You want to become a registered nurse in Florida, but you’re not exactly sure how to go about it.
There just seem to be so many requirements that differ from state to state, and it can get pretty overwhelming.
Don’t worry. We understand.
And today, we’re going to give you a quick and simple guide on how to become an RN in Florida!
And we’ll also give you 5 simple steps on how to do it, starting from envisioning your future to finding your first job as an RN.
But first, are you aware that there are different types of nurses? You can read this article to make sure a registered nurse is the right one for you.
We’ll also address frequently asked questions about becoming a registered nurse in Florida, such as:
- What are the job opportunities for an RN in Florida?
- What is the average salary of an RN in Florida?
- Why do I need to take continuing education courses?
- What are the possible options for upgrading my license?
- How do I apply for a nursing license in Florida if I am a nurse from another country?
If you’re ready, let’s take up these points one by one.
How to Become a Registered Nurse in Florida: 5 Simple Steps
Here are the 5 simple steps to becoming a registered nurse in Florida!
- Envision what you would like to do as an RN
- Choose the best nursing program for you
- Finish the nursing course and get hands-on experience
- Obtain a nursing license
- Find your first nursing job
Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps!
How to Become an RN in Florida Step #1 – Envision What You Would Like to do as an RN
There are a lot of job opportunities and roles that you might want to take on as an RN.
Try to envision what they are.
Are you interested in working in a hospital? A clinic? Would you want to work with aging people? Assist in the operating room? Focus on children?
Do you want a more basic kind of nursing job or do you want to specialize?
Of course, your interests may change as you pursue your nursing career.
You don’t need to make a final decision right now, but it would be good to have a general idea of what you envision.
Because this will affect your decision on what nursing degree you should pursue.
How to Become an RN in Florida Step #2 – Choose the Best Nursing Program and School for You
Next up, it’s time to choose a good nursing program or school!
But with different paths and a bunch of schools to choose from, this step can be confusing.
Here’s some info to help you get started:
Should I Get an ADN or a BSN for Nursing?
There are two common paths to becoming a registered nurse (RN).
You can either take an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) and/or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN).
Here is a table that gives a very general comparison of ADN vs BSN.
|Time to complete||2-3 years||3-4 years|
|Enrollment fees||Cheaper||More expensive|
|Course work||Core nursing subjects||Core nursing subjects + more|
|Job Responsibilities||Basic nursing care||Can include more complex tasks|
|Salary||Varies greatly, but may land entry-level positions that will provide them with a mean annual income of $40,250.||Varies greatly, but can earn a mean annual income of $71,730. Increases with more specialization.|
Based on the table, you will see that it is easier, less time-consuming, and cheaper to obtain an ADN degree compared to a BSN degree.
With an ADN degree, you can still become a registered nurse (if you pass the other requirements) and you can still pursue your passion.
However, if you are thinking of a long-term career, with more opportunities, possible promotions, and more specializations, then securing a BSN degree would be the best option for you.
Don’t worry, though.
Some people opt to take an ADN course first and then pursue a BSN degree later on in life.
That’s another possibility.
It’s really up to you. There are pros and cons to both paths.
It would be good, however, to keep updated, because there is a possibility that taking a BSN course will become mandatory in the future.
How to Choose a Good Nursing School in Florida
Once you have chosen your path, the next question would be, “What’s the best program and school for me?”
Well, here are a few important considerations in selecting a school.
First, make sure that the program is state-approved or accredited by the Florida Board of Nursing.
There are a lot of options. You can check out their website for a list.
This is a very important step to avoid running into problems with your license later on.
Second, check the NCLEX passing rate of the school.
Passing the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, is a very important part of your nursing journey.
It would be good to choose a school with a high passing rate to ensure you get good training.
Third, check the curriculum and course offerings of the school.
Make sure it’s the right fit for you. You can consider the schedule, teachers, location, etc.
Some schools may allow you to have more flexible schedules that will fit your situation.
Of course, getting into a school is not automatic. You will need to submit several requirements and undergo an application process.
The requirements may differ from program to program, but these are some of the common requirements that you may expect:
- ACT or SAT score requirements
- Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam
- High school and/or previous college transcript
- Application letter
- Application interview
- Letters of recommendation
- Background checks
- Science prerequisites
How to Become an RN in Florida Step #3 – Finish the Nursing Course and get Hands-on Experience
Once you’ve been accepted into a school, you can expect to take some general education courses and prerequisites.
You can then dive into more health-related and nursing courses.
You may be required to maintain a certain GPA throughout your study.
Because nursing is a highly-skilled profession, you can also expect to have a lot of laboratories, hands-on experience, and training.
Eventually, you will be expected to assist professional nurses and do nursing-related tasks, under the direct supervision of a professional, of course.
Even though you are still studying at this point, it is a great time to form connections and get recommendations.
How to Become an RN in Florida Step #4 – Obtain a Nursing License
This is a vital part of your nursing journey. If you want to become a registered nurse, you need to obtain a state license.
There are two ways that you can obtain a license as a Registered Nurse in Florida – examination, and endorsement.
Obtaining a Florida RN License by Examination
If you have just graduated from a nursing program, the only way to obtain a state license is to pass the national examination.
You will first need to apply to the Florida Board so that you can be authorized to take the national exam after they review your application.
If approved, then you will need to take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination.
Aside from a passing score on the exam, applying for a license will also require other documents, such as proof of graduation from an accredited or approved nursing program and some other biometrics.
Of course, application and licensing processes will require a fee of about $175 to be paid to the Florida Board. You will also need to pay another $200 for the examination process.
If you don’t pass the exam on the first try, you can seek to apply again and retake the exam.
After three attempts, however, you will need to take an approved remedial program.
Obtaining a Florida RN License by Endorsement
This is the second way that you may be able to obtain a Florida license for nursing.
However, this is only applicable for those who have already passed the NCLEX in another U.S. state or territory but want to apply for a license in Florida.
You will need to pass some documents to verify your license from your previous state. And application fees will also apply.
How to Become an RN in Florida Step # 5 – Find Your First Nursing Job
Before you know it, you are ready to search for your first job as a Registered Nurse!
Florida is a great place to start looking for a job.
The beaches and sunny weather attract a lot of people to the state, and many opt to retire here, increasing the demand for medical care.
Florida has one of the highest employment rates of nurses in the whole United States (after California and Texas).
And the demand for nurses is still expected to grow! It is expected to increase by 16% between 2020 to 2030!
But remember that other Registered Nurses will also be on the lookout for a job, so you need to put your best foot forward.
Most of those who are seeking employment will be qualified, like you. So your attitude, work ethic, interpersonal skills, and connections will help you out.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an RN in Florida
Now that you know how to become a registered nurse in Florida, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
What are the Job Opportunities for an RN in Florida?
Hospitals employ the most registered nurses in Florida.
However, there are other employment opportunities, as well.
Here is a breakdown of the different employment opportunities, and the percentage at which these institutions hire and employ registered nurses according to NursingLicensure.org.
- Hospitals: 63.5%
- Home health: 6.4%
- Long-Term Care: 4.8%
- Ambulatory Care: 4.4%
- Hospice: 3.2%
- Doctor’s/Provider’s Offices: 2.6%
- Other settings (such as correctional institutions to academia): 15%
As you can see, the scope for practice is wide.
What is the Average Salary of an RN in Florida?
Salaries can vary greatly depending on where you are employed.
Your level of education, experience, and responsibility will also greatly affect your salary grade.
However, on average, registered nurses in Florida earn $31.07 an hour or $64,630 for a year of full-time work.
Why do I need to Take Continuing Education Courses?
Obtaining your state license for the first time is not the end of your education journey.
You need to continue your education to keep your license updated and make sure it doesn’t expire.
This is because there are always a lot of updates in our profession!
Updates in research and technology keep us as perpetual students because we always seek to give the highest quality of healthcare to our patients.
If you don’t keep learning, you will soon be outdated.
Don’t worry, though!
Keeping your license updated is much easier and less taxing than getting your license for the first time.
You can even take some of your CE units online!
Florida requires 24 hours of CE units every renewal period.
A lot of your questions about CE units can be answered on the Florida Board website.
What are the Possible Options for Upgrading my RN License in Florida?
If you have an associate degree, then you can consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree (BSN). This will open up a lot more opportunities for you.
If you are a BSN educated nurse, then you can opt to become an advanced practice nurse (APN).
You can also pursue higher education, such as master’s and doctorate degrees in nursing.
You can pursue specialized training, as well.
Nursing is just one of those courses with limitless possibilities. There is always something more to learn and improve in!
How do I Apply for a Nursing License in Florida if I am a Nurse from Another Country?
If you are a nurse from another country that is not under the jurisdiction of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCBSN), then you can only apply for Florida state licensing by applying through examination.
You will need to take and pass the NCLEX.
There will also be additional requirements to evaluate the nursing education program you graduated from.
You may also be required to take English proficiency exams when deemed necessary.
There you have it!
We’ve given you a simple but comprehensive guide to get you started on your journey to becoming a registered nurse in Florida.
Whether you decide to pursue an ADN or BSN degree, seek to obtain your Florida state license, or land your first nursing job, you already have some of the steps that will help guide you there.
We hope this was helpful! And if you still have questions, leave a comment below!