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A Guide to Nursing in Florida

Florida is bursting with things to do. Of course, there is Disney World, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Legoland, etc. You can visit Miami for the Art Deco architecture and Cuban flare. Then there is a whole other side of Florida. Beautiful national parks include the Everglades, Big Gum Swamp Wilderness, and Fort Clinch. Just watch out for crocodiles.

If you are a registered nurse (or are thinking of becoming one) read on to find the information you need, from licensing info, continuing education requirements, job & salary outlook, top hospitals, and nursing associations. Let us help you find your dream job!

In this article, we will cover:

Licensing information

Below are the fees for becoming a nurse in Florida whether you are a first-time nurse or are moving to Florida from another state. For more information visit the Florida licensing page.

Licensing fees by examination (first-time nurses):

  • NCLEX fee: $200

  • Application fee: $110

Licensing fees by endorsement (nurses who already have RN licensure):

  • Application fee: $110

  • APRN dispensing license: $100

License renewal fees:

  • Application fee: $75

Florida is a nursing compact state, which allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses.

*Fees are subject to change.

**Most states require a background check, but prices are not always listed.


Steps for renewing a Florida nursing license

  1. Verify the status of your license Visit the Verification page in order to confirm your license. Licensees of the Florida Board of Nursing are required to renew their licenses biennially in order to maintain the right to practice.

  2. Complete your Florida nursing continuing education requirements before your license expires You can complete your nursing CEUs online, on your schedule, and 100% free with Incredible Health.

  3. Visit the Florida Health Medical Quality Assurance portal to enter your renewal application Go to the Florida Renewal Information page for more specifics. Florida is a compact state. If your Primary State of Residency is in another compact state do not apply for licensure in Florida unless you are declaring Florida as your Primary State of Residency.


Continuing education requirements

RN/LPN/APRN: 24 hours every 2 years

The following courses are required:

  • Two hours for medical error/prevention

  • Two hours on preventing human trafficking

  • Two hours for Florida laws and rules

  • Two hours on domestic violence every 3rd renewal

  • Two hours on recognition of impairment in the workplace (every other renewal)

  • One hour one-time HIV/AIDS

  • Three hours on safe and effective prescription of controlled substances, if a prescriber

Job & salary outlook for nurses in Florida

Due to the shortage of nurses, these healthcare professionals are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the profession will grow by about 9% between 2020-2030. The annual mean wage is $69,510.

We can also help you check out salary estimates to help determine if Florida is the right state for you.

[ MORE: Average nurse salary in Florida ]


Top hospitals in Florida

If you’re not already picking up the phone to call movers, maybe this list of the best hospitals in Florida will sway you in the right direction. Here are the top hospitals according to U.S. News and World Report:

  • Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville, FL: According to U.S. News and World Report, this is the top hospital in Florida. They provide innovation health care with clinical expertise. Mayo Clinic is a member of the Magnet Recognition Program®. Some of this facilities top specialties include:

    • Lung & colon cancer

    • Cardiology & heart surgery

    • Diabetes & endocrinology

    • Cardiology & heart surgery

    • Neurology & neurosurgery

  • UF Health Shands Hospital – Gainesville, FL: In U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 Best Hospital rankings, UF Health Shands Hospital was among the nation’s best in seven specialties:

    • Cancer

    • Diabetes & endocrinology

    • Gastroenterology & GI surgery

    • Geriatrics

    • Nephrology

    • Pulmonology & lung surgery

    • Urology

  • AdventHealth Orlando – Orlando, FL: This Christian facility’s mission believes in providing exceptional and compassionate care with state of the art treatments that help heal the body, ease the mind, and lift the spirit. Healthgrades 2018 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence. This hospital is a member of the Magnet Recognition Program®. Some specialties include:

    • Colon & lung cancers

    • Cardiology & heart surgery

    • Diabetes

    • Nephrology

    • Neurology & neurosurgery

*Magnet status – Awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is considered the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care. Hospitals must meet certain criteria and apply to be designated.


Nursing organizations & associations in Florida

Once you become a registered nurse (or even if you’re in the process), joining a nursing organization or association will give you access to networking, job opportunities, and a wealth of information shared between fellow nurses. Here are two of the associations for nurses in Florida:

Florida Nurses Association

This association works to make the lives of nurses better. They support all nurses by offering professional development, advocacy, and the promotion of excellence in every level of professional nursing practice.

Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners

A group of Nurse Practitioners who work to improve access to health care for Florida’s citizens.

Check out the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Basic steps for licensing and certification

Step 1: Education

Attend an accredited nursing school to earn either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN will take between 18 and 24 months to complete, while you can expect to spend roughly four years to earn a BSN. If you already have an ADN, there is an ADN to BSN bridge program that allows you to earn a BSN in 12-18 months. There is also an RN to BSN bridge which takes three semesters of nursing courses to be completed in one year. These programs will save you time and money. The more education you have, the better your chances of landing your dream job.

Step 2: Licensing

When you are six weeks away from graduation, you can apply to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. There are 75 to 265 questions on the NCLEX-RN with a five-hour time limit for completion. If you do not pass the NCLEX-RN on your first attempt, you must wait 45 days before you can try again.

The NCLEX includes questions on the following topics to test nursing candidates’ knowledge:

1. Safe and effective care environment

2. Health promotion and maintenance

3. Psychosocial integrity

4. Physiological integrity

Step 3: Experience

This step in the process is to gain hands-on experience. This will provide you with invaluable opportunities to work with patients making you attractive to future employers.

Step 4: Certification

The final step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. Requirements for earning a certification vary so it is important to check with the governing body for information. Incredible Health offers free courses in order to obtain or renew certification requirements. Create a free account to access professional development mandates and get instant certificates.

Contact information

Florida Board of Nursing

Board office

Phone: (850) 245-4125

Fax: (850) 617-6460

Customer contact

(850) 488-0595

Mailing address:

Department of Health

Board of Nursing

4052 Bald Cypress Way Bin C-02

Tallahassee, FL 32399-3252

Applications and Fees ONLY:

Department of Health

Board of Nursing

PO Box 6330

Tallahassee, FL 32314-6330

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