Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Georgia

15 Min Read Published June 11, 2024
Street view of Georgia city at night

The first step to becoming a nurse is getting an education, and the school where you earn your degree in nursing will have a big impact on your future nursing career.

Whether you’re looking to study in the South or are a local taking advantage of lower tuition, there are plenty of great nursing schools in Georgia. Each nursing school on this list adheres to the state’s standards for nursing, and earning an education in Georgia is the most straightforward way to end up with a nursing job in the state. 

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington’s online programs are designed to help you achieve more in your nursing practice with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. They offer convenient, flexible options for completing your RN to BSN or BSN online, both designed to fit into your busy schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Top 10 Nursing Schools in Georgia 

Nursing students should factor in both benefits and costs. While some schools seem more attractive at first glance, what matters, in the end, is whether you received your degree and are able to get a job. That being said, in-state students will have more choices and lower costs, so they can be a bit more choosy.

This is a panel-reviewed selection based on a number of factors including,

  • Reputation
  • NCLEX pass rate
  • Tuition
  • Acceptance rate, when available
  • Only ACEN or CCNE-accredited schools are eligible

Our selection panel includes 5 Registered Nurses with over 55 years of combined nursing experience and 7 nursing degrees.

  • Tracy Everhart, MSN, RN, CNS
  • Tyler Faust, MSN, RN
  • Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN
  • Kathleen Gaines MSN, RN, BA, CBC
  • Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN
In-State Tuition
$4,064 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$14,786 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

Undoubtedly, the in-state tuition for Georgia Southwestern State University is a huge draw for nursing students. However, the variety of programs is also worth noting.

Aside from a traditional four-year program, GSW offers an accelerated 2nd year BSN, ADN, LPN-BSN, and an online RN-BSN program. The plentiful options, along with the impressive NCLEX pass rate, make this a great destination for in-state students.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 35%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $169
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $616
Contact Information:
  • Address: 800 Georgia Southwestern State University Dr., Americus, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 60%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $63,005

 

In-State Tuition
$57,120 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$57,120 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

The cost of Emory University’s tuition will surely make some eyes pop. However, this small liberal arts school's quality of education may be the best all-around for any school on this list. Employers recognize this, too; according to Emory, 88% of their traditional BSN program graduates were employed within three months of finishing their degree. 

Emory offers an on-campus traditional BSN and a distance accelerated BSN. Students wanting to transition from a nationally ranked nursing program into an Accelerated Master of Nursing (MN)  program can attend the "In Emory Pre-Licensure Program."

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 3%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $2,380
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $2,380
Contact Information:
  • Address: 201 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 95%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $64,055

 

In-State Tuition
$7,158 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$22,389 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

One of Georgia State University’s main pillars is social change. Thanks to the school’s location in Atlanta, students can positively impact a large, vibrant community. Social change also plays a role in the nursing curriculum, and students can work with children at local schools.

Nursing students can select from three BSN tracks at GSU, including a traditional BSN and an RN-BSN bridge. For students who want to continue their education, Georgia State also offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and an RN-MSN program for existing nurses.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 13%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $298
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $933
Contact Information:
  • Address: 33 gilmer st, Atlanta, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 78%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $63,143

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington’s online programs are designed to help you achieve more in your nursing practice with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. They offer convenient, flexible options for completing your RN to BSN or BSN online, both designed to fit into your busy schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

In-State Tuition
$39,408 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$39,408 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

With three locations across Georgia, Mercer University is one of the widest-reaching schools, which is impressive for a private school. Prospective nursing students also benefit from a private school, including smaller classes and more personal education.

The most popular undergraduate nursing program, the traditional BSN, boasts one of Georgia's highest NCLEX pass rates. While the tuition may seem high, many of Mercer’s students receive some form of financial aid.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 75%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 20%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $1,001
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $1,001
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $62,299

 

In-State Tuition
$6,892 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$22,270 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

Augusta University is a large public research school with one of only two CRNA programs in Georgia. While its research departments attract nurses pursuing their MSN or DNP, Augusta also has a strong BSN program.

The BSN program can be completed on either of Augusta’s campuses (they have an additional location in Athens). Overall, Augusta offers an affordable, comprehensive nursing education. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 14%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $287
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $928
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1120 15th St, Augusta, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 73%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $61,888

 

In-State Tuition
$4,371 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$15,426 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

While the University of West Georgia may not have a prestigious reputation, aspiring nurses will appreciate this school for its value and high NCLEX pass rates.

UWG offers a traditional BSN at two campuses. The Carrollton campus offers a six-semester program, while the Newnan campus requires two additional semesters. Students may also attend an RN to BSN bridge or advance their education in an MSN program.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 42%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $182
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $643
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1601 Maple St, Carrollton, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 73%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $66,870

 

In-State Tuition
$4,371 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$15,425 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

Columbus State University offers a few pathways to earning a BSN, including a traditional BSN program with an excellent NCLEX pass rate. However, this Georgia nursing school's strength lies in its non-traditional programs.

The CSU online RN-to-BSN program is a veritable gem. Students can complete it in just one year, and graduates have a 100% employment rate.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 27%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $182
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $643
Contact Information:
  • Address: 4225 University Ave, Columbus, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 65%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $56,169

 

In-State Tuition
$4,450 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$15,704 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

Kennesaw State University is among the 50 largest public institutions nationwide. In many ways, attending this school is like visiting a small town with its own community of students, faculty, and support staff. 

Despite its size, KSU's traditional BSN program is extremely popular among prospective nurses. However, students with a bachelor's degree in another field may attend the accelerated BSN program to earn a degree quickly. Students appreciate KSU's high NCLEX pass rates and low in-state tuition regardless of their path.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 20%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $185
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $654
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1000 Chastain Rd, Kennesaw, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $63,622

 

In-State Tuition
$7,508 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$26,688 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

Georgia College & State University began as an education center for women. Today, GCSU has some of the top programs in the state, including its nursing programs.

The school offers a traditional BSN program that has prepared registered nurses for the last 25 years. For a degree that mixes nursing education with liberal arts, this school is an excellent pick.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 11%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $2,222
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $7,918
Contact Information:
  • Address: 231 W Hancock Street, Milledgeville, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $61,096

 

In-State Tuition
$4,371 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$15,425 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

While GSU doesn't have the best NCLEX pass rates, it does offer exceptionally low tuition to Georgia residents. Employers also recognize the institution as one of the top schools in the area, giving graduates a competitive edge in the job market.

Georgia Southern offers its traditional BSN at two campuses, allowing some location flexibility for nursing students. Additionally, depending on their educational backgrounds, students may choose from an accelerated BSN or an LPN-to-BSN bridge program.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 89%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 16%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $182
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $643
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1332 Southern Drive, Statesboro, GA
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 72%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $60,162

Georgia Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

  • As of 2021, Georgia employs 78,290 nurses, higher than most states.
  • The annual mean wage for nurses in Georgia is $75,380, or $36.24/hr. While this is lower than the national average, Georgia has a lower cost of living than most other states. Pay for nurses may also be higher in denser urban areas like Atlanta.

One big advantage of studying in Georgia is the high demand for registered nurses. The Atlanta-Sandy Springs- Roswell metropolitan area is a top employer for registered nurses, according to the BLS.

 There are so many factors involved in getting hired for your first nursing job and the school you choose can help determine your future career. 

Next Steps

After you’ve reviewed the top nursing programs in Georgia, the next step is to start applying to different schools. You should always be prepared to apply to multiple schools, too, since you never know which school could offer you a scholarship.

  1. Get in contact with an admission representative from each school. They know the ins and outs of that school’s application process, and they’ll tell you everything you need to know about the application process.
  2. Make sure you are eligible to apply to the nursing program. It’s also important to know that acceptance into a school does not guarantee acceptance into a nursing program. Nursing programs often have additional, often stricter, requirements for entry. Be sure you meet these prior to applying to a school or find out if you can satisfy the additional requirements prior to applying to the nursing program.
  3. Gather the required application materials and documents. It’s best to keep in contact with admissions representatives to ensure that you’re supplying everything that is needed. For example, many schools and nursing programs may require a minimum GPA of 2.75, and others require one or two letters of recommendation. Also, know that you typically apply to a nursing program a year into your college education, so some requirements can be completed after you’ve started your college career. 

Remember: if at any point in the application process you feel lost or confused, contact the school’s admission representatives. They’ll walk you through everything you need to do.

How to Choose a Nursing School

While a high NCLEX pass rate may seem attractive, it’s important to note that these pass rates typically only represent a recent graduating class. Just because 95% of students passed the NCLEX last year doesn’t guarantee the same results when you graduate in four years.

This is why students should consider multiple factors prior to choosing which school to attend. Factors to consider include:

  • Size of the school
  • Tuition cost
  • The acceptance rate to the university
  •  The acceptance rate to the nursing program
  • NCLEX pass rate
  • The school’s accreditation (regional and national)

Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation  

Nursing students who complete their studies at a non-accredited university will not be able to sit for the NCLEX and are not eligible to become licensed in their state.

The two nursing program accrediting organizations are,

These accrediting bodies ensure that all accredited nursing programs adhere to the same standard and criteria. 

You should never feel pressured to pick a school just because it seems like a “good enough” college. You’ll be spending four years here, along with thousands in tuition. Be sure that you’re making the best pick for your personal goals. 

Getting an RN License in Georgia

To become an RN in Georgia, you need to:

Compared to other states, Georgia doesn’t require as much from prospective nurses in terms of licensing requirements. However, if your goal is to become a nurse in Georgia, it’s still a smart decision to look at schools in the state. Faculty and staff often have local connections, and this type of networking can help you land your first nursing position!

Next Steps

Georgia is a top employer for nurses, and there’s a growing demand for new nurse graduates in the workplace. There are plenty of great schools in Georgia to choose from, too, and each can lead to a successful nursing career.

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington’s online programs are designed to help you achieve more in your nursing practice with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. They offer convenient, flexible options for completing your RN to BSN or BSN online, both designed to fit into your busy schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Walden University
Walden’s online programs for nursing meet rigorous standards for academic quality and integrity, and the School of Nursing teaching faculty all hold doctorates. With three degree completion options, you can choose a bachelor’s in nursing path that makes sense for your busy, unpredictable schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY, RI and CT. Certain programs have additional state restrictions. Check with Walden for details.

References:

BLS

Best Places – Georgia

Georgia Secretary of State Licensure as a Registered Nurse

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