Nursing Schools in Atlanta
The best Atlanta Georgia nursing schools have affordable and flexible programs for new nurses and for working nurses to advance their careers. Atlanta is one of the best areas for nurses, hands down. As one of the ten largest metropolitan areas in the US, greater Atlanta encompasses not only the city of Atlanta itself but numerous suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas.
So, it is a microcosm of modern life in the South. That means working nurses in Atlanta have various career options, from hospitals and private practices, nursing homes, and rehabilitation clinics, to education, government agencies, and nonprofits. Qualified nurses in Atlanta can choose practically any setting and any specialization they can imagine. It’s also one of the highest-paying cities for nurses, naturally.
Furthermore, Atlanta is one of the nation’s higher education hubs, with more than 30 colleges and universities in the metro region. That includes many nursing programs, from basic associate’s degrees and diplomas to RN to BSN programs to Doctor of Nursing Practice and PhD programs from some of the nation’s top-ranked institutions. There are a lot of programs for prospective students to navigate, so TopRNtoBSN’s ranking provides a useful guide for nurses in and around Atlanta looking for a way to enhance their career with a higher degree.
Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Atlanta Nursing Schools
TopRNtoBSN considered the factors that matter to busy nurses and students to rank the best nursing schools in Atlanta. We researched all of the nursing programs in the Atlanta metropolitan area (including suburbs and exurbs) and ranked programs according to three factors:
- In-State Tuition Cost (from current IPEDS data)
- Student Reviews (from Niche)
- Job Placement (from College Scorecard data)
By knowing the real cost, what real students think of the school, and how successful the school has been in getting graduates into jobs, students can make an informed decision about what program will make a difference in their careers.
1. Mercer University
For those who are looking for a nursing school in Atlanta, Mercer University’s Georgia Baptist College of Nursing offers students numerous opportunities. Their Atlanta campus offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and preparation for their Master’s Degree (MSN). Students can also opt to explore the prelicensure track, accelerated track, or RN-BSN track. Each of these tracks will help prepare them if they wish to pursue their DPN, doctorate of nursing, in the future.
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing is accredited by the Georgia Board of Nursing and the (CCNE) Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The mission of the college of nursing is to create a learning community full of multicultural clinicians, leaders, researchers, and scholars exemplifying excellence in nursing. According to US News and World Report, Mercer ranks as one of the top nursing schools in the South, with one of the nation’s best Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.
Degrees: BSN, MSN, DNP
2. Georgia State University
Georgia State University is one of the Atlanta nursing schools offering nine programs and ten specialties. Students who wish to receive their Master of Science, Doctor of Nursing Practice, or Doctor of Philosophy degree can do so at the Georgia State University School of Nursing and Health Professions. Students who explore their Master of Science can choose from their Post-Master’s Certificate or the RN to MS Bridge Program. If students seek leadership opportunities or advance in nursing, then the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is optimal. There are also many opportunities available through the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), one of the few offered by Atlanta nursing schools.
The Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions receives accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. According to U.S. News and World Report, Georgia State University’s Nursing program currently ranks as one of the nation’s best for master’s and doctoral degree programs and one of the best nursing schools in Atlanta. The school’s motto is Veritas valet et vincent, Latin for “Truth is Powerful and Will Conquer.” Their core values include accountability, collaboration, excellence, integrity, and value for others.
Degrees: RN to MSN, DNP, PhD
3. Emory University
If you’re looking for a comprehensive nursing program, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University is one of the best Atlanta nursing schools. There you’ll find BSN, accelerated, and MSN programs and Doctoral programs. Students beginning their careers will find the BSN degree choices a great place to start. It’s possible to complete the accelerated program in approximately fifteen months if you need to get back on track. The MSN program offers a comprehensive opportunity to enhance your knowledge, while the doctoral degree provides leadership opportunities.
Emory’s School of Nursing ranks among US News and World Report’s best national nursing schools. And it is central to healthcare in the Atlanta metro region. Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is one of many in Atlanta with accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges Commission on Colleges and the CCNE. Their core values include excellence, collaboration, social responsibility, innovation, and leadership.
4. Clayton State University
Clayton State University’s School of Nursing, located in Morrow, Georgia, is an incredible opportunity for students to explore BSN Basic Licensure, as well as BSN RN Completion and MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN FNP) programs. Undergraduates RN Completion program can participate 100% online, which allows for completion based on a flexible schedule. That means working a full-time job and managing family life while simultaneously completing a degree at one of the best programs in the greater-Atlanta area.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Clayton State University is one of the top Regional Universities in the South. The university’s motto is “Dreams. Made Real.” The school of nursing receives its accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school’s mission is to deliver a comprehensive education to nursing students encompassing diverse experimental, ethnic, geographical, and socioeconomic backgrounds. In doing so, the university works toward being one of the leading schools in the Atlanta metro, promoting lifelong learning.
Degrees: BSN, RN-BSN, MSN FNP
5. University of West Georgia
The University of West Georgia’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing is one of the best in the Atlanta metro area. Students can apply for their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), or Doctorate in Nursing Education. Nursing students have access to the Experimental Learning Center (ELC), which includes two state-of-the-art facilities. One has a location on the Carrollton campus in the SON Building, and the other is in the UWG Newman Center.
The University of West Georgia’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing programs receives its accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. In 2018, the Tanner Health System School of Nursing ranked among the best in the country according to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Schools. The school’s mission is to provide high-quality academics that will consistently meet healthcare’s current and evolving needs.
Degrees: BSN and MSN
6. Gwinnett Technical College
Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, understands that patient care and nursing go hand-in-hand. Therefore, they’ve made it their mission to ensure nursing students receive high-quality education to prepare them for the ever-evolving nursing environment. Those attending this technical college have opportunities to pursue their ADN as a traditional or bridge program. Both Paramedics and Licensed Practical Nurses with a practical nursing diploma can enter the ADN program with advanced standing. When pursuing the traditional option, the ADN, students will have preparation for practicing as nurse generalists.
- traditional Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- ADN for Licensed Practical Nurse / LPN to RN bridge program
- Paramedic to RN (ADN) Bridge
The ADN programs offered through Gwinnett Technical College receive their accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The technical college’s core values include integrity, commitment, and excellence. The nursing program is customer-centric, adaptable, and innovative, providing leadership and lifelong learning opportunities. This public, two-year technical college aims to ensure students have enriching on-campus and distance learning opportunities.
7. Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University WellStar School of Nursing is north Georgia’s largest nursing school and with some of the best programs in the Atlanta metro area. Students have opportunities to pursue their bachelor’s (BSN), master’s (MSN), and doctorate (DNP) degrees, as well as participate in accelerated tracks. They also have access to clinical experiences and an RN Refresher Program. Furthermore, students can access a nursing jobs portal to find current and relevant professions according to their field of study and interests.
- Accelerated and Traditional BSN programs
- MSN in Nursing Education Leadership in a Digital World
- Family Nurse Practitioner MSN Program
- MSN in Nursing Administration and Transformational Leadership
Kennesaw State University WellStar School of Nursing’s programs each receive their accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. According to U.S. News and World Report, the university is currently ranked one of the nation’s Most Innovative Schools. The WellStar School of Nursing’s Mission is to ensure their nursing programs promote academic excellence, offer high-quality education, and provide an environment that supports professional and personal growth.
Degrees: BSN, MSN, DNP
8. Point University
Point University’s online RN to BSN completion program is one of the best options for Atlanta nurses. That way, active nurses can participate in a Christ-centered educational program providing leadership and service. If students currently hold their associate’s degree, participation in this program and career advancement is possible. Not only does the program build upon the student’s previous education, but it does so based on their Christian philosophies.
Point University has accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. According to US News and World Report, they’re currently ranking at #45 (ties) in Regional Colleges South. As a Christian institution, Point University’s goals include cultivating a spiritually, intellectually, socially, physically, and professionally encouraging environment for students to grow and learn.
Location: West Point
Degrees: RN to BSN
9. Georgia Gwinnett College
The Georgia Gwinnett College School of Health Sciences in Lawrenceville offers students opportunities to pursue their Bachelor in Science in Nursing (BSN). In addition to having access to modern, state-of-the-art facilities, students can utilize laboratories, equipment, and high-tech classrooms. This experience solidifies their skills before embarking upon new careers. Because students focus on meeting their goals through peer mentorship and working with faculty, they have a greater chance of success.
- Associate Degree Nursing Paramedic Bridge Option, ADN
- ADN Associate Degree Nursing Bridge Option
- Associate Degree Surgical Technologist Bridge Option, ADN
- Registered Nursing Program, ADN
The nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The college ranks as one of U.S. News and World Report’s top public colleges in Regional Colleges South. The four pillars of this educational facility include scholarship, leadership, service, and creativity. The college ensures all students can access associate and bachelor’s degrees that meet their academic needs.
10. Brenau University
Brenau University is one of the premier nursing schools in the Atlanta metro area, with its location in Gainesville. Students who wish to attend this university can pursue a wide variety of undergraduate programs and also graduate nursing degrees. Undergraduates can explore Brenau University’s accelerated BSN full-time program, BS Health Science (Pre-Nursing Concentration) degree, BSN Nursing, or Nursing RN to BSN. Graduate students can pursue their:
- Certificate In Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- DNP Advance Practice Nurse
- DNP Leadership and Management
- MSN Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- RN to MSN FNP Accelerated
- MSN Nursing Leadership and Management
- RN to MSN Nursing Leadership and Management Accelerated
Brenau University receives its accreditation from the Collegiate Commission for Nursing Education. They’re currently ranking at #31 (tie) in Best Colleges for Veterans and #42 in Best Value Schools according to U.S. News and World Reports. Their motto is, “As Gold Refined By Fire.” The university embraces strategies that include having a global perspective, ensuring students have quality online experiences, they’re cultivating timeless identities, and that their facilities experience upgrades to remain one of the best schools in the Atlanta region.
Degrees: BSN, MSN, DNP
Is the Job Market for Nurses in Atlanta Strong?
Yes! The great thing about the nursing field is that it is always in high demand, and nurses in Atlanta are in higher demand than in most places. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 6% nationally within the next decade. With Atlanta remaining the 3rd fastest-growing city in the US, Atlanta nursing jobs are also growing. The need for healthcare services will increase as the baby boom population ages. As a result of this, Atlanta nursing jobs will especially be high for long-term residential care facilities. Hospitals, outpatient centers, and rehabilitation centers are other popular places of employment for nurses. Atlanta is also one of the nation’s best cities for African-American nurses.
Most registered nurses in Atlanta have daily duties, including assessing patients and recording symptoms and medical histories. Additionally, they observe, administer medicine, operate medical equipment, perform diagnostic tests, evaluate results, and create plans for patient care. Nurses typically work as part of a team of healthcare providers, doctors, assistants, and specialists. There are different types of nurses, like addiction, genetic, critical care, cardiovascular, rehabilitation, and public health nurses.
Can You Find Flexible Atlanta Nursing Programs?
Yes, if you know where to look. For example, you could find accelerated nursing programs in Atlanta GA through a university. There are also part-time nursing programs in GA. Just make sure that the nursing program is accredited or comes from an accredited school. Employers are less likely to hire graduates from unaccredited LPN programs in Atlanta. Whether it’s an online RN to BSN program, a Doctor of Nursing Practice, or a CRNA program, students can find it in Atlanta. A city like Atlanta also has no shortage of internship and clinical experience opportunities.
What Can You Expect from a Nursing Program?
The education and training process for accelerated nursing programs in Atlanta has high standards for students. But, it ensures that nurses entering the field are well-trained and equipped to handle the complex healthcare field. Most nursing programs screen candidates carefully before admission. Program administrators often look for candidates with community work, volunteer work, quality essays, and good teacher recommendation letters. Prerequisite courses are sometimes required for physiology, anatomy, chemistry, and biology. Minimum GPAs of 3.0 are common. A test may be given to enter the nursing program.
Once you enter the program, you will be expected to complete coursework relevant to the field. Nursing research, pharmacology, public health, bioethics, and microbiology are typical nursing courses. After degree completion, the graduate will need a license from the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The NCLEX exam will test whether the graduate has critical nursing skills like safety, psychosocial integrity, health promotion, and basic care skills.
How Much Does a Nurse Make in Atlanta?
Nationally, Registered Nurses make an annual average of $77,600 (BLS). The highest wages are earned in government jobs, where nurses can make up to $85,970. But, how much is an RN paid in Atlanta? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs in Atlanta earn $80,760 per year which is more than the national average. Advanced practice nurse wages are also higher in Atlanta, with the nurse practitioner salary in Atlanta GA averaging $113,410 per year (BLS).
Why Choose a Nursing School in Atlanta?
Atlanta is an ideal choice for nursing school, as it offers programs with a high NCLEX-RN pass rate, prepares students for success in the nursing field, and offers a variety of nursing degree options. From a practical nursing program to a BSN graduate degree, students are sure to find a degree path that fits their needs.
Additionally, the clinical rotations offers students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in local healthcare facilities before they even graduate, increasing their chances of successful completion of their chosen degree program. Furthermore, Atlanta’s nursing schools are renowned for producing high-quality BSN graduates that are ready to take the next step in their career. With diverse degree programs and hands-on clinical rotations, Atlanta is an ideal place to pursue a nursing degree.