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floridaFlorida is not called the Sunshine State for nothing. With blisteringly hot summers and balmy warm winters, plentiful sunshine is year round here. Surrounded by water on three sides and with hundreds of miles of beaches, beach and water-sports enthusiasts can always find something to do on a day off. World-renowned theme parks such as Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, Busch Gardens and Sea World offer annual passes and discounts for residents of the state, providing even more to do in your leisure time. Metropolitan areas offer nationally renowned performing arts centers, museums and cultural centers, while history buffs can enjoy touring historical sites preserved in St. Augustine, America’s oldest city.

Florida Nursing Education
Florida nursing schools offer over 100 nursing programs, both traditional and online. With a growing population that includes a large percentage of retirees, job growth for the nursing profession in Florida is projected to be even above the already high national average. To meet this demand, nursing schools in Florida offers programs that vary from diploma and certificate programs to graduate degrees and can take anywhere from about one year to seven or eight years for advanced graduate degrees. Florida nursing schools can include programs in various specialty nursing options as well, such as acute care, geriatric, neonatal, and psychiatric nursing, among others.

Costs for programs in the various nursing schools in Florida vary with the type of program chosen, but most will adhere to the general tuition costs of whichever school and degree level you choose. Scholarships and other forms of financial aid are generally available to state residents to help offset the cost of the education. In addition, salaries in Florida tend to be comparable with the national average for the various nursing levels, a factor that could also help when weighing the cost of a Florida nursing school’s education against the resulting salary ranges that are possible.

Career Outlook for Nursing in Florida
According to the Occupational Employment Statistics and Occupational Outlook for nursing as listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), Florida is ranked fourth in the nation for the highest employment level of registered nurses (RNs). With an average annual salary of $64,020, this translates into slightly more than $30 hourly for this position. As Florida’s population continues to grow and the state’s subtropical climate continues to draw retirees, the aging population will continue to drive the need for more nurses.

Some of the top employers of nurses in Florida also correspond to top teaching hospitals in Florida, such as Shands in Gainesville, Jackson Memorial in Miami, and Tampa General Hospital in Tampa. Other large employers in metropolitan regions include Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando and Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood. Given the size and diversity of the state, however, nurses, both in general medicine and specialties, are needed in all areas from the panhandle to the Keys.

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