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Florida Nurses Foundation
Florida Career Center

Selecting a Program & Choosing Your Education Path

Selecting a Nursing Program

When choosing a nursing program, make sure that the school is approved by the Florida Board of Nursing. This state approval means the program has met the minimum requirements as specified by law to prepare as a Registered Nurse (RN). In addition, ask if the program is accredited by the appropriate agencies, ensuring a standard of excellence established by the nursing profession has been met.

Today you can become a Registered Nurse by completing two to four years of education. You can attend a two-year community college for an associate degree or a four-year university for a baccalaureate degree.

Although this brochure provides information on educational programs that entitle you to become a Registered Nurse, it is important that you know what type of practice each educational pathway prepares its graduates for, as well as the career opportunities associated with that level of preparation. If you are considering nursing as a career, you are encouraged to thoroughly investigate the various types of nursing education programs in Florida, as well as options available for you within the vocational, community college, and university settings.

Whether you enter the profession with two or four years of education, you will have many diverse and exciting opportunities to practice nursing. And should you decide at some point in your career to continue your formal education, you will have access to a variety of programs that recognize your previous education and experience as a nurse.

When you complete your nursing education you should be prepared to pass the NCLEX exam.

Choosing Your Education Path

You should investigate the types of programs thoroughly and decide which one is right for your needs and goals. You can do this by reading more about careers in nursing and by contacting local health care facilities and schools. It is a good idea to ask for information packets and application forms from several schools so you can compare admission criteria, length and cost of the programs, as well as other facts about the school. It may be wise to apply to more that one school to increase your chance for acceptance.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • In what kind of institution is the program located?
  • What are the admission requirements?
  • Is there a waiting list for applicants?
  • How often are students admitted? How many?
  • What grade point average is required?
  • Admission test required (ACT, SAT, etc.)?
  • Are references and/or an interview required?
  • What is the admission procedure?
  • Is there an application fee?
  • What is the application deadline?
  • What are the prerequisite courses?
  • What are the qualifications and requirements?
  • To whom do you submit your application?
  • What are the requirements for graduation?
  • Are College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam credits accepted?
  • What financial assistance is available? (Traineeship? Work Study? Loans or scholarships?)
  • What are the learning resources? (Self-learning lab? Clinical lab? Multi-media classrooms?
  • Where are the clinical facilities located?
  • What are the faculty resources?
  • What is the faculty-student ratio?
  • How many faculty members hold baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees? (This tells you how well-prepared the faculty is.)
  • Who is the director of the nursing program?
  • Does it have a written philosophy, conceptual framework, and end-line graduate objectives consistent with your personal and professional goals?
  • Will credits be transferable? What are the total tuition and fees? Are they within your resources?
  • What is the NCLEX pass rate?