Online & Campus RN to MSN Programs in Florida

A master’s degree in nursing can lead the way to expanded leadership opportunities or a career in advanced practice nursing. Take the first step in growing your nursing career by exploring the top RN to MSN programs in Florida.

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Shannon Daigle

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Whether you want to instruct the next generation of RNs as a nurse educator or manage patient care and diagnosis as a nurse practitioner, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can help advance your job prospects and earnings potential. According to ZipRecruiter, Florida nurses with an MSN degree earn an average salary of more than $90,000, an increase of more than $30,000 per year compared to the state’s registered nurse average salary.

Faced with rising population numbers and an increase in aging residents, the state of Florida is currently challenged with finding adequate numbers of primary care providers, making it an especially ideal job market for future nurse practitioners. Whatever your career goals, there’s an RN to MSN program in Florida for you. RN to MSN bridge programs are ideal for simultaneously earning your BSN and MSN, while traditional MSN programs are available to RNs who have already obtained a BSN degree. Keep reading to learn more about Florida’s RN to MSN programs.

Nursing School Spotlights: Best RN to MSN Programs in Florida

As you pursue an MSN, considering your career goals and intended pace of study can help you find the best RN to MSN bridge program in Florida for your needs. Other crucial factors to look at before choosing a school include its affordability, reputation for academic excellence, and ability to provide the support you need as a working nurse and student. We’re spotlighting three standout schools to give you a preview of the best RN to MSN programs in Florida in 2023.

Jacksonville University

Jacksonville University’s Keigwin School of Nursing offers two paths for working RNs to obtain their MSN degree in as few as 18 months. For RNs without a BSN, the RN-MSN program makes it possible to earn both degrees with one course of study. Classes can be completed 100% online or in-person and are offered in eight-week flexible formats, allowing students the freedom to study at their own pace or take terms off as needed. Florida’s RN to MSN bridge program students can choose to specialize as a clinical nurse educator or in leadership in healthcare systems, nursing informatics, or healthcare quality and safety.

JU’s Master of Science in nursing offers part-time and full-time MSN tracks for RNs with a BSN degree. In addition to the specializations available to RN-MSN students, the MSN program also gives participants the option to choose a specialization as an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP), family nurse practitioner (FNP), or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). JU’s MSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

South University

In the South University RN to MSN program, students can choose a specialization as a family nurse practitioner. The program focuses on promoting positive health behaviors in patients.

In addition to the Tampa Bay and Orlando locations, students can complete MSN studies online or in person at the Savannah, Georgia, and Virginia Beach, Virginia, campuses. You’ll need 233 credits to graduate from the program, including general education courses, undergraduate nursing requirements and graduate-level classes. You are allowed to transfer up to 90 general education credits from your previous studies. CCNE accredits South University’s MSN program.

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida School of Nursing offers two MSN degrees as 100% online programs that provide clinical practice opportunities in your local community.

The accelerated BSN to MSN in nursing education program is ideal for registered nurses who have completed an RN program at a community college and want to advance their credentials by earning a BSN on the way to achieving a master’s degree. Over three to four years, students complete 59 credit hours of courses in topics like community nursing and advanced pharmacology.

The schools’ program for traditional MSN degree candidates gives students the choice of three concentrations: family nurse practitioner, nurse executive, or nursing education. The nurse executive and nursing education tracks can be completed in 24 months after 39 credit hours of study. Students in the family nurse practitioner concentration are required to complete 45 credit hours of study, which can be achieved in 27-30 months. All UWF graduate degrees in nursing are accredited by CCNE.

FAQs About RN to MSN Programs in Florida

What Can You Do with an MSN in Florida?

As a student of an RN to MSN bridge program in Florida, you’ll expand on your previous nursing experience and knowledge in ways that will qualify you for a broader scope of nursing practice in your career. Depending on your chosen concentration, an MSN can prepare you to manage patient care as a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist; advance the field of nursing as a nurse educator or through nursing informatics; or expand your expertise in forensic nursing. For students who want to pursue the highest level of nursing practice, MSN programs can be a stepping stone to continuing education with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Will I Earn My Bachelor’s Degree During My RN to MSN Program?

For some RN to MSN programs in Florida, students need a bachelor’s degree before earning a master’s in nursing. Other programs allow students to obtain both degrees at the same time. For example, you can earn your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in one comprehensive program at the University of West Florida. The accelerated BSN to MSN is tailored for registered nurses who completed an RN program at a community college. Traditional master’s programs, like the University of North Florida’s MSN in Nursing Leadership, require a BSN degree.

What Will I Learn in an MSN Program in Florida?

An MSN will grow and deepen your nursing experience and knowledge as you prepare for the next steps in your career. Choosing an area of concentrated study will allow you to specialize in nursing research and leadership fields or prepare for advanced practice in a clinical setting. For example, as a student of the online nursing MSN program at the University of Central Florida, students learn to teach in undergraduate nursing and health professional education programs. Nurse practitioner (MSN) family practice programs, such as the one offered at Barry University, prepare students to provide primary care services to people of all ages.

How Long is an RN to MSN Program in Florida?

The amount of time it takes to complete your RN to MSN program in Florida depends on several factors. Students earning a BSN simultaneously with an MSN degree or focusing on particular areas of specialization may take longer to complete their degrees. Additionally, how much time you dedicate to classes each term can significantly affect the number of months you’ll spend earning an MSN. Jacksonville University’s RN-MSN and traditional MSN programs can be completed in as few as 18 months, while the University of West Florida’s Family Nurse Practitioner MSN takes 27-30 months. Typically, MSN degrees are earned in a maximum of three to four years.

How Much Do RN to MSN Programs in Florida Cost?

The cost of RN to MSN bridge programs in Florida can vary greatly depending on the institution. In general, public universities cost less per credit hour than private universities. Additionally, programs that include a BSN degree may apply the undergraduate credit hour rate to all courses that are part of bachelor-level studies, which can affect the overall degree cost. We’ve compiled three schools’ costs per credit hour to help illustrate a range of potential MSN program costs.

Can I Get Financial Aid in Florida to Help Pay For My RN to MSN Program?

Students of RN to MSN programs in Florida can receive the same financial aid opportunities as any other graduate student in the state, including loan, grant, and scholarship opportunities. Nursing master’s students are eligible for several of the Florida Nurses’ Association annual scholarships. Plus, individual schools often provide scholarship opportunities. The University of Central Florida stands out for awarding more than 100 scholarships annually to its nursing students. Assistantships, like those offered at Florida Atlantic University, can be another useful way to fund your MSN. To learn more about ways to fund your Florida RN to MSN bridge degree, check out EduMed’s nursing scholarship guide and financial aid guide.

What Requirements Do I Need to Apply for Admission to RN to MSN Programs in Florida?

Admission requirements can vary from university to university, but there are specific criteria most MSN applicants must meet. University of South Florida’s admission requirements are a strong example of the typical admission criteria for RN to MSN bridge programs in Florida:

  • Graduation from an accredited nursing program
  • GPA of 3.0 or greater
  • Active license to practice as a registered nurse
  • For those applying to a traditional MSN program, proof of a BSN degree

Depending on the program and area of concentration chosen for an MSN degree, admission can be quite competitive, and students may need to be prepared to meet additional qualification requirements.

What Should I Look For in a Quality RN to MSN Program in Florida?

To find the best program for your needs, consider your current level of education, areas of interest, and what you’d like to achieve with an MSN. While the Florida Board of Nursing does not maintain a list of approved advanced practice registered nurse programs, it encourages all advanced nursing students to choose CCNE- or ACEN-accredited programs. Additionally, you should select a school that prepares students to sit for any required certification exams, such as those provided by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Inside Look at RN to MSN Online Programs in Florida

Many students pursuing an advanced degree in nursing are adults with active careers as registered nurses. The main challenge for MSN students is balancing their professional and personal lives alongside their studies. Several Florida universities offer RN to MSN programs online and in hybrid formats, with shorter term lengths of eight to 16 weeks. These flexible course paths allow students to complete coursework on their own time and schedules in a way that suits their individual needs. To dig deeper into what you can expect as an online RN to MSN program student in Florida, check out our online guide on online RN to MSN programs.

Can You Earn a Completely Online MSN Degree in Nursing?

An MSN degree’s online and in-person portions can look different for students in various concentrations of study. Several Florida RN to MSN programs specializations, such as advanced holistic nursing, nursing administration and financial leadership, or nursing informatics, can be completed entirely online. While coursework for some nurse practitioner programs can be completed entirely online, the required direct patient care or clinical hours must be completed in person.

Do Employers in Florida Accept Graduates from Online RN to MSN Programs?

As long as RN to MSN programs online in Florida are accredited by CCNE or ACEN, students can be confident that employers will accept their degrees. MSN graduates in nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist fields of study should plan to meet additional licensing requirements and successfully pass certification exams. Before beginning their practice, nurse practitioners must take exams provided by the ANCC or AANP, while nurse anesthetists must pass an exam by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

What Is the Path to Becoming an RN with an MSN Degree in Florida?

A career as an MSN nurse begins with graduating from an accredited RN degree program and obtaining a valid registered nurse license. According to the Florida State Board of Nursing, the next steps are as follows:

  • Enroll in an accredited MSN program that offers your preferred area of concentration
  • Complete all master’s degree requirements
  • Pass examinations to obtain required certifications in the area of study/practice
  • If you’re planning to become an advanced practice registered nurse, submit an application for licensure with proof of completed education requirements and malpractice insurance to the Florida BON

RN to MSN Career Outlook for Florida

RN to MSN programs in Florida help qualify graduates to manage patient care or take on new nursing education and leadership roles. With an advanced degree, MSN nurses can expect to earn larger salaries and enjoy the benefits of increased job security. Nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists are exceptionally well-placed to fulfill in-demand careers in Florida’s healthcare shortage.

How Much More Can I Make Going from an RN to MSN in Florida?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, registered nurses in Florida earn a mean salary of $72,000 per year. In contrast, nurses with a specialized MSN degree command overall higher salaries. Nurse anesthetists earn $170,950, nurse midwives earn $91,160, and nurse practitioners earn $104,830 annually. For these high-demand careers, salaries are relatively consistent throughout all Florida metro areas.

According to ZipRecruiter, nurses with an MSN out-earn RNs in Florida by more than $35,000 per year. As of October 2022, Florida RNs make $58,103 per year, while nurses with MSN degrees earn an average annual salary of $94,855.

What is the Job Outlook for MSN Nurses in Florida?

Nurses with an advanced MSN degree are in extremely high demand in Florida. Nurse practitioners are the fastest-growing occupation in the state and are expected to increase at a rate of 56.5% by 2029, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Nurse midwives are also in high demand, and these jobs are expected to expand by 18.7% by 2029, while Projections Central predicts that nurse anesthetists will increase the labor force by 24.2% by 2030.