The cost is approximately $14,000 including tuition, fees, and textbooks for all courses (including the pre-requisite courses) and other program-related expenses. Some of the program-related expenses within this approximate cost include fingerprinting, a background check, and drug testing done by a department-approved vendor ($200), as well as PPD testing for tuberculosis ($25), a CPR certification class ($40), and the physical exam with immunizations required on program admission ($400). The total cost depends on what is needed for each individual, the vendor or facility used, and whether or not the student has health insurance that might cover some of these fees.
Other costs include uniforms and uniform shoes, a stethoscope, a watch with a second hand ($300), and textbooks ($1500). Most texts are purchased in the first term of the program and used throughout the program; however, a few additional texts are required in later courses.
Upon graduation, the student must apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination—Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) and apply for a license to practice. The approximate cost for this process is $400; this is paid to the testing service and the Florida Board of Nursing. These post-graduation fees are not associated with Polk State College, and thus, are not covered by financial aid.
A student should refer to the Financial Aid information on the website or meet with a Financial Aid Advisor to determine eligibility for a Pell Grant, Stafford Loan, or other options. Once a student is admitted to the program, there are opportunities for nursing-related scholarships. Most financial aid assistance covers tuition and fees only; the student is still responsible for other costs such as the health requirements, uniforms, and licensing.
There are a number of pre-requisite courses required for admission. It takes a minimum of three terms to complete these courses, but most students take longer. Once admitted to the Nursing Program, the Generic Option is four semesters (Fall and Spring terms only; no summer terms) and the Transition Option is three semesters (August to August, including the summer term).
Non-nursing courses (i.e., those without an NUR prefix) are available on both campuses with a variety of scheduling options and delivery formats. All Nursing Program classes are provided in a face-to-face format and are held during the daytime. Depending on the course, classes in the Generic Option are normally held two days a week from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, although there may be individual course variations. The actual class days differ with each course. Classes for NUR 1020C Foundations of Nursing Practice (Nursing 1) and NUR 2600C Nursing of the Family (Nursing 3) are offered on the Winter Haven Campus, and classes for NUR 1254 Nursing Care of the Adult Patient (Nursing 2) and NUR 2744C Advanced Comprehensive Nursing Care (Nursing 4) are held on the Lakeland Campus. In the Program’s Transition Option, classes are held one day a week with one section from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on one day, and another section from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm on another day. Both of these sections are taught on the Lakeland Campus. Schedules and class locations are subject to change as necessary.
Each course, regardless of the program option selected, requires a clinical practicum day each week. Clinical rotations may follow a day schedule (usually 6:30 am to 3:00 pm) or afternoon-evening schedule (usually 1:00 pm to 9:30 pm). The exact days and times for each individual vary depending on the course and the assigned clinical facility. A student’s clinical assignment may be on any non-class day of the week, including weekends. There can be no guarantee of a particular clinical day or shift, and no guarantee of placement at a particular facility.
In the first semester of the Generic Option, a student is enrolled in 12 credit hours; this is considered full-time college attendance. All other semesters in both the Generic Option and the Transition Option are less than 12 credit hours and are thus considered part-time attendance (i.e., unless the student is enrolled in other classes). The clinical component of each Nursing Program course requires three hours of contact per credit hour, resulting in an obligation of at least 17 hours per week within the classroom or through clinical obligations. These additional hours do not qualify a student for full-time enrollment for financial aid or other opportunities in which full-time enrollment is determined based on the number of credit hours within the semester.
Application for the Associate in Science in Nursing Program requires a separate process than application to Polk State College. Details on admission requirements and the application process can be found on other pages of this website. Admission is competitive and uses a point system to rank applicants; this system takes into account factors including (but not limited to): the score on the Advanced Technology Institute Test of Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS), pre-requisite course completion and grades, GPA, previous degree attainment, and military service. A minimum score of 70 on the ATI TEAS and minimum overall GPA of 2.5 is required to be eligible for application; however, most students who are accepted into the program typically have TEAS scores above 75 and a GPA of at least 3.0.
The Nursing Program does not use a waiting list; an applicant who is not accepted for entry in one term must reapply during the next application window.
Hospitals normally do not accept a student for clinical experiences if the student has a felony record, regardless of adjudication, and this prevents admission to the program. Theft-related misdemeanor charges within the past five years may potentially prevent admission, but other charges normally do not present a problem. Any individual with a criminal history should make an appointment to meet with the Nursing Program Director for further information. To facilitate a decision regarding application, the student should bring copies of the court papers related to any charges, as well as the final disposition of these charges, to the meeting. Such an appointment can be made through the Nursing Program Administrative Assistant (863.297.1039).
Non-nursing courses taken at a regionally accredited college should transfer to Polk State College. The Registrar’s Office requires an official transcript to review for decisions regarding each specific course. The Nursing Department does not make decisions regarding transfer of credit.
It does not matter when courses were taken, except for the program-required Science courses; these must have been completed within seven years of program admission. Only the Nursing Program Director can waive this restriction, and only in certain specific situations, based on the individual’s work or educational history since coursework completion. A student who has required Science coursework that was taken seven years or more prior to program enrollment should contact the Nursing Program Director.
The seven-year restriction does not apply to students eligible for the Program’s Transition Option, as it is presumed these individuals have been using knowledge from these courses during work in the healthcare field.