Florida’s Top 5 Nurse Practitioner Programs

I spent a week in Florida over the holidays. My days there were a welcome break from the chilly winter weather where I live. I visited the beach everyday feeling the sun on my back while dipping my toes in the refreshing ocean waves. I ate seafood with abandon (mmm ahi tuna). Yes, Florida is a great place to spend some time. Fortunately, the state also boasts a few of the country’s top nurse practitioner programs.

Whether you’re looking to relocate to the Sunshine State or are applying to Florida’s NP programs to stay close to home, there are a wealth of quality options for prospective nurse practitioners to consider. Which schools should you look at if Florida is on your NP program destination list?

1. University of Central Florida

The first think that struck my fancy about the University of Central Florida’s nurse practitioner programs was admission staff’s prompt and enthusiastic response to my questions. Quality and a focus on students is definitely the name of the game at UCF. Not to mention, last year graduates from the school’s family nurse practitioner program had a 100% pass rate on the national certification exam. The University of Central Florida also employs an ARNP who works with students to help them find clinical placements. This way, UCF nurse practitioner students can avoid delays in graduation as well as the stress of finding their own clinical placements. Now that’s customer service!

2. University of North Florida

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The University of North Florida also boasts excellent stats when it comes to nurse practitioner students. 100% of FNP grads passed the national certification exam last year and faculty tell me that all who searched for nurse practitioner jobs were able to land a position. The university also places students in clinical sites helping them avoid the inevitable headache of finding their own preceptors. Our only complaint? The University of North Florida has transitioned from offering an MSN degree for nurse practitioner students instead requiring a DNP.

3. Florida Atlantic University

While Florida Atlantic University’s nurse practitioner programs aren’t quite as accommodating as our top picks, the school still gets good marks. Nurse practitioner graduates have a 98% pass rate on the national certification exam indicating the school prepares NP students well for their future in practice. Unfortunately, students at FAU may be required to secure their own clinical placements. The school is in transition and plans to offer clinical placement services in the future.

4. University of Miami

What better place to take a study break than Miami’s beaches? The southern hotspot is also home to one of Florida’s best nurse practitioner programs. University of Miami nurse practitioner graduates have a commendable 100% pass rate on the national NP certification exam for five years running. While I was impressed by these stats, faculty at the school were less personal and too much longer to respond to my questions than other top picks. Nursing faculty at the University of Miami did warn me that the job market in southern Florida is very competitive so only about 80% of grads looking for employment in the area find it within six months of graduation. Grads may need to move north to find jobs outside of the Miami area.

5. University of Tampa

The University of Tampa rounds out the list of the best schools in Florida for advancing your nursing education. 100 percent of University of Tampa NP grads pass the national certification exam. Faculty also work with nurse practitioner students to help locate clinical placements, a support that is lacking in many other programs.


Are you looking for a nurse practitioner program in Florida? Where will you go for your degree?


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4 thoughts on “Florida’s Top 5 Nurse Practitioner Programs”

  1. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the University of Florida? They claim to be one of the top programs but didn’t even make the list.

  2. Hi Annie,

    Good question. The primary reason they are not on the list is they were not responsive in answering my questions about their programs. Since I approach schools as someone who is “interested in learning more about their programs” rather than a publisher, it concerns me they are not more responsive to prospective students. This could translate to problems for enrolled students.

    Another issue is that the University of Florida as transitioned from offering an MSN and now only offers a DNP for nurse practitioner students. Schools that have both are preferred. This way NP students don’t have to spend the extra time and money on school to get a DNP unless they opt to take that route. 

  3. I’m so glad I’ve found this post. I am planning to begin a nurse practitioner program this August and I have applied to USF, UF, and UCF. So far, I have been accepted to UCFs Adult Primary Care program. I am waiting to hear back from the other schools, which are Adult Acute Care programs. What are you thoughts about an adult primary care program and do you see the possibility that I could obtain employment in an ED or hospitalist role in the future if I desired? I know that the acute care programs are focused on inpatient roles, but I feel that they would also limit my options in the future when I decide I am ready for a clinic setting once I have a family. Any input would be appreciated! And thanks again for this post!

  4. Hi Caitlyn,

    If you want to work in the emergency department, becoming a family nurse practitioner is actually the way to go. Since adult and acute care NPs can’t see kids, most emergency departments hire FNPs. You could also consider getting a dual FNP/ACNP degree. If you want to work as a hospitalist, any of the three specialties are a good option.

    If you feel that it is most likely you will want to work in an outpatient clinic, in the ER, or as a hospitalist, I would go the FNP route. It will be easier to find a job. If you prefer inpatient/ICU type settings, acute care is a good choice. 

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