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Nursing Degrees

The Polk State College Department of Nursing associate degree program was established in 1965 with a purpose of participating as an active partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the community by educating and preparing entry-level professional nurses to practice in a variety of settings. Our nursing school has continuously maintained a standard of excellence with graduates consistently exceeding the Florida and national averages on the licensing exam to be a Registered Nurse (RN). A RN to BSN baccalaureate program was added in August 2011 with a purpose of providing registered nurses who have an associate degree or diploma in nursing the opportunity to advance in their educational and career goals.

Polk State’s Associate in Science in Nursing program is a limited access program. Admission to the program is through a separate application process that occurs in spring (for fall admission) and fall (for spring admission). Applicants for admission to the program must first apply and be accepted to Polk State College before applying for admission to the nursing program.


The associate degree program is approved by the Florida Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
3343 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30326

The AS -program received initial accreditation by the NLNAC in 1967 and the most recent accreditation visit by ACEN was in 2009.  As a post-licensure program, the baccalaureate program does not require Board of Nursing approval.  The program is accredited by the ACEN with initial accreditation in 2012.

Success Indicators

  • Program Completion: The average completion rate for the past three years is 74% for the Generic Option and 77% for the Transition Option of the AS program.  Only about 50% of BSN students who started the program have completed the program.  Students commonly stop-out for a few terms and the most frequently cited reason is job and family responsibilities.
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate:  Through the first quarter of 2017, the NCLEX-RN pass rate for Polk State graduates is 95.77%, which exceeds the state and national averages of 76.36% and 87.72% respectively.  The data for 2015 and 2016 similarly reflects that Polk graduates do well on the licensing exam. 2015 results for Polk, Florida, US were 86.33%, 72.02%, 84.51%  and for  2016 were 95.74%, 72.68%, 84.56%.  The RN to BSN students do not take any additional licensing exams.
  • Employment and Continued Education:  All AS graduates are employed in health care upon graduation to the best of our knowledge.   RN to BSN students are predominantly employed when they start the program and maintain that employment after graduation.  Ninety percent (90%)  of the currently enrolled BSN students are Polk State AS graduates, commonly entering the BSN program shortly after graduation.  We frequently receive communication from the BSN graduates indicating they have been accepted into Master’s degree programs and are completing those programs satisfactorily.


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