Nurse practitioners (NPs) provide critical healthcare services to patients. More than 10,500 NPs work in communities across Florida, providing primary care services or specialized care to patients. This guide describes the career opportunities available to nurses enrolled in NP programs in Florida, including requirements for education, licensing, and certification.
NPs enjoy rewarding careers with the potential for high pay and strong job growth.
Florida offers NP licensure to registered nurses (RNs) who complete graduate degrees and earn national certification. These certification programs include rigorous standards of knowledge and skill assessment to ensure NPs understand their duties. NPs in the state can provide advanced medical services, such as diagnosing patients, prescribing medication, or ordering tests. They also provide education on healthy lifestyles. Florida offers a restricted practice environment, with NPs working under the supervision of physicians, but they can practice with greater autonomy than RNs.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Based in Florida
Florida requires each aspiring NP to complete a graduate nursing program and earn a professional certification from a national credentialing agency. A master of science nursing degree from an accredited school satisfies these requirements. Many programs allow nurses to focus their clinical practice in a specialty area, such as family practice, adult primary care, pediatrics, or women's health. Students should ensure their chosen school supports their specialty practice area with relevant courses and appropriate clinical placements.
Many NP programs in FL make use of distance learning technology and part-time class schedules to allow nurses to advance their education while continuing to work.
NP programs at Florida schools focus on coursework in advanced theory and practice, healthcare ethics and policy, and pharmacology. Clinical practice complements classroom study. Graduate nursing programs require 1-3 years for completion, depending on your academic and professional background. Some programs require applicants to possess an undergraduate degree in nursing, an unencumbered RN license, and at least one year of professional experience. Admission requirements vary by program, but some schools also require letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and a 3.0 or higher undergraduate GPA.
Many NP programs in FL make use of distance learning technology and part-time class schedules to allow nurses to advance their education while continuing to work. On-campus requirements vary by school. Some colleges require a few in-person sessions, while others allow students to complete all their requirements online. Research any in-person requirements carefully, as this can increase your travel costs.
Research any in-person requirements carefully, as this can increase your travel costs.
Complete List of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Florida
Florida Nurse Practitioner Career Information
NPs play a critical role in meeting the healthcare needs of residents. The Florida Center for Nursing found the number of advanced registered nurse practitioners in the state had grown by 22% from 2014-15.
After an NP program, the Florida Board of Nursing requires each advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) to earn a nationally recognized specialty credential and apply for an APRN license. All applicants must already hold a valid, unencumbered RN license. The state charges $110 for the license and another $100 for a prescription dispensing license. You must have your fingerprints taken and provide copies of malpractice insurance coverage.
Florida offers a restricted practice environment, so NPs work under the direction of medical doctors.
Florida offers a restricted practice environment, so NPs work under the direction of medical doctors. You and your supervising physician develop a protocol for the medical care you may provide independently. While you should keep a copy of these protocols at your practice location, the state does not request copies. You must update the board when you change your physician supervisor.
Once issued, your license remains valid for two years. Nurses must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years, with courses on human trafficking, laws and rules, recognizing impairment in the workplace, and preventing medical errors. NPs certified by an accredited credentialing program may not need all 24 hours of continuing education, though each agency sets distinct continuing education requirements.
Other Requirements for Florida Nurse Practitioners
If you studied a specialization in your master's program, you should identify the best certifying agencies for that field of medicine. Typical specialties include adult-gerontology primary care or acute care, neonatal critical care, pediatric medicine, or psychiatric medicine. Eligibility requirements vary by the agency but typically include a combination of professional experience, clinical work, and passing an exam.
NPs who plan to prescribe medication must establish prescription protocols with their supervising physicians.
Each certifying agency sets rules for ongoing professional education and certification renewal. Some programs renew every five years with demonstrated work experience as an NP. Continued postgraduate training or continuing education ensures NPs remain up to date on changes in medical research and treatment best practices.
NPs who plan to prescribe medication must establish prescription protocols with their supervising physicians. For prescribing authority, NPs must also obtain Drug Enforcement Administration numbers. However, NPs may not prescribe controlled substances. The state uses a prescription drug monitoring program to collect records of controlled substance prescriptions. If you write and fill prescriptions, you must also apply for a dispensing license from the state.
Information for Out-Of-State Nurse Practitioners
Florida participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). This agreement allows nurses to practice in multiple states without needing additional nursing licenses. This agreement helps nurses who travel or work in various states. Currently, 32 states recognize the NLC, with legislation currently pending in three other states. While Florida recognizes a nursing license from other states participating in the compact, it does not always permit NPs to carry out the same duties. Florida operated under a restricted practice law that requires NPs to work under protocols developed by a supervising physician. This limited practice scope includes oversight for prescribing medications.
Nurses who move to Florida, however, should apply for a nursing license by endorsement. The Florida Board of Nursing may require proof of residency. Applying for a nursing license by endorsement requires an applicant to hold a valid nursing license in another state, pass the state board test pool examination or NCLEX, or provide evidence of two years of active nursing practice in another jurisdiction in the prior three years. The process still requires fingerprinting and a criminal background check. Each applicant must pay the $110 application and licensing fee.
Resources for Florida Nurse Practitioners
Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners This organization advocates for public health policy that allows NPs to impact patient care in Florida, particularly for legislation to expand the role of NPs as medical providers. The FLANP Career Center includes job listings and a resume bank for more than 200 employers.
Florida Nurse Practitioner Network Established in 2002, this network of NPs promotes professional development with continuing education resources and award opportunities, along with grants and scholarships for advanced education. The network also offers job listings and hosts an annual conference.
Florida State Board of Nursing This regulatory agency administers licensing laws for the state. They grant initial licensure and ensure compliance with continuing education and renewal requirements. The board includes 13 members appointed by the governor.
Florida Nurses Association This state affiliate of the American Nurses Association represents all licensed nurses with professional development, career, and educational resources. The website offers a career center, information on licensure and nursing programs, and legislative updates related to NP practice requirements and prescribing rules.
Florida Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners FANNP promotes the role of neonatal NPs in providing high-quality care to their patients and families. The annual symposium updates NPs on clinical practices with networking opportunities. Scholarships and grants support nurses seeking advanced education or conducting research.