How to Become a Nurse in Georgia

Nursing programs in Georgia provide aspiring nurses with the opportunity to serve patients in healthcare settings across the state. With multiple licensing options available from the Georgia board of nursing, students from accredited programs can follow a clear path to implementing their nursing skills. Despite having more than 80,000 nurses throughout the state, Georgia has one of the worst nursing shortages in the country, meaning there is a huge demand for nurses that is estimated to continue growing through the year 2030. Nursing schools in Georgia are plentiful, offering the chance for fast-tracked options and advanced degrees. Students can explore program options and licensure opportunities for CNAs, LPNs, RNs, and APRNs to find the best way to become a nurse and serve communities throughout Georgia. They can also discover the renewal process to understand the intensity of each nursing license and how to balance work and study throughout their careers.

How to Get Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Certification in Georgia

In order to become a nurse aide in Georgia, applicants must first complete a state-approved CNA training program. This step can often be completed within a few months and contains both classroom and clinical training to prepare future nurse aides to work in healthcare settings.

After completing the education requirement, aspiring CNAs can take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program examination through Pearson Vue. It’s important to note that the testing eligibility period is for one year after new nurse aids complete the CNA program. The test is divided between a written portion and practical skills, and up to three attempts are allowed.

Once a passing score is achieved, applicants can add their name to the Georgia Nurse Aide/Medication Aide Registry. Afterward, future CNAs can request a certification card.

Renewal for CNA certification in Georgia takes place every two years. CNAs must work eight hours within the 24-month renewal period; otherwise, they’ll need to be retested to stay on the Nurse Aide Registry.

How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in Georgia

In order to get a Georgia LPN license, applicants must complete an approved nursing education program. Aspiring LPNs should register for the NCLEX-PN, then submit an application for their Georgia nursing license. The application fee is $40 and applicants must also undergo a background check to disclose any potential criminal history.

Georgia nursing education programs submit applicant’s school history directly to the Board of Nursing; however, those who studied in another state will need to have their official transcripts sent to the board.

A Georgia LPN license renewal is required every two years. During that time, LPNs must complete 20 hours of continuing education. This can be achieved in one of two ways. The first option is for LPNs to complete 20 hours of continuing education course work by a provider approved by the Board of Nursing; the second option is to complete an accredited academic program that is within the professional nursing field.

How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in Georgia

Those seeking to obtain a Georgia RN license can submit an application either online or via a paper application. Before submitting an application, however, aspiring RNs must register to take the NCLEX-RN. Once they pass the exam, they can receive their Georgia nursing license. Applicants must also graduate from a school approved by the Board of Nursing. Those who attend a program in the state of Georgia don’t need to have a transcript sent to the board because the school will automatically send education information electronically. Those who studied out of state must arrange to have their transcript sent.

There is a $40 application fee and applicants also must complete a criminal background check. RN licenses must be renewed every other year. Licensees may choose from one of five continuing education requirements:

  • 30 hours of continuing education
  • Certification by a national certifying body
  • 2 credit hours from an accredited nursing program of study
  • Verification of competency from a healthcare facility and 500 hours practiced
  • Completion of a reentry program or graduation from a nursing education program

How to Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) License in Georgia

Before applying for a Georgia advanced practice nurse license, applicants must first hold an active Georgia RN license. Aspiring APRNs must also have either a master’s degree or higher graduate degree from a program that is board-approved. Additional requirements are to have accumulated 500 hours of APRN practice within the previous four years and they must also verify that they hold an active national certification in their specialty.

Once these requirements are met, aspiring APRNs may submit an application along with a $75 fee and official college transcripts. Those with a Georgia APRN license may practice as a certified nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, certified nurse-midwife, clinical nurse specialist or psychiatric/mental health clinical nurse specialist.

In order to gain prescriptive authority, APRNs must obtain a nurse protocol agreement that is approved by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. To renew a Georgia APRN license, licensees must provide verification of their national certification.