When was the last time you or someone in your life interacted with a nurse? How was the experience?

Chances are, they probably made you or that someone feel better, took care of them, gave them hope, or all of the above. After all, that’s what nurses are supposed to do, right? Comfort us and care for us when we cannot.

The country always needs more of these caregivers, and the expected job increase data supports that. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of registered nursing jobs alone will grow 16% from 2014 to 2024.

The most recently available BLS data (valid as of May 2015) indicates that the number of registered nurses in Florida is 168,870 — 4th place in the USA. The hourly mean wage for registered nurses working in the state is $30.75 ($63,960/ year).

Of the 42 colleges listed in the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) database as offering bachelor’s-level academic programs in nursing in Florida, at least some are redeveloping their undergrad programs. Amongst other reasons, this is to meet an IOM (Institute of Medicine) initiative in the U.S. that recommends that at least 80% of Registered Nurses in the country have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. (Some programs may have closed or been suspended since NCES published the data. The programs below, however, have been verified as still active at publication time.)

If you are seeking to upgrade your nursing education, or are interested in entering a nursing career, this article lists the 10 most affordable bachelor’s of nursing programs in Florida – which should help you in your college search effort.

 

1

Palm Beach State College

Average Tuition: $2,444

Program Website

palm_beach_state_college

Palm Beach State College (PBSC) is institutionally-accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Its nursing programs, offered through the Nursing Department, are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The Lake Worth campus is one of five PBSC campuses, making PBSC the largest college in Palm Beach County by enrollment. PBSC not only encourages adult learners, special summer camps educate elementary, middle and high school students.

PBSC offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree with one entry/ completion path. This track requires that students have an associate’s degree in nursing (AS or AAS) and are currently licensed Registered Nurses (RNs) in Florida. This is a 2+2 program, where students will have completed approximately two-years of lower division coursework in pursuit of their ADN, and will now complete two years of upper-division courses.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN
  • hybrid online)

Students have the option of choosing to take courses either in-person at the Lake Worth campus, or online. The learning process combines coursework, clinical experience, skills-building and simulation exercises. The program prepares graduates for careers in nursing and health care, particularly in administrative and supervisory roles.

This 2+2 BSN program requires a total of 120 credits, including any transfer credits granted for holding an associate’s degree in nursing. This breaks down into 84 credits for lower-division courses and 36 credits for upper-division nursing and related courses. The latter covers topics such as advanced care concepts, current issues in nursing, leadership, management, research and more, and the curriculum includes a Capstone course.

Sample courses include:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology for Nursing
  • Nursing Research and Informatics
  • Nursing Care for the Geriatric Patient and Other Vulnerable Populations
  • Clinical Decision Making/Critical Thinking
  • Nursing in a Multicultural Society

Campus or HQ: Lake Worth, Florida.

2

Santa Fe College

Average Tuition: $2,539

Program Website

Sante Fe College

Santa Fe College (SFC) is a public institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The programs offered by the Nursing department — part of the Health Sciences division — are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). In addition to the main campus, there are six learning centers across two counties. Santa Fe won the presitigous Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2015, and has been ranked in the top 10 since 2012 for community colleges in the U.S. by various publications.

SFC offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with one entry/ completion path. This program is designed for students who are licensed Registered Nurses having an associate’s degree in nursing. For students who do not yet have an associate’s degree, SFC offers an ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing) degree. Alternatives are the PN (Practical Nursing) and NA (Nursing Assistant) programs.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

In addition to coursework, SFC maintains a Nursing Simulated Lab for practical skills development, as well as a Health Sciences division Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). SFC’s NCLEX-RN licensing exam pass rate for 2015 was 95% — the third-highest rate among nursing programs in Florida for that year — and 100% for 2014.

The BSN program at SFC requires a total of 120 credits for completion. Of this, the RN track core courses take up 30 credits. The rest of the credits are earned from prerequisite courses, General Education, lower-division Electives, etc. Students will likely have to devote 20+ hours per week per each 7-week course, for classes (online), study and assignments.

Sample courses include:

  • Culture in Nursing
  • Pharmacology
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Globalization of Health Care: Health Care Finance
  • Foundations of Nursing: Ethics

Campus or HQ: Gainesville, Florida.

3

College of Central Florida

Average Tuition: $2,570

Program Website

college_central_florida

College of Central Florida (CF), part of the public Florida College System, is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Nursing programs are offered through the Nursing department of the Health Sciences division. These programs are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). CF’s achievements include being nominated for the Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence (top 150 colleges in the USA) three times, including for 2017. It also ranks as #20 for affordability in the country as per U.S. Dept. of Education. As well, CF has been designated a Tree Campus USA winner seven times as of 2008.

CF offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with one entry/ completion path. This is an RN track for Registered Nurses who hold an associate’s degree and are either currently-licensed for Florida or will be so before starting in semester two of the BSN program.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN – BSN)

The RN-BSN track is a generalist program designed to allow working nurses to simultaneously earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This outcome is in alignment with the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that the percentage of nurses in the USA with a bachelor’s degree be increased to 80% by 2020. The program augments coursework with access to “state of the art, high-fidelity simulation labs.” Programs in the Health Sciences division, including nursing, are Limited Access and therefore competitive. Pay attention to deadlines and apply on a timely basis. Students in the BSN program may collectively be eligbile for over $1M in scholarships awarded annually (all programs total).

Total credit requirement is a minimum 120, of which 39 credits are allotted to nursing courses, and another 39 credits to nursing technical courses. This includes labs and clinical experiences but not the Foreign Language requirement. Students may choose either a full-time (four semesters) or part-time (seven semesters) schedule. Some RNs may be eligible for tuition reimbursement from their employer, effectively make acquiring a BSN free. While applications are accepted on a rolling basis, start dates are in Spring and Fall semesters.

Sample courses include:

  • Nursing Theory and Philosophy
  • Global Health Care Issues and Trends in Professional Nursing
  • Advanced Nursing Health Assessment
  • Community Nursing
  • Nursing Leadership and Management

Campus or HQ: Ocala, Florida.

4

Indian River State College

Average Tuition: $2,764

Program Website

indian_river_state_college

Indian River State College (IRSC), which is part of the public Florida College System, is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Nursing programs are offered by the Nursing department of the Health Sciences division and are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). IRSC’s achievements include being ranked #3 most affordable college in the United States as per the U.S. Dept of Education for 2015-16, based on tuition rate — a rise from #4 the previous year. The college was also a top 10 finalist in 2017 for the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, in a competing pool of over 1,000 candidates. This is IRSC’s second nomination.

IRSC offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with one entry/ completion path. This is an online RN track intended for currently-licensed Registered Nursing holding an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN, etc.) and seeking a BSN as well as the skills necessary to achieve leadership roles. Students with no previous nursing experience may be interested in the college’s ADN program.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (R.N. to B.S.N.)

IRSC’s BSN program provides a focus on “health care research, professional leadership and public policy development.” Successful graduates of this BSN might seek leadership or management roles in nursing. Note: NCLEX-RN pass rates for IRSC’s ADN students ranges from 91.9 – 100% for 2013-2016.

The BSN degree at IRSC requires a total of 121 credits. Of this, 72 credits is allotted to the lower-division courses of the associate’s degree that students must hold for admission. An additional 49 credits must be completed, which includes 31 credits for Major courses and 18 credits for General Education. Maximum credits for transfer from the associate’s degree is 54.

Sample courses include:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Nursing Research and Informatics
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Health Care
  • Community Health Nursing

Campus or HQ: Fort Pierce, Florida.

5

Gulf Coast State College

Average Tuition: $2,765

Program Website

gulf_coast_state_college

Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) is a public institution that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Undergrad nursing programs are offered through the division of Health Sciences, with bachelor’s-level degrees additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The college boasts a high hiring rate of 98% within six months of graduation.

GCSC offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with one entry/ completion path. This is an RN track for currently-licensed Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree or dipoma in nursing. While there is no full BSN program, GCSC has an LPN to ADN program that allows Licensed Practical Nurses to earn an associate’s degree in nursing, after which they can sit for and pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam and then apply for the RN-BSN program.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

The college’s RN track BSN program offers a combination of online and blended-delivery classes. Students graduating from this program are prepared for advanced degrees which in turn lead to nursing roles such as educator, researcher/ scientist, midwife, practitioner. These are roles which are expected to enjoy significant growth (in jobs percentage increase) over the next half-decade or longer.

This BSN degree requires a total of 120 credits, for which 48 credits are allotted for the associate’s degree/ diploma in nursing and 36 credits for Core major courses. The program is delivered in hybrid mode and offers a fast-track option which can be completed in three semesters.

Sample courses include:

  • Foundations of Nursing Practice
  • Introduction to Pharmacology
  • Nursing Care of the Adult
  • Gerontological Nursing
  • Maternal-Infant Nursing

Campus or HQ: Panama City, Florida.

6

State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota

Average Tuition: $3,074

Program Website

state_college_florida_manatee_sarasota

State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) offers nursing programs through the Department of Nursing, which is part of the Division of Health Professions. SCF is part of the public Florida College System, with Institutional accreditation provided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Undergrad nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). In addition to the Bradenton main campus, there are two other campuses and an online division, making it the largest public college in the region by enrollment.

SCF offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with one entry/ completion path. This is an RN track for currently-licensed Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing. Students new to nursing may be interested in the college’s ASN program that prepares students for the NCLEX-RN professional licensure exam.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN)

Students can choose between a fully online format for the RN track, or opt for some blended courses as well. In addition to course work and clinical experiences, students have access to a Nursing Resource Lab. Note: ASN graduates had a 100% pass rate for the Apr – Sept 2016 for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, which contributed to the college’s job placement rate for all graduates being as high as 100% for the academic years 2011-12 through 2014-15.

The BSN degree requires a total of 120 credits for completion, including any transfer credits granted for prior (associate’s degree) coursework. Most courses are in a 5-week format and the program can be completed in four semesters.

Sample courses include:

  • Dimensions of Professional Nursing Practice
  • Health Assessment and Physical Appraisal
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Health Care

Campus or HQ: Bradenton, Florida.

7

Florida Gateway College

Average Tuition: $3,100

Program Website

pacfor brochure

Florida Gateway College (FGC) is part of the public Florida College System, receiving institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Nursing programs are offered through the division of Nursing and Health Sciences and are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). In addition to FGC’s Panama City main campus, there are classes at three other locations. The college is considered military-friendly and supportive for both active-duty and veteran military personnel.

FGC offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with one entry/ completion path. This is an RN track for currently-licensed Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing. Students with no nursing experience may be interested in FGC’s ASN program. There are also LPN to RN and Paramedic to RN Bridge programs, after completion of which students can apply to the RN-BSN degree.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN)

The RN-to-BSN program allows students to develop leadership and decision-making skills for nursing roles in different healthcare environments. The curriculum has an emphasis on community and population-focused care. as well as research and management. Upon completion of the degree, graduates may seek roles such as nurse manager and patient unit coordinator, amongst others.

The BSN degree requires 125 credits for completion, including credits granted (max. 30) for prior associate’s degree course work. In total, students will have to complete 42 credits of lower-division nursing courses and 31 credits of core upper-division courses, amongst other requirements.

Sample courses include:

  • Nursing Theory
  • Pathophysiology
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Health Care
  • Nursing in Diverse Cultures
  • Pharmacology

Campus or HQ: Lake City, Florida.

8

Chipola College

Average Tuition: $3,120

Program Website

chipola_college (1)

Chipola College, which is part of the public Florida College System, is institutionally-accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Undergrad nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). CC in all years (alternating, since 2011) for the Aspen Prize (top 150 community colleges in the U.S.), competing in a pool of over 1160 candidates. The college also tied for 10th place on U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Public Schools in the South” and #52 on the “Best Regional Colleges in the South” lists.

Chipola offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree with one entry/ completion path. This is an RN track for licensed Registered Nurses who have completed an associate’s degree in nursing. Students new to nursing may be interested in the college’s associate’s degree (ADN), which qualifies them to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, and after which they can apply for the RN-BSN program.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN)

The RN track program prepares students for healthcare roles serving individuals, families and communities. Students learn research and analysis techniques to build upon their existing nursing skills.

This BSN degree’s completion requirements includes 60 credits for associate’s level coursework, as well as 30 credits of upper-division nursing courses, including a Capstone. It is possible to complete RN track portion in three semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer).

Sample courses include:

  • Research Processes for Professional Nursing
  • Health Assessment
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Nursing Practice
  • Multicultural Practice
  • Community Nursing

Campus or HQ: Marianna, Florida.

9

Northwest Florida State College

Average Tuition: $3,123

Program Website

Northwest Florida State College

Northwest Florida State College (NWF, part of the Florida College System) offers nursing programs through the Department of Health Sciences. While the college is institutionally-accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). As of 2011, the college has been pursuing their Vision 2020 plan, which consists of “seven core values,” primarily to improve the overall experience of students.

NWF offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree with one entry/ completion path. This track is for licensed Registered Nurses with a associate’s degree in nursing. For non-RNs, there is an ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing; six semesters) degree that prepares students to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, after which they can apply to the BSN degree completion program.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

The RN track prepares students for advanced roles in nursing, as well as for advanced degrees that lead to leadership and management nursing careers. Students take the program online for coursework, plus in-person, guided clinical experiences (approved locations in Florida).

This BSN degree requires a total of 120 credits, with the RN track portion consisting of 30 credits of upper-division nursing courses. The college awards a maximum of 90 credits for prior coursework (associate’s degree) and experience (RN license). The RN track can be completed full-time in three semesters or part-time in about four semesters. Start dates are Fall, Spring or Summer.

Sample courses include:

  • Dimensions of Baccalaureate Nursing Practice
  • Nursing Care of Complex Clients
  • Family and Community Health
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Evidence-Based Practice: Incorporating Nursing Research

Campus or HQ: Niceville, Florida.

10

Pasco-Hernando State College

Average Tuition: $3,155

Program Website

pasco_hernando_state_college

Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC), which is part of the public Florida College System, receives institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Nursing degrees are offered through the Division of Nursing and Health Programs, with undergrad programs additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The college has an overall focus on a set of core values, with the intent of improving the student and community experience, which includes an exhibition space and art gallery in the Pottberg Library of the main campus.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a new offering from PHSC, with one cohort completed in May 2016. This is an online RN track for students having an associate’s degree in nursing and a current Registered Nurse (RN) license.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

Prerequisite coursework for this program can be taken either at the main campus in New Port Richey, Florida, or at any of the four branch campuses. The RN portion itself is fully online; however, a face-to-face orientation day is required for each term. Nursing courses have an emphasis on building leadership and management skills, as well as theory and research. Admission to the program takes place in Fall and Spring, with applications accepted a few months before each of these semesters start. Students have the option of 3-, 4- or 5-semester plans, which depend on start date and courses taken.

This selected-admission BSN program requires a total of 120 credits, including any offered as transfer credits for holding an associate’s degree in nursing and an RN license valid in Florida. RN track students will complete 60 credits of upper-division coursework over three-five semesters, including both nursing courses and other requirements.

Sample courses include:

  • Cultural Health Issues
  • Nursing Theoretical Concepts
  • Teaching and Learning for the Healthcare Professional
  • Pathology for Nursing Practice
  • Pharmacology for Nursing

Campus or HQ: New Port Richey, Florida.

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