BRADENTON, Fla (WFLA) – Despite a significant nursing shortage, two Tampa Bay online nursing programs have been named the best in the state.

The ranking— compiled by — put State College of Florida in Bradenton as the state’s top online nursing program, with the University of South Florida as the second best online nursing program in Florida.

To compile the ranking, data was gathered from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, the Council for Community and Economic Research on Florida’s 83 online certificate and education programs.

Landing at the top of the list, State College of Florida has consistently boasted high job placement scores. The college also receives high graduate satisfaction scores, reflecting positively on the its five-week curriculum format.

USF also offers flexible scheduling. While more expensive than State College of Florida’s online programs, USF’s online nursing students have the option of a part-time, five-semester option, or the full-time, three-semester plan.

In May, 8 On Your Side reported that data released from Rasmussen College highlighting the national and statewide shortage of nursing professionals, noting that Florida is among the top states in the country experiencing the shortage.

While the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported a 3.7% enrollment increase in entry-level baccalaureate programs in nursing last year the AACN says that enrollment is not growing fast enough to meet the projected demand for RN and APRN services

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 178,000 registered nurses worked in Florida in 2017, earning an annual mean wage of $64,890.

The annual mean wage across all occupations in the county were near $45,000 that year.

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Area nursing jobs available