Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Georgia

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The University System of Georgia’s Center for Health Workforce Planning and Analysis reports that 60 percent of the state’s working registered nurses are at least 50 years old. As these nurses retire in the coming years, new healthcare workers will be needed to replace them. Read on to discover how you can help. This guide is packed with information about licensure, Georgia nursing schools and programs, and industry salaries.

Top 10 Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Georgia 4-Year Colleges

Rank School Location
1 Emory University Atlanta, GA
2 Brenau University Gainesville, GA
3 Georgia State University Atlanta, GA
4 Mercer University Macon, GA
5 Albany State University Albany, GA
6 Georgia Southern University - Armstrong Campus Savannah, GA
7 Georgia Southwestern State University Americus, GA
8 Emmanuel College Boston, MA
9 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA
10 Thomas University Thomasville, GA

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  • Methodology +


    The top nursing programs listed in this state’s ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including

    • Student-to-faculty ration
    • In-state tuition
    • Graduation rate

    Additional details for each school were included:

    • Count of programs available
    • Public and not-for-profit schools
    • Normalized on a 100 percent curve

    The methodology used for tie-break is as follows…

    • Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships).
    • If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break

Top Nursing Schools in Georgia

  1. Emory University

    Atlanta, GA

  2. Brenau University

    Gainesville, GA

  3. Georgia State University

    Atlanta, GA

  4. Mercer University

    Macon, GA

  5. Albany State University

    Albany, GA

  6. Georgia Southern University - Armstrong Campus

    Savannah, GA

  7. Georgia Southwestern State University

    Americus, GA

  8. Emmanuel College

    Boston, MA

  9. Georgia Southern University

    Statesboro, GA

  10. Thomas University

    Thomasville, GA

Top 10 Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Georgia 2-Year Colleges

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  1. Southern Regional Technical College

    Thomasville, GA

  2. Augusta Technical College

    Augusta, GA

  3. Athens Technical College

    Athens, GA

  4. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

    Valdosta, GA

  5. Columbus Technical College

    Columbus, GA

  6. North Georgia Technical College

    Clarkesville, GA

  7. Atlanta Technical College

    Atlanta, GA

  8. Georgia Northwestern Technical College

    Rome, GA

  9. Albany Technical College

    Albany, GA

  10. West Georgia Technical College

    Carrollton, GA

Georgia on My Mind: Exploring Nursing Schools

Just as healthcare facilities in Georgia are seeing a shortage of qualified nurses, training programs are also experiencing a shortage of nursing instructors, according to the University System of Georgia. This is also a consequence of aging, as professors at nursing schools are retiring in droves. To combat this situation, nursing institutions around the state have empowered a task force to implement solutions. Some of its initiatives include developing strategies for reducing turnover in nursing education programs and providing additional financial aid for nursing students. With the state laying the groundwork for nursing programs that better meet students’ needs, now is a good time to research programs. Use the search tool below to find quality nursing schools in Georgia.

Georgia’s Nursing Licensure Process

The Georgia Board of Nursing is responsible for issuing licenses to all qualifying nurses in Georgia, including advanced practice nurses. The board has a state mandate to enforce minimum nursing standards and settle complaints against nurses.

How to Become Eligible for a Georgia Nursing License

Nurses meet the eligibility standards once they have graduated from an in-state nursing program approved by the Georgia Board of Nursing. They can then take the following steps:

  • Have their fingerprints taken by COGENT Systems
  • Register to take the NCLEX-RN with Pearson VUE
  • Complete an application form electronically or by mail, and pay a $40 fee to the Georgia Board of Nursing
  • Undergo a criminal background check
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN

Applicants who graduated from an out-of-state nursing program must apply via paper application rather than online. They must also submit official transcripts.

With the exception of the NCLEX, practicing nurses in others states who are moving to Georgia must do all of the above in addition to sending $60, official transcripts, and verification of previous state licensures. They must also show proof of either recent employment, recent graduation or completion of a reentry program.

How to Renew a License in Georgia

Nursing licenses must be renewed online by January 31 every two years and the board does not send out renewal notices. Applicants must also pay $65 and provide documentation of US citizenship.?

RNs are required to keep current in the field. They have five basic options for doing so during the two-year lifespan of each license:

  • Taking 30 hours of continuing education
  • Earning recertification by a national certifying organization
  • Finishing an accredited nursing program
  • Getting an employer to verify competency
  • Taking a reentry program

How to Get Advanced Practice Authorization in GA

There are five types of advanced practice registered nurses in the state of Georgia: nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and clinical nurse specialists in mental health. All have the same requirements for authorization. First, they must be licensed as registered nurses in the state. Second, they must have earned a board-approved master’s degree.

Aspiring APRNs who meet these two criteria, can apply via paper form to the Georgia Board of Nursing. They must also send $65, official transcripts, a copy of their national certification, and proof of either active employment or recent graduation.

To stay on top of the APRN authorization process, see the Georgia Board of Nursing for details.

Stats on Georgia Nurses

Georgia has the sixth-lowest concentration of nurses of any state in the US. It also lags behind the national average for nurse practitioners. The Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees the state adding 2,300 new RN jobs every year. APRN jobs as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists will also be expanding at a clip of 290 per year to build from the 4,000 or so specialists practicing in 2012. To see what the salary forecast is for RNs and APRNs in Georgia, take a look at the charts below.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Georgia

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta$31.79$66,120
Hinesville-Fort Stewart$31.26$65,010
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC$31.16$64,810
Athens-Clarke County$28.94$60,190
Columbus GA-AL$28.18$58,620
North Georgia nonmetropolitan area$28.04$58,320
Warner Robins$27.28$56,730

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Georgia vs. National Numbers



YearAnnual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)Annual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)
Registered Nurse$52,630$62,520$72,520$0$54,620$66,640$81,080
Certified Nurse Midwife$81,390$91,650$104,350$0$82,580$96,970$114,090
Nurse Anesthetist$111,840$136,840$162,920$0$132,380$153,780$181,860
Nurse Practitioner$77,930$89,920$103,730$0$82,720$95,350$113,470

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 201 



Registered Nurse68,0102,687,310
Certified Nurse Midwife2605,110
Nurse Anesthetist80036,590
Nurse Practitioner3,460122,050


Registered Nurse75,3803,238,400
Certified Nurse Midwife3807,700
Nurse Anesthetist67043,900
Nurse Practitioner5,010147,300

AVG. ANNUAL OPENINGS (2012 – 2022)

Registered Nurse2,300105,260
Certified Nurse Midwife20290
Nurse Anesthetist301,560
Nurse Practitioner2405,850

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Organizations for Georgia RNs and APRNs

Georgia Association of Nurse Anesthetists

GANA is part of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. The 1,100 members of the association benefit from advocacy efforts and education resources.

Georgia Association of Nursing Students

GANS helps to shape the future of the nursing profession by providing services to students around the state. It has 30 local chapters based at colleges throughout the state.

Georgia Association of School Nurses

Since 1991, GASN has been dedicated to promoting excellence among nurses who work in Georgia’s schools. It is primarily focused on legislative advocacy.

Georgia Board of Nursing

The Georgia Board of Nursing issues licenses to nurses in the state. It also allows nurses to track and verify their professional standing, and publishes a quarterly magazine that provides information on education, practice and discipline issues relevant to nurses around the state.

Georgia Emergency Nurses Association

GENA provides mentoring and education services to emergency nurses. The organization has 900 members in six chapters around the state.

Georgia Nurses Association

Georgia’s affiliate of the American Nurses Association, GNA is the largest nursing association in the Peach State. For the last century, the association has provided education, advocacy and career development services for Georgia nurses.

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