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2020 Accredited BSN Programs in Florida


A BSN, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, prepares you for a career as an RN in the state of Florida. If you are thinking of pursuing this degree, qualities such as a solid work ethic, critical thinking, and the ability to make important decisions under pressure are crucial. RNs with BSN degrees in Florida earn an average of $68,300, and they enjoy above-average job security. In fact, it is expected that around 7,000 positions for BSN degree holders will open each year between 2018 and 2022. To help you take the first step towards becoming a nurse in Florida we’ve ranked the 15 best out of 82 Florida Board of Nursing approved BSN programs.

Why BSN is the Most Preferred Nursing Program for RNs in Florida?


Florida Annual Salary BSN ADN Difference
$68,300 $62,760 +$5,540
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Per the Florida Center for Nursing's RN Supply report, released in May 2016, 37.7% of all RNs across the state held BSN degrees as opposed to 54.4% with only associates degrees in 2015. This is compared to 2013, when 35% of all RNs held BSN degrees as compared to 58.2% with ADN degrees. Florida hospitals, especially, have begun to hire entry-level nurses with BSN degrees. This four-year degree offers far more in the way of experience and knowledge, and employers prefer this to help secure better patient outcomes. Students prefer BSN programs because the higher degree provides them with more job security, a higher salary, and more relevancy in the job market.

What Will I Learn During my BSN?


After completing a BSN in FL, you will be able to perform all of the duties expected of an RN. You will learn to take patient histories, communicate well with patients and their caregivers, assist in creating care plans, and provide medical advice to individuals, their families, and entire communities. You will also learn ethical healthcare, including how to maintain patients' privacy and dignity. Your BSN program will also teach you to use various types of equipment you may encounter, how to measure patients' progress, and how to chart that progress accurately.

Typical Florida BSN Program Information


Program Length: The average length of a BSN program in FL is four years, but some schools offer fast-track learning opportunities that bring the program length down to as little as three years.

Program Cost: BSN programs are four years in length, which means costs can be substantial. In Florida, you can obtain your BSN most affordably by attending a public school, where the average cost of the program ranges from $12,461 to $37,160. Attending a private for-profit institution will cost anywhere from $43,851 to $196,975, and finally, a private not-for-profit school will charge anywhere from $59,558 to $204,799. State- and government-sponsored financial assistance is available to help offset some of these costs, which do not include the cost of books and other supplies.

Item Type of Nursing School
Public Private Not-For-Profit Private For-Profit
Tuition & Fees $8,671 - $28,060 $55,768 - $195,699 $40,061 - $187,875
Books & Supplies $3,790 - $9,100 $3,790 - $9,100 $3,790 - $9,100
Total Cost $12,461 - $37,160 $59,558 - $204,799 $43,851 - $196,975
(Source: In-House Research)

Curriculum: During the four-year program, you will complete both general education and nursing courses that are part of your program. Some schools will have you complete the general education courses before you can apply to their nursing programs, but others will allow you to take both types of courses at the same time. General education courses will provide you with the foundational knowledge you need to succeed in your nursing major.

Sample Coursework
General Courses Arts & Humanities, English Composition, General Biology and General Biology Laboratory, Human Anatomy and Human Anatomy Laboratory, Introduction to Microbes and the Immune System for Nurses, Introduction to Psychology, Introductory Statistics in Health Care, People & Society, Principles of Nutrition, Principles of Systemic Physiology, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and Theories in Growth and Development
Core Courses Adult Health, Child and Adolescent Health Nursing, Epidemiology for Population-Based Care, Health Assessment and Promotion, Leadership in Nursing, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Pre-Immersion for Traditional Option Students, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Public Health Nursing, Role Transition, Seminar in Inter-Professional Health Care, Theories and Concepts of Nursing, Theories, Research and Evidence-Based Practice, and Women's Health Nursing

Clinical Training: You will need to complete clinical training in nearby hospitals and nursing care facilities in order to graduate the program. This hands-on training allows you to work with real patients under the supervision of licensed nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. It gives you the opportunity to put the information you learn in the classroom to the test, and it also helps you better understand the healthcare environment as a whole. The number of clinical hours varies, but most Florida schools require between 200 and 240 hours of clinical training.

NCLEX-RN Exam Preparation: BSN programs prepare you to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination by giving you all the knowledge and experience you need for success. This licensure exam tests your knowledge of medicine, ethical healthcare, decision making, communication, and even hands-on patient care – all the things you will need to demonstrate to be successful in your career.

Admission Requirements: To be accepted into a BSN program in Florida, you must be able to meet each school's admission requirements. Individual schools' requirements may vary somewhat, but for the most part, you should have:

• A high school diploma or GED.
• A cumulative high school GPA of at least 2.5, though 3.0 is desired.
• Minimum SAT and ACT scores of 1300 and 30, respectively.
• A clean drug screen and background check.
• Proof of required prerequisites. Some schools will require that you take chemistry, physiology, and anatomy before you will be accepted.

Three Important Factors You Must Pay Attention to While Selecting a BSN Program


1. Approved by Florida Board of Nursing: Only BSN programs that are approved by the Florida Board of Nursing will provide you with the prerequisite education you need to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination.

2. ACEN or CCNE Accreditation: The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) go to great lengths to set standards for nursing education. Employers prefer to hire nurses who attended accredited schools because it shows they have received a high-quality education in line with those standards.

3. NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: When selecting a nursing school in Florida to earn your BSN, it is crucial that you consider the school's average NCLEX-RN pass rates. After all, you must pass this exam to work as an RN. In the state of Florida, the average 2017 NCLEX-RN pass rate is 87.16%, which is below the national average of 90.05%. You should choose a school that boasts a high pass rate to have the best chances of success.

BSN Graduates NCLEX-RN Pass Rates
Year Florida National
Taken % Passed Taken % Passed
2013 2,56587.56%65,40285.18%
2014 2,65283.56%68,16684.94%
2015 2,80387.09%70,88987.48%
2016 3,22987.55%72,66887.8%
2017 3,48887.16%75,97790.05%
(Source: NCSBN)


How We Ranked Florida’s Best Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs?


Programs Evaluated82
Programs Ranked15
CriteriaApproved by Florida Board of Nursing
Accredited by ACEN or CCNE
4 Years NCLEX-RN Pass Rates
Weightage Assigned To NCLEX-RN Pass Rate Years01/01/2014 – 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


Following are 2020’s 10 Best BSN Programs in Florida


1) University of Tampa, Tampa


The University of Tampa offers one of the best four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs in Florida designed for students who have no prior nursing education or experience. To earn your BSN here, you will first apply to the undergraduate university to fulfill your prerequisite requirements. Once you complete the prerequisites during your first year, you will then apply to the school's nursing program. You must complete 125 credit hours, 65 of these in nursing courses, to graduate.

The University of Tampa Department of Nursing offers a Skills and Simulation Laboratory, located on-campus, that teaches you how to execute skills learned in the classroom in a risk-free environment. The lab includes equipment and supplies similar to those used in hospitals across the state, and it gives you access to both adult and infant patients. It is one of the few labs in the state that offers an electronic birthing simulation. Your time in the lab will be scheduled throughout each week of your program.

Finally, the University of Tampa provides you with access to numerous student organizations, including the Student Nurses Association (SNA), which plans the department's activities and provides a variety of services to minority and underserved populations. Members of the SNA also have the opportunity to go to conventions and other events sponsored by the Florida Nursing Students Association.


2) University of Miami, Coral Gables


The University of Miami at Coral Gables offers a traditional four-year BSN program through its School of Nursing and Health Studies. If you choose to attend this school, you will meet regularly with academic advisors in the Office of Student Services to help ensure your education and career path throughout the program.

The University of Miami allows you to create your own plan of study based on your English and math placement scores, but still incorporates the courses needed to complete the nursing major. The Office of Student Services can help you with this as needed. Courses you will need to take include Principles of Nutrition. Pathophysiology, Adult Health: Fundamentals of Nursing Practice, and others.

This is a private research university that educates students from around the world. It offers a diverse student population, and many of its nursing students later go on to obtain graduate degrees and research at the Miller School of Medicine.


3) Pensacola Christian College, Pensacola


Pensacola Christian College (PCC) focuses on the academic side of preparing you for your career as an RN during its four-year BSN program, but it does this with from a spiritual Christian point of view. The program, which has existed for more than 30 years, has prepared thousands of successful students for their careers in nursing.

PCC offers the same high-tech laboratories and partnerships with medical institutions as some of the state's biggest and best private universities. You will receive your foundational training in various fields of science, but you will also participate in various clinicals, labs, and preceptorships designed to help you discover your unique career path.

This school boasts some of the highest NCLEX-RN pass rates in the state thanks to its relatively small class size and its initial focus on pre-nursing. These pre-nursing requirements take one year to complete, and you will then move on to the nursing program.


4) University of Central Florida, Orlando


The University of Central Florida, located in Orlando, provides a variety of ways for you to earn your BSN. The program here is known as a five-semester full-time “lock-step” program, which means you will begin the program and take all of the courses together.

The unique Nursing@Nike program offers first-year nursing students the opportunity to live on-campus with other nursing program students, which is designed to ease the transition between high school and college. It is one of the only universities in the state that offers such a program. If you are selected for the program, you will complete your initial general education and nursing prerequisite courses alongside the others, helping you form bonds and friendships you can carry with you.

UCF offers some of the highest NCLEX-RN pass rates not only in the state, but also in the country. When you study here, you can rest assured that you will have access to the best faculty, state-of-the-art equipment, and medical facilities to help you succeed in your career.


5) Florida Gulf Coast University, Ft Myers


BSN offered at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is a traditional full-time program, and it is focused on providing you with all the education and experience you need to become a professional nurse in today's modern healthcare settings. FGCU focuses on a community and learning-centered education.

Over the course of four years, you will complete prerequisite general education and pre-nursing courses during the first two years, then go on to take courses that will fulfill the requirements of the BSN program in your junior and senior years. These last two years of education also include clinicals and practicums that provide a hands-on opportunity to hone your skills.

RegisteredNursing.org lists FGCU as one of the top ranked nursing schools in Florida. Faculty members here are dedicated to serving as not only your educators, but also as your guides and mentors as you learn the scope of your duties, responsibilities, and skills you will face in your nursing career.


6) Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton


Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is located in Boca Raton, and its BSN program, like many others, is competitive and limited-access. Pre-licensure nursing students attending FAU will need to complete 840 total program hours of clinicals and lab experience, making it an incredibly rigorous program.

The BSN program at FAU prepares you for more than just passing the NCLEX-RN examination; the program was also designed in such a way that you will have a solid educational foundation if you choose to pursue graduate studies in nursing down the line. The program has many points of distinction, including its scholarly faculty.

FAU also boasts endorsement from the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation, or AHNCC, which means you can receive your AHNCC certification after graduation. This credential provides you with a competitive edge once you pass the NCLEX-RN examination and prepare to find a job in today's competitive workplace.


7) Jacksonville University, Jacksonville


Jacksonville University offers a traditional nursing program leading to a BSN degree through its prestigious Keigwin School of Nursing. It is a 28-month program not including prerequisite general education and pre-nursing courses. Students are only accepted into the nursing program if they already have an AA degree from an accredited school or they have already completed the core curriculum at Jacksonville University.

You can enter the program twice a year, either in the spring or the fall, which provides you some flexibility in your education. During the 28-month nursing program, you will receive numerous hours of classroom lecture and theory-based education, and you will need to participate in well over 200 hours of clinical training. This real-world education better prepares you for your nursing career.

In 2017, three professors at the Keigwin School of Nursing won the Great 100 Nurses of Northeast Florida Award. Professors Lindsay Wolf, Dennis Oakes, and Amber Santos each use innovative teaching models and methods to prepare their students for nursing careers, and this award signifies their dedication to innovation and commitment.


8) Florida State University, Tallahassee


Florida State University (FSU) offers a traditional BSN program for pre-licensure nursing students. The courses in this program focus on liberal studies, nursing theory, and a variety of biological and behavioral sciences. Like many other Florida universities, the BSN program here is a two-year course of study.

Students entering the FSU BSN nursing program must have an Associate of Arts (AA) degree from another Florida college or must have completed the required general education and pre-nursing prerequisites through Florida State University. The FSU College of Nursing is located in a high-tech four-story facility called Duxbury Hall and boasts patient simulators, clinical labs, and research and study areas.

As an FSU student, your lecture-based classroom experience is accompanied by hands-on clinical training which takes part in the simulation center and in many health care agencies throughout the region. Clinicals and classroom learning take place concurrently to better reinforce skills-based learning.


9) University of North Florida, Jacksonville


The University of North Florida (UNF) at Jacksonville offers a traditional undergraduate prelicensure BSN program designed primarily for first-time nursing students who have already completed their prerequisite general education and pre-nursing courses. UNF's program has a strong basis in science and offers many opportunities to work with underserved people.

UNF focuses on a community-based approach to learning and encourages you to reach out to the local community as often as possible. Aside from simply receiving education, you will build relationships with medical and health agencies throughout Jacksonville and beyond. What's more, UNF also focuses on preparing you for graduate studies should you choose to further your education in the future.

Like all the best universities in the state, UNF provides classroom-based and clinical learning concurrently. You will spend some time training in the simulation lab, but you will also spend several hours each week training in community medical facilities like hospitals and clinics.


10) Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach


Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) views the traditional BSN program on offer here as the introduction to the world of professional nursing. It focuses on preparing you for licensure by not only instilling knowledge, but also compassion and critical thinking skills that will serve you well throughout your career.

Some of PBA's main claims to fame in its School of Nursing include an amazing 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio which gives you one-on-one time with educators when needed. The average class size at PBA is just 18 students. With its nursing simulation lab and rigorous curriculum, it is easy to see why PBA boasts one of the state's highest NCLEX-RN pass rates.

Finally, when you choose to attend PBA, you will gain access to some of the most extensive clinicals in the state. You will work in emergency departments, NICUs (neonatal intensive care units) and various other settings to help you better discover your niche and career path.


11) University of West Florida, Pensacola


The University of West Florida (UWF), located in Pensacola, offers a traditional BSN to prelicensure students. It is a limited access program, and this means that those accepted to the college for general education and pre-nursing courses are not automatically admitted to the BSN program.

UWF takes a serious approach to learning and bases its curriculum on science. If you choose to attend this school, you will be expected to absorb lifelong learning skills designed to facilitate research you can integrate into your practice. Above all else, you will learn to be a leader and create care plans for people, their families, and entire communities.

UWF's Nursing Department also publishes the ArgoNurse Newsletter, which provides information about residency programs, different teaching strategies, and updates to their curriculum. This newsletter also focuses on faculty members and allows students the opportunity to read more about their educators.


12) University of South Florida College of Nursing, Tampa


The University of South Florida College of Nursing at Tampa offers a traditional five-semester nursing program as part of a four-year plan of study. The program is referred to as the Upper Division Sequence, and students can only apply once all prerequisite general education and pre-nursing courses have been completed.

The USF College of Nursing combines nursing courses with labs and clinicals in such a way that students are expected to prove their skills based on current classroom learning. During their final semester, students must participate in and complete a rigorous preceptorship, during which you will work alongside a mentoring RN who helps you learn your practice one-on-one. Preceptorships are highly desirable, and they help USF students become better RNs.

The USF College of Nursing realizes that nursing at the local level can have a global impact. As a result, they strive to provide you with more than just the basic education; the goal involves your development of a lifelong love of learning and outstanding patient care.


13) Florida Southern College, Lakeland


Florida Southern College (FSC) at Lakeland is one of the many schools across the state focused on combining the world's best and most innovative technologies and clinicals with the best possible classroom lecture- and theory-based learning. It is a four-year program that combines general education, pre-nursing, and nursing courses starting year one.

FSC has been mentioned by numerous publications. It is among America's top colleges according to Forbes, and it is a Top 3 Regional University in Florida according to US News and World Report. The Fiske Guide to Colleges says that FSC is a “best buy” college that combines affordability with high-quality academics. These awards are evident with the school's above-average NCLEX-RN pass rates.

FSC is different in that you can begin your nursing program in your very first year, giving you the opportunity to participate in simulations, labs, and even clinicals earlier than other students across the state. Your clinicals take place in some of the most high-tech hospitals in the country, too, which better prepares you for your career as an RN.


14) University of Florida, Gainesville


The University of Florida (UF) College of Nursing is located at Gainesville and is highly regarded as the state’s flagship nursing program. This school employs some of the country’s most expert nursing faculty and provides high-tech resources designed to help you succeed. Its traditional BSN program lasts four semesters and requires you to complete the general education and pre-nursing courses before you apply.

You will work not only in hospitals and clinics during your clinical studies, but also in patients’ homes in a home health setting. Your classroom experiences will be mixed with laboratory and simulator access in such a way that you can further your current lectures and theory teachings with hands-on experience. This program will provide you with the skills necessary for entry-level RN positions and give you the foundation to advance to a graduate degree in the future.

Finally, UF puts a huge focus on medical research, so you can expect to be involved in numerous research projects throughout your four-semester education. This provides you the ability to learn lifelong critical thinking skills and apply new trains of thought to a variety of medical situations.


15) Nova Southeastern University, Ft Lauderdale


Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is located in Fort Lauderdale. It provides a traditional BSN program that you can complete in 27 months at its Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing. You may take the 39 credit hours of prerequisite courses at NSU, or you may provide transcripts from a local community college or university proving you have completed these when you apply.

NSU takes a serious approach to individualized learning. You will receive individual attention from professors, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals throughout your BSN program. You will learn from an interdisciplinary perspective, giving you the opportunity to explore different medical fields and make better decisions about your career in the future.

Nova Southeastern University truly puts you first when it comes to your education. Not only will you be prepared through classroom lectures and theory-based learning, but you will also participate in labs, simulations, and clinical scenarios in some of the area's top institutions to provide further hands-on experience.

How to Get My Florida RN License


Before you can work as an RN anywhere in the state of Florida, you must first obtain your licensure through the Florida Board of Nursing. You can do this in six steps.


• Complete an RN education program approved by the Florida Board of Nursing.
• Visit the Florida Board of Nursing website to apply for your licensure.
• Visit the Pearson Vue website to register and pay for your NCLEX-RN examination.
• Wait to receive your Authorization to Test (ATT) from the Florida Board of Nursing.
• Schedule the NCLEX-RN examination on the Pearson Vue website.
• Take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and receive your license to practice as an RN throughout the state of Florida.

What Can I Do with a BSN in FL?


Once you have earned your BSN degree in the state of Florida, you can work anywhere in the state as a registered nurse in a variety of settings. Most of the RNs in the state are employed by hospitals such as West Kendall Baptist in Miami and Florida Hospital Orlando, who are some of the state's major recruiters. Some RNs choose to work in general care settings, but others prefer to work in trauma, labor and delivery, or pediatrics.

Aside from this, many RNs who have earned their BSN degrees later go on to pursue higher education. You may choose to return to school for an MSN, which can help prepare you for careers in nursing education or management. An MSN can also prepare you for a lucrative career as a nurse practitioner, which offers a much higher salary, but comes with far more responsibility.

BSN Salary in Florida


RNs across the state of Florida who have earned BSN degrees earn an average salary of $68,300 annually. You can expect to earn a salary that ranges between $49,300 and $88,980 annually depending on your experience and your employer. Though the average pay for RNs with BSN degrees in Florida is 11.38% less than the national average, seeking employment in high-demand environments like emergency care or even plastic surgery, which is popular in Florida, can provide you with a salary boost.

Type Salary Range Average Salary
Hourly $23.70 - $42.78 $32.84
Monthly $4,110 - $7,420 $5,690
Annual $49,300 - $88,980 $68,300
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Florida Earnings Vs National Earnings


Florida BSN National BSN Difference % Difference
$68,300 $77,070 -$8,770 -11.38%
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Demand for BSN Graduates in FL


As technology related to medical science continues to improve, and as more people than ever before gain access to health insurance, demand for RNs with BSN degrees in Florida will climb. Between 2017 and 2027, 23,400 new RN jobs will open exclusively for BSN holders, which equals a 26.45% growth. The state of Florida is very popular among retirees who move to enjoy the warm winters. Because of this, the number of older and elderly people continues to grow each year. These people need more care than younger generations, which will continue to drive the demand for RNs.

Employment (BSN Degree Holders) 10 Year New Job Growth Projection (2017-2027)
2017 2027 Number %
88,450 111,850 23,400 26.45%
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Projected Annual Job Openings for BSN Graduates in FL (2018-2022)


Year New Jobs Replacement Jobs Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
2018 2,323 3,940 6,263
2019 2,360 4,125 6,486
2020 2,410 4,326 6,736
2021 2,421 4,544 6,965
2022 2,388 4,781 7,169
TOTAL33,619
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


BSN Programs in Other States
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