Guide to Online Nurse
Practitioner Programs
in Florida

If you’re ready to take the next step in your nursing career, earning your
NP degree online can be a smart choice. Learn about your education
options, find accredited NP programs in Florida, and get key state
licensing details in this guide.

Last Updated: 11/23/2020
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Online nurse practitioner programs in Florida offer a convenient way to advance your nursing career without disrupting your current responsibilities, whether you’re looking to become a family nurse practitioner or specialize in an area such as psychiatric mental health, acute care, or women’s health. And now’s a great time to start. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity lists nurse practitioners as the second-fastest growing occupation in the entire state from 2019 to 2027, with over 3,000 new jobs projected.

This guide helps you prepare for that process by looking what you can expect from online nurse practitioner programs in Florida. It discusses the perks of earning your NP degree online from a Florida university, describes the different types of available programs, and spotlights several top accredited schools. It also answers FAQs about cost, program length, licensure, and salary prospects.

Why Attend an Online Nurse Practitioner Program in Florida?

If you want to become a nurse practitioner in Florida, earning your grad degree online is a popular option. And while you can choose to earn your NP degree online from a school outside of Florida, earning it from an in-state university can often be the smarter choice. This is especially true for current residents who plan to continue working in the state. Here are a few of the top benefits.

  • Convenience of online classwork
    Nurses work odd hours at times and may struggle to balance professional responsibilities with other demands. If this sounds familiar, then you know it can be hard to find extra time for additional education and training. Online nurse practitioner programs in Florida offer an ideal option in this environment so you can earn your degree with less stress and anxiety. They deliver most coursework online with minimal in-person requirements.
  • Local academic and professional support
    In most cases, online nurse practitioner programs in Florida are in a position to offer better overall student support than out-of-state universities. Many extend perks and specialized support services to their online students. For example, the University of Central Florida maintains an extensive menu of tools, including library and career resources. In addition, most Florida nursing schools can offer better clinical placements than out-of-state programs due to their stronger relationships with local hospitals and treatment centers.
  • Coursework and clinicals designed to meet Florida NP licensing requirements
    Many online NP programs only officially support licensure for the state the school is located in or a limited number of other states. Online nurse practitioner programs in Florida, on the other hand, build their curriculum specifically around NP licensure requirements outlined by the Florida Board of Nursing. Enrolling in one of these programs can put your mind at ease, offering reassurance that you’ll be license-ready following graduation.
  • Professional networking continuity
    Region-specific professional networks can be personally enriching and support career advancement. If you work in Florida as an RN, then odds are you’ve already been hard at work building a professional network over the years. You know those efforts take time to grow and blossom. Earning your nurse practitioner degree within the state means you can expand your network rather than starting from scratch. These programs provide plenty of opportunities to make new connections and maintain existing ones.
  • More affordable tuition and financial aid opportunities
    If you live in Florida, attending a program within the state may be cheaper than out-of-state options. Many Florida schools and local organizations also extend financial aid awards that only residents are eligible for. There may be incentives for working nurses in the state as well, depending on the program and employer.

Which Type of Online NP Program in Florida is Right for You?

Florida colleges and universities offer several different options for students looking to earn their NP credentials online. Most come in hybrid or fully-online formats. They cater to aspiring professionals at different points in their nursing career with varying education backgrounds. Find out which path best fits your circumstances below.

NP Degree Levels in Florida

Online MSN Programs in Florida

This path results in a master of science in nursing (MSN). Within this path there are three main program options. The first is a bridge program for current RNs seeking an advanced degree who don’t have a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). The second option caters to current RNs who also possess a BSN. Students with no formal background can take advantage of direct-entry programs that admit students with a bachelor’s degree in any non-nursing discipline.

Examples of FL schools with this online NP program


Online DNP Programs in Florida

These programs lead to a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), the highest level of education in the field. As with MSN programs, there are several options. Aspiring nurse practitioners who already possess an MSN can enter a standard DNP program with little to no course prerequisites. Those without a master’s degree can opt for a BSN to DNP program. These programs do not require additional credentials up front, but do involve course prerequisites in many cases.

Examples of FL schools with this online NP program


Online Post-Master’s Certificates in Florida

This route is for non-degree seeking students who already hold both an MSN and active APRN licensure in Florida. It offers these students an expedited opportunity to expand their skill set and broaden both their expertise and their job prospects. Most programs administer a specialized course of study in areas like pediatrics, adult-gerontology, and psychiatric-mental health. These programs result in a nurse practitioner certificate that complements prior degrees in the discipline.

Examples of FL schools with this online NP program

Florida NP Specialization Options

Like other advanced healthcare training opportunities, online Florida nurse practitioner programs provide plenty of opportunity to specialize your education. Specializations like those listed below let you hone your skills and work with patient groups that you’re most interested in serving.

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
    Programs like the one at Barry University offer this specialization. It prepares students to provide family-centered care, including health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
    Nurses in this concentration focus on healthcare delivery to children from infancy through young adulthood. The University of Florida and many other schools offer this option.
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
    This specialization develops expertise in advanced clinical practices for those dealing with mental health issues. Schools like Jacksonville University offer certificates and degrees in this area.
  • Adult Gerontology
    The University of South Florida and other area schools offer this area of specialization. It builds core skills in patient-centered care beginning with adolescence, through adulthood and later life.

Standout Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Florida

Picking the right NP program takes time and the school search itself can be daunting due to the number of available programs. In order to expedite this process, we’ve identified several top online nurse practitioner programs in Florida and spotlighted them below. These fully-accredited programs offer convenient paths to completion while extending the support and academic quality you need to achieve your goals. Find out which schools stand out below.

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University’s Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing administers an online MSN that prepares students for work as nurse practitioners throughout Florida. The 51-credit program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and offers two paths to degree completion: one for those with a BSN and one for those without formal nursing education. The course of study focuses on policy, data analysis, and clinical healthcare delivery. It offers four specializations: advanced practice, family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology, and mental health. Courses in the program integrate theory and practice, covering subjects like behavioral health, pharmacology, and pathophysiology.

Designed for students who reside within 150 miles from Nova’s Tampa Bay or Palm Beach campuses, the hybrid program combines online learning instruction with hands-on experiences. Nova Southeastern delivers all didactic courses entirely online to accommodate busy students and conducts all clinical placements and practicum components in person.  Most learners complete the program within eight semesters and enjoy full access to a range of student support services that include one-on-one tutoring, counseling services, employment help, and library resources dedicated to health professions. Eligible candidates need an accredited bachelor’s degree and an active Florida RN license.

Florida International University

Florida International University

Florida International University offers an online doctorate of nursing practice housed within its Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences. It involves 36 total credits and focuses on developing advanced clinical skills in patient safety, evidence-based practice, cultural diversity, and professional ethics. The course of study retains programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Nursing Collegiate Education. It consists of online coursework along with a clinical residency in a chosen specialty, and an integrative capstone project.  The residency and capstone elements require at least 540 supervised hours at an approved site.

Students can explore five different areas of concentration at Florida International University: adult gerontology, family health, pediatrics, psychiatric-mental health, and nurse anesthetist. Program coursework explores the scientific principles that form the foundations of nursing practice combined with leadership development and clinical reasoning. Possible classes include healthcare informatics, analytical methods of evidence-based practice, and organizational dynamics. Admission requirements entail a master’s degree or post-graduate certificate in advanced nursing practice, active nursing licensure, and supplemental items like recommendation letters and a personal essay.

University of West Florida

University of Florida

Aspiring nurse practitioners interested in providing family-centered care can earn their online degree at the University of West Florida. The school offers a master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner focus that most student complete in 30 months or less. The program holds full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and requires 45 credits distributed through courses that come in 8 or 16-week terms. Enrolled students can complete courses anytime, anywhere using the schools convenient online learning modules. The curriculum itself focuses on the foundations of nursing science, care of the child and family, and women’s health.

Once coursework is done, candidates complete a comprehensive clinical experience that includes 600 hours of supervised patient interaction. Clinicals integrate theory and practice through hands-on experiences that develop advance skills in diagnosis, healthcare management, and wellness promotion. Graduates stand fully prepared for the national certification exam and the program accepts up to 9 credits from eligible transfer students. Interested applicants need an accredited BSN, an active RN license, and a competitive GPA.

FAQs About Online NP Programs in Florida

Can I really get my nurse practitioner degree online in Florida?

Yes! Earning your nurse practitioner degree online in Florida has never been more popular or widely available. Many schools offer online or hybrid options and, like other healthcare programs, the only major caveat has to do with in-person clinical practice requirements late in the program. In some cases, you may even be able to incorporate them in your current work situation.

These programs deliver all didactic coursework entirely online and many use evening and weekend sessions to accommodate busy work schedules. Most students complete all class requirements within several terms and then move to clinical rotation placements. These opportunities take place across Florida and most schools work to find a placement in your local area.

How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner in Florida?

Timeframes for completion can vary widely with some lasting just over a year and others taking as long as three or four. A number of factors go in to program length with the most important being your educational background and chosen degree level. If you already possess an advanced degree like an MSN you can complete a post-graduate certificate program in no time at all. Programs for students with baseline credentials like a BSN fall somewhere in the middle and last a few years. Those with limited nursing training can expect to take the longest, doubling that timeframe in many cases.

How much do online nurse practitioner programs in Florida cost?

Most online nurse practitioner programs in Florida offer affordable tuition rates, but the costs can vary quite a bit. Individual factors include the type of school and program, enrollment status, and where you live (this is true even for online programs). Public colleges and universities are generally cheaper, but they charge higher rates to non-residents. Private schools can be more expensive but many offer flat rates. Here’s a look at tuition costs of three online nurse practitioner programs in Florida to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay.

University of
North Florida

Post-MSN Doctor of Nursing Practice Online

Total Credits: 48

$458/credit

St. Thomas

St. Thomas
University

MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner Online

Total Credits: 47

$550/credit

Florida State

Florida State
University

BSN to DNP

Total Credits: 76-79

$444/credit (in-state); $1,076/credit (out-of-state)

NP Certification and Licensing Requirements in Florida

All nurse practitioners need licensure and certification before they can legally practice. The Florida Board of Nursing (BON) oversees this process and outlines all the necessary credentialing requirements. Understanding these rules and regulations is key and a crucial step of the process before earning your degree. Find out more about how to get licensed below.  

Education and Training

Like other states, Florida designates nurse practitioners as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN). The first and most lengthy step toward licensure for APRNs is formal training and education. The Florida BON stipulates that prospective licensees must complete a master’s degree or a post-graduate certification program. It also requires an active RN license. The board itself does not maintain a list of approved education programs, but it does recommend that potential programs hold programmatic accreditation from either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

National Certification

Once you have earned your degree or certificate, the next step is to obtain national nurse practitioner certification. The Florida BON requires that all nurse practitioner candidates submit proof of completion along with their license application. Because APRN licensure is an advanced credential, candidates can complete a national certification program within their specialty or area of expertise. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners keeps an ongoing list of available programs, including certificates in pediatrics, critical-care, and gerontology among others. It also extends useful preparation resources like study guides and practice tests.

Additional NP Licensing Requirements

Once they have completed a qualified education program and obtained national certification APRN candidates in Florida and proceed to initial licensure. They must submit an online application that demonstrates completion of education requirements along with their active RN license. In addition, they need to provide proof of malpractice insurance, electronic fingerprints, and criminal background check results. Licensees are responsible for a modest application fee and can expect their applications to be reviewed within 30 days. According to the Florida BON, most APRN applications are processed within 6-8 business days.

Certification and License Renewal

The process does not end with initial licensure. Florida nurse practitioners must actively maintain their license in order to remain qualified for work. Current statutes require that APRNs renew their license every other year. Licensees can submit their application through the same portal used for initial licensure. Requirements for renewal include an application fee, a current copy of national certification, and completed continuing education credits. The continuing education requirement is the most important part of this process. Florida’s BON currently asks that APRNs complete at least 16 hours of continuing education in specified areas. Proof of completion must be submitted using the state’s verification tool.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurse Practitioners in Florida

What happens after you graduate and obtain licensure? What sort of professional advancement opportunities and earnings potential will you see? This section looks at job outlook and salary prospects for nurse practitioners in Florida based on recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

Are nurse practitioners in high demand in Florida?

As the table below indicates, the job outlook for nurse practitioners in Florida exceeds already encouraging national trends. There are more jobs available than in other occupations and more localized demands for skilled nurse practitioners. This is largely due to aging populations in Florida and the surrounding region. The long-term effects have resulted in an increased need for nurse practitioners who can help groups and individuals as they move through the lifespan and face the unique challenges often associated with aging and assistive care. Ultimately this means more job openings annually and plenty of room for career advancement within the profession.

Job Outlook for Nurse Practitioners in Florida

Employment (2018) New Jobs(2018-2028) Job Growth Rate (2018-2028) Average Annual Openings(2018-2028)
Florida 11,100 4,100 36.90% 1,110
United States 189,100 53,300 28.20% 16,900

Source: Projections Central

How much can I make as a nurse practitioner in Florida?

According to the latest projections, salary prospects for nurse practitioners in Florida align with the occupation’s positive job outlook. At the state-level, mean hourly and annual wages are slightly lower than national averages, but it’s important to consider other factors like living expenses and income taxes when comparing earnings. Major metropolitan areas like Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Tampa-St. Petersburg see the highest earnings, with Orlando following closely behind.

Earnings Potential for Nurse Practitioners in Florida

Median Hourly Wage Mean Hourly Wage Annual Mean Wage
Florida $48.07 $48.80 $101,510
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach $49.19 $49.98 $103,960
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater $47.14 $47.80 $99,420
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford $47.97 $47.77 $99,370
United States $52.80 $53.77 $111,840

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019

Florida Nurse Practitioner Student and Professional Resources

  • American Association of Nurse PractitionersFounded in 1985 as one of the nation’s premier nurse practitioner networks, this association supports professionals through training, advocacy, and sponsored events. It extends continuing education opportunities and aggregates state and local resources.
  • Florida Association of Nurse PractitionersWith state headquarters located near Daytona Beach, this organization serves Florida nurse practitioners at every level of educational attainment. It raises awareness surrounding healthcare policy, operates a job board, and maintains an extensive resource database.
  • Florida Board of NursingThis entity oversees all licensure and credentialing operations for nursing professionals in Florida. It issues active licenses to new nurse practitioners and offers resources for those seeking renewal. It also provides handy lists of available nursing programs.
  • Florida Nurse Practitioner NetworkA great resource for new and experience professionals alike, this network empowers nurse practitioners to become leaders in their field. It operates a comprehensive career center, awards scholarships and other financial aid, and offers a number of continuing education opportunities.
  • Florida Nursing Students AssociationThis association offers support to Florida nursing students through advocacy and community events. Its hosts an annual conference and maintains an active social media presence. It also generates a regular newsletter.
  • Online Resources and Scholarships for Nurse Practitioner StudentsThis EduMed page lists a variety of resources available to Florida nurse practitioner students. It details some scholarship opportunities and professional resources, and discusses some great tools for those who plan to study online.