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

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

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Last Updated: 05/27/2021
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Pursuing a college degree takes time and dedication, and a nursing degree is no different. When choosing the best nursing school in Tampa, Florida for you, you’ll be deciding what school to attend, what type of nursing program to pursue, how you’ll pay for tuition, where you’ll find financial aid, whether the school you chose is accredited, and whether the specific program will help you meet your individual goals.

This guide is packed with everything you need to know about pursuing a nursing degree in Tampa, Florida, whether you’re a current nurse looking to take the next step in your career or a new student who’s just getting started on your nursing journey. Discover which schools are among the best, learn about the different types of nursing degrees (including convenient online options), get answers to your frequently asked questions, and read about the requirements for nursing licensure in Florida.

Best Nursing Schools in Tampa, FL for 2021

It’s essential that the nursing program you choose is accredited. Accreditation helps guarantee that a program is high-quality and will prepare you for licensure upon graduation. These spotlighted programs are all accredited, offer top-notch nursing educations, and prepare students to pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

University of South Florida

Admission into one of USF’s nursing programs is competitive, which shows why the University of South Florida is one of the best nursing schools in Tampa, FL. The school’s unique nursing pathways work with students who already have a degree in nursing or another field , are brand new to the medical field, or have some experience, such as through the military. Undergraduate programs include the ASN to BSN, RN to BSN, Accelerated BSN, and Veteran to BSN programs. Tuition for in-state students is $211 per credit hour.

In addition, the University of South Florida offers MSN, nurse anesthesia, DNP, and PhD in nursing programs, all of which can be taken full- or part-time. Two graduate certificates can be completed, and there are even non-degree options for students interested in attending university classes without committing to a full degree.

One unique USF offering is the global nursing program that allows undergraduate nursing students to travel to different countries, like Scotland or Colombia, to learn first-hand about international health care while delivering nursing education and services to residents.

University of Tampa

The offerings at the University of Tampa include a BSN, MSN, and DNP. The Bachelor of Science in nursing takes four years to complete, and nursing students have achieved an impressive 100% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam in seven out of the last eight years. UT also gives bachelor’s students the opportunity to participate in travel courses around the world, which give students hands-on experiences in community health.

The MSN program has two concentrations available: adult/gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP) and family nurse practitioner (FNP). Both these concentrations help advanced practice nurses prepare to be primary health care providers. The graduate program can be taken full- or part-time so students can continue working in healthcare.

Those who choose to pursue UT’s DNP program will need to complete 30 credits spread out over six semesters. Students can choose between advanced practice nursing, leadership in population health, and leadership in clinical and academic nursing education. The program can be taken entirely online, and only requires three short campus visits throughout the program.

South University – Tampa

At South University’s Tampa campus students can pursue a BSN, MSN, RN to BSN, RN to MSN, or DNP degree. The standard BSN is taught over the course of seven quarters. Prerequisites and an optional Associate of Science in allied health science can be completed over six quarters before embarking on a nursing program.

Whether already holding an RN or BSN, students who choose to pursue the general MSN degree family nurse practitioner pathway will receive an education that blends nursing theory with advanced practice concepts that will help students feel prepared to work within healthcare or an educational setting. The nurse educator pathway will not only focus on nursing know-how and clinical expertise but will also help students learn how to develop a nursing curriculum and perform evaluation techniques.

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/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.

Rasmussen University–Tampa

Rasmussen University has one of the best online nursing schools in Tampa, Florida. Its programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and its nursing programs are also accredited by 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.

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.

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 RNs in Tampa, Florida

The nursing job market is on fire pretty much all over the United States, and Tampa is no exception. In the long term, Florida is supposed to have an average of 14,000 new nursing jobs open up each year through 2028. Nursing is on a 16% growth trajectory in Florida, which is higher than the 12% growth projected for the United States as a whole.

If you choose to work in Tampa after you are licensed, you may find yourself at one of Tampa’s many nursing homes or in the Tampa General Hospital system. You may even wish to work at Shriner’s Hospital for Children, which has locations all over the United States.

How Much You Could Make as an RN in Tampa, FL

In Tampa, you probably won’t make as much as the average nurse in the United States, but you should make more than the Florida average salary. Nurses in Florida earn a median hourly wage of $33.08 and an annual mean wage of just over $71,000. According to Payscale.com, some registered nurses can make up to $80,000 per year. Keep in mind that your performance, education, years of experience, and work reports can directly impact your working wage.

Earnings for Registered Nurses in Tampa, Florida

Median Hourly WageMean Hourly WageAnnual Mean Wage
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL$33.08$34.28$71,300
Florida$32.46$33.42$69,510
United States$36.22$36.92$80,010

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020

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.