The Best Georgia Online Nurse Practitioner Programs and Requirements

June 3, 2020 | Staff Writers

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In Georgia, individuals must earn an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) authorization to work in specialized positions, such as certified nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Nurse practitioners (NPs) in the Peach State may work under a physician after submitting a protocol agreement. This agreement designates NPs’ involvement in diagnosis and treatment. NPs may perform tasks like ordering lab work, medication refills, and radiographic imaging tests.


In Georgia, individuals must earn an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) authorization to work in specialized positions, such as certified nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists.

In general, NPs offer medical treatment within a specialization, such as gerontology. These individuals may provide primary care and tend to patients without a physician in the room. However, physicians may review tests and records after the visit to ensure quality care. NPs may also educate communities on preventative measures against illnesses. Since these positions require more advanced work than registered nurse (RN) positions, NPs should pursue advanced education, such as a master’s or doctorate in nursing.

The average salary for NPs in Georgia surpasses $100,000. This salary expectation is close to what the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects as the median income for all U.S. NPs ($107,030). To earn these positions, though, individuals must complete the necessary licensure steps.

Read on to explore the best nurse practitioner programs in Georgia and what it takes to become an NP in the state.

Read about our ranking methodology here.

Best Georgia Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

1. Georgia College and State University – Milledgeville, GA
2. Columbus State University – Columbus, GA
3. Valdosta State University – Valdosta, GA
4. Clayton State University – Morrow, GA
5. Georgia Southwestern State University – Americus, GA
6. Kennesaw State University – Kennesaw, GA
7. Albany State University – Albany, GA
8. Middle Georgia State University – Macon, GA

  1. Georgia College and State University
    Location

    Milledgeville, GA

    Milledgeville-based Georgia College offers an online master of science in nursing with a family nursing practice concentration for aspiring nurse practitioners. The program comprises 40 credits. Full-time students can graduate within six semesters, while part-time students complete the program in nine semesters.

    Foundational coursework covers advanced concepts like pharmacology and pathophysiology. Courses within the family nurse practitioner concentration focus on care for different demographics, such as primary care for women, adolescents, and children. Learners must also complete in-person supervised clinical hours during their practicums. Each student must also maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate.

    Campus: Milledgeville, Georgia

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: $544/credit hour

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with at least a 2.75 GPA; current nursing license; at least one year of nursing experience

    Minimum Time Commitment: 6 semesters (24 months with summer semesters)

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Program: MSN - Family nursing practice

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  2. Columbus State University
    Location

    Columbus, GA

    Columbus State runs an online master of science in nursing program with a family nurse practitioner track. Courses focus on health assessment and promotion for nurse practitioners. Although enrollees complete coursework entirely online through an asynchronous format, they must also fulfill 765 clinical hours of supervised work. CSU allows distance learners to practice their clinical hours at local facilities.

    The full program consists of 44 credits, which students can complete in five semesters, or two years. To complete the program, each learner needs to earn a 3.0 GPA.

    Campus: Columbus, Georgia

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: $385/credit hour

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current nursing license; three recommendation letters

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Program: MSN - Family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  3. Valdosta State University
    Location

    Valdosta, GA

    The master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner specialization at VSU operates as a hybrid program. Distance learners complete several course components online, but they must also attend five weekend class meetings during the semester. Therefore, this program works best for students who live around the Valdosta area.

    The full program comprises 50 credits of coursework, and students must participate in 715 supervised clinical hours. Courses include advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology, in addition to practicums in pediatrics and women's health. The full program lasts seven semesters for full-time students, and learners who enroll in summer terms can graduate in 2.5 years.

    Campus: Valdosta, Georgia

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: $293/credit for online courses; $316/credit for in-state students; $1,144/credit for out-of-state students

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current nursing license; three recommendation letters; GRE or MAT scores

    Minimum Time Commitment: Seven semesters, or 2.5 years

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Program: MSN - Family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  4. Clayton State University
    Location

    Morrow, GA

    At Clayton State University, students can enroll in a 47-credit online master of nursing program with a family nurse practitioner concentration. The curriculum focuses on health promotion, pharmacology, and practicums covering focusing on various demographics.

    Aside from the 585 clinical hours onsite at healthcare facilities, the program operates entirely online. Courses require at least one synchronous meeting through distance learning, requiring students to log on at specific times. Distance learners may need to participate in class discussions or make presentations through webcams or headsets.

    Finally, the university offers grants and loan forgiveness to help students manage costs.

    Campus: Morrow, Georgia

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: $385/credit

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current nursing license; 1-2 years of nursing experience; three recommendations; statement of purpose; on-campus interview

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Program: MSN - Family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  5. Georgia Southwestern State University
    Location

    Americus, GA

    GSW offers an online master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner specialization. Courses include advanced practice pharmacology, diagnostic and clinical reasoning for advanced practice nurses, and classes focusing on caring for specific demographics.

    Students take theory courses online and complete the 765 required clinical hours in-person at local healthcare facilities. Learners complete a certain number of clinical hours every semester. GSW organized the program so that students can graduate in four semesters or two years. Those enrolled part time can finish within 2.5 years if they take classes during the summer term.

    Campus: Americus, Georgia

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: $385/credit hour

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current nursing license; three recommendation letters

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Program: MSN - Family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  6. Kennesaw State University
    Location

    Kennesaw, GA

    Kennesaw State's master of science in nursing degree includes a primary care nurse practitioner track for aspiring advanced practice nurses. Students can add a further concentration in either family care or primary care residency.

    For the primary care residency, students dedicate several practicum courses to working with licensed nurse practitioners or physicians in a healthcare setting. The family care track focuses on clinical management for adults, children, and reproductive health.

    The full program comprises 40 credits, but students can transfer up to nine credits from a previous graduate nursing program. Learners must also complete 630 hours of clinical experience.

    Campus: Kennesaw, Georgia

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: $588/credit

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current nursing license; at least one year of nursing experience; two recommendations; statement of purpose

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Program: MSN - Primary care nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  7. Albany State University
    Location

    Albany, GA

    At ASU, the master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner concentration focuses on therapeutic communications, interventions, and evidence-based practice. Students must take 44 credits of coursework, all offered online.

    Core coursework covers topics in nursing theory development, pharmacology in advanced practice nursing, and family diversity in vulnerable communities. In addition to fulfilling supervised clinical hours, each learner must also complete a thesis or research project. Toward the end of the program, students take a comprehensive exam meant to evaluate the theoretical and analytical knowledge learned throughout the degree.

    Campus: Albany, Georgia

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing

    Tuition: $300/credit

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current nursing license; at least one year of nursing experience; two recommendations; on-campus interview

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Program: MSN - Family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  8. Middle Georgia State University
    Location

    Macon, GA

    At MGA in Macon, students can obtain a master of science in nursing with an emphasis in adult/gerontology acute care nurse practitioner. The program comprises 43 credits and 630 clinical practice hours. Although MGA offers its courses online, distance learners must visit campus for two-day immersive sessions each semester. Students can finish the program in five semesters or two years.

    The courses focus on adult/gerontology acute care, but students must also complete coursework in health assessment, diagnostic reasoning, pharmacology, and quality and safety processes. Enrollees also learn how to provide nursing care in trauma units, emergency rooms, and intensive care units.

    Campus: Macon, Georgia

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing

    Tuition: $255/credit

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current nursing license; at least one year of nursing experience; three recommendations; entrance interview; personal statement

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Program: MSN - Adult/gerontology acute care nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Georgia

To become a nurse practitioner in Georgia, candidates should earn the APRN authorization by following these steps.

  • Candidates first need an RN license. Applicants for the RN credential should complete nursing programs in Georgia that boast approval from the Georgia Board of Nursing. Acceptable nontraditional programs may focus on military or paramedic concepts. Other options include nursing programs that address topics in pediatrics, mental health, and gynecology.
  • RN licenses also call for passing scores on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Candidates must receive an authorization to test (ATT) to take the NCLEX. This ATT happens after the board verifies that individuals satisfy examination criteria. NCLEX registration costs $200.
  • Candidates must obtain board approval to take the exam within one year. If applicants do not meet this deadline, they must register again for the NCLEX. Individuals can prepare for the NCLEX by taking a practice examination. Candidates can take 5-6 hours to complete 75-265 questions, depending on the exam’s structure. Scores are available within six weeks of completing the test.
  • Applicants with degrees that do not hold board approval may need to submit transcripts to earn the RN license. RN applicants must also complete a criminal background check and submit a $40 application fee. RN candidates can submit applications online or by mail, with exceptions. In particular, applicants with degrees earned outside of Georgia or through nontraditional programs must complete paper applications.
  • The board grants RN licenses to candidates who meet the state’s criteria. Individuals can then begin preparing specifically for the APRN authorization.
  • Candidates for APRN authorization must complete a graduate degree. Program specializations can influence career options for licensed nurses. Georgia candidates should consider high-demand specializations, such as geriatrics, internal medicine, and primary care for higher employment chances.
  • APRN candidates should also complete 500 hours of relevant fieldwork over a three-month period. Applicants without this fieldwork must verify that they graduated from an approved nursing program within the last four years.
  • The board insists APRN applicants hold national certifications that reflect their nursing specializations. These certifications may require unique criteria, such as fieldwork, degrees, fees, and examinations. Possible certification organizations include the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation.
  • APRN candidates must pay the $75 application fee and complete a paper application for board review. Qualified candidates receive the APRN authorization.
  • Individuals should submit APRN protocol agreements and registration forms that document professional relationships between NPs and physicians. These forms note NP practice locations and responsibilities.

In-Demand Nursing Specialty Eligibility Requirements in Georgia

Gerontological Nursing Certification (RN-BC)

Years of Experience

: This certification requires two years of experience in an RN position.

Clinical Hours Required: Candidates must complete at least 2,000 hours of clinical fieldwork related to their specialization.

Continuing Education: Certifications call for 30 continuing education hours that candidates earn in three years. Individuals must renew credentials after five years, which requires 75 continuing education hours.

Other: The required exam includes 175 questions.

Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP)

Years of Experience

: Candidates must hold an RN license.

Clinical Hours Required: Applicants must boast at least 500 hours of supervised clinical fieldwork earned no more than five years ago.

Continuing Education: Certifications last four years. To renew certifications, individuals can complete a combination of practice hours, professional development experiences, or tests.

Other: Candidates must complete the 165-question exam in three hours.

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGPCNP-BC)

Years of Experience

: Applicants must earn an RN license and a graduate degree.

Clinical Hours Required: Individuals must complete 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours. This experience should relate to gerontology.

Continuing Education: Certifications expire after five years. Renewal requires 75 CE hours.

Other: The certification exam involves 175 questions that test-takers complete in 3.5 hours.

Salary and Career Information

Average wages for NPs in Georgia remain nearly $40,000 higher than average earnings for in-state RNs. National earnings reflect a similar income gap since NPs average more than $110,000, and RNs average just over $75,000.

Nationally and in Georgia, growth expectations also favor NPs. In particular, NP positions are projected to increase by 38.5% in Georgia and 36.1% nationally from 2018 to 2028. Both of these projections more than double the respective growth projections for RN positions.

Average earnings in Georgia vary by location, with Albany NPs averaging more than $114,000. Specializations can also impact income. General NPs average $70,000-$90,000, while psychiatric nurse practitioners average $90,000-$100,000. Candidates should note, however, that these salaries are higher than the average U.S. income for all workers in 2018 ($52,145).

 Registered NurseNurse Practitioner
Georgia Mean Salary$68,950$106,750
U.S. Mean Salary$75,510$110,030
Georgia Job Growth18.3%38.5%
U.S. Job Growth14.8%36.1%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

 SalaryEmployment
Albany, Georgia$114,660140
Columbus, Georgia – Alabama$111,400100
Valdosta, Georgia$109,86050
Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Roswell, Georgia$109,4103,600
Chattanooga, Tennessee – Georgia$105,030740

Source: BLS

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