Registered Nurse Certification in How to Become an RN in Florida: Nursing License Application and Renewal Guide

Licensing and registration for registered nurses are handled at the state level in Florida by the Florida Board of Nursing. In order to become a registered nurse in Florida, you must complete a Board-approved educational program. This will take a minimum of 2 years.

As of 2018, the mean hourly income for Florida RNs was just under $32, and the mean annual income was about $66,000. This is lower than the average annual income of registered nurses in the United States at large.

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Workforce projects that by 2030, there will be an approximate labor surplus of 22.4% for registered nurses in the state of Florida.

Florida Board of Nursing

The Florida Board of Nursing handles licensing in the state of Florida. Types of licensing available in Florida include:

  • Certified nursing assistant;
  • Practical nursing;
  • Advanced registered nurse practitioner;
  • Registered nursing.

The Florida Board of Nursing can be reached at (850) 488-0595.

Registered Nurse Education Requirements

Your certification as a registered nurse in Florida must be acquired at the state level through a Board-approved educational program. Such programs are approved on an individual basis through the Board. Florida is home to many schools with accredited programs for registered nursing.

There are three degree pathways that can prepare a prospective RN for their certification exam:

  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN);
  • An associate degree in nursing (ADN);
  • An RN diploma program.

BSNs are the most widely accepted by accrediting boards, while ADNs are typically quicker and cheaper to acquire. Meanwhile, an RN diploma program offers a lot of in-field experience, but the credibility of these programs is dependent on the institution, and therefore can vary widely. More and more states are leaning toward BSN programs as the standard educational requirement for RN licensure.

Foreign nurses who would like to gain licensure as a registered nurse in the state of Florida must submit proof of their citizenship, competence in the English language, and their educational and licensure credentials.

RN Licensure by Examination

All aspiring nurses must follow a licensure process which includes a state-approved examination following the fulfillment of their educational credentials. Individuals who are already licensed as an RN in another state or jurisdiction will need to follow the endorsement process detailed below.

Fingerprinting and Background Checks

When you’re applying for licensure as a registered nurse in Florida, you must submit your fingerprints to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) online through a Livescan service provider. The FDLE will then conduct a background check. There is a fee of $42 every five years to keep the fingerprints on file. Initial fees vary.

Approved Exams

In Florida, individuals must pass an NCLEX examination. As of 2020, the exam registration fee was $200, and you may schedule an exam at any NCLEX testing location. You can also access free practice questions to help prepare for the exam.

Applying to Take a Certification Exam

To apply for the NCLEX-RN examination in Florida, aspiring registered nurses must:

Applying for Licensure

Applications must be submitted through the Florida Health Medical Quality Assurance portal.

RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out-of-State Applicants)

Licensure by endorsement is an option that is often offered for out-of-state residents to become licensed in any given state. To apply for licensure by endorsement in Florida, out-of-state RNs must:

  • Submit proof of licensure;
  • Submit an application through the Florida Health Medical Quality Assurance portal ($110);
  • Submit proof of citizenship and/or residency;
  • Submit proof of proficiency in English (if from a foreign nation);
  • Submit proof of continuing education;
  • Provide fingerprints for a background check;
  • Complete the NCLEX-RN exam.

Florida is also a member of the Nurse Licensure compact, allowing nurses to hold multi-state licenses with other member states including:

ArkansasNew Hampshire
ColoradoNew Jersey
DelawareNew Mexico
FloridaNorth Carolina
GeorgiaNorth Dakota
IndianaSouth Carolina
IowaSouth Dakota
MarylandWest Virginia

RN License Renewal

Registered nurses in the state of Florida must renew their license every two years. Renewing an active RN license before the deadline costs $75.

Continuing Education Requirements

Registered nurses in Florida must complete a Board-approved continuing education course. This will include the following course work:

  • 16 hours of general education;
  • Two hours of Prevention of Medical Errors training;
  • Two hours of Florida Laws and Rule training;
  • Two hours of Recognizing Impairment in the Workplace training;
  • Two hours of Human Trafficking training;
  • Two hours of Domestic Violence training;
  • One hour of HIV/AIDS training.

Florida Nursing License Verification

Registered nursing licenses in Florida can be verified by request through Nursys, or by sending a $25 check made out to the Florida Board of Nursing to:

Division of Medical Quality Assurance
Licensure Support Services
Attn: License Verifications
P.O. Box 6320
Tallahassee, FL 32314-6320.

Mailed requests should also include a Verification of Licensure order form as well as your name and address.

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