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A Guide to Nursing in Georgia

Georgia may be the land of peaches but don’t forget pecans and Georgia peanuts. There is also the World of Coca-Cola, and the famous food goes on and on. This state boasts numerous museums and parks like Forsyth Park which houses a picture-perfect fountain. Georgia does have a small but beautiful coastline so bring your bathing suit!

If you are a registered nurse (or are thinking of becoming one) read on to find the information you need, from licensing info, continuing education requirements, job & salary outlook, top hospitals, and nursing associations. Let us help you find your dream job!

In this article, we will cover:

Licensing information

Below are the fees for becoming a nurse in Georgia whether you are a first-time nurse or are moving to Georgia from another state. For more information visit the Georgia licensing page.

Licensing fee by examination (first-time nurses):

  • NCLEX fee: $200

  • Application fee: $40

Licensing fee by endorsement (already have RN licensure):

  • Application fee: $75

  • Multistate upgrade: $50

  • APRN initial authorization fee: $90

License renewal fee:

  • Application fee: $65

Georgia is a nursing compact state, which allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses.

*Fees are subject to change.

**Most states require a background check, but prices are not always listed.


Steps for renewing a Georgia nursing license

  1. Verify the status of your license Visit the Verification page to confirm your license.

  2. Complete your Georgia nursing continuing education requirements before your license expires You can complete your nursing CEUs online, on your schedule, and 100% free with Incredible Health.

  3. Go to the Georgia Professional Licensing Online Services site to request a license renewal Visit the Renewal Information page for specifics. Georgia is a compact state. If your Primary State of Residency is in another compact state do not apply for licensure in Georgia unless you are declaring Georgia as your Primary State of Residency.


Continuing education requirements

RN/APRN: Completion of one of the following options every two years:

  1. Completion of 30 continuing education hours by a Board-approved provider

  2. Maintenance of certification or recertification by a national certifying body recognized by the Board

  3. Completion of an accredited academic program of study in nursing or a related field as recognized by the Board

  4. Verification of competency by a health care facility or entity licensed under O.C.G.A. §31-7 or by a physician’s office that is part of a health system and at least five hundred (500) hours practiced as evidenced by employer certification on a form approved by the Board

  5. Completion of a Board-approved reentry program or graduation from a nursing education program

LPN: Completion of one of the following options every two years:

  1. Completion of 20 continuing education hours by a Board-approved provider

  2. Completion of an accredited academic program of study in registered professional nursing, as recognized by the Board

Incredible Health offers ANCC-accredited continuing education courses for nurses in all 50 states, 100% free and online. The Georgia Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.

Job & salary outlook for nurses in Georgia

Due to the shortage of nurses, these healthcare professionals are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the profession will grow by about 9% between 2020-2030. The annual mean salary is $71,510.

We can also help you check out salary estimates to help determine if Georgia is the right state for you.

[ MORE: Average nurse salary in Georgia ]


Top hospitals in Georgia

If you’re not already picking up the phone to call movers, maybe this list of the best hospitals in Georgia will sway you in the right direction. Here are the top hospitals according to U.S. News and World Report:

  • Emory University Hospital – Atlanta, GA: The mission for this Magnet Recognition Program® hospital is “To Serve Humanity by Improving Health through integration of education, discovery and health care.” Some of this facilities specialties include:

    • Colon & lung cancer

    • Cardiology & heart surgery

    • Diabetes

    • Neurology & Neurosurgery

    • Pulmonology

  • Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital – Atlanta, GA: This Magnet Recognition Program® facility is “Atlanta’s first faith-based and longest-serving hospital, our mission is…to provide compassionate care, especially to those in need.” Some specialties include:

    • Colon & lung cancer

    • Cardiology & heart surgery

    • Diabetes & endocrinology

    • Orthopedics

    • Neurology & neurosurgery

  • Piedmont Atlanta Hospital – Atlanta, GA: This facility as been awarded the Pathway to Excellence® designation from the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC). This award recognizes healthcare facilities that have created positive work environments where nurses can flourish. Specialties include:

    • Colon & lung cancer

    • Cardiology & heart surgery

    • Diabetes & endocrinology

    • Gastroenterology & GI surgery

    • Neurology & neurosurgery

*Magnet status – Awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is considered the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care. Hospitals must meet certain criteria and apply to be designated.


Nursing organizations & associations in Georgia

Once you become a registered nurse (or even if you’re in the process), joining a nursing organization or association will give you access to networking, job opportunities, and a wealth of information shared between fellow nurses. Here are a few of the organizations and associations for nurses in Georgia:

Georgia Nurses Association

Mission: Empowering Georgia nurses to lead change and improve health.

Vision: To be the prominent association in Georgia transforming health through advancing the practice and profession of nursing.

Atlanta Chapter United Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of Georgia

Mission: The purpose of AGAPRN is to address legislative, political, and practice issues of advanced practice registered nurses in the Atlanta Georgia area.

South Georgia Association of Nurse Practitioners – Valdosta

Mission: The mission of the South Georgia Association of Nurse Practitioners is to advance the practice of Nurse Practitioners in Georgia through the support of legislative impact and regulatory processes, education, and community outreach.

Check out the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Basic steps for licensing and certification

Step 1: Education

Attend an accredited nursing school to earn either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN will take between 18 and 24 months to complete, while you can expect to spend roughly four years to earn a BSN. If you already have an ADN, there is an ADN to BSN bridge program that allows you to earn a BSN in 12-18 months. There is also an RN to BSN bridge which takes three semesters of nursing courses to be completed in one year. These programs will save you time and money. The more education you have, the better your chances of landing your dream job.

Step 2: Licensing

When you are six weeks away from graduation, you can apply to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. There are 75 to 265 questions on the NCLEX-RN with a five-hour time limit for completion. If you do not pass the NCLEX-RN on your first attempt, you must wait 45 days before you can try again.

The NCLEX includes questions on the following topics to test nursing candidates’ knowledge:

1. Safe and effective care environment

2. Health promotion and maintenance

3. Psychosocial integrity

4. Physiological integrity

Step 3: Experience

This step in the process is to gain hands-on experience. This will provide you with invaluable opportunities to work with patients making you attractive to future employers.

Step 4: Certification

The final step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. Requirements for earning a certification vary so it is important to check with the governing body for information. Incredible Health offers free courses in order to obtain or renew certification requirements. Create a free account to access professional development mandates and get instant certificates.

Contact information

Georgia Board of Nursing

Phone: (404) 424-9966 or (844) 753-7825

Choose “Option One”

Fax: (877) 371-5712


237 Coliseum Drive

Macon, GA 31217

Your Instructor

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