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How to Become a Nurse in Florida


Nursing opportunities in Florida continue to grow. Florida’s population is projected to increase by approximately 21% between 2019 and 2035, with the population of individuals ages 65 and older increasing by 51%, according to a July 2021 report from IHS Markit. This population growth is expected to increase demand for experienced, qualified nurses across the Sunshine State.


Aspiring registered nurses (RNs) interested in working at the forefront of Florida patient care not only need to pursue an education in nursing, they must also educate themselves on the state’s unique licensing requirements. Upon earning their degrees and completing the licensing application process with the Florida Board of Nursing, professionals can pursue a variety of nursing positions at facilities throughout the state.

Registered Nurse Job Description

Registered nurses educate patients, coordinate care, and provide emotional support to patients and their loved ones. Although an RN’s exact duties can vary based on the facility, common responsibilities include the following:


  • Assessing patients’ conditions
  • Recording symptoms and medical histories
  • Taking patients’ vital signs, such as temperature and blood pressure
  • Collaborating with doctors about care protocols
  • Administering medications
  • Administering IV fluids
  • Providing information to patients and their families about home care after treatment


RNs work in a variety of locations, such as state, local, and private hospitals; governmental institutions; schools; surgical clinics; doctor’s offices; group medical practices; long-term care facilities; rehabilitation facilities; and hospice care centers.


RNs working at facilities that keep standard business hours, such as group medical practices and schools, often work 9-to-5 shifts, Monday through Friday. Professionals working at facilities that provide 24-hour care, such as hospitals, may also need to work night, weekend, holiday, and on-call shifts.

Steps to Become a Nurse in Florida

Aspiring Florida RNs must start by completing a nurse education program, such as an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing.


RNs who have earned an associate degree and are interested in gaining more autonomy, improving their earning potential, and opening up new career opportunities for themselves should consider pursuing an RN to BSN online degree like the online RN to BSN degree at Maryville University.


Coursework in Maryville’s online program includes classes such as Nursing Informatics, Transition to Professional Nursing, and Individual Assessment, and culminates in a Public Health Capstone project that includes group and individual clinical experiences. Maryville students gain a strong foundation in nursing and learn the skills to take on additional responsibilities and advance their careers.

RN to BSN Program Entrance Requirements

Professionals interested in applying to an online RN to BSN program must have an associate degree in nursing (ADN) and an active nursing license. Other program entry requirements vary by school and may include minimum GPA requirements, payment of an application fee, and the submission of one or more letters of recommendation, among others.


Maryville’s online RN to BSN program requires that students submit an application (but no application fee) and school transcripts. Students should have a GPA of 2.5 or above, but they don’t need to submit letters of recommendation or standardized test (SAT/ACT) scores. The program, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, awards eligible transfer credits to nurses with a valid RN license.


Other steps to become a registered nurse in Florida include the following:

Pass the NCLEX-RN

All aspiring RNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) prior to becoming licensed registered nurses. This computer-based exam is offered at testing locations throughout the U.S. at various times per year.

Apply for Licensure in Florida

Upon passing the NCLEX-RN, individuals must submit an application to the Florida Board of Nursing. In addition to paying a $110 application fee, aspiring Florida RNs must also pay for a LiveScan electronic fingerprinting appointment.


The LiveScan fee varies by location, but in most cases, it is less than $50. Fingerprints are submitted to the Care Provider Background Screening Clearinghouse for a criminal background check.


According to state law, initial Florida RN applications must be reviewed within 30 days. However, as of October 2022, the Florida Board of Nursing estimated RN application processing times to be between nine and 11 days.

Gain Work Experience

Nurses interested in pursuing advanced or leadership opportunities must gain several years of work experience to qualify. Some advanced positions, such as nurse educator roles, require RNs to have a set number of years of experience in a certain area, such as critical care.

Continuing Education

The state of Florida requires all licensed RNs to complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain their licenses. Education can be in areas such as preventing medical errors, human trafficking, and domestic violence, or in laws and rules.

Nurse Salary in Florida

As of May 2021, the annual mean salary for registered nurses in Florida was $72,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nurses’ salaries can vary widely based on factors such as experience level, whether their position is full or part-time, and their location.


For example, the BLS’s national salary data for registered nurses indicates that during the same reporting period, whereas RNs employed by state, local, and private educational institutions had an annual median salary of $61,780, those employed by governmental institutions had an annual median salary of $85,970.

Employment Outlook for Nurses in Florida

Nationwide employment of RNs is projected to grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031, according to the BLS, which is about as fast as what’s projected for all occupations. However, employment of registered nurses in Florida is projected to grow by 15% between 2020 and 2030, according to the Department of Labor.


RN job growth in Florida is expected to be driven by several factors. The aging of the large baby boomer generation is cited by the BLS as a reason for the growing need for RNs across the country, and Florida has the highest percentage of older adults relative to its total population, according to ConsumerAffairs. Another factor contributing to RN job growth in Florida is the ongoing wave of retirements among nurses in that same baby boomer generation, along with younger nurses transitioning to different occupations.

Earn Your BSN and Become a Nurse in Florida

Nurses play a key role in providing high-quality patient care. Individuals who become nurses in Florida can not only help alleviate the nursing shortage but can work to improve health equity in the state.


Are you ready to take the first step toward becoming a nurse in Florida? Discover how Maryville’s online RN to BSN program can provide you with the skills to deliver optimum care to patients in the state.


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