The job market for nurses in Tampa is always changing. New opportunities for nurses are always available, especially for those who have years of experience. Nurses who are just starting out on their careers can find plenty of entry-level positions in doctors’ offices, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals. The high demand for nurses throughout Florida is making it possible for nurses who are just entering the workforce to choose from multiple career options.
Choosing the right nursing school in Tampa involves knowing what you want and then choosing the school that will provide you with all of the resources you will need to reach your goals and advance your career. Your education is an investment in your future. The right school will give you the best rate of return on your investment and at the same time offer you the confidence and support you need to succeed in the fast-paced, incredibly fulfilling world of nursing.
How We Ranked the Best Nursing Schools in Tampa
Whether you’re a new student, or a seasoned nursing professional, Tampa, FL has an accredited nursing school with the degrees and certificates you need for a rewarding career. TopRN has ranked Tampa’s nursing schools according to factors including tuition costs, number of programs, and student reputation.
1. University of South Florida
Heading up the best nursing schools in Tampa, FL is the University of South Florida. This school offers nursing programs at every level from the bachelor’s level to the doctoral level. There are six pathways to the BSN degree: accelerated second degree, RN to BSN, upper division, veteran to BSN, USF/HCC concurrent, and the freshmen nursing pathway. The MSN program has seven concentrations to choose from. Graduate students can also choose to pursue a DNP, DNP in Nurse Anesthesia, or PhD in Nursing Science.
The USF Health College of Nursing is working to prepare nursing students for tomorrow’s nursing positions. The school strives to use clinical training, education, and research to train nurses to tackle the healthcare needs of their communities. The College of Nursing has over 1,000 clinical partners and students perform over 110,000 hours of clinical training each year.
HIGHLIGHT: The USF Health Simulation Consortium uses realistic simulation experiences to provide hands-on training to nursing students.
Programs: BSN – DNP/PhD
2. University of Tampa
Next on the list of the best nursing schools in Tampa, FL is the University of Tampa. This school has a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. The BSN program is intended for students with no nursing credit. Students can enroll in the program right out of high school. Students interested in the MSN program have two concentrations to choose from: family nurse practitioner or adult/gerontology nurse practitioner. The DNP program is intended for nurses who are already practicing Florida APRNs.
The College of Natural and Health Sciences at the University of Tampa strives to improve the human condition through understanding science and pursuing new knowledge. The school offers a quality curriculum that challenges students to reach their full potential.
HIGHLIGHT: The DNP program requires 30 credit hours and is available online.
Programs: BSN – DNP
3. South University, Tampa
As one of the best nursing schools in Tampa, FL, South University, Tampa offers several options for students who want to pursue nursing as a career. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, an RN to BSN option, an MSN in family nurse practitioner, an RN to MSN in family nurse practitioner, a post-graduate certificate in family nurse practitioner, an MSN with a specialization in nurse education, and a DNP. Every nursing program at South University, Tampa provides students with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve success in the field of nursing.
South University’s Tampa campus has a staff that is focused on ensuring its students succeed both academically and professionally. The school is student-centered and offers the resources required to provide an exceptional educational experience. In addition to nursing skills, students learn study, communication, and critical thinking skills.
HIGHLIGHT: South University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Programs: BSN – MSN
4. SPC – St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus
St. Petersburg College is one of the best nursing schools in the Tampa, FL metro area. The school offers an Associate of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The ASN degree provides the minimum education required to become a Registered Nurse. Students who are already Licensed Practical Nurses can get credit for their education and experience when entering the ASN program. For students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree, there is a BSN program as well. Earning a BSN opens up more career opportunities and prepares the student for graduate studies in the future.
The St. Petersburg College of Nursing has been preparing nursing students for successful careers for sixty years. The school’s nursing programs are nationally accredited and provide students with highly desirable skills that open up doors in the healthcare world.
HIGHLIGHT: Registered Nurses who enroll in the BSN program can take their courses online.
Programs: ASN – BSN
5. Concorde Career Colleges – Tampa
As one of the best nursing schools in Tampa, FL, Concorde Career Colleges offers an RN to BSN program that can be completed online in as little as 15 months. This program is for Registered Nurses who wants to earn their bachelor’s degrees to advance their careers. Students can apply credits from their associate degrees toward their bachelor’s degrees. For students who need to fit their studies around their work schedules, there are slower options available that take 21 months or even longer to complete. Students improve their nursing, leadership, and critical thinking skills.
Concorde Career Colleges seeks to train the next generation of dental and healthcare professionals through quality teaching and hands-on training. The school has 16 locations around the country and has been in operation since 1988. Concorde’s accelerated programs allow students to advance their careers quickly.
HIGHLIGHT: The RN to BSN program is 100% online.
Programs: ASN – BSN
6. Florida Southern College
Florida Southern College offers a direct entry Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This is a four-year program that begins in the freshman year, unlike other programs that start in the junior year. The BSN program gives nursing students real-world experiences working with patients, families, and doctors through clinical experiences. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and prepares students to take the NCLEX to become Registered Nurses. Students practice on hi-fi mannequins beginning with their Nursing Fundamentals class.
Florida Southern College offers outstanding learning experiences and an unrivaled commitment to students. The administration, trustees, and faculty place each student’s success above all other goals. The school is committed to students’ physical, spiritual, social, and academic development. Florida Southern offers service learning, independent study, study abroad, internships, student-faculty collaborations, and stimulating class discussions.
HIGHLIGHT: Florida Southern College has a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX.
7. Southeastern University
Southeastern University offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and an RN to BSN program. The regular BSN program is for students who have little or no training in nursing. Students who complete the program will be Registered Nurses by the time they graduate. The RN to BSN program is for students who are already Registered Nurses. Since the Institute of Medicine has called for the number of nurses with a bachelor’s degree to be increased, the standards are being raised for nurses around the country. Graduates of the BSN program will be prepared to meet the requirements for the nurses of the future.
Southeastern University is a Christian college dedicated to train students to be servant leaders in their chosen fields. The school believes that each student is uniquely designed and able to make a difference in the world.
HIGHLIGHT: Southeastern University has a 92% first-time pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam.
8. Pasco-Hernando State College
Pasco-Hernando State College offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The program is an RN to BSN program that is designed for students who already have an Associate of Science or have completed a diploma program. Students must hold an active Registered Nurse license in order to be accepted into the program. The program teaches research, theory, leadership, and management skills to enable students to advance in their careers after graduation.
Pasco-Hernando State College has five campuses throughout Hernando and Pasco counties. The school offers cutting-edge programs and high-tech educational facilities. The staff focuses on preparing students for success in the real world. PHSC offers small class sizes, so students receive individualized attention. The school’s faculty is highly qualified and PHSC’s tuition is among the lowest in Florida. PHSC has an open door policy, making the school accessible to anyone who has a high school diploma or GED.
HIGHLIGHT: Pasco-Hernando State College is CCNE-accredited.
9. Galen College of Nursing
The Galen College of Nursing is next on the list of the best nursing schools in the Tampa, FL metro area. This school offers nursing program ranging from the practical nursing diploma (PN) to the Master of Science in Nursing. At the associate level, there is an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) as well as an LPN to ADN bridge program for Licensed Practical Nurses. The school offers a three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing as well as an online RN to BSN program. There is also an online MSN with two concentrations available: nurse educator and nursing and healthcare leadership.
The Galen College of Nursing has a combined NCLEX pass rate of 93% for 2019. The school has more than 30,000 students and alumni and has a faculty to student ratio of 1:12. The classes are small, so students get to know their instructors and peers.
HIGHLIGHT: The RN to BSN and MSN programs are available online.
Programs: ADN – BSN
10. Hillsborough Community College – Plant City Campus
Hillsborough Community College offers an Associate of Science in Nursing that prepares students for a rewarding but challenging career in nursing. There is a shortage of nurses nationwide, which makes nursing a great career choice. The job outlook for nurses is promising. Hillsborough’s ASN is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and qualifies students to take the NCLEX-RN exam. The program takes four semesters to complete and prepares students for satisfying careers as Registered Nurses.
Hillsborough Community College started as part of the Florida College System in 1968. The school is committed to providing students with an engaging learning experience. With over 190 academic options available, HCC serves over 47,000 students each year. The school’s 2,200 faculty and staff are committed to seeing their students succeed.
HIGHLIGHT: Tuition and fees for Florida residents are very reasonable.
How Do I Choose a Nursing School in Tampa?
If you want to choose a good nursing school in Tampa Florida, you will need to do your research. The first step is knowing what your own personal goals are and what type of degree program will allow you to make them happen. Once you know what kind of degree you are interested in, your next step is deciding on the right one. You may have to visit four or five nursing schools in Tampa before you find one that offers you everything you are looking for.
Many students prefer to take as many of their courses as possible online. The flexible schedule and ability to study when it is most convenient for them gives them an opportunity to absorb as much of the course material as possible without rushing through it. Flexible scheduling also allows them to maintain a full-time job and support their families while they attend class. For students who are ready for more advanced learning, the option for accelerated degree programs is offered by many Tampa nursing schools.
How Is the Job Market for Nurses in Tampa?
Nurses who have worked in the field for many years are choosing to return to school and further their education as a way of broadening their horizons. Even though they are already working in the field, furthering their education may open up opportunities that will allow them to go after management level jobs that they may not have otherwise qualified for. The additional schooling will prepare them for the extra responsibilities and will offer them much-needed skills in terms of organization and communication.
As a nurse becomes more familiar with their job, they may be able to choose a specialization that allows them to choose a distinct career path in which they can follow their passion. Surgical nursing, emergency or trauma care, critical care, or pediatric nursing specialties that are extremely rewarding. Nurses who choose to pursue a specialized field are truly passionate about what they do and will always go the extra mile to provide the level of care that surpasses expectations. The right school will provide nurses with the guidance they need to pursue the type of nursing program they need to succeed.
How Much Do Nurses Make in Tampa?
Nurses in the Tampa Florida area can expect to earn anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 per year on average. Entry-level positions will always pay less than the more advanced employment opportunities, but many facilities are offering sign-on bonuses that provide additional funds as soon as the nurse completes their probationary period. Even entry-level nurses are eligible to receive prime benefits packages that can include 401k, health savings accounts, and other benefits that will make taking the position very worthwhile.
Education is one of the determining factors when it comes to what your beginning salary will be. The key is understanding the differences in degree programs and how that will affect the amount of money you will actually make over the course of your career. Returning to school every two or three years, even if it is just for one or two classes will give you an opportunity to stay abreast of the latest trends in the industry and give you an edge over other nurses who are solely relying on their years of experience.
When it comes to earning potential, experience is a key component in proving to employers that you have what it takes. Your ability to learn from the hands-on experiences you have had in the past is extremely important. Experience is education by doing and will give you a level of understanding that cannot be achieved in a classroom. Taking that knowledge and turning it into a resource that can be drawn from in any situation is a benefit that young nurses who are just starting out do not have.