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Nursing Schools in Tampa, FL: Top Online & Campus Programs

Learn what the best nursing schools in Tampa, Florida have to offer, including online nursing programs, financial aid, flexibility, and more.

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WRITTEN BY: Kyra Sutherland
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REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 02/13/2024

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You already know that nursing provides more in the way of great salaries, job security, and growth potential than just about any other profession, that’s why you’re looking into starting — or advancing — your career in the field. Moreover, you’d be hard pressed to find another career that empowers you to make such a positive impact on your community.

You also know, however, that taking your nursing career to new heights means earning a college degree. Luckily, as a Tampa resident, you won’t have to go far to do so at a top school. In fact, as an online nursing student, you won’t even have to leave home.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some of Tampa’s top nursing programs of 2024 and the career opportunities — and earning potential — they open up for you. Keep reading to discover the benefits to earning your nursing degree online and more.

Profiling Popular Nursing Schools in Tampa, FL for 2024

In this section, we’ve spotlighted three of the most popular nursing degree programs offered in the Tampa, Florida area today. Although this is not a ranking, these schools will give you a good idea of what to expect from a top program in terms of quality, cost, curriculum, program length, and more.

South University – Tampa

Among the many degree programs available on South University’s Tampa campus is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This program is pre-licensure, meaning it is open to applicants with no previous nursing experience, and designed to prepare graduates to earn their licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN exam. Students must complete 180 quarter credits, including 90 in core nursing coursework.

Students attend classes primarily on the Tampa campus, however some nursing and general education courses are available online. Students are also required to complete clinical hours in person at program-approved nursing practice sites to obtain the hands-on experience necessary to be eligible for the NCLEX-RN exam (and their subsequent careers).

Current tuition rates for South University’s Tampa-based BSN program are $470/quarter credit for pre-clinical (general education) coursework and $600/quarter credit for clinical (nursing) coursework. BSN students may be eligible for financial assistance through a number of institutional scholarships and grants. Tuition assistance for qualifying veterans, active military, and their family members is also available.

University of Tampa

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the terminal degree for nurses seeking to advance their careers to the highest levels of nursing practice leadership. There’s likely no more convenient and affordable a way for nurses in the Tampa area to obtain their DNP than through the online Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of Tampa.

The curriculum consists of 30 credits completed on a part-time basis over the course of six semesters. Students choose from two specialization tracks: the Advanced Practice Nursing track and the Leadership in Population Health track. The former prepares nationally certified nurse practitioners for clinical leadership positions, while the latter is designed for those seeking advancement to leadership roles in healthcare administration or government. Admission into this track requires either APRN or RN licensure. Students in both tracks are required to dedicate 500 practicum hours to a culminating clinical change project designed to complement their individual nursing practices. The course of study is delivered primarily online with three required weekend campus visits. The current estimated total program cost for the DNP program at the University of Tampa is $35,166. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and admission is limited to 25 students per year.

Utica University

Utica University is a private university headquartered in Utica, New York with several satellite campuses, including Florida locations in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa-adjacent St. Petersburg, Florida. Utica’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program offers students in the Tampa area the opportunity to earn their BSN in as few as 16 months by transferring previously-earned undergraduate credits. The program is presented in a hybrid format that combines online nursing theory coursework with on-campus skills and simulation labs. Students also complete clinical rotations at program-affiliated hospitals in the greater Tampa area. In addition to earning their bachelor’s degree in nursing, graduates of the program are academically qualified to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Admission to the BSN program requires a minimum of 65 qualifying college credits from a regionally accredited college or university earned with a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or better. The current per-credit tuition rate for the 62-credit program is $884. Start dates are available three times each year in January, May, and August.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in Tampa, Florida

There are a lot of different nursing programs in Tampa, FL, so how do you know which one to choose? Depending on your career goals, each degree will be suited to a different outcome. Below we’ve listed the basic nursing programs and outcomes to help you determine which one would suit you best.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Tampa

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

An Associate in Nursing program takes approximately two years of full-time study to complete compared to the four years required for a bachelor’s degree. You can become a registered nurse with an ADN. The curriculum typically focuses mainly on clinical day-to-day tasks, monitoring patients, and updating charts. Anything beyond that will typically require a more advanced degree.

Examples of Tampa Nursing Schools With This Program

Galen College of Nursing
Jersey College

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Traditional BSN)

A BSN program usually takes four years of full-time study to complete. Although the general curriculum is the same as an ADN, a bachelor’s degree program offers more in-depth study and is the preferred RN degree by many employers. A BSN also prepares you for leadership roles and furthering your education with more advanced nursing programs.

Examples of Tampa Nursing Schools With This Program

Herzing University
Arizona College of Nursing

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs are condensed programs typically for those who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to become a registered nurse. This program takes one to two years to complete, not including any prerequisite courses required. Upon completion, a student will have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in addition to their other degree.

Examples of Tampa Nursing Schools With This Program

Herzing University
Utica College

Nursing Bridge Programs in Tampa for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

An LPN to RN or an LPN to BSN program is for licensed vocational nurses seeking to become registered nurses. These bridge programs are especially helpful as they take the skills and knowledge you already have and use them to shorten the time needed to obtain a BSN degree.

Examples of Tampa Nursing Schools With This Program

Herzing University
Broward College

RN to BSN Programs

An RN to BSN bridge program is for students who already have their nursing license and are seeking to obtain a BSN. This bridge program is perfect for students wanting to advance their career and education within a short period of time, approximately 12 months. This program takes all of the education you learned when you got licensed and plugs it into a BSN.

Examples of Tampa Nursing Schools With This Program

University of South Florida
University of Tampa

RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN programs take approximately three years and are for students with a nursing license/BSN seeking to obtain a master’s degree. While bachelor’s in nursing programs focus on nursing in general, an MSN is more specialized and is perfect for those looking to advance their career in a specific field.

Examples of Tampa Nursing Schools With This Program

Herzing University
Fairleigh Dickinson University

Advanced Nursing Programs in Tampa

Traditional MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

The Master of Science in Nursing is more specialized than a general nursing BSN degree. There are basic MSN programs for students with bachelor’s degrees as well as direct-entry MSN degrees for students who have studied in other areas. Professionals with MSN degrees typically earn higher salaries than those with BSNs and are allowed specializations within the field.

Examples of Tampa Nursing Schools With This Program

University of Tampa
University of South Florida

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and PhD Doctoral Programs

A DNP or PhD doctoral program in nursing is a terminal degree for those wanting to seek the highest occupations and education levels in the nursing field. Nurses with this degree usually occupy the highest nursing expertise roles or leadership roles in the healthcare industry.

Examples of Tampa Nursing Schools With This Program

University of Tampa
University of South Florida

Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates

Post-graduate certificates are for students who already have a graduate degree and are interested in pursuing further specializations or concentrations. These may be required for some occupations and can be obtained with either an MSN or a DNP degree.

Examples of Tampa Nursing Schools With This Program

University of South Florida
Florida State University

Inside Look at Online Nursing Schools in Tampa, Florida

Nursing programs are popular, and more of them are being adapted to online learning. Students love the adaptability and convenience of online learning. A variety of nursing programs are available online from ADNs to DNPs, so no matter what you’re interested in, you can find something that fits.

Online programs are taken in semesters or over summer break. All coursework, exams, and assignments can be completed online. However, any clinical rotations or real-world experience will have to be coordinated with an institution in your area to get the credit you need. Students taking an online nursing program have the flexibility to study whenever and wherever they want, they’ll have access to many online resources, and most programs don’t require any on-campus visits at all.

Best Online Nursing Schools in Tampa, FL

Galen College of Nursing

The Galen College of Nursing has both an online RN to BSN program and an online MSN program. The RN to BSN program is designed for students who have received nursing licensure but are looking for additional education. The program can be taken 100% online and on a part-time basis if need be. It can be completed in as little as 12 months.

The online MSN program will build upon a student’s BSN experience and knowledge to help students advance into leadership roles within a healthcare setting. There is also a nurse educator track that will help students prepare to teach the next generation of nursing students. Students will learn to lead quality improvement initiatives, teach in academic settings, and transform nursing education in both academic and clinical staff development. Upon graduation, nurse educator students will meet the eligibility requirements for the certified nurse educator (CNE) examination.

All courses are taught in an eight-week format, with the above degree options all having multiple start dates throughout the year.

Lincoln Memorial University–Tampa

The online programs at Lincoln Memorial University in Tampa are given through the Blackboard learning platform, where students will be able to communicate with instructors and classmates, watch lectures, and turn in assignments. LMU’s online RN to BSN program is available 100% online, though the Tampa campus offers some in-person classes if you’d like to take advantage of some of those. All of LMU’s nursing programs are ACEN accredited.

The online MSN option is for those wanting to pursue nursing administration. It will prepare students for a leadership position by enrolling them in classes covering finance, budgeting, marketing, and analytics for healthcare strategy. It takes an average of 17 months to complete this program.

The online DNP can be completed in six semesters of full-time study, and is meant to be challenging and will help students renew their commitment to nursing. Graduates will be prepared to fully implement emerging science and practice innovation in health care.

Rasmussen University–Tampa

Rasmussen University‘s online nursing programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school’s RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs are all offered online. If any of them require clinical hours, they can be completed through your current work or through other local healthcare facilities.

The online RN to BSN permits up to 75% of the degree, or 134 credits, to be transferred. This could save students hundreds of hours and dollars if they’ve attended college elsewhere. In addition, the RN to BSN is founded on competency-based education, meaning students can not only complete assignments and watch lectures on their own time, but they can speed through what they are already familiar with and slow down for new topics. Example courses include emerging healthcare technologies and innovation, genetics and genomics, and clinical reasoning and clinical judgement.

FAQs About Online Nursing Schools in Tampa, FL

Can I earn my nursing degree in Tampa completely online?

There are several academic institutions that allow you to complete all coursework and assignments online. However, clinical experiences are required for a nursing degree so those will still have to be done in person at an approved clinical location or at the home school. Be sure to check each school for its specific requirements.

Will my online Tampa nursing degree be considered less valuable by employers?

Universities work hard to make sure their online programs are equal to their on-campus programs. The curriculum remains the same, and some of the professors even remain the same. An online nursing degree should not be valued any more or less than a traditional degree by employers or anyone else as the knowledge and skills you learn are the same.

Are online nursing programs in Tampa more affordable than campus programs?

Online nursing programs will typically cost the same as campus programs when it comes to tuition except for the few rare schools that have online students pay out-of-state tuition. However, you can save money in other areas like housing and commuting when you take online programs instead of on-campus programs.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Tampa, Florida

Attending college is a huge financial commitment, so it might be a good idea to know how you’re going to pay for it. Fortunately, there are many financial aid options available for all kinds of students, including nursing scholarships that don’t require taking out huge student loans. If you’re currently working in the healthcare field, it’s worth asking your employer if they have some kind of tuition assistance program. Federal grants, as well as private and public scholarships, are also available. There may also be specific nursing scholarships available at the school you choose to attend so be sure to research all of your options.

How to Become an RN in Tampa: Licensing Requirements

City nursing licensure requirements should closely, if not perfectly, follow state requirements. To earn your nursing license in Tampa, Florida, students need to graduate from a state-approved nursing program, submit a licensure application that includes a criminal history report and background check, receive approval to take the NCLEX-RN exam, and take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Once the exam has been passed, students will receive their license within seven to 10 days. For more detailed instruction please visit our guide to nursing programs in Florida.

Job Opportunities for Tampa-Based RNs

There were approximately 31,600 registered nurses employed in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida metropolitan area as of May 2022, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. With the U.S. Department of Labor’s Projections Central forecasting employment growth of 14.5% for registered nurses across Florida between 2020 and 2030 (compared to 9% nationwide), you can count on a solid job market for several years to come.

How Much Can You Make as an RN in Tampa, FL?

As a registered nurse employed in the greater Tampa area, you can expect to earn a salary similar to the national average. This is evidenced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent salary figures. Bear in mind that what you earn will depend on several factors, including your specific employer and job duties, as well as your level of professional nursing experience and skill.

Earnings for Registered Nurses in Tampa, Florida

Area Occupation Median 90th Percentile
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Registered Nurses $78,830 $98,320

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022

Additional Tampa, FL Nursing Resources

Florida Nurses Association

The FNA partners with other organizations that share their vision to create a unified nursing advocacy program for all nurses in the state of Florida.

National Nurses United

NNU was organized in 2009 and is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in U.S. history. They advocate for patient care conditions and nursing standards.

Tampa Bay Advanced Practice Nurses Council

TBAPNC provides excellent opportunities for professional development for all advanced practice nurses which includes: nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, certified nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists.

Visiting Nurse Association of Florida

The VNA of Florida is a group of nurses who are dedicated to providing quality help and service to Florida’s aging population.