Nursing Programs in GA with Degree Descriptions

Jul 20, 2019

Essential Information

There are more than 40 schools and universities in Georgia that offer nursing education programs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, to become a registered nurse, the minimum education requirement is typically an associate's degree in the field. Bachelor's degrees as well as graduate degrees in nursing are also available throughout Georgia. Several colleges offer online course or program options to nursing students. Nevertheless, the majority of programs require students to complete hands-on training on-campus or on-site at various medical facilities.

Chattahoochee Technical College

In Marietta, students can pursue an Associate of Science in Nursing and complete the degree program in five semesters. Students take classes in the foundations of nursing practice, adult health nursing, mental health nursing, nursing management and a review for the NCLEX-RN. A Practical Nursing Diploma is another educational option, which students can complete in three semesters. Students take courses and clinical experiences in medical-surgical nursing, maternity nursing and nursing leadership. Other topics covered in this diploma program include pharmacology, diet and nutrition.

Columbus State University

At this four-year university in Columbus, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) on campus, an RN-BSN degree program available online, or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) available online. In the BSN program, required courses cover topics in professional development, pharmacology, four clinical nursing rotations and a senior capstone experience that culminates in the nursing exit examination.

In the RN-BSN degree program, students can choose from full-time or part-time study. Topics covered include evidence-based practice, clinical nursing experiences and pathophysiology. In the MSN program, students can choose from tracks in education or leadership. Requirements depend on the chosen track, but common courses cover topics in pharmacology, physiology and ethics.

Emory University

Students at Atlanta's Emory University can pursue nursing education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Undergraduate options include the BSN, an accelerated BSN (ABSN), and a BSN for second degree students. Graduate options include an MSN with nurse practitioner concentrations or midwifery concentrations.

In the traditional BSN degree program, students begin major-specific courses in their junior year. Students take courses like the foundations of professionalism, foundations of clinical nursing, clinical nursing for specific populations and a synthesis seminar. The ABSN degree program requires that students complete courses in community and public health assessments, health policy, ethical and legal issues in advanced practice nursing and immersion learning with underserved communities.

The time to complete an MSN depends on a student's chosen specialization but can take 3-5 semesters of full-time study. Each specialization has its own requirements, and potential specializations include acute care nurse practitioner, adult/gerontology nurse practitioner, emergency nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner (acute care and primary care options), women's health/adult health nurse practitioner, family nurse midwife, nurse-midwifery and women's health care. Students can also pursue an RN-MSN degree or an MSN/Master of Public Health degree.

Georgia Perimeter College

Decatur's Georgia Perimeter College offers an Associate of Science in Nursing. In addition to 35 credits of general education requirements, GPC's professional nursing curriculum requires 36 credits in courses such as concepts of nursing, pediatrics, obstetrics and mental health. There are strict admittance requirements for the nursing program, including proficiency on the Test of Essential Academic Skills. Graduates are prepared for the NCLEX-RN.

Georgia Southern University

In Statesboro, students can pursue a BSN, a Licensed Practical Nurse to BSN bridge program, or an online RN to BSN degree program. In the BSN degree program, students learn about topics like basic and advanced anatomy and physiology, mental health nursing and caring for adults and children. The LPN to BSN degree program includes study of topics like exploration of professional practice and pharmacology as well as a hands-on experience in clinical settings.

The RN-BSN degree program includes topics like nursing concepts, community health nursing and nursing research. The MSN degree program requires between 36 and 48 credit hours and covers topics like professional roles, as well as clinical experiences in primary care and a practicum. Students can choose to complete a thesis, as well. The university also offers a Post-MSN Nurse Educator Certificate and an online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program.

Georgia State University

At the Atlanta campus of Georgia State University, individuals can pursue nursing degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. As an undergraduate, students can pursue a BSN and an accelerated BSN for individuals who have already completed core courses. At the graduate level, the university offers an MSN, an RN to MSN degree program, a post-master's certificate and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.

The BSN is 123 credits, including a practicum. Students take classes in biology, nutrition, psychology and nursing. Graduates of this program are prepared to care for patients of all ages and have a foundation in human development, nursing concepts, pharmacology, health assessment and pathophysiology. The accelerated BSN, called BSN-Achieving the Curriculum Expeditiously, can be completed in 16 months and requires a commitment of more than 80 hours each week. It includes the same major requirements as the traditional BSN.

Students in the MSN degree program complete 22 credit hours in core nursing courses, including pharmacology, nursing concepts and theories, health assessment and research methods. An additional 26 credit hours are required in an area of specialization, such as nursing leadership or adult, child, family, women's or psychiatric health. The RN to MSN bridge program is designed for registered nurses with a diploma or associate degree in nursing who seek an MSN degree. Applicants should have at least one year of experience as a registered nurse.

Graduate students who already hold a master's degree in nursing can prepare themselves for nurse specialist and nurse practitioner certification through various post-master's certificate programs. Available concentrations focus on caring for adults, children, women, families and mental health patients. Doctoral students must complete 51 credits beyond the master's degree, as well as nine additional hours of dissertation credits. This is a research-focused program, with required courses in theory, research methods, ethics and statistics, as well as 12 credits in a concentration of interest to the individual. Students must pass a comprehensive examination prior to beginning dissertation work.

Kennesaw State University

Students in Kennesaw can pursue degree programs in nursing at all levels at this school. The WellStar College of Health and Human Services offers a BSN degree program, an MSN Nurse Practitioner degree program and a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) degree program. In the BSN degree program, students choose from two concentrations: pre-licensure or RN to BSN. The pre-licensure program includes courses in clinical pharmacology, theoretical basis for holistic nursing and health and health assessment, as well as an advanced clinical practicum. The RN to BSN degree program is meant for registered nurses who seek a Bachelor of Science degree. In that track, students must complete courses in community health nursing, nursing across the lifespan and an advanced clinical practicum.

The MSN Nurse Practitioner degree program requires completion of courses in clinical management of common conditions in children or adults, clinical management of reproductive health and four courses that focus on primary care residency. Individuals in this program must be licensed as registered nurses and must have three years work experience as registered nurses. The DNS degree program is available in full- or part-time study options. Students can complete the DNS in three years of full-time study or four years of part-time study. Required courses include scientific inquiry, theory in nursing, curriculum theories/models in nursing and a practicum in applied nursing research. Students must write and defend a dissertation and take a preliminary exam in the first year of study. A comprehensive exam is required in the second year of full-time study or third year of part-time study.

Mercer University

Atlanta's Mercer University campus offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in nursing. At the undergraduate level, students can pursue a BSN or an RN-BSN. At the graduate level, students can pursue an MSN with multiple tracks.

In the BSN degree program, students start their major classes during their junior year. Those classes include nursing foundations and health assessments, caring for patients across the lifespan and a course with practicum on nursing leadership. The RN-BSN degree program is designed for students who have an associate degree or diploma in nursing and wish to complete a bachelor's degree. Individuals can complete the RN-BSN degree program in three semesters of full-time study or six semesters of part-time study. Courses include social and cultural issues in health and illness, health assessments for registered nurses and a practicum.

In the MSN degree program, students can choose from three specializations: nursing education, acute/critical care clinical nurse specialist and family nurse practitioner. Each specialization has its own requirements. Core courses include advanced health assessment, nursing theory and knowledge development and advanced pathophysiology. Students can complete these degree programs within two years. For those who have a master's degree, there are three options: a nurse educator certificate, a Doctor of Nursing Practice or a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.

University of West Georgia

Carrollton's University of West Georgia offers a BSN, an RN-BSN degree program, an MSN or a Doctorate of Nursing Education. Students can complete the BSN in six semesters of full-time study or eight semesters of part-time study. Topics covered in these degree programs include health assessment, clinical experience, nursing research and preparation for the NCLEX-RN exam. In the RN-BSN program, designed for students who are licensed to work as registered nurses and wish to earn a bachelor's degree, courses cover topics like health assessment, leadership and research.

Students in the MSN degree program choose from two tracks: education or health systems leadership. Either track is 36 credit hours, but topics covered in required classes vary depending on the track. For example, students in the nurse educator track learn about topics like nursing and education, pathophysiology and specialty nursing. Students complete practicum sessions to gain experience in a variety of topics. In the health systems leadership track, topics covered include data analysis and evaluation of health systems, as well as an evidence-based project. The Doctorate in Nursing Education degree program is fully-online but includes a required on-campus seminar. Topics covered in this degree program include teaching adults, statistical methods, applied quantitative research as well as education and healthcare policy.

Valdosta State University

In Valdosta, students at this four-year university can pursue a pre-licensure BSN, an accelerated BSN, an MSN, an RN to BSN or an RN to MSN. The pre-licensure BSN degree program focuses on nursing courses starting in the third year of the program. Required courses include pharmacology in nursing practice, mental health nursing care, health assessment and a course in professional nursing practice. The accelerated BSN is meant for students who have a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. Students must complete courses in issues of nursing, acute health alteration, health and wellbeing in older adults and nursing research.

In the MSN degree program, students choose from three tracks: adult/gerontology nurse practitioner, clinical nurse leader or family psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. Each track has its own requirements, but courses common to all tracks include advanced pathophysiology, nursing and health care information systems, advanced health assessment and a related practicum. Students in the adult/gerontology nurse practitioner and clinical nurse leader track must complete a thesis or project, while students in the family psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner track have different options, depending on which concentration they choose (either adult health or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner).

Career Requirements

According to the Georgia Registered Professional Nurse Practice Act, individuals who want to practice nursing must obtain licenses from the Georgia Board of Nursing. Steps for licensure in Georgia include completing state-approved nursing programs and passing exams. The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) provides state-approved exams for nursing professionals. There are different exams for each nursing field, such as the NCLEX-RN for registered nurses. Beyond showing proof of training and passing the appropriate NCLEX exams, the Georgia licensure process for nurses also requires individuals to pass background checks. Below is a summary of the 10 largest schools and their nursing programs, and all of these programs meet the state's licensing requirements for nurses.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Nursing Degree Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
Chattahoochee Technical College Two-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Nursing,
Diploma in Practical Nursing
$2,816 (in-state),
$4,952 (out-of-state)*
Columbus State University Four-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
$6,134 (in-state),
$16,920 (out-of-state)*
Emory University Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing in multiple concentrations
Georgia Perimeter College Two-year, public; large suburb Associate of Science in Nursing $3,304 (in-state),
$9,501 (out-of-state)*
Georgia Southern University Four-year, public; distant town Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing
$6,356 (in-state),
$17,142 (out-of-state)*
Georgia State University Four-year, public; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing with multiple tracks,
Master of Science in Nursing with multiple tracks,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
$9,112 (in state),
$23,971 (out-of-state)*
Kennesaw State University Four-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Accelerated BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Science
$6,347 (in-state),
$17,329 (out-of-state)*
Mercer University Four-year, private not-for-profit; mid-size city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing with multiple tracks,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
PhD in Nursing
University of West Georgia Four-year, public; fringe town Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctorate of Nursing Education
$6,288 (in-state),
$17,074 (out-of-state)*
Valdosta State University Four-year, public; small city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Accelerated BSN,
$6,410 (in-state),
$17,196 (out-of-state)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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