How to Become a Nurse in Florida

The Florida Board of Nursing is in charge of distributing licenses to future nurses, renewing licenses, and granting licenses to nurses who have one in another state. Nursing programs in Florida focus on biology, anatomy, chemistry, physiology and nutrition so that students have a well-rounded education in the healthcare field. The Sunshine State has the fourth highest employment level of registered nurses in the country, with 178,330 licensed RNs in the state in 2017. RNs in the state make an annual mean wage of $64,890. In addition, there are 47,550 LPNs and 10,380 nurse practitioners in the state who make an annual mean wage of $43,480 and $99,930, respectively. Learn more about Florida licensing for CNAs, LPNs, RNs, and APRNs below.

How to Get a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) License in Florida

Florida nursing licenses for CNAs can be obtained through the Florida Board of Nursing. Students hoping to obtain their Florida CNA license must be at least 18 years old, hold a diploma from their high school or an equivalent degree, and have completed a state-approved CNA program. Students need to schedule an electronic fingerprinting consultation and send in their completed applications as well as the fee for their exam, which is $140 paid to the testing service provider, before they will be approved by the board to take the exam. Individuals must pass the nursing assistant competency examination in both the written and skills portions. Students have three attempts to pass the exam, and after their third attempt, they have to complete another board-approved training program.

CNA licenses must be renewed every two years in Florida. Renewal requires that the CNA licensee has performed and been paid for duties related to nursing within the last two years. Those with an active license can renew before their license expires for $55 and after for $105.

How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in Florida

Students hoping to receive their licensed practical nurse (LPN) license in Florida need to have graduated from an accredited state-approved program and must take and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Students submit their applications before taking the exam and register for the test with Pearson VUE.

Electronic fingerprinting is also necessary before the exam, and once fingerprinting has been submitted, the student will receive an eligibility letter to state whether all requirements have been met. Students have three opportunities to pass the NCLEX exam, and those who do not pass after the third try must complete another nursing education program approved by the board in order to receive another opportunity to obtain their Florida LPN license.

The mandatory renewal date occurs every two years on July 31. LPN license holders must complete their continuing education requirements, send in their complete applications for the license renewal and pay a fee. The fee is $75 for individuals with active licenses who pay before their license expires. Fees increase based on if the individual’s license is still active and/or if the individual has paid after the renewal deadline. Fees increase considerably 120 days after the deadline.

How to Get a Registered (RN) License in Florida

Students hoping to obtain their Florida RN license will do so through the Florida Board of Nursing. To obtain a Florida nursing license, students must graduate from an accredited nursing program, pass the NCLEX-RN exam and submit an application to the board. Individuals who already have an RN license in another state may apply for licensure by endorsement.

Students must be granted approval after applying for their initial license in order to take their NCLEX-RN exam. Those who fail the exam can submit an application for another exam, but failing three times requires the student to complete another educational program before trying again. An electronic fingerprinting session is also necessary, and students are expected to set this up on their own. All individuals applying for their RN license in Florida must pay a $110 application and licensing fee and $200 to the testing vendor, Pearson VUE.

Florida RN licenses expire every two years. Nurses hoping to renew their licenses must complete the continued education requirements, send in their completed renewal application and provide a payment of $75. Fees increase for those renewing after their licenses expire and/or for those with inactive licenses.

How to Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License in Florida

Florida advanced practice registered nurse licenses can be obtained through the Florida Nursing License Board. APRN licenses are only awarded to those who already hold an RN license and have completed a master’s degree or higher in their chosen nursing specialty. Applicants must also be certified by the national certification board for their specialty. Florida recognizes nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), certified nurse midwife (CNM), and nurse anesthetist (CRNA) as APRN specialties.

Applicants must submit their application and their fee of $110 (although the fee can sometimes vary based on the license verification and Livescan service provider). Electronic fingerprinting must be scheduled by applicants, who also need to send proof of their malpractice insurance and have the national certifying body send proof of their certification to the Florida Board of Nursing.

APRN licenses expire every two years on April 30 and July 31. To renew, APRN license holders must complete their continuing education requirements, send in their completed renewal application, confirm their primary practicing address and complete a form confirming their financial dependability. It costs $60 to renew an active APRN license before the license expires. The cost increases if the Florida nursing license has become inactive and/or the individual has not renewed before the license expired.