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Nursing Schools in Atlanta, GA: Online & On-Campus Programs

Learn about top nursing schools in Atlanta and the degree programs they offer — from associate degrees to PhDs— and find the one that’s right for you.

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Panoramic view of a city skyline featuring modern high-rise buildings under a blue sky with fluffy clouds, intersected by highways and overpasses near the DNP program facility.

Nursing is a great career for anyone interested in high salaries, job security, and career advancement. It’s also hard to beat in terms of the positive impact it allows you to have on your community. In order to reap these benefits, however, you’ll need a college education. Finding the right fit when it comes to your nursing degree program is critical to your academic and, ultimately, career success — that’s why we’ve created this guide.

Below, you’ll learn about some of the most popular online and campus-based degree programs available today from Atlanta’s best nursing schools. We’ve also included valuable information on salaries and growth potential for nursing jobs in the Atlanta area to help you plan for your future career.

So, if you live in the northwest Georgia region, read on to discover how you can achieve your career goals by earning your degree online or on-campus from one of the top nursing schools in Atlanta in 2024.

Profiling Popular Nursing Schools in Atlanta, GA for 2024

To jump start your nursing program search, we’ve spotlighted three degree programs currently offered by top nursing schools in the Atlanta area. Although this is not a ranking, these programs represent the best of what you can expect to find in terms of quality, affordability, convenience, and access to important academic and career support services.

Emory University

Emory University offers students with non-nursing bachelor’s degree the opportunity to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing in just three full-time semesters through its Distance Accelerated BSN program. This is possible because students can apply the general education credits from their previous bachelor’s to their current BSN requirements.

Didactic coursework is delivered online through a combination of live virtual classes and recorded content. Students are required to attend a total of 660 clinical rotation hours at program-approved practice sites. The program culminates in a test review for the NCLEX-RN exam and the completion and presentation of each student’s capstone project. The current total estimated program cost is $82,000. Three program starts are available annually in January, May, and August. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, applicants must have completed several prerequisite courses in math and the physical and social sciences. Admission is competitive and selections are made based on an evaluation of the applicants’ transcripts and work/life experiences. Seating is limited to 30 students per cohort.

Georgia State University

The Online Master of Science in Nursing program at Georgia State University offers a convenient and affordable way for current RNs to become advanced practice nurses and take on specialized patient care and leadership roles. The curriculum consists of 22 credits of core nursing courses and 26 credits in one of four specializations: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The bulk of the program coursework can be completed online however, some courses include in-person components on the GSU campus. Full-time students can complete the program in two to three years, while part-time students can do so in three to four years.

GSU’s Online MSN program offers two paths to admission – one for bachelor-prepared RNs and one for RNs who possess an associate degree in nursing or diploma with “outstanding practice experience and professional involvement.” RNs without a BSN must complete certain undergraduate-level prerequisites before beginning their MSN coursework. Current per-credit tuition rates (not including fees) are $404 for Georgia residents and $1,265 for out-of-state residents. Qualifying students may be eligible for institutional scholarships and grants or other tuition assistance.

Herzing University

Herzing University’s online campus offers online nursing programs in Atlanta at the bachelor’s and graduate levels, making it easy to find the program best suited to your needs. In addition to an RN-to-BSN, you can also choose from these programs:

  • RN-to-MSN with concentrations in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nursing education, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
  • MSN with concentrations in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing leadership and administration, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
  • Post-graduate certificates with specializations in family nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing leadership and administration, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

You can complete the RN-to-BSN in as few as 12 months by taking advantage of rolling admissions and accelerated, eight-week classes. Herzing’s offering holds CCNE accreditation and credits can be used towards an MSN at a later date.

Mercer University

Mercer University is another reputable private school in Atlanta offering students a fast-track to both NCLEX-RN exam eligibility and their BSN through its Second Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. As its title indicates, admission into the program requires a bachelor’s degree from which students can transfer general education credits to fulfill similar requirements in the BSN program.

Students then complete 56 credits of nursing-centered coursework that can be completed in as few as 12 months. Mercer’s ABSN curriculum consists of online asynchronous classes, clinical skills and nursing simulation labs on Mercer’s ABSN Learning Site in Atlanta, and clinical rotations at program-approved facilities throughout the Atlanta metro area. The current estimated program cost (tuition and fees) is $62,670. Applicants may be required to complete any prerequisite coursework they did not take in their first bachelor’s program prior to beginning the BSN curriculums. Start dates are available in the spring, summer, and fall.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in Atlanta, GA

Nursing programs in Atlanta, GA exist at every academic level, making it easy for you to find a program that meets your educational and professional needs. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for an advanced degree, you can check out some of the most common options currently available below.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Atlanta

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

An associate degree in nursing can help Atlanta students to earn their RN license after graduating and successfully passing the NCLEX-RN exam. These programs often serve as a great first step for students since they take only two years to complete and allow you to work as an RN. If you choose to pursue a BSN, the work you complete in your associate program will help you complete your BSN in less time than BSN students who don’t have previous nursing education.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools With This Program

Gwinnett Technical College
Perimeter College

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Traditional BSN)

Students who know they want to work as registered nurses often move straight into a traditional, four-year BSN since it often produces higher salaries and more leadership opportunities. Comprising both classroom and clinical learning, these degrees usually consist of 120 credits.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools With This Program

Georgia State University
Chamberlain University

Accelerated BSN Programs

Designed for career changers, accelerated BSNs allow students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated subject to make the jump to nursing. Building on general education coursework previously completed, some students may complete an accelerated BSN program in 18–24 months.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools With This Program

Mercer University
Brenau University

Direct-Entry MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

Direct-entry MSN programs function similarly to an accelerated BSN, allowing students with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees to enter the nursing field. If you want to work as a nurse practitioner or other type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), these three-year programs provide a truncated schedule.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools With This Program

Emory University
Georgia State University

Nursing Bridge Programs in Atlanta for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

If you’ve worked as a licensed vocational nurse for a time but feel ready to take your career to the next level, an LPN-to-RN or LPN-to-BSN bridge program can help you do so. To achieve your ADN, plan to spend at least 12 months enrolled in a nursing program. If you want to go for your BSN, these programs usually last about two years.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools With This Program

Chattahoochee Technical College
Georgia Southwestern State University

RN to BSN Programs

If you already possess your ADN but want to elevate your career to the next level, an RN-to-BSN can help you do so. Existing as both online and in-person programs, these degrees usually last between 18–24 months. They do not require any additional exams but can lead to higher salaries.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools With This Program

Georgia Southern University
University of West Georgia

RN to MSN Programs

If you have an associate registered nursing degree with at least one year of RN work experience and want to bypass BSN requirements to move straight into an MSN, find a school that offers an RN-to-MSN bridge program. Typically lasting about three years, these degrees introduce advanced topics and help you become a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or other type of APRN.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools With This Program

Emory University
Brenau University

Advanced Nursing Programs in Atlanta

Traditional MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

There are two types of traditional MSN programs. BSN-educated nurses can attend traditional MSN programs that lead to APRN roles and take between 15–24 months to finish. For non-nursing professionals with bachelor’s degrees looking to enter nursing, direct-entry MSN programs are available as well, taking 18–24 months of full-time study to complete.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools with This Program

Augusta University
Mercer University

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and PhD Doctoral Programs

These terminal degrees help nurses enter the highest echelons of the profession. A DNP focuses on professional practice and usually takes between three and five years to finish. Meanwhile, a PhD in nursing leads to roles in academia, research, and/or policy and typically takes 4–6 years to complete.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools With This Program

Georgia State University
Mercer University

Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates

Post-graduate certificates help MSN-educated nurses specialize their skills and knowledge in a particular area of the discipline. Some of the more popular options include family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse leader, and nurse-midwifery. You can do these programs both online and in person.

Examples of Atlanta Nursing Schools With This Program

Georgia State University
Augusta University

FAQs About Online Nursing Schools in Atlanta

Can I earn my nursing degree in Atlanta completely online?

It depends on the nursing degree you’re working towards. An RN-to-BSN, for example, can be done completely online since it doesn’t require any clinical components. If you want to earn a nursing degree with a practicum, you may be able to complete your classes online, but the practicum must take place in person.

Will my online Atlanta nursing degree be considered less valuable by employers?

Absolutely not. Employers care most about you attending a properly accredited and state-approved nursing program in Atlanta. Whether or not you completed all or a portion of the degree online has no bearing on your abilities or likelihood of employment. In fact, your degree won’t even differentiate between learning methods.

Are online nursing programs in Atlanta more affordable than campus programs?

While tuition for in-person and online programs may be the same or similar, distance learners can save significantly on things like campus-based facilities fees, parking passes, student housing, and meal plans. In addition to finding a cheaper area of the city to live, students can save money on transportation.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Atlanta

Whether you attend a public or private college, it’s no secret that nursing programs in Atlanta, GA can be expensive. Finding scholarships and grants to help offset costs can save you thousands of dollars and make the difference in terms of how much debt you carry at graduation. Plenty of Atlanta and Georgia-specific scholarships exist, including those offered by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Georgia Association for Nursing Education, and the Georgia Health Care Association. Understanding financial aid and finding funding for your nursing degree doesn’t have to be stressful; check out our nursing scholarship guide to learn more.

How to Become an RN in Atlanta: Licensing Requirements

Becoming a registered nurse in Atlanta requires you to follow rules set forth by the Georgia Board of Nursing. After earning your degree from an accredited and state-approved program, you’ll need to pass a background and fingerprint check before passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Once you receive a passing score, you can apply for licensure through the board by submitting an application and paying the $75 fee. Licenses renew every two years, so keep up with your continuing education requirements. The guide to nursing schools in Georgia is a valuable resource where you can find more information on licensing requirements.

Career Opportunities for Atlanta RNs

The job market for registered nurses in the Atlanta area is hot and projected to remain so for years to come according to estimates from the Georgia Department of Labor, which forecasts a total of 9,527 RN jobs in the Atlanta area by 2030 — an increase of 1,752 jobs since 2020.

Put another way, that’s a total job growth rate of a whopping 22.5% over a ten-year period. By comparison, job growth for RNs in Georgia and the nation overall is forecasted to increase by only 18.1% and 9% respectively between 2020 and 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Projections Central.

How Much Can You Make as an RN in Atlanta?

As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures below indicate, registered nurses employed in the greater Atlanta enjoy salaries slightly higher than those of RNs across the nation overall. What you actually earn in your RN job will, of course, vary somewhat according to your employer, specialty, and professional duties, as well as your level of professional nursing experience.

Earnings for Registered Nurses in Atlanta, GA

Area Occupation Median 90th Percentile
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell Registered Nurses $82,850 $125,510

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022

Additional Atlanta Nursing Resources

Atlanta Black Nurses Association

ABNA supports Black nurses working in the greater Atlanta area, regardless of title. The group organizes events and meetings, elects officers, sends out a regular newsletter, and provides announcements on activities and opportunities in the area.

Atlanta Chapter United Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

This organizing group works to advocate and address issues APRNs in Atlanta face around legislation, politics, and practice. The group provides regular coffee talks and other events for members.

Atlanta Nurse Practitioners

This active private Facebook group maintains more than 3,200 members and provides a digital space where NPs can talk about their careers, network, and find support from others who intimately understand the role.

Georgia Association of Nursing Students

GASN maintains several campus-based chapters on Atlanta university campuses, including the Emory Student Nurses Association. Check to see if your school has a chapter. If not, consider starting one.

Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Georgia Nurses Association

GNA’s Atlanta chapter maintains an active roster of nurse members at every level of the field. The group regularly provides networking opportunities and events alongside continuing education programming.