Program Overview
ADN curriculum in Florida can vary slightly from one school to the next and includes classroom instruction, laboratory work, simulated exercise, and a clinical rotation (practicum). General education courses in science, math, and English are required. However, core nursing courses focus on the human body, various forms of biology, and other subjects related to science and medicine. The curriculum is designed to prepare you to sit for and pass the NCLEX-RN examination, which is a requirement for receiving your license to practice as an RN in FL.
• Program Length:
| Sample Courses |
| 1ST TERM || 2ND TERM |
| General Biology I || Anatomy and Physiology I |
|English I || Human Nutrition and Diet Therapy |
| General Psychology || Foundations of Nursing |
|College Algebra || Health Assessment |
| || Nursing Skills |
| 3RD TERM ||4TH TERM |
|Anatomy and Physiology II ||Microbiology |
| Developmental Psychology ||Advanced Con. in Medical Surgical Nursing |
|Basic Concepts in Medical Surgical Nursing ||Concepts in Maternal Child Nursing |
| Concepts in Mental Health Nursing || |
| 5TH TERM || |
|General Education Humanities Course || |
| Complex Con. in Medical Surgical Nursing || |
|Practicum & Client Care Management || |
ADN programs throughout the state take roughly two years to complete, though some may be longer and/or shorter depending on the school and your unique needs.
• Program Cost:
Overall Florida ADN program cost can also vary a great deal, but the biggest differentiator to consider is the type of school you attend. Public schools offer the most affordable programs with a total cost of anywhere from $5,807 to $12,152. Private schools, on the other hand, charge anywhere from $15,625 to $105,696 in total, making them far more expensive.
• Admission Requirements:
|Item || Type of RN School|
| Public || Private |
| Tuition & Fees || $4,336 - $7,278 || $14,154 - $100,822 |
| Books & Supplies || $1,471 - $4,874 || $1,471 - $4,874 |
| Total Cost || $5,807 - $12,152 || $15,625 - $105,696 |
Admission requirements for ADN programs in Florida vary from one school to the next, so to ensure your chances of acceptance, it is always a good idea to take a look at the requirements of the best schools in the state. As an example, Seminole State College, our number one choice for the top ADN program, has the following requirements:
o Completion of the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test, SAT, or ACT;
o A minimum score of 78% on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS);
o A submitted list of any criminal offenses; and
o A grade of C or higher (and a recalculated GPA of 2.5) in all prerequisite general education courses.
Students with the highest GPAs who meet all these requirements are given priority over students with lower GPAs.
Performance of Florida ADN Graduates on the NCLEX-RN Exam
NCLEX-RN stands for National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. In order to legally work as an RN in the state of Florida, you must first obtain your licensure by sitting for and passing this examination. Because this examination is the penultimate event leading up to the beginning of your career, it is absolutely vital to consider individual nursing schools’ pass rates when making a decision. In the state of Florida, 69.57% of the 10,338 students who took the NCLEX-RN exam in 2017 passed. This is much lower than the national average pass rate for that same year of 84.25%.
| NCLEX-RN Pass Rates of ADN Graduates |
| Year || Florida || National |
| Taken || % Passed || Taken || % Passed |
| 2013 || 8,706 || 86,805 || 86,805 || 81.42% |
| 2014 || 9,710 || 69.60% || 86,378 || 79.26% |
| 2015 ||10,167 || 67.87% || 84,422 || 81.99% |
| 2016 || 10,100 || 67.93% || 81,753 || 81.68% |
| 2017 || 10,338 || 69.57% || 79,456 || 84.25% |
| (Source: NCSBN) |
Our Ranking Methodology
| Schools Evaluated || 211 |
| Schools Ranked || 10 |
|Criteria || Approved by Florida Board of Nursing |
Accredited by ACEN
4 Years NCLEX-RN Pass Rates
|Weightage Assigned For NCLEX-RN Pass Rate Years ||01/01/2014 – 12/31/2014 = 0.10 |
01/01/2015 – 12/31/2015 = 0.20
01/01/2016 – 12/31/2016 = 0.30
01/01/2017 – 12/31/2017 = 0.40
Here are the 10 Best Florida Board of Registered Nursing Approved RN (ADN) Programs in Florida for 2021
The Seminole State College of Florida is located in Altamonte Springs. The limited-access Associate in Science (A.S.) degree program here covers a wide range of topics designed to prepare you for your career as a registered nurse. Courses range from nutrition to medical terminology and more. The two-year program includes general education courses that you must pass in order to apply for the nursing program in your second year.
Whereas many of the nursing colleges in Florida ask you to participate in clinicals only at area hospitals, Seminole State College of Florida is a bit different. Here, your clinical rotations take place in a variety of facilities, including hospitals, extended-care facilities such as rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, and even community health organizations such as public health departments.
Completion of the program qualifies you to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination, and thanks to Seminole State College’s high pass rates, you can feel confident in your ability to secure employment soon after you graduate. You will be certified as an RN by both the Florida Department of Health and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Valencia College offers a two-year, five-semester Nursing Associate in Science (A.S.) degree program that prepares you for a specialized nursing career. Its nationally-accredited program is limited-access, meaning you will need to meet stringent criteria to be accepted. Classroom curriculum and clinicals take place concurrently, which gives you an excellent opportunity to practice what you learn in a real-life setting as you learn it.
Like other nursing programs throughout the state of Florida, your first year of study will focus primarily on general education. Acceptance to Valencia College does not guarantee acceptance into its nursing program; you will need to maintain good grades and a clear criminal record in order to apply for the nursing program after all general education requirements have been met.
The Associate in Science program at Valencia College is designed to help you learn to assess patients’ needs and develop appropriate care plans, assist patients in rehabilitation settings, and use critical thinking skills to make clinical decisions alone, with members of the patients’ healthcare teams, and with the patients’ caregivers. Completion of the program prepares you to pass the NCLEX-RN examination and start your nursing career in the specialty of your choice.
The State College of Florida provides classroom instruction and clinical experience in both Manatee and Sarasota counties. While you can be accepted into the associate in science nursing program before you have completed all of the general academic requirements, it is a limited-access program and priority is given to those who have completed more of these courses with the highest GPA.
Before applying, you will need to complete Anatomy & Physiology I & II (including labs), Written Communication I, and any Area II Math course, and you will need a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for these courses. The program requires 72 semester hours in total
The associate in science nursing Program at the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota is one of the top RN programs in the state and it boasts a very high NCLEX-RN pass rate. You can feel confident in your ability to pass the licensure examination and enjoy a lifelong career as an RN when you choose to obtain your education here.
Keiser University in Lakeland, Florida offers an A.S. degree program that will prepare you for a career in professional nursing. This college provides general education, nursing courses, and a clinical rotation designed to teach you collaboration, technology, reasoning, and professional skills that will serve you well throughout your career. This A.S. degree program will prepare you for an entry-level position as an RN.
The A.S. program at Keiser University consists of 72 credit hours. The first 30 hours are general education courses, and the other 42 include nursing major courses along with a practicum (clinical rotation) that lasts six credit hours. Courses included in the nursing major range from the traditional Fundamentals of Nursing to more specialized maternity and pediatric nursing.
Keiser University’s nursing program is known for its smaller class sizes and the ability to provide day, evening, and even online courses to help you reach your career goals. The school monitors trends in the medical workforce in order to ensure it provides the most relevant and up-to-date information as possible. What’s more, its active advisory boards meet regularly to discuss everything from curriculum to facilities in order to carry out its tradition of excellence.
South Florida State College, located in Avon Park, will provide you with all the information and experience you need to become an RN in two years. This school prides itself on its unique combination of classroom instruction, labs, simulations, and clinical experiences in a variety of healthcare settings as this can help better prepare you for your career.
The A.S. degree in nursing program offered by South Florida State College has several unique focuses, which include mental healthcare, obstetrics, pediatrics, patient care management, advanced physical assessment, and the legal, ethical, and professional responsibilities you will take on as a registered nurse. Corequisite courses are provided during your program, and you will complete these during the summer term of your first year. Nursing practicums take place during the summer term in the second year rather than concurrently.
Upon completion of the A.S. degree program at South Florida State College, which is comprised of 72 credit hours, you will be prepared to sit for and pass the NCLEX-RN examination. You must pass this examination to receive your licensure and legally work as an RN in the state of Florida.
The goal of the RN program at Tallahassee Community College, located in Florida's state capital, is to prepare you to pass the NCLEX-RN licensure exam and work effectively and safely as an RN in a variety of entry-level positions. The program consists of 72 credit hours that you can complete within two years. General education courses make up 21 of these credit hours and nursing program courses make up the other 51.
You will first need to apply to Tallahassee Community College to complete your general education courses, and once you have obtained them, you will need to apply to the college's nursing program. To be accepted, you must pass the HESI A2 Test, which is an admissions examination that determines your preparedness to enter into the program.
Tallahassee Community College takes its students' futures very seriously, and faculty will work with you throughout your education to help you build your career. Advisors are readily available to ensure you are on track with your courses and grades, and after you have completed 44 credit hours of study, you can meet with a Career Placement Coordinator who will help you secure an entry-level job after passing the licensure exam.
Niceville, Florida is home to Northwest Florida State College, which offers a two-year Associate in Science (A.S.) in Nursing degree program designed to help you become an RN. The program focuses on teaching ethical, legal, effective, and safe healthcare for patients of all ages, and it focuses not only on individual patients, but on entire communities and groups, as well.
The Associate in Science program at Northwest Florida State College is an on-campus program, though clinicals take place at various healthcare facilities in and around the Niceville area. What’s more, this college is one of only a handful in the state that offers a high-tech Simulation Center that gives you the opportunity to apply your classroom knowledge in a virtual clinic or hospital setting. Not only does this help you reinforce your skills, but it will also help to build your confidence as a nurse. Clinicals take place throughout the program, but the capstone clinical nursing course requires 145 clinical hours over the course of four or five weeks.
The program requires 72 credit hours, and 20 of these are general education credit hours. There are three semesters each year over the course of two years. You will complete your prerequisite/corequisite general education courses during the first and second semesters, and your nursing major courses will also begin in the second semester.
Palm Bay is home to Eastern Florida State College, which provides a very popular and effective ADN program. The goal here is to help you become a lifelong learner, all while remaining a responsible community member and a productive healthcare provider. The ADN program here was established in 1966 and has since been one of the best and highest performing programs in the state.
Eastern Florida State College combines a variety of traditional classroom courses that focus on behavioral science, computation, humanities, and various skills required to work as a registered nurse. Throughout the program, you will also participate in helpful labs and work with the Human Patient Simulator in order to reinforce your knowledge. Clinical experiences in various medical settings throughout the Palm Bay area help you apply this knowledge in real-life scenarios and further prepare you for your career.
This traditional two-year program requires a total of 72 credit hours. Of these, you will need to earn 16 credits in general education, 42 in nursing major courses, and another 14 in support courses like sociology, psychology, microbiology, and/or college algebra. Clinicals begin at the end of the first year and continue throughout the second year.
Polk State College is located in Winter Haven, and its generic two-year track is designed for students who do not have previous healthcare-related education. The RN program offered by Polk State College is designed to provide entry-level RNs with the information and experience they need to sit for their licensure examinations and start their healthcare careers. Because this is a limited-admission program, applicants are selected based on preadmission requirements; those with the best qualifications are given the opportunity to study nursing at Polk State College.
You will take general education and nursing major courses designed to prepare you for a lifelong career in nursing. These are backed with clinical experiences in various healthcare facilities throughout Polk County and neighboring locations, when required. Typically, you will be assigned to participate in clinicals two to three days each week at a minimum.
Upon completing the Associate in Science (A.S.) degree program at Polk State College, not only will you be prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination, but you will also be able to use reasoning and critical thinking to make decisions that are in the best interest of your patients. Polk State College focuses strongly on patient advocacy and will help you provide care that is in the best interest of patients’ cultural, spiritual, safety, physical, psychological, and sociological needs.
St. Petersburg College offers a nursing A.S. degree program that takes two years to complete. It offers flexible schedules, which means you can take your classes and participate in your clinicals during the day or evening hours – whichever best suits your needs. The goal of the program is to help you prepare for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination and prepare you for an entry-level RN position in a variety of healthcare settings. Should you choose to pursue a BSN at St. Petersburg College at a later time, your credits will transfer.
Like many of the other nursing colleges in Florida, St. Petersburg College strongly advises you to take your general education and support courses prior to applying to the nursing program. You will need a total of 11 general education credits before you will be considered for admission into the A.S. degree program. You may apply to St. Petersburg College, take your prerequisite courses in the first year, and then apply to the nursing program thereafter.
St. Petersburg College is also home to the SCENE, or the Simulation Center for Excellence in Nursing Education. This multi-million-dollar project provides a realistic clinical setting that gives you the opportunity to put the skills and information you learn to the test. SCENE includes four “rooms”, and each is set up with different equipment and different scenarios designed to help you learn to apply your knowledge in a safe, but effective and non-threatening environment.
Step by Step Process to Get My RN License in Florida
After completing the required education if you want to work as an RN in the state of Florida, you will first need to become licensed through the Florida Board of Nursing. This requires you to follow the steps below.
• Complete an RN program that is approved by the Florida Board of Nursing.
• Apply for licensure
through the Florida Board of Nursing.
(and provide payment for) the NCLEX-RN examination via the Pearson Vue website.
• Wait to receive your ATT (Authorization to Test) from Pearson Vue.
• Schedule your examination through Pearson Vue.
• Take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination.
Other States I can Work in with my Florida RN License
Florida is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which is an agreement between states allowing a license in one state to provide a right to work in all other states in the compact. Currently, 29 states belong to the compact, and several others have legislation in the works to become members. This means that if you travel or move to any of the following states, you can continue to work through your current license expiration date without the need to reapply.
| Nursing Compact States |
| Arizona || Arkansas || Colorado || Delaware || Georgia |
| Idaho || Iowa || Kansas || Kentucky || Louisiana |
| Maine || Maryland || Mississippi || Missouri || Montana |
| Nebraska || New Hampshire || New Mexico || North Carolina || North Dakota |
| Oklahoma || South Carolina || South Dakota || Tennessee || Texas |
| Utah || Virginia || West Virginia || Wisconsin ||Wyoming |
What Next in Florida?
Life as an RN:
Your duties as an RN in Florida will vary somewhat depending on your employer. If you work in a hospital or nursing home, you could work days, nights, or even swing shifts. Conversely, if you work in a clinic, school, or outpatient facility, your hours are likely to be far more predictable. During your shifts, you may take vital signs, administer medications, assist during medical procedures, contact family members, create care plans, and much more. You may be exposed to sights and odors that others find disturbing, and you will also be exposed to serious illnesses in your line of work.
Where Will I Work:
Because Florida is such a popular state among retirees, the population in the state is older than the national average, and this drives demand for healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes. Hospitals across FL that employ the most RNs include Florida Hospital Orlando, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, and Tampa General Hospital. Nursing homes that employ the largest number of RNs include Casa Mora Rehabilitation and Extended Care in Bradenton and St. Catherine Laboure Manor Inc. in Jacksonville.
RN to BSN:
|Florida's Top RN Recruiters |
|Hospitals || Nursing Homes |
| Florida Hospital Orlando, Orlando || Casa Mora Rehabilitation And Extended Care, Bradenton |
|Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami || St Catherine Laboure Manor Inc, Jacksonville |
|Northeast Florida State Hospital, Macclenny || Ocean View Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Llc, New Smyrna Beach |
| UF Health Shands Hospital, Gainesville || Health Central Park, Winter Garden |
| Tampa General Hospital, Tampa ||Signature Healthcare Center Of Waterford, Hialeah Gardens |
The RN to BSN program is a bridge program designed to allow you to put your ADN credits toward a baccalaureate degree. RNs with BSNs in Florida enjoy a brighter overall job outlook, a higher salary, and more competitiveness in the job market.
RN to MSN:
An RN to MSN program allows you to use BSN credits toward a master’s degree that can give you the education you need to work as a nurse educator, a specialist, or even a nurse practitioner, which can greatly increase your salary and your level of responsibility.
Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Pursue an RN Program in FL
1. Competitive Salary
RNs across the state of Florida earn a highly competitive salary between $46,830 and $84,530 a year
, or an average of $64,890. Factors such as education, employer, location, and experience are all vitally important to your salary as a registered nurse, and the more education and experience you have, the more money you are likely to make. This is significantly higher than some other professions with an associate degree requirement, too. For example, a veterinary technician or technologist earns an average of $31,390 per year, and a cardiovascular technician earns an average of $49,240 a year – all with the same level of education.
|Type || Salary Range || Average Salary |
|Hourly ||$22.51 - $40.64 || $31.20 |
|Monthly || $3,900 - $7,040 || $5,410 |
|Annual || $46,830 - $84,530|| $64,890 |
| (Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) |
| RN Salary Compared to Similar Associate Degree Healthcare Occupations in Florida |
|Occupation || Hourly Wage || Monthly Salary || Annual Salary || Annual Salary Range |
| Radiation Therapist||$40.85 || $7,080 || $84,970 || $58,150 - $121,520 |
| Dental Hygienist||$30.31 || $5,250 || $63,040 || $42,040 - $80,780 |
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographer ||$31.12 || $5,390 || $64,730 || $49,810 - $81,360 |
| Registered Nurse||$31.20 || $5,410 || $64,890 || $46,830 - $84,530 |
|Respiratory Therapist ||$27.57 || $4,780 || $57,350 || $43,890 - $73,430 |
| Radiologic Technologist|| $26.54|| $4,600 || $55,210 || $36,590 - $76,140 |
| Physical Therapist Assistant||$30.15 ||$5,230 || $62,710 || $45,200 - $80,790 |
| Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician||$23.67 || $4,100 || $49,240 || $26,550 - $76,270 |
|Veterinary Technologist and Technician ||$15.35 || $2,660 || $31,930 || $21,920 - $42,550 |
| (Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) |
| FL Metro Wise RN Salary |
|Metro Area || Hourly Wage || Annual Salary || Salary Range |
| Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island||$34.19 ||$71,120 || $51,760 - $97,430 |
| Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville||$33.02 || $68,690 || $44,990 - $101,460 |
| Gainesville || $32.42 || $67,430 || $49,010 - $91,910 |
| Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach || $32.38 || $67,340 || $51,000 - $91,720 |
| Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater || $32.21 || $67,000 || $48,640 - $89,500 |
| Cape Coral-Fort Myers || $31.81 || $66,170 || $50,730 - $81,690 |
| Punta Gorda || $31.75 || $66,050 || $48,880 - $90,780 |
| North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton || $31.33 || $65,160 || $51,280 - $81,170 |
| Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford || $30.42 || $63,270 || $45,740 - $80,820 |
| Homosassa Springs || $30.27 ||$62,970 || $45,390 - $84,710 |
| Tallahassee || $29.94 || $62,270 || $43,300 - $82,190 |
| Jacksonville || $29.65 || $61,680 || $49,310 - $78,690 |
| Sebastian-Vero Beach || $29.38 || $61,110 || $50,170 - $77,490 |
| Lakeland-Winter Haven || $29.20 || $60,730 || $50,970 - $76,690 |
| The Villages || $28.89 || $60,080 || $43,450 - $79,190 |
| Ocala || $28.64 || $59,580 || $43,960 - $76,940 |
| Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent || $28.35 || $58,960 || $44,230 - $75,390 |
| Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach || $27.65 || $57,510 || $42,760 - $75,670 |
| Port St. Lucie || $27.33 || $56,850 || $42,030 - $77,010 |
| Panama City || $27.15 || $56,480 || $36,990 - $76,450 |
| Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin || $26.69 || $55,510 || $39,800 - $74,990 |
| Sebring || $23.27 || $48,400 || $20,930 - $78,460 |
|(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) |
2. In Demand Career
Numerous factors continue to drive the demand for registered nurses in Florida. The aging baby boomer population is playing a crucial role, particularly in Florida, which is highly popular among the elderly. What’s more, better and more widespread access to healthcare in the state along with advances in medical technology have made it possible for the healthcare industry to provide better treatments to more people. As a result, the employment of RNs in the state of Florida is projected to increase by 23.45% between the years of 2017 and 2027.
| Florida RN Workers || 10 Year New Job Growth Projection (2017-2027) || Annual Vacancies (New + Replacement) |
| 2017 || 2027 || Number || % |
| 178,330 || 220,150 || 41,820 || 23.45% || 12,290 |
| (Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org) |
3. Opportunity to Make a Difference
Though there are many different reasons to complete an ADN program in Florida, including an above-average salary, a short educational track, and outstanding job security, many RNs find their careers even more rewarding and deeply satisfying as they make tremendous differences in individual lives and communities as a whole. As the state’s RNs continue to work diligently to provide above-average patient outcomes, more and more people will continue to view Florida as one of the best places to live out their golden years.
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