The Florida Board of Nursing is celebrating its first 100 years in 2013. One of the main tasks of the Florida BON is licensing nurses: both LPNS and RNs. Those who complete education and other requirements within Florida apply by examination. The same goes for those who were educated elsewhere but have not yet taken the NCLEX exam. Nurses who have been licensed in another jurisdiction on the basis of examination may apply by endorsement. Florida currently has 260, 117 registered nurses and 72, 829 practical nurses.
Florida is not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact.
The Board sets rules for licensing and practice. Information does change from time to time. A candidate can go to the Board site to sign up for email updates.
Select the type of Nursing License you are seeking:
The Florida BON is also charged with approving nursing programs. In order to maintain approval status, a program must have an adequate NCLEX pass rate. Florida defines this as being no lower than 10% below the national average, whatever that may be. If a program falls below this standard two years running, its status is lowered to probationary. Florida publishes NCLEX pass rates by school on a quarterly basis. Prospective students who want to view pass rates over a longer time period can visiting the Florida Department of Health site.
The Florida Nurses Association is an additional resource for nurses. Prospective nurses can visit the FNA site to see a list of things to consider when selecting an educational program. The Florida Nurses Foundation is under the FNA banner and can be a resource for scholarships.
LPN Education Requirements
Prospective LPNs should enroll in programs that have been approved by the Florida Board or some other acceptable organization. Practical nursing programs accredited by the ACEN (formerly NLNAC) are acceptable as are those accredited by other state boards. Education completed in the military will qualify a candidate for licensure if the program was assigned a NCLEX code. Read "Choosing an LPN Program in Florida" to gain a better understanding of the LPN program education requirements and process.
A student who begins a professional nursing program at a higher level may be licensed as an LPN if the coursework he or the candidate completed is equivalent to what they would have done in an LPN program. The equivalency route is called PNEQ.
LPN Application Process and the NCLEX-PN
Whatever the educational background, a candidate will need to take and pass the NCLEX-PN. Before a candidate can be authorized to test, they will need to have their fingerprints taken and submit a license application to the Florida Board. Fingerprints are now done electronically, through Livescan. The applicant can create an account and apply online. Click Here for the Online LPN Application Form. The applicant will also need to register with the testing vendor, Pearson.
Applicants need to pay $175 to the Board of Nursing. This covers application processing and initial licensure. The fee for fingerprinting will vary, depending on what vendor is selected. $200 is paid to the testing company. Computer adapted exams are scheduled on an ongoing basis at sites around the country.
If the applicant passes the NCLEX-PN, they can expect their license to be issued within about a week to a week and a half. If the applicant doesn’t pass, they will need to apply for re-examination. There is a separate application form for this purpose. A candidate is allowed up to three exam attempts before the candidate is required to complete an approved remedial program.
Out of State LPNs Seeking Licensure
LPNs who are licensed in other jurisdictions will need to provide verification of their licenses. Those who have already taken the NCLEX will not need to retake it. With few exceptions, candidates will need to take the NCLEX if they were licensed based on passing some other exam. California used a state specific licensing exam during certain years in the past. The Florida Board does accept this test. However, Canadian LPNs must apply by examination – the Florida Board does not accept Canadian licensing exams at this level of licensing.
RN Education Requirements
A prospective RN should enroll in a professional nursing program that is approved and/or accredited by the Florida Board of Nursing. Florida has an approval process for nursing programs that operate within its borders, as do other states. Additionally, two accrediting agencies, the ACEN (formerly NLNAC) and CCNE, offer program level accreditation. "Choosing an RN Program in Florida" offers several additional resources to learn about selecting an appropriate professional nursing program.