Steps to Becoming an APRN in Florida

florida nursing

1Get your Graduate Degree in Florida
2Earn your National Certification in Florida
3Apply for your License in Florida
4Renewing your License in Florida

The Florida Board of Nursing (850-488-0595) licenses advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs).

Three general areas of specialization for advanced practice nurses are recognized in Florida: nurse practitioner (NP), certified nurse midwife (CNM), and certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).

Clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is recognized as an upgrade to the basic RN license, but not as an advanced practice nursing general area of specialty.

Florida Job Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in FL: $95,780
  • 2016 active RN licenses in FL: 306,191
  • NCLEX-RN 2015 pass rate for Florida: 83.13%
  • 91% of Florida’s ARNP workforce are actively employed
  • 2014 ARNPs in Florida: 20,034
    • NPs: 11,840
    • CNMs: 768
    • CRNAs: 3427
    • CNS: 141

You must have a current Florida RN license prior to licensure as an ARNP in Florida. You may apply for an RN license concurrently with your ARNP license application.

  • If you received your RN education in a foreign country, have your academic credentials evaluated by one of the agencies listed on this page, and have finding submitted to the Florida Board of Nursing
  • If your Florida RN license is currently inactive or expired, contact the Board of Nursing at (850) 488-0595 for information on having it reinstated.

As an actively licensed RN in Florida you may follow these steps to become licensed as an advanced registered nurse practitioner.


 

Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

If you graduated on or after October 1, 1998, you must have a master’s degree with a major in nursing, or a post-master’s certificate or doctorate with a concentration in an advanced practice nursing category (NP, CNM, CRNA), prior to ARNP licensure in Florida. (If you graduated prior to October 1, 1998, you are exempt from this requirement).

Qualified Graduate Programs

The Florida Board of Nursing does not regulate advanced nursing programs.

Under rules of the Florida Department of Education, a nursing education program must be accredited by one of two United States Department of Education– recognized nursing program accrediting agencies:

Course Requirements

As an aspiring ARNP you must complete an advanced pharmacology/pharmacotherapeutics course as part of your post-bachelor’s degree ARNP education. Your major must be in nursing or within your chosen general area of specialty (nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, or nurse midwife).

Prescriptive authority, or the authorization to write prescriptions and dispense medications, is automatically granted to Florida- licensed ARNPs who have met the core course requirements inclusive of pharmacology/pharmacotherapeutics.

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners in Florida do not have the authority to prescribe controlled substances.

Specialization

The Florida Board of Nursing does not list specialization areas on ARNP licenses. However, many ARNPs, particularly NPs, choose to specialize in a particular role or patient population such as women’s health, pediatric, neonatal, adult health, acute care, geriatrics, psychiatric/mental health, or family. Such specialization typically requires a graduate degree program specific to the population focus, as determined by the respective national certifying bodies.

Consult the national certifying body through which you intend to seek national certification to determine graduate program requirements for certification within a particular patient population focus:

Provisional Licensure

If you are seeking licensure as a CRNA or CNM in Florida and have not yet completed all licensure requirements, you may still be eligible for provisional licensure. To be eligible, you must have graduated from your advanced practice nursing graduate program within the past 12 months, but not yet be nationally certified.

Provisional licenses are valid for one year, during which time you must fulfill all licensure requirements by becoming nationally certified. Contact the Board for more details.


Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

National certification is required for each of the three types of ARNPs recognized by the Florida Board of Nursing. Independent national certification agencies set their own requirements specific to education, experience and examination.

Advanced Nursing General Areas of Specialization

The Florida Board of Nursing recognizes the following ARNP general areas of specialization:

  • Nurse practitioner (NP)
  • Certified nurse-midwife (CNM)
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)

Certification Programs

The Florida Board of Nursing recognizes national certification exams for ARNPs administered through the following nursing specialty certifying boards:

You must become nationally certified before pursuing full ARNP licensure in Florida. Get in touch with the appropriate national certifying body for details.


Step 3. Apply for Your License

You’ll be required to provide you social security number on the
RN/ARNP application for licensure in Florida. If you do not have a social security number, contact the Florida Board of Nursing at 850-488-0595. You must have a social security number prior to obtaining full ARNP licensure.

If your Florida RN license is up for renewal within 120 days of applying for ARNP certification, you must renew your Florida RN license before your ARNP license will be issued.

Complete the Application for Dual Registered Nurse and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. (You must check the correct box indicating if you are applying for both RN and ARNP licensure or just ARNP licensure). Along with the application:

  • Submit the proper application fee ($148 for ARNP licensure, or $323 for RN and ARNP licensure) via cashier’s check or money order only, payable to the Florida Department of Health
  • Have your school mail an official transcript verifying completion of your graduate-level nursing program
  • If you are an aspiring CNM or CRNA who is not yet nationally certified and graduated within the past 12 months, have your school complete the Verification of Program Completion form (found in the application packet)
  • Have your national certification agency send verification of your national certification to the Board
  • Complete the Financial Responsibility form (included in application packet), which states your agreement to obtain and maintain professional liability (malpractice) insurance
  • Complete two sets of fingerprint cards (see below)
  • If applying for both RN and ARNP licensure, make sure your transcript shows completion of a 2 hour prevention of medical errors course
  • If you wish to sell medications to patients in the office, attach the Dispensing Practitioner Registration form and an additional $100 fee
  • If you answer “yes” to any question in the following application sections, attach additional documentation and explanation:
    • Criminal  history
    • Discipline history
    • Health history

Send the completed application and appropriate information to Department of Health, Medical Quality Assurance, Florida Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 6330, Tallahassee, FL 32314.

You may check the status of your application online at any time. When your application has been approved, the Board will mail you a physical hard copy of your license, along with a username and password so that you will be able to access the online renewal system when necessary.

ARNP Protocol

An ARNP is only licensed to diagnose, treat, and operate under a protocol between the ARNP and another medical professional. This medical professional must be a medical doctor, dentist, or osteopathic physician.

The degree of supervision and how it will be conducted must be completely detailed in a written protocol, which functions as a collaborative practice agreement. For an example of the correct format for a written protocol, click here.

This collaborative practice agreement must be submitted to the Board before you may legally practice as an ARNP in the state.

Criminal History Background Check

You must undergo a criminal history background check prior to ARNP licensure in Florida. Two fingerprint cards must be submitted if you are upgrading your RN license to ARNP or applying for dual RN/ARNP licensure.

These cards must be mailed to you. More information about the background check process in Florida can be found here. Take the cards to your local law enforcement agency where you will be fingerprinted. You must complete the online profile as instructed at the link, and mail the two completed fingerprint cards with your application for licensure.


Step 4. Renewing Your License

Advanced registered nurse practitioner licensure is considered to be an upgrade to your Florida RN license and comes due at the same time. Your Florida ARNP license may be renewed online at the time of its expiration once every two years. Your RN license is now considered to be incorporated into your ARNP license and need not be renewed separately.

Each biannual renewal will involve a renewal fee of $166.

License Renewal Notice

The Florida Board of Nursing mails renewal notices three to four months prior to your license’s expiration date. The renewal process may take up to three weeks, so plan accordingly. At the time of your online renewal, you will be informed in the event that you need to submit further supporting documentation.

Continuing Education

You are exempt from completing any continuing education requirement during your first two-year licensure period. Thereafter, you must complete 24 hours of appropriate continuing education during each two-year renewal cycle to maintain your RN/ARNP license.

Two hours must be in the prevention of medical errors. Every third renewal, you must also complete two hours in domestic violence. Board-approved courses can be found here.

In addition to fulfilling Florida’s CE requirement, you must meet the requirements set by your national certification agency. Contact the appropriate national certification agency for details:

Proof of active national certification must be submitted to the Board at the time of each license renewal.

Expired and Inactive License Reinstatement

If your ARNP license has been allowed to expire, you may still renew it online. Expired licenses will be subject to a reinstatement fee of $221.

If your license has been on inactive status and you wish to reactivate it, you must contact the board. If your inactive status has lasted for more than two years, you may need to take a special purpose examination to demonstrate competency.

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Associations in Florida

Now that you are a licensed Florida ARNP, consider joining one of the following professional organizations:


Florida Nurse Practitioner Salary

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners reported in their 2011 National NP Compensation Survey that NPs in the southeastern region of the country, including Florida, earned an average salary of $87,653 and an average total income of $96,916. Nurse Practitioners in the city of Miami boasted one of the highest average salaries in the state, at $93,611, according to Advance for NPs & PAs 2011 National Salary Survey.  NPs practicing in Tampa earned an average salary of $89,172 and Orlando-based NPs reported an average salary of $86,236.

Nurse Practitioner Salary

Area Name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Cape Coral-Fort Myers
440
91610
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin
90
102910
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach
310
108280
Gainesville
170
115810
Homosassa Springs
70
100880
Jacksonville
1850
102820
Lakeland-Winter Haven
220
106280
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
3620
97030
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island
170
96540
North Florida nonmetropolitan area
220
93040
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton
400
111440
Ocala
240
103700
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford
1090
110370
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville
310
91020
Panama City
100
100880
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent
260
101160
Port St. Lucie
330
108690
Punta Gorda
150
72120
Sebastian-Vero Beach
90
98750
Sebring
30
NA
South Florida nonmetropolitan area
60
119470
Tallahassee
260
106740
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
2080
98750

Registered Nurse Salary

Area Name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Cape Coral-Fort Myers
5260
70850
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin
1780
62840
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach
4780
60640
Gainesville
5740
73430
Homosassa Springs
920
68100
Jacksonville
16750
67590
Lakeland-Winter Haven
4030
66090
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
53900
72300
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island
2500
68930
North Florida nonmetropolitan area
2290
66790
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton
6710
70240
Ocala
1950
63800
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford
21530
67330
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville
4990
67600
Panama City
1230
66620
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent
4710
62710
Port St. Lucie
4290
69320
Punta Gorda
1390
69780
Sebastian-Vero Beach
1430
60430
Sebring
1120
67830
South Florida nonmetropolitan area
830
64390
Tallahassee
3390
66120
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
29020
71300
The Villages
910
70440

Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

Area Name
Employment
Annual median wage
Cape Coral-Fort Myers
100
74420
Jacksonville
110
84200
Lakeland-Winter Haven
40
NA
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
2140
105260
North Florida nonmetropolitan area
170
NA
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford
160
79850
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
860
78170

Nurse Administrator Salary

(Includes Nurse Managers, Directors, and Chief Nursing Officers)

Area Name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Cape Coral-Fort Myers
670
115690
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin
210
114850
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach
600
95240
Gainesville
690
119590
Homosassa Springs
130
93360
Jacksonville
1900
108760
Lakeland-Winter Haven
-
104370
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
7440
113190
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island
-
118310
North Florida nonmetropolitan area
310
84920
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton
820
108590
Ocala
310
118290
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville
600
110200
Panama City
170
88870
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent
600
98600
Port St. Lucie
510
108100
Punta Gorda
130
93420
Sebastian-Vero Beach
150
107840
Sebring
100
125030
South Florida nonmetropolitan area
210
130610
Tallahassee
NA
103750
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
3690
114720
The Villages
140
107260

Nurse Anesthetists Salary

Area Name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Cape Coral-Fort Myers
NA
159460
Gainesville
NA
175580
Jacksonville
300
169040
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
1740
193540
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent
160
150480
Tallahassee
160
148290
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
NA
156220

Nurse Midwives Salary

Area Name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
170
45040

These tables provide salary and employment information compiled by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2020. The data contained herein does not include self-employed nurses in independent practice.

When responding to the salary survey, some advanced practice registered nurses identified themselves as RNs while others identified themselves as health diagnosing and treating practitioners. When available, both sets of data were included for comparative purposes.

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