Picking the Right Nursing Schools in Georgia
Though the economy has recently started to improve, many industries are still feeling the effects of the recession. That isn’t the case for health care; regardless of how other industries may perform, people still need health care services. This is one reason why nursing may be an ideal career path for you if you want to help the people of Georgia. Reach out to the nursing schools in Georgia that offer the programs you are interested in to learn more about your options to get your Georgia nursing license.
So, you’re ready to learn how to become a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or advanced practice nurse. Choosing the right RN programs in GA is an important step in building your career. The type of degree you choose and the institution you attend both play a role in the future opportunities that come your way.
If you are new to postsecondary education, you may want to begin with a licensed practical nursing diploma or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Those who have already completed their undergraduate education often find what they’re looking for in Master’s or doctorate programs.
From expanding hiring efforts at established health care companies to new health care organizations popping up around Georgia, LPNs and RNs may have quite a few employment opportunities to choose from. WITZ reports on the construction of a new nursing home in Columbus, Georgia, with high standards for nursing staff and patient-centered staffing levels.
New types of nursing technology have also given local nursing employers an incentive to hire new graduates. The Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth has expanded into nursing schools in Georgia. Having experience in this nursing technology may make you a more appealing candidate to local employers.
Nursing Education in Georgia
Nursing programs in Georgia may work alongside health care employers to combat the nursing shortage in this state. Macon.com notes that much of Georgia has a significant nursing shortage, particularly in the hospital setting. You may have a particularly strong job outlook if you are willing to focus on the elderly population, as gerontology is one of the most needed specialty areas in nursing.
To be properly prepared for a nursing career in Georgia, you must get theoretical training and practical experience in various areas of health care. This is true whether you want to become a licensed practical nurse, an Associate’s-level registered nurse, or a Bachelor’s-level registered nurse. The skills you gain may be put to use in many different clinical settings, including nursing homes, clinics, and hospitals. Nursing colleges in Georgia often require several hundred clinical hours; this is also true for online nursing programs in Georgia, which may help you connect with a local clinical site for your requirements.
The curriculum for your program should be multifaceted and challenging. Though some of your courses may be based strictly in theory, most blend theory with practical experience. Throughout your time in school, you can plan on taking courses like Health Promotion and Nutrition, Health Assessment Across the Lifespan, Adult Health Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, Geriatric Nursing, and Public Health Nursing. These classes may help you learn how to work with different populations while giving you the chance to figure out which nursing specialty you may be interested in. In a Bachelor’s-level program or higher, you may also take courses in nursing management and leadership.
Scholarships and financial aid may be a big part of your school decision and your application process. Colleges in Georgia with nursing programs often offer scholarship programs, particularly for students with financial need or with a strong academic background. The Fuller E. Callaway Foundation offers several nursing scholarships each academic year. Through the Georgia Nurses Association, you may be able to apply for the Katherine Pope Scholarship and the Annie Lou Overton Scholarship. Several named scholarships are funded by West Georgia Health, including the George E. Sims Nursing Scholarship.
Nursing Education & Career Information in your City
Nursing Degree Programs in Georgia
If you know the degree program that’s right for you, click on the links below to find further information.
Transition programs for nurses:
Graduate programs for nurses:
- All Masters in Nursing Programs in GA
- All DNP and PhD in Nursing Programs in GA
- All Nurse Practitioner Programs in GA
Entry level nursing programs:
- All LPN/LVN Programs in GA
- All Associate Degree Nursing Programs in GA
- All Four-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs in GA
- All Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs in GA
- Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing Programs in GA
Looking for a more broad overview of your program options in the state of Georgia? See what we’ve outlined below!
Georgia LPN Programs
- Must have a high school diploma and clear health record to enter an LPN program
- By graduation, earn between 30 and 40 credits
- Fully online programs are unavailable, since clinical hours are a mandatory part of an LPN program
- Must pass the NCLEX-PN to become licensed
Becoming a licensed practical nurse may give you the chance to work in many of Georgia’s largest healthcare institutions while deciding if further nursing education suits you. This is one of the most time-efficient options, since most LPN programs last between two and three semesters.
BSN Programs in Georgia
- Schools require a high school diploma, a CNA license, and a strong academic background
- Need at least 120 credits by graduation
- Fully online programs are unavailable, due to the clinical hours requirement
- Must earn a passing score on the NCLEX-RN
Those who want to become registered nurses can choose to earn an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s programs offer numerous benefits, including specialized study options in departments like OB/GYN, pediatrics, and oncology. Clinical work is a major part of your degree as a BSN student, so plan on spending several hundred hours with patients.
Georgia MSN Schools
- Admissions requirements include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a current Georgia nursing license
- Depending on the program you select, credit requirements range from 30 to 60 credits
- Online programs are offered in some specialties, especially those that focus on administrative nursing careers over clinical nursing careers
- National certification is required for an advanced practice license, and each clinical specialty is regulated by a different agency
Those interested in earning a Georgia nursing degree online may choose to earn an MSN. This degree requires a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. Those who choose to specialize in a clinical role like nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner do have to attend in-person clinical rotations. However, those who go into nursing administration or nurse informatics may be able to go through many of their courses online.
DNP and PhD Nursing Programs in Georgia
- Must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and/or a Master of Science in Nursing, as well as a current Georgia nursing license
- Credit requirements range from 70 to 90 credits
- Some programs combine in-person instruction and online learning
- Testing requirements are identical to Master’s degree testing requirements
At the doctorate level, students can choose from a DNP or PhD. The DNP focuses on the clinical role of the advanced practice nurse, while the PhD gives more attention to research and postsecondary teaching.
Nursing Colleges in Georgia with Nursing Bridge Programs
A traditional nursing degree may not be the right fit for you, particularly if you already have an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree. That’s where nursing bridge programs come into play. These degrees utilize the previous education you’ve received to reduce the amount of time you spend in a nursing program, permitting you to get into the workforce more quickly.
One example of a Georgia nursing school that offers a variety of bridge programs is Erudite Nursing Institute, where you can bridge into LPN, RN or BSN programs to expand your career. One of the hallmarks of bridge programs in nursing is the ability to use the education credits you already have to earn your nursing degree. At Erudite, there are programs that allow you to use your experience as a Patient Care Tech, Surgical Tech or Medical Assistant to enter the nursing profession, as well as expand your current nursing education in an LPNtoRN or RNtoBSN program. These types of bridge programs are part of what allow you to seamlessly transition from one degree to the next, using your experience and knowledge as you move forward in the nursing profession.
Some bridge programs are designed for licensed practical nurses or registered nurses who currently have a diploma, certificate, or Associate’s degree. In an LPN or RN to BSN program, you earn a standard BSN Georgia degree in two to three years. Those who already have an ADN may actually complete their education in as little as 18 months. RN students may also look into RN to MSN programs, which condense Bachelor’s and Master’s degree coursework into about three years.
Other programs are designed for students who possess Bachelor’s degrees in other areas of study. Rather than going through four years of education for a second degree, you may complete a BSN in as little as 12 months through an accelerated BSN program.
Direct entry MSN programs are also a popular choice. Students work through an accelerated set of clinical experiences and nursing courses to get their license. They can then use their license to complete their MSN.
Tips for Choosing the Top Nursing Schools in Georgia
Now that you know the differences between all sorts of nursing degrees, how do you choose the right school? Once you eliminate schools that don’t have the program you need, you should have a much more manageable list. From there, you can ask a set of targeted question to figure out which degree may give you the most bang for your buck. Everyone learns differently, so you want to attend a program that is well-suited to your specific learning needs.
Before you decide on any nursing program, ensure that it is accredited by the ACEN or CCNE. Graduation from an accredited program is required for licensure in this state.
As you contact nursing schools, make sure to ask the questions that matter. These factors differ for everyone; start with the following questions, and add or subtract questions to suit you.
Important Questions to Ask
- What is the NCLEX pass rate for the program I’m considering?
- Do I have the chance to further my education in the future with this degree?
- What is the instructor to student ratio?
- How many students qualify for financial aid packages through the school?
- What types of clinical experience do students get in my degree program?
2017 Career Outlook for Nursing Professions
The benefits of attending registered nursing programs in Georgia are numerous. To start, the demand for nurses is growing at an above-average pace in Georgia. This is common in states with largely rural populations. Rural communities often struggle with a shortage of healthcare providers, so nurses may enjoy a wider variety of job options if they’re willing to work in an underserved area. At advanced levels of study, graduates may even qualify for loan forgiveness programs if they work in an underserved area.
The job outlook in Georgia is extremely positive. From 2014 through 2024, job openings for licensed practical nurses are expected to increase 16% (O*Net, 2017). Licensed practical nursing education programs are often available at Georgia technical schools and community colleges. By the year 2024, you may see a 20% boost in job openings for registered nurses (O*Net, 2017). The demand for nurse practitioners is overwhelming in Georgia; O*Net anticipates a 53% jump in job openings by 2024 (2017).
Salaries in Georgia are in line with average salaries reported in other Southern states. Those who work as licensed practical nurses earn a mean income of $40,250 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Those who go on to work as registered nurses currently bring in an average of $64,750 per year (BLS, 2017). Those who attend Master’s-level nurse education programs can choose a variety of career paths. Nurse practitioners claim a mean annual income of $100,660 in Georgia (BLS, 2017).
In many parts of Georgia, the population is growing at a rate that significantly exceeds the national average (Times Herald, 2017). In these areas, job openings for healthcare workers are expected to ramp up in coming years.
It’s essential to take this time to choose a nursing program that fits your needs and gives you a high-quality education. Through the Georgia Board of Nursing, you can learn more about the licensing process and what it takes to pass the licensing exam. Our list of the best nursing schools in GA may help you choose a handful of programs to apply to.