If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field and want to become an RN, accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs in Florida provide a quick and affordable way to get the training you need to become eligible for state RN licensure and launch a rewarding nursing career. There are many quality, fully-accredited accelerated BSN programs in Florida to choose from, offered by some of the top colleges and universities in the state.
We’ve put together this guide to help you find the right accelerated BSN program in Florida, whether you want to earn it through a traditional campus program or take some of your classes online. You’ll find a list of the top ABSN programs in the state, plus helpful information about admission and curriculum requirements, tuition rates, current salaries for Florida RNs, and much more. Keep reading to discover how you can turn your dream career as an RN into reality by earning your nursing degree through an accelerated BSN program in Florida.
Best Accelerated BSN Programs in Florida for 2021
To help you in your program search, we’ve highlighted three of the best accelerated BSN programs in Florida below. These selections are based on several important elements, including accreditation, affordability, curriculum comprehensiveness, and the availability of quality student support services. These programs are not the only ones you should consider, but they will give you an idea of what you should expect in terms of academic quality and support from the program you ultimately choose. Keep reading to see who stands out in 2021.
FAU’s Accelerated BSN program is a 15-month intensive program that begins each spring and lasts four consecutive semesters. The program is full-time and requires approximately 24 to 40 hours of clinical nurse practice and classes each week, along with approximately 40 hours per week in study time. All didactic courses and labs are in-person on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, with clinical hours completed at practice sites in and around the city. Admission into the program requires a non-nursing bachelor’s earned with a cumulative 3.0 GPA. This is a limited-access program, and students must complete all prerequisites before beginning the program’s 60-credit hour curriculum. Prerequisite coursework can be completed at FAU or other state universities or community colleges.
The current estimated total cost of the program is approximately $21,664 for Florida residents and $52,776 for out-of-state residents. These estimates include tuition, fees, and all associated costs (computer, uniforms, books, supplies, etc.) except housing and personal transportation to clinical sites.
The 16-month, full-time Accelerated BSN program from the University of Florida consists of four consecutive semesters of classes, labs, and clinical practice. Students begin their courses of study in May and finish in August of the following year. The program is available on UF’s main Gainesville campus and UF Health’s Jacksonville campus, where students attend all classes and labs. Nursing practice requirements are attended at clinical sites around the Gainesville and Jacksonville areas.
As with the FAU program, the two major requirements for admissions are a previously-earned bachelor’s degree or higher in a non-nursing major (earned with a cumulative minimum 3.0 GPA) and completion of all state-mandated prerequisite coursework. The current total in-state resident program cost for this 60-credit hour program is $12,762.60 for tuition and fees, plus an estimated $3,000 to $3,400 in expenses for items such as books and supplies, uniforms, stethoscope, course-related software and services, travel expenses, licensure preparation courses, etc.
The University of South Florida’s Accelerated Second Bachelor’s Degree (BSN) program is hosted on all three of USF’s campuses (Sarasota-Manatee, St. Petersburg, and Tampa), meaning that students complete all classes and labs on their campus of choice and all clinical hours at approved practice sites in the community surrounding their campus. However, the degree program is approved and accredited through USF Tampa, so all students must apply to and be admitted there. This full-time program is four semesters in length and begins in the spring semester. Admission is competitive.
The current total (tuition and fees) cost for this 62-credit hour program is $13,087.58 for in-state residents and $35,650.62 for out-of-state residents. Accelerated BSN students at USF are eligible for many financial aid opportunities, including the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows program that provides students the opportunity to earn up to $4,000 in scholarship funds by completing internships in underserved communities in the Tampa area.
Curriculum Overview for Accelerated BSN Program in Florida
Practice as a nurse in Florida and all other states requires state licensing or registration, which, in turn, requires applicants to complete an approved nursing education program and pass a state-approved competency exam. In Florida, nurse licensing and certification is administered by the Florida Board of Nursing, which has strict requirements for nursing education programs. As a result, the curriculums of accredited BSN programs in the state follow a standard structure, all consisting of the following same three fundamental components:
All programs require students to complete several state-mandated nursing-related prerequisite courses prior to beginning their accelerated BSN curriculum (see the discussion of admission requirements below). The general education requirements that are normally a part of a bachelor’s degree program are satisfied or waived in your accelerated BSN program through the acceptance and transfer process. Any general education deficit is normally made up by completing the needed coursework either before or during the accelerated BSN program.
All programs require completion of an extensive set of core nursing courses and lab activities covering such topics as health assessment, patient care, research and evidence-based nursing practice, clinical reasoning, pharmacology, and many others. The UWF’s accelerated BSN program curriculum will give you a good idea of the types of classes you’ll be taking in your program. With a few exceptions (see the online program spotlights below), students enrolled in accelerated BSN programs in Florida will complete all of their classes and labs in-person on either their school’s main campus or at a school-affiliated facility.
Nurse licensing and registration in Florida requires students to complete a minimum number of clinical training hours at practice facilities located in and around the school’s local community. These clinical hours allow students to apply the theoretical knowledge and clinical skills they’ve gained in the classroom to real practice settings under the direct supervision of licensed clinical instructors. Check out this webpage from Utica College to learn more about clinical training experiences in an accelerated BSN program.
FAQs About Accelerated BSN Programs in Florida
How long is an accelerated BSN program in Florida?
Due to the Florida Board of Nursing’s strict guidelines, accelerated BSN programs in Florida follow similarly-structured curriculums consisting of coursework, labs, and clinical hour requirements completed over four consecutive semesters. (For example, programs that start with the fall semester are completed in the following fall semester).
The one exception is Florida International University’s Accelerated Option BSN program, which is three semesters in length but includes an additional “intensive mini semester” of fundamental nursing courses immediately before the program’s first full semester. Since they’re presented in an accelerated format, all programs require full-time study.
How much do BSN programs in Florida cost?
Total program costs for accelerated BSN programs in Florida can vary substantially from program to program. This is due to several factors, most significantly whether the program is offered by a public or private institution (private programs cost more) and, regarding public school programs, whether you’re a Florida or out-of-state resident (Florida residents pay a substantially lower per-credit rate than out-of-state residents).
To get an idea of what you might pay for your Florida accelerated BSN program, take a look at the cost figures included in the school spotlights in this guide. Also, here are current cost figures for three other accelerated BSN programs in Florida (one public and two private):
Florida International University
Accelerated Option BSN (AO BSN)
Total Credits: 61
Total cost (tuition plus additional costs, est.): $15,965 (Florida resident); $41,176 (out-of-state resident)
Nova Southeastern University
Total Credits: 64
Total cost (tuition and fees): $24,000
What are the admission requirements for accelerated BSN programs in Florida?
Admissions requirements vary somewhat by program, but some requirements are similar across programs. They include:
- Previously-earned bachelor’s (or higher) degree: Earned from a regionally-accredited college or university. Applicants whose degree was earned from a school outside the U.S. will normally be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.
- Minimum GPA: On previous college coursework. A stated minimum of 3.0 is common. The requirement may be cumulative for all prior undergraduate coursework or only on the most recent coursework completed (typically 60 credits worth).
- Prerequisite coursework: The State of Florida mandates that students entering an accelerated BSN program in the state complete college-level courses in a number of nursing and science subjects as a condition of enrollment. The specific course subjects and number of courses vary by program. Two examples of prerequisite course requirements are those for the University of Florida and Florida International University programs.
- Additional requirements: Other requirements may include passing a nursing entrance exam (such as the HESI or TEAS), letters of recommendation, and a personal interview. International students must additionally demonstrate English language proficiency via an acceptable score on either the TOEFL or IELT exam.
How do I know if an accelerated Florida BSN program is of high quality?
The quality of your Florida-based accelerated BSN program is assured in two ways. The first is program approval by the Florida Board of Nursing. The second is proper accreditation, particularly programmatic accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). All accelerated BSN programs mentioned in this guide are accredited by either the ACEN or CCNE. You can check an accelerated BSN program’s current accreditation status by visiting the program’s website or contacting the program directly. You can also check the status using these ACEN and CCNE program search engines.
Can I get financial aid to help pay for my accelerated BSN program in Florida?
If you qualify, yes, and most BSN students will. Financial aid opportunities for accelerated BSN students are available across a range of funding sources, the most common being the federal student loan. The federal government is also a great source for loan repayment opportunities for nursing students. In addition, there’s an abundance of scholarships and grants available for BSN students, including those sponsored by nursing associations and private benefactors and “in-house” awards offered by colleges and universities themselves. Examples of programs with robust financial aid offerings for nursing students include Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida.
The best way to find out about specific financial aid opportunities for your Florida accelerated BSN program of choice is to contact the school’s financial aid office. And be sure to check out our nursing scholarship guide and main financial aid guide for more information and advice on funding your accelerated BSN program.
Inside Look at Online Accelerated BSN Programs in Florida
Online accelerated BSN programs in Florida combine online classes and lectures with on-campus lab experiences and in-person clinicals. They offer an extra level of flexibility and convenience to your degree studies while still providing the same quality of education as their on-campus counterparts. And, like on-campus programs, they lead to RN licensing eligibility.
Online nursing courses are commonly presented in an asynchronous format, meaning that students can access and complete their coursework at the time and place most convenient for them. These courses are typically accessed via an online learning platform through which students view or listen to lectures, read course materials, participate in task-based simulated nursing activities, and complete course assignments and quizzes. Students can also interact with instructors and fellow students via email, chat sessions, and video conferencing.
Currently, Utica College’s ABSN (spotlighted below) is the only accelerated BSN program in Florida that considers itself an online program. However, other Florida-based accelerated BSN programs, like the University of Central Florida’s (also spotlighted below), feature a number of their core curriculum courses in an online format. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has led many programs to temporarily move some or all of their classes online, a change that may well become permanent.
Examples of Quality Online Accelerated BSN Programs in Florida
The Nursing (BSN) – Accelerated Second Degree BSN at UCF features several required courses that can be accessed and completed online. Courses that are not available online are attended on UCF’s main campus in Orlando. Clinical hours are completed at approved nursing practice facilities in the Orlando metro area. This full-time, four-semester program study begins in the summer semester and ends the following year. A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 or higher is required on all coursework for continuation in and graduation from the nursing program.
Admissions requirements include a previously earned, non-nursing bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university that meets UCF transfer eligibility requirements. Additionally, students must have completed all state-mandated prerequisite coursework prior to beginning their accelerated BSN curriculum. Current tuition rates for this 62-credit hour program are $212.28 for Florida residents and $748.89 for out-of-state residents. Additional fees apply as to costs for books, supplies, uniforms, transportation to clinical sites, etc.
Utica College is a New York State-based private nonprofit institution that offers fully-accredited and state-approved Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree programs at its two Florida locations near the Tampa Bay and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale metro areas. Both programs are presented in a blended learning format that combines online didactic coursework that covers a range of nursing theory, research, and leadership subjects with in-person, on-site labs, and live simulations. Students also complete 588 hours of clinical practice at healthcare partner facilities located in and around their school’s local area. The 62-credit hour, sequentially structured curriculum is completed in 16 months of full-time study over four semesters. Start dates are available in January, May, and August. The current estimated total cost for the ABSN program is $57,406 for both Florida and out-of-state residents.
Admission into the program requires a previously-earned non-nursing bachelor’s degree, a conferred associated degree, or a minimum of 65 credits from a regionally-accredited college or university (including 57 credits from a 4-year college or university). And, as with all Florida accelerated BSN programs, students must have completed several prerequisite courses prior to starting their BSN curriculums. Prospective students can obtain provisional admission into the accelerated BSN program by completing their ABSN prerequisites through Utica’s Prerequisite Priority (PREP) program.
What’s Next After Your Accelerated BSN Program in Florida
The goal of earning your BSN degree, of course, is to launch your career as an RN. Once you’ve earned your degree, though, you will still need to take care of a number of tasks before starting your professional nursing practice. Here’s a look at the steps you’ll take to become a working RN in Florida:
- Graduate from a state-approved nursing education program (like one of the accelerated BSN programs in Florida mentioned in this guide).
- Apply for RN registration and pay the appropriate application fees with the Florida Board of Nursing (BON). You can apply online here.
- Register and get fingerprinted through a Livescan fingerprint service provider.
- Receive your Authorization to Test from the BON.
- Register and pay to take the exam with Pearson VUE. Schedule and take your NCLEX RN exam at a Person VUE’s testing location. Test results are transmitted directly to the BON.
- Receive your initial RN license, which is issued within seven to 10 days of passing the exam.
Once you’ve received your Florida RN license, you are authorized to practice as an RN anywhere within the state.
Career & Salary Outlook for BSN Nurses in Florida
Two important factors when considering any career are earning potential and job prospects. If you’re considering going back to college to earn your BSN to launch a new career as an RN, it’s important to know what you can expect job-wise once you’ve graduated. Here’s a look:
Are BSN registered nurses in high demand in Florida?
As indicated in the chart below, job growth rates for Florida RNs are strong and have outpaced those for RNs nationwide by a good margin. And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), that’s particularly true in major Florida metropolitan areas like Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa. Employment rates for all occupations, including those for RNs, have understandably taken a bit of a hit across the board recently due to Covid 19. Still, job growth estimates for RNs have remained relatively strong. And once the nation emerges from the pandemic, you can expect that RNs will continue to be in particularly high demand in the job market.
Job Outlook for Registered Nurses in Florida
|Employment (2018)||New Jobs (2018-2028)||Job Growth Rate (2018-2028)||Average Annual Openings (2018-2028)|
Source: Projections Central
How much do BSN nurses make in Florida?
Generally speaking, healthy job demand usually means healthy pay. This certainly holds true for BSN degree holders and RNs in Florida. For example, recent (March 2021) figures from ZipRecruiter put the average annual salary for BSN graduates at $71,853 (with salaries for the bottom one percent of earners at $31,258 to $39,705 and the top two percent of earners at $115,740 to $124,189). Salaries overall for RNs, both nationwide and in Florida specifically, tend to run somewhat lower than those for BSN degree holders. According to the BLS, for example, the annual mean salary for RNs in Florida (as of May 2019) was $67,610, while the national mean salary for RNs ran substantially higher at $$77,460.
These figures generally fall in the middle of those for BSN grads and RNs in the rest of the Southeast U.S., although somewhat lower than the nation as a whole. This is likely due to the lower overall cost of living in the region. It should be noted, though, that BSN grad and RN salaries in Florida’s major metro areas, like Miami and Tampa Bay, pay substantially more than the statewide averages. It’s also important to note that these are estimated salary figures. What you actually earn will depend on a number of important factors, including your specific employer, geographic area, and professional work experience.