5 Best Nursing Schools in Tampa – 2023

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

Nursing is one of the most in-demand professions across the state of Florida, and this certainly holds true in Tampa, where employers like Tampa General Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Tampa, and the Bay Area Kindred Hospital hire nurses by the dozens to fill the need for expert healthcare. If you are considering nursing as a lifelong career, you can find some information about the best nursing schools in Tampa below. These schools offer everything you need to become a successful nurse.

What are the Best Nursing Schools in Tampa for the 2023?

1. University of South Florida

Why University of South Florida?

The University of South Florida Health College of Nursing (also known as USF Health) focuses primarily on local outreach that has a positive impact across the globe. The school focuses on not only education but also on clinical care and excellence in research to prepare the next generation of nurses. Though they focus on the local community, they also prepare students to address global healthcare needs through a wide variety of collaborations with numerous healthcare facilities.

The USF Health Simulation Consortium is accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, and it is one of only three universities across the state to boast this accreditation. In fact, it is the only university in the state accredited in every area of simulation, including teaching and education, system integration, research, and assessment, making it one of the most prestigious nursing programs in Tampa. By the time you graduate, the USF Health Simulation Consortium and the state-of-the-art simulators on campus will have helped you gain the skills you need to tackle healthcare challenges locally and globally.

Undergraduate Programs: The University of South Florida offers four unique undergraduate BSN programs designed to help aspiring nurses achieve their healthcare goals. Of these, the V-CARE option for service members and veterans is among one of the most popular BSN programs in Houston for former military members. It was designed specifically for veterans and service members who have medical training as medics or corpsman. Other programs include the RN to BSN, Upper Division nursing (the traditional program), and the Accelerated Second Bachelor’s Degree program for those who already have bachelors’ degrees in a non-nursing field.

Graduate Programs: The University of South Florida offers an extensive list of graduate programs for nurses who plan to specialize in a field like anesthesia, gerontology, pediatrics, family health, and more. With so many MSN programs from which to choose, and with several DNP options available, it is possible to follow your dreams to the very top and work in any field you choose.

Complete List of Programs Offered

Undergraduate • BSN - Nursing: V-CARE
• BSN - Nursing: Accelerated Second Bachelor's Degree
• BSN - Nursing: RN to Bachelor's
• BSN - Nursing: Upper Division
Graduate • MSN - Nursing
• MSN - Nurse Anesthesia
• MSN - Nursing: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nursing
• MSN - Nursing: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing
• MSN - Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
• MSN - Nursing: Family Health Nursing
• MSN - Nursing: Nursing Education
• MSN - Nursing: Pediatric Health Nursing
• MSN - Nursing (Accelerated Masters)
• MSN - Nursing (Accelerated Masters) - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nursing
• MSN - Nursing (Accelerated Masters) - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing
• MSN - Nursing (Accelerated Masters) - Clinical Nurse Leader
• MSN - Nursing (Accelerated Masters) - Family Health Nursing
• MSN - Nursing (Accelerated Masters) - Nursing Education
• MSN - Nursing (Accelerated Masters) - Pediatric Health Nursing
• MSN - Nursing (RN to Masters)
• MSN - Nursing (RN to Masters) - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nursing
• MSN - Nursing (RN to Masters) - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing
• MSN - Nursing (RN to Masters) - Clinical Nurse Leader
• MSN - Nursing (RN to Masters) - Family Health Nursing
• MSN - Nursing (RN to Masters) - Nursing Education
• MSN - Nursing (RN to Masters) - Pediatric Health Nursing
• DNP - Nursing
• DNP - Nurse Anesthesia
• DNP - Nursing: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nursing
• DNP - Nursing: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing
• DNP - Nursing: Dual Occupational Health Nursing/Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing
• DNP - Nursing: Dual Oncology Nursing/Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing
• DNP - Nursing: Family Health Nursing
• DNP - Nursing: Pediatric Health Nursing
• Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science


2. University of Tampa

Why University of Tampa?

The University of Tampa College of Natural and Health Sciences offers several undergraduate and graduate programs that are specifically designed to give you the diverse education you need to work as a nurse or nurse practitioner locally, nationally, or even globally. The school’s motto, “Connect – Transform – Succeed” is a testament to its unique approach to medical science. Their goal is to help connect you with the people, education, facilities, and resources you need to transform you into a successful healthcare leader of tomorrow.

The University of Tampa is one of the few nursing schools in Tampa that actively and continuously builds and fosters relationships with other organizations to give you access to dozens of unique opportunities. Whether you seek a lucrative internship, the opportunity to volunteer in your local community, or even the ability to train under successful professionals working in the field of your choice, the University of Tampa can provide it.

Undergraduate Programs: The traditional four-year Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree at the University of Tampa is one of the school’s most popular and sought-after programs. If you do not have any nursing college credit or if you are aspiring to become a registered nurse immediately out of high school, this is the best program for your needs. You will need a total of 125 credit hours earned over the course of four years to graduate.

Graduate Programs: The University of Tampa also offers two incredibly lucrative graduate program opportunities. The first is the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program allowing you to become either a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) or an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP). The second is the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, which opens many doors for you in your career in healthcare. With a DNP, not only could you work as an advanced nurse practitioner, but you could also become a professor or even a dean in one of the most renowned nursing schools in Tampa – or even across the nation.

Complete List of Programs Offered

Undergraduate • Four-Year Bachelor of Science (BSN)
Graduate • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  - Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  - Family Nurse Practitioner
• Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

3. South University - Tampa

Why South University - Tampa?

If compassionate healthcare is your ultimate goal, South University – Tampa may be the school for you. They take a unique approach to teaching healthcare by providing you with skills, knowledge, and clinical experience that does more than just train you to work as a nurse – it also builds upon your natural compassion to make you the best and most caring healthcare professional you can be.

South University – Tampa partners with numerous local healthcare facilities, allowing you the opportunity to gain your clinical experience in a facility that best suits your needs. Aside from numerous campus locations – including the Tampa campus – you also have the option to complete your nursing degree online. You will find a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees that can help you achieve your goals at this nursing school in Tampa.

Undergraduate Programs: South University – Tampa offers two different BSN programs designed to help you reach your goal of becoming a baccalaureate-educated registered nurse. The first is the traditional BSN program that is ideal for students who do not have any previous nursing college experience and those coming out of high school. The RN to BSN program is the best option for students who are already working as RNs with associate degrees, but who want to improve their education to remain competitive in today’s job market.

Graduate Programs: You can also find several outstanding graduate programs at South University – Tampa, and each of these is designed to help you achieve a different goal. There are two separate MSN programs to help you become an FNP/ Family Nurse Practitioner. The first, which is the typical MSN-FNP, is ideal if you are not currently working as an RN, and the second, which is the RN to MSN, was designed specifically for nursing professionals who already have some college experience.

Complete List of Programs Offered

Undergraduate • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
• Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
Graduate • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
• MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner (RN to MSN)
• Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

4. Erwin Technical College

Why Erwin Technical College?

Erwin Technical College is part of the Hillsborough Technical Education Colleges system and gives you access to everything you need to jumpstart your career as a health professional. Though many of the area’s hospitals and medical facilities are continuously looking to hire registered nurses (RNs), there is still quite a bit of demand in place for licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

At Erwin Technical College, you can complete the coursework you need to start working as an LPN in any number of Tampa area hospitals in as little as 14 to 15 months. The credits you earn here will also make you eligible to continue your education and become an RN at a later date.

Undergraduate Programs: Erwin Technical College offers the Practical Nursing program, which prepares you to go to work in any number of medical facilities as a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN. This is the ideal path for aspiring nurses who want or need to join the workforce quickly, and it is also a great choice for anyone who plans to pursue a BSN degree at some point in the future.

Complete List of Programs Offered

Undergraduate • Practical Nursing

5. Rasmussen College - Tampa / Brandon

Why Rasmussen College - Tampa / Brandon?

At the Rasmussen College Tampa/Brandon campus School of Health Sciences, you can choose from a wide variety of programs designed to help you prepare for your nursing career. This is one of the few nursing schools in Tampa that offers diplomas as well as associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. The school offers four start dates every year with no waiting list in many cases, and the school has been named the top educator of ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) graduates in the country.

Rasmussen College – Tampa/Brandon makes its programs accessible to people who have a limited amount of time to complete their education, so they even offer hybrid degrees that allow you to fast-track your progress and enter the nursing world more quickly. You can choose any area of study you please, then later participate in a bridge program that will help you achieve your full potential.

Undergraduate Programs: You can choose from four different undergraduate programs at the Rasmussen College – Tampa/Brandon campus. These include the Practical Nursing Diploma, the ADN, the BSN, and the RN to BSN. The goal here is to help students achieve their dreams with a wide variety of options to help them enter the workforce and continue their studies at the same time.

Graduate Programs: Aside from a wide variety of undergraduate programs, the learning doesn’t stop there at Rasmussen College. You can also choose to further your education with a Master of Science in Nursing program specializing in Nursing Leadership and Administration, which gives you the perfect foundation to take up leadership and management positions in the field of healthcare.

Complete List of Programs Offered

Undergraduate • Diploma in Practical Nursing
• Associate Degree in Professional Nursing
• Bachelor of Science in Nursing
• Bachelor's Degree (RN to BSN)
Graduate • Master of Science in Nursing

How Many Nurses are Currently Employed in Tampa?

There are currently 55,300 nurses employed all across Tampa. This includes 30,450 registered nurses, 7,990 licensed practical nurses, 1,590 nurse practitioners, and many more.

Occupation Employment
Certified Nursing Assistants 14,740
Licensed Practical Nurses 7,990
Registered Nurses 30,450
Nurse Practitioners 1,590
Nurse Anesthetists N/A
Nurse Midwives 30
Nurse Educators 500
Total Number of Nurses 55,300

Work Environment and Working Hours for Nurses in Tampa

Your working environment as a Tampa-area nurse can vary a great deal depending on your chosen specialization and job duties. A registered nurse who works in home health, for example, will have a far less stressful job than an RN who works in an emergency department of a major hospital. Your working hours may also vary. In the healthcare profession, illnesses and injuries do not wait for convenient times or business hours, so you may find yourself working holidays, weekends, and even overnight hours regularly.

Some nurses choose to become nurse supervisors or educators, and while this may take them out of the line of fire, so to speak, they are still ultimately responsible for ensuring the delivery of excellent healthcare. Nurse educators may only be at work during business hours, but their jobs require many hours put in at home on their own time, too. Conversely, nurse supervisors also work around the clock – even on weekends and holidays – to manage the care being provided in hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities. Be sure to keep this in mind when you opt to become a nurse in Tampa.

Which Tampa Hospitals are Hiring the Most Number of Nurses?

There are just over 385,000 people living in Tampa, and they are served by more than a dozen different hospitals providing generalized and specialized care. Each one of these hospitals relies on nurses to deliver quality care on the front lines, whether they work in maternity wards of general hospitals or they fight for people’s very lives in trauma centers.

Saint Joseph’s Hospital is the number one employer of nurses in the Tampa area, and they have been ranked especially highly in neonatal ICU, pediatric ICU, and bariatric and weight control services. This hospital is followed very closely by Tampa General Hospital, AdventHealth Tampa, and James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, which serves the area’s population of retired servicemembers.

Rank Hospital Name
1 Saint Joseph's Hospital
2 Tampa General Hospital
3 AdventHealth Tampa
4 James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital
5 AdventHealth Pepin Heart Institute
6 Moffitt Cancer Center
7 Tampa Community Hospital
8 Memorial Hospital of Tampa
9 AdventHealth Carrollwood
10 Saint Joseph's Women's Hospital

Which Tampa Nursing Homes are Hiring the Most Number of Nurses?

The state of Florida is home to a huge population of retirees and elderly, and Tampa is certainly no exception. There are several incredibly popular nursing homes throughout the Tampa area that are reliant on quality care from LPNs, RNs, and even FNPs. Some of the nursing homes employing the largest numbers of nurses include Jacaranda Manor and Ben Secours Maria Manor Nursing Care Center, both in Saint Petersburg, and Bristol at Tampa Rehab and Nursing Center, LLC in Tampa.

Rank Nursing Home Name Location
1 Jacaranda Manor Saint Petersburg
2 Bon Secours Maria Manor Nursing Care Center Saint Petersburg
3 Bristol at Tampa Rehab and Nursing Center LLC Tampa
4 Sabal Palms Health Care Center Largo
5 Whispering Oaks-Tampa Tampa
6 Manorcare Health Services Palm Harbor Palm Harbor
7 Tampa Lakes Health and Rehabilitation Center Lutz
8 Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center of Tampa Tampa
9 John Knox Village Med Center Tampa
10 South Tampa Health and Rehabilitation Center Tampa

What are the Major Reasons Behind the Strong Demand for Nurses in Tampa?

Like major cities across the state of Florida, Tampa is home to many older individuals who move south in order to escape the harsher northern climates in the winter. Though some of these individuals only come to Tampa during the winter months, others relocate completely. What’s more, as people age, they need a wide variety of expert healthcare services. This is one of the reasons why Saint Joseph’s Hospital is one of the largest in the area; it provides excellent generalized care for a wide range of conditions.

People in Tampa have also gained access to health insurance coverage, allowing them to receive better and more frequent healthcare. This means that more people than ever before are seeing physicians regularly or having surgeries to improve their quality of life, which means the demand for nurses is growing – and it is expected to grow across Tampa for many years to come.

Starting Nurse Salary in Tampa

Your starting salary will depend a great deal upon the career path you choose. If you opt to work as a CNA, for example, you will earn about $23,075 a year. On the other hand, if you choose to continue your education and earn an MSN degree, you could work as a nurse practitioner and earn a salary of $77,235 starting out.

Occupation Average Starting Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
CNA $11.10 $1,923 $23,075
LPN $17.60 $3,050 $36,600
RN $24.72 $4,284 $51,410
NP $37.13 $6,436 $77,235
CRNA $60.38 $10,466 $125,595

Average Nurse Salary in Tampa

CNA: The average annual salary for a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) in Tampa, Florida is $13.41 an hour, or about $27,880 a year. CNAs exist to support LPNs and RNs in their goal of delivering the highest quality healthcare possible to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other settings.

LPN: An LPN earns more than a CNA, but still much less than an RN. The average annual LPN salary in Tampa is $44,230, which is equal to about $21.26 an hour. LPNs earn less than RNs because they have fewer responsibilities, and obtaining a license to become an LPN requires far less education. Nevertheless, LPNs are still in demand, and this role is perfect for individuals looking to enter the workforce with only a diploma.

RN: The average registered nurse salary in Tampa is on par with the national average at $68,010, which is equal to $32.70 an hour. Registered nurses are preferred by many of the area’s local hospitals, and because of their higher education and wider range of responsibilities, employers are willing to compensate with a much higher salary than is afforded to an LPN in the area.

NP: A nurse practitioner in the Tampa area earns roughly $94,250 each year, which is equal to $45.31 an hour. Nurse practitioners have many of the same responsibilities as physicians and can diagnose and treat illnesses. They have even more responsibilities than RNs, and because of this, numerous Tampa-area employers have discovered the benefits associated with having NPs on site.

CRNA: A CRNA, or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, is someone who works hand-in-hand with surgeons and anesthesiologists to provide anesthesia during a huge variety of medical procedures like surgeries. Their duties involve ensuring that anesthesia is administered safely, and they are compensated well for the responsibilities they take on. The average annual CRNA salary in Tampa is $243,660, which is equal to a whopping $117.14 an hour.

Occupation Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
CNA $13.41 $2,323 $27,880
LPN $21.26 $3,686 $44,230
RN $32.70 $5,668 $68,010
NP $45.31 $7,854 $94,250
CRNA $117.14 $20,305 $243,660
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Nurse Salary with Experience

The more experience you gain as a nurse, the more you can earn with time. As an LPN just starting out, you can go from earning $36,600 a year to earning as much as $54,760 a year with 20 or more years of experience. RNs who are just starting out earn $52,410 a year, but with as little as five to nine years of experience, they can earn $66,500 a year.

Years of Experience Average Salary
1-4 years $24,380 $38,760 $55,980 $82,690 $191,740
5-9 years $27,380 $43,770 $66,500 $93,990 $199,850
10-19 years $30,590 $48,670 $77,920 $107,440 $202,700
20 years or more $35,880 $54,760 $93,090 $123,550 $208,000

Average Nurse Salary in Tampa Compared to Florida State

As a nurse working in the Tampa area, you can earn anywhere from 6.78% less than the state average salary (as a nurse practitioner) to as much as 37.86% more than the average salary (as a nurse anesthetist).

Occupation Tampa Florida Difference
Number %
CNA $27,880 $26,840 $1,040 3.87%
LPN $44,230 $44,400 - $170 - 0.38%
RN $68,010 $66,210 $1,800 2.72%
NP $94,250 $101,100 - $6,850 - 6.78%
CRNA $243,660 $177,390 $66,270 37.36%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Average Nurse Salary in Tampa Compared to National

The national average salary for almost all nurses across the board is higher than the salary you will earn as a nurse in Tampa, and the difference ranges from 5.75% less for a CNA to as high as 14.34% less for a nurse practitioner. However, a certified nurse anesthetist earns 39.40% more than the national average in Tampa – a difference of $68,870. This is due to the sheer demand for nurse anesthetists in the area.

Occupation Tampa National Difference
Number %
CNA $27,880 $29,580 - $1,700 - 5.75%
LPN $44,230 $47,050 - $2,820 - 5.99%
RN $68,010 $75,510 - $7,500 - 9.93%
NP $94,250 $110,030 - $15,780 - 14.34%
CRNA $243,660 $174,790 $68,870 39.40%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Nurse Salaries in Comparison to Other Closely Related Health Care Occupations in Tampa

When compared to all closely-related healthcare occupations in Tampa, CRNAs earn the most at $243,660 a year. Non-certified nursing assistants earn the least at just over $27,000 a year.

Occupation Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Nurse Anesthetist N/A $117.14 $20,305 $243,660
Pharmacist 3,580 $55.89 $9,688 $116,250
Nurse Midwife 30 $50.06 $8,677 $104,120
Physician Assistant 800 $49.16 $8,522 $102,260
Radiation Therapist 160 $47.60 $8,251 $99,010
Nurse Practitioner 1,590 $45.31 $7,854 $94,250
Nursing Instructor and Teacher, Postsecondary 500 N/A $7,204 $86,450
Physical Therapist 2,070 $40.85 $7,081 $84,970
Occupational Therapist 1,000 $38.16 $6,615 $79,380
Dental Hygienist 1,820 $35.66 $6,182 $74,180
Registered Nurse 30,450 $32.70 $5,668 $68,010
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer 890 $32.50 $5,634 $67,610
Physical Therapist Assistant 740 $31.88 $5,527 $66,320
Dietitian and Nutritionist 480 $29.73 $5,153 $61,840
Respiratory Therapist 1,100 $28.80 $4,993 $59,910
Radiologic Technologist 1,880 $28.28 $4,901 $58,810
Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician 530 $23.78 $4,121 $49,450
Licensed Practical Nurse 7,990 $21.26 $3,686 $44,230
Surgical Technologist 910 $21.10 $3,658 $43,890
Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic 2,050 $17.14 $2,971 $35,650
Medical Assistant 8,100 $15.43 $2,675 $32,100
Nursing Assistant 14,740 $13.41 $2,323 $27,880
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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State Wise Best Nursing Schools