Orlando Nursing Schools
The Orlando area is home to a variety of nursing schools that offer initial training for registered nurses (RNs) as well as advanced education. This article looks at 3 schools within 25 minutes of downtown and the variety of programs they have available. There is a table of information about the schools, such as enrollment, costs, the graduation rate and acceptance rate. At the end of the article is the name of one more area institution that offers nursing education.
- At AdventHealth University, about 4 miles from the city center, students can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing and a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice.
- The University of Central Florida, almost 15 miles from downtown, has bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in nursing. It also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and several graduate certificates.
- About a half-mile from downtown, Valencia College offers an associate's degree program in nursing in a traditional format as well as an advanced track for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or individuals with other types of medical training.
Comparison of Schools
There are many factors to consider when choosing a college for nursing training. This table presents important information about each school so prospective students can compare them.
|AdventHealth University||University of Central Florida||Valencia College|
|School Type||4-year, private not-for-profit||4-year, public||4-year, public|
|Total Enrollment (2017)*||1,809||66,059||44,834|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large suburb||Large city|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)*||$14,400|| $6,368 in-state;
| $2,474 in-state;
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)*||97%||87%||75%|
|Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2017)*||97%||50%||Open admissions|
|Retention Rate of First-Time Students (2017)*|| 79% full-time;
| 90% full-time;
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (Students began in 2011)*||19% (54% transfer out)||70% (7% transfer-out rate)||41% (15% transfer-out rate)|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
AdventHealth University is operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and emphasizes healthcare as a ministry. The school offers an entry-level bachelor's degree in nursing and an online RN-to-BSN program for RNs with diplomas or associate's degrees. Spaces are limited in the nursing program and admissions are competitive.
BS in Nursing
The generic BS in Nursing requires 120 credits over 4 years and prepares graduates for the National Council Licensure Exam for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). Students must apply to the program after they've been admitted to the university. Prerequisite courses include chemistry, anatomy, English composition, and nutrition. In the nursing curriculum, students learn nursing theory and methods in the classroom, including nursing care across the lifespan, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and health assessment. They also gain clinical experience in local healthcare facilities.
The RN-to-BSN program allows working nurses to earn a BSN online. The program calls for 35 credits in nursing courses such as research methods and community nursing; general education studies can include topics such as chemistry and writing.
MS in Nursing
The master's degree program requires 18-21 credits of general education requirements and another 15 credits of nursing-specific courses. Some of the courses include community nursing, health assessment and gerontological nursing.
Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice
This program is open to individuals with a BSN or a degree in a related field. Students must be eligible for a Florida RN license. The program takes 36 months of full-time, year-round study. Classroom courses, lab work, and clinical experience are all part of the program; students must also participate in clinical conferences and complete an individual project before graduation. Topics covered include anesthesia principles and practices, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and health assessment/diagnostics.
University of Central Florida
The College of Nursing at the University of Central Florida (UCF) offers both undergraduate and graduate nursing education; some programs are available online. The college has plans to expand and feature additional opportunities through a new educational facility near the numerous hospitals in the Lake Nona area.
UCF offers several BSN programs. Rising juniors and students with an associate's degree in a non-nursing field may apply to the basic BSN program. Prerequisites include courses in chemistry, physiology, and nutrition. The program focuses on the sciences and includes clinical experiences in different types of healthcare facilities. Students with non-nursing bachelor's degrees can enroll in the accelerated second-degree BSN program, in which a BSN can be earned in 4 semesters of full-time study. Graduates of either pathway are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN.
RNs with diplomas or associate's degrees in nursing can earn a BSN through the university's RN-to-BSN and AS-to-BSN programs. Both are offered online and on campus.
Students with a BSN can choose from 3 specialties in UCF's MSN program. The nurse educator, nursing leadership/management and nursing and health care simulation options are all available online. In addition to specialty-based studies, the options have similar core courses focusing on advanced practice nursing theory, evidence-based practice, nurse research, and legal/professional behavior.
UCF offers certificate programs in two of the MSN specialties. Nurses who have an MSN or who are currently enrolled in the MSN program. Students who enroll in the nurse educator certificate program qualify for the nurse educator certification exam. The health care simulation certificate program is open to anyone with a bachelor's degree.
Post-baccalaureate and post-master's DNP programs are offered through the College of Nursing. RNs with BSNs can choose options for family nurse practitioner or adult/gerontology nurse practitioner; they will earn an MSN along with their doctoral degree. Online DNP Nurse Executive and Advanced Practice Nurse programs are also available; each requires coursework, a practical residency, and a scholarly project for graduation.
PhD in Nursing
Nurses with an MSN in any specialty can enroll in the PhD program, which emphasizes research and scholarship and prepares nurses to teach at the university level. At least 72 credit hours beyond MSN coursework are required, as are research and a dissertation. Students must also take elective courses that augment their dissertation, and some of these electives can be taken outside the College of Nursing.
Students who complete the AS in Nursing program at Valencia College will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) and also to transfer to a 4-year school to earn a BSN. The AS in Nursing Advanced Standing Track is for LPNs, paramedics, registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) and registered invasive cardiovascular therapists (CVTs). Their previous education is counted towards the AS degree, enabling them to finish the program in a shorter time.
AS in Nursing
Applicants to the generic nursing program must meet prerequisites in anatomy, microbiology, psychology, nutrition, and English composition. The program calls for 5 terms of study in classroom and clinical courses on nursing theory and practices. Topics also explore pharmacology and clinical decision-making.
Students in the AS in Nursing Advanced Standing Track must have completed their professional education within the previous year or have 1 year of experience out of the past 5. Prerequisite courses include anatomy, microbiology, psychology, and English composition. The nursing courses cover 3 terms and include work in mother/child nursing and adult nursing. A practicum is required.
BS in Nursing
This bachelor's degree program is limited as to the number of applicants accepted. This is an online program, but requires a face-to-face clinical during the course of the enrollment. Students must complete at least 30 credits at Valencia College to earn this degree.
Other School Options
Seminole State University, about 18 miles from Orlando, offers associate's degrees in pre-nursing and nursing.