Becoming a RN in Florida

NursingDecember 16, 2013

Registered nurses make up one of fastest growing professions in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2010 and 2020, nursing jobs will increase nationally by 26 percent, well above the national average of 14 percent. The BLS also reports that the median national income of nearly $65,000 is twice that of that national average. Salaries vary based on years of experience, level of education and location, among other factors.

If you plan to work as a RN in Florida, your prospects look bright. According to the BLS, Florida is among the top five states with the highest employment level because of the number of nursing jobs. Gainesville, Florida is included in the list of the nation's ten metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of nursing jobs. Registered nurses are needed in every state, but with its high concentration of older adults, Florida is likely to continue to be in high demand for registered nurses.

Florida RN requirements

If you plan to become a RN in Florida, you will need to obtain a license to practice. It is illegal for you to work as a nurse without it. There are two pathways to licensure. If you have completed a nursing program and plan to work in Florida, you can obtain a license by examination.

On the other hand, if you are a RN in another state and plan to work as one in Florida, you can obtain a license by endorsement. You do this by submitting a copy of your nursing diploma and your current license. In most cases, if you are a RN in good standing in your state, you should have little trouble with the licensure process.

Florida's requirements for license by examination are similar to most other states. The steps include:

  • Submitting a copy of your diploma from an accredited nursing program and having an associate degree in nursing.
  • Passing the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX-RN)
  • Consenting to being fingerprinted and submitting and passing a criminal background check
  • Paying a $175 application fee and an additional $200 for criminal background check and fingerprint processing

Nursing programs in Florida

A strong academic foundation is important to becoming a RN in Florida, and the state abounds with nursing programs, both at the associate and bachelor's degree levels. If you are able to pursue a four year degree, you can significantly improve your marketability. A bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN) is also required if your career aspirations are leaning toward advanced nursing practice, which leads to careers such as nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. Associate degrees are available through many community colleges, but a BSN is typically obtained from a four year university. There are other types of nursing programs available as well, including those found online.

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