If you dream of working as a Registered Nurse (RN), then you will need to attend a quality institution of higher learning. Whether you are starting from scratch or already hold an LPN/LVN certification, nursing assistant certificate, or paramedic credentials, there is an RN program at one of the nursing schools in Florida that’s ideal for you.
Depending upon their area of specialization – emergency room, cardiac, private office, etc. – a registered nurse performs a number of health-related duties. In addition to providing care for patients and assisting physicians in doing the same, RNs also:
To become an RN, there are a few avenues you can take. It is possible to enroll directly in a program designed to prepare you for the NCLEX-RN test and a career as an RN. You can also begin by getting certified as an LPN/LVN or Nursing Assistant and then enroll in what is known as a “bridge” program. These programs are designed to provide a bridge between the learning you already have and what is needed to become a registered nurse.
To be an RN, one can earn either an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in Florida. Furthermore, after completion of the chosen program, a prospective nurse must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before they can be licensed by their state.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for RNs is expected to grow by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is more than double the average job growth for other occupations. Moreover, they record the median rate of pay for RNs in 2017 to be $35.65 per hour or $70,000 per year.
In an effort to assist you in your search for the ideal RN program to help you realize your dreams, we have assembled this list of the top 50 RN programs available in the United States. All institutions are held to the same metric for evaluation purposes with per credit tuition costs, the graduation rate, and the student-to-faculty ratios being the deciding factors.
Topping the list, American Medical Academy is located in Miami and has two other campuses. It is a two-year, private, for-profit institution that’s one of the best nursing schools in Florida. While there is no housing on campus, the large suburban area in which it is located provides ample housing. They offer an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) that prepares students for the NCLEX-RN test.
Located in West Palm Beach, the Academy for Nursing & Health Occupations is a two-year, not-for-profit private institution. Their large suburban area offers a wide assortment of housing options although the school itself does not provide on-campus housing. They offer an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) that is designed to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN test.
Gainesville is home to the University of Florida. This 4-year public institution offers students on-campus housing options while they pursue their traditional or accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to become an RN. They also offer an RN to BSN program for those registered nurses who wish to continue their education.
This Seventh Day Adventist Institution is located in Orlando. The Adventist University of Health Sciences is a four-year private not-for-profit institution that offers RN programs and on-campus housing. Their BSN degree is 120 credit hours long.
Located in Lake City, Florida Gateway College began in 1947 as a school of forestry. Over the years this public four-year institution added more programs to become the school they are today. They offer on-campus housing in a small-town setting for their RN-ASN and BSN degrees and their Paramedic to RN and LPN to RN Bridge ASN programs.
This Madison institution of higher learning began in 1957. The North Florida Community College occupies 165 acres of land in the rural fringe community. A four-year public college, NFCC does not offer on-campus housing for its students but does provide an excellent education with RN program offerings like their ASN, BSN, and LPN to RN Bridge degrees.
South Florida State College opened in Avon Park in 1965. It is a four-year public institution located in a rural fringe community that offers a calm beautiful atmosphere for losing. They offer ASN, BSN, and LPN to RN Bridge degrees.
Miami Regional University is located in the large suburban community of Miami Springs. It is a private, for-profit, four-year institution that does not offer housing on-campus. Their 64-credit hour ASN prepares students for the NCLEX-RN test.
Located in sunny Miami, Florida International University offers more than five nursing degrees via its Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences. It is a four-year public institution with on-campus housing that prepares students for a stellar career in nursing with a BSN degree.
Eastern Florida State College has multiple locations and its Cocoa campus offers RN programs for potential nurses. It is a public four-year college conveniently located in a large suburban area that provides housing options that the college itself does not. Their ASN program prepares students to take the NCLEX-RN.
The suburb of Spring Hill is home to Florida’s ATA Career Education campus. There are additional campuses in Ohio and Kentucky as well. Florida’s version is a two-year, private for-profit institution that offers an LPN to RN Bridge program.
The year 1965 saw the beginning of Santa Fe College. This four-year public institution is located in Gainesville, a mid-sized suburb that offers housing options for students who are pursuing their ASN, BSN, or LPN to RN bridge programs.
Located in Palatka, Saint Johns River State College is a four-year public institution. Their RN programs prepare tomorrow’s nurses today with ASN, BSN, or LPN to RN bridge programs.
Florida’s capital city of Tallahassee is home to Florida State University, another one of the greatest nursing schools in Florida. There the public four-year institution provides a plethora of educational opportunities that include multiple options – including ASN, BSN, or LPN to RN bridge programs – for nursing study.
The midsized city of Lakeland is home to Florida Southern College. Here the four-year, private for-profit school offers on-campus housing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs for future RNs.
As the name suggests, Keiser University is located in Fort Lauderdale. It is a private not-for-profit four-year school that helps train the future of nursing.
Leesburg is home to Lake-Sumter State College. In this mid-sized suburb, this public four-year institution provides education and training for hopeful nurses.
Palm Beach Atlantic University can be found in West Palm Beach. It is a four-year, private not-for-profit institution that provides on-campus housing for its students. They offer a BSN for those who wish to become RNs. Furthermore, they offer RN to BSN, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree options for those who wish to advance their nursing career beyond that of RN.
In 1957, Dayton Beach saw the opening of its very own college – Daytona State College. Today, it is a four-year public institution that provides higher education for future nurses – ASN and BSN options – along with other degree fields.
It may surprise some to find that the Galen College of Nursing-Tampa Bay is not located in Tampa Bay but rather Saint Petersburg. It is a two-year, private for-profit institution that offers three pathways to registered nursing: LPN to ASN Bridge, ASN, and BSN. They also offer an RN to BSN bridge program for those wishing to further their education.
This four-year private not for profit school is located in Tampa. The University of Tampa does not provide on-campus housing, but the vibrant community of Tampa provides several housing options. They offer a BSN degree for those looking to take the NCLEX-RN as well as MSN and DPN degree options for RNs wishing to advance their careers.
Located in the small city of Pensacola, The University of West Florida is a public institution. This four-year school offers on-campus housing and multiple nursing programs for its students.
Bethune-Cookman University calls the small city of Daytona Beach home. It is a private, not-for-profit four-year institution that offers on-campus housing in addition to their nursing program that was established in 1976.
The rural fringe community of Niceville is home to Northwest Florida State College. This public four-year institution offers RN programs that are sure to develop exceptional nurses for the future of healthcare.
As its name implies, Miami Dade College is located in Miami. It is a public four-year school that offers a number of nursing programs to educate and train the future of nursing.
Florida’s capital city – Tallahassee – is home for Florida A&M University. It is a public four-year institution that offers on-campus housing in a large suburban setting. Their BSN, RN to BSN, and MSN degrees offer excellent training for tomorrow’s nurses.
Located in Bradenton, State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota offers RN programs. It is a public four-year college that is located in a large suburban setting with a variety of housing choices for students.
The beauty of Key West is the perfect location for the Florida Keys Community College. A for-profit, four-year institution, FKCC offers education and training for the nurses of tomorrow that want to attend one of the best nursing schools in Florida.
The South University campus in Tampa offers nursing programs. It is a private, for-profit four-year institution. While it does not offer on-campus housing, the large suburban makeup of Tampa provides ample housing opportunities.
Florida Gulf Coast University calls beautiful Fort Myers home. They are a four-year public school that provides on-campus housing. Its Elaine Nicpon Marieb College of Health & Human Services provides nursing concentrations that are sure to advance a nursing career.
The moderately sized city of Lakeland is home to Southeastern University. It is a four-year private institution that operates in a not-for-profit capacity. On-campus housing is available for students.
As its name implies, the University of Central Florida is centrally located in Orlando. It is a public four-year institution that offers on-campus housing and accredited nursing programs.
This four-year, private not-for-profit institution is located in Jacksonville. Jacksonville University offers a number of different RN programs to help students become the health professionals that they dream of being.
Lake Worth is home to Palm Beach State College. It is a public four-year institution that provides nursing training and education via both associate (ASN) and bachelors’ (BSN) degrees.
Hillsborough Community College is located in sunny Tampa. It is a public two-year college that provides ASN and LPN to RN degree options, among others. While their LPN to ASN bridge program is currently suspended, they still offer an associate-level degree (ASN) for those looking to take the NCLEX-RN.
Located in scenic Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University offers several levels of RN education, from ASN to DNP, including LPN to RN, LPN to BSN, and accelerated and traditional BSN programs for preparation to take the NCLEX-RN. It is a public four-year institution that provides on-campus housing for its students.
South University-West Palm Beach is located in Royal Palm Beach. This idyllic setting offers nursing programs – BSN, RN to BSN bridge, and a specialized graduate-level program – through its four-year, private for-profit university.
Located in picturesque Ft. Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University is a private not-for-profit institution. This four-year school offers students on-campus housing along with excellent nursing programs.
As the name implies, this school is located in Jacksonville. A four-year public school, Florida State College at Jacksonville offers ASN, Bridge, and RN to BSN programs
Broward College is located in Fort Lauderdale. It is a public four-year institution with ASN and BSN programs as well as an RN to BSN program for those who have already passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.
As the name implies, Tallahassee Community College is in Tallahassee and is also one of the best nursing schools in Florida. It is a four-year public institution that offers RN associate (ASN) and bachelor (BSN) degree options.
Fort Pierce is home to Indian River State College. It is a four-year public school that offers ASN and BSN programs among others. The largely suburban area of Fort Pierce provides ample housing opportunities since there is no on-campus housing available.
Seminole State College of Florida calls Sanford home. They are a public four-year school that offers higher education at a reasonable price. They offer both an ASN to prepare students for RN licensure and an RN to BSN bridge option for those wishing to advance their nursing education.
Ocala is the home of the College of Central Florida. This four-year public school of higher learning offers LPN to ASN and ASN degree options for those who are planning to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam as well as an RN to BSN bridge program for those registered nurses looking to advance their education and career.
The small city of Ocala is where Rasmussen College-Florida is located. The school has other campuses in other states as well. It is a four-year, private for-profit institution of higher learning that offers nursing programs.
The Miramar Campus of Concorde Career Institute – like other campuses – is a two-year, private for-profit school of higher learning. Their nursing program is approved by the Florida Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Insurance.
The small city of Pensacola is home to Pensacola State College. It is a four-year public school that offers ASN and BSN degree options for those who are seeking a career in nursing and an RN to BSN bridge program for those nurses looking to advance their education and career.
Located in Miami, Barry University is a four-year, private not-for-profit school. Nursing education at Barry goes all the way back to 1953. They offer multiple nursing programs from ASN to MSN and on-campus housing is available.
Like its sister school in Miramar, the Concorde Career Institute-Orlando is a private, for-profit two-year school. They offer the same 67 credit hour ASN degree that other Concorde Career Institutes provide.
Finding the right school is a crucial step when deciding to become a nurse. Make sure the school you choose fits your unique needs.
The basis with which these schools are evaluated is three-part:
This amount is calculated for each school to represent a per credit cost for tuition. All figures are based on full-time attendance and in-district residency. For those that are provided as “per term” or “per year” totals, the per credit amount is determined via a formula that assumes 2 semesters per year at 12 credits per semester – the average amount among schools in the United States. Schools were then rated on their per credit cost of tuition from the least expensive to the most expensive.
These ratios were compared with the lower ratios rating higher and the higher ratios rating lower.
The percentage of students who complete their programs and graduate from the school is the final factor ranked for this list. The higher the rate of graduation, the higher the school is ranked. Conversely, those schools with lower graduation rates are ranked lower on the scale.
These rankings were then added together to determine which schools had the overall most to offer. By evaluating these schools using the same metrics, they can be ranked. Those schools with a lower student-to-faculty ratio coupled with the higher graduation rates and tempered by lower per-credit tuition costs rise to the top of the list while the opposite schools – high tuition, high student/faculty ration, low graduation rates – fall near the bottom.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to add your school to our list next year or if you would like to make changes to your school that’s already been listed.