What are the 10 Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Georgia (Online & Campus) for 2020?


1) Emory University - Atlanta


Programs Offered: MSN, Post-BSN DNP, and Post-Graduate Certificate

Emory University’s advanced practice specializations prepare nurses to provide care to a diverse population of patient types. The university offers eight NP tracks each as part of its master’s degree doctoral degree programs. “U.S. News & World Report” recognizes Emory’s advanced practice offerings as among the finest in the U.S., and the magazine ranks its Family Nurse Practitioner program as the 15th best in the nation. It’s the top NP program in Georgia.

MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Emergency Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Specialty NP tracks at the MSN level can be completed over four semesters for full-time students and over seven semesters for students who elect to attend classes part-time. Unlike some NP programs, which delay scheduling practicums until after academic coursework is completed, every semester at Emory includes both classes and clinicals. Clinical hour requirements vary between 600 and 780 hours according to the specialty you’re pursuing.

Emory University’s Emergency Nurse Practitioner program is one of only five in the nation, and the university has the only Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program in GA. Clinical rotations take place at hospitals, clinics, public health departments, community-based sites, and other health care facilities throughout Georgia. One year of professional nursing experience in an acute or critical care setting is required in order to be accepted into the Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program.

Post-BSN DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Emergency Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Nurses can also become nurse practitioners by enrolling in one of Emory University’s post-BSN DNP concentrations. The coursework and clinical requirements for the NP part of the program are the same as they are for candidates pursuing master’s degrees.

Post-Graduate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Emergency Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Emory offers certificate programs that allow advance practice nurses to become certified in an additional specialty field. The NP options offered through certificate training are the same as those that are offered as part of the MSN program. Curriculum plans are individualized on the basis of a gap analysis that compares a student’s past coursework with certification requirements. Most certificates can be finished in one or two semesters.

2. Georgia State University - Atlanta


Programs Offered: MSN (RN to MSN & BSN to MSN), Post-BSN to DNP, and Post-Master's Certificate

Georgia State University’s nursing programs aim to help alleviate Georgia’s chronic shortage of nurses at both the basic and advanced practice level. The university offers four NP specialties at the master’s level, four NP specialties at the post-BSN to DNP level, and six NP certification concentrations. Georgia State has streamlined its NP offerings to make them easy and convenient for working nurses who are looking for ways to upgrade their clinical scope of practice. Many of the required classes are offered in an online format.

MSN Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

To earn a master’s level advanced clinical practice degree from Georgia State University, you’ll need to complete 48 semester hours of classroom work as well as several clinical rotations. In order to be admitted into the program, you’ll need one to two years of clinical experience as a nurse, preferably in a setting related to the NP concentration you wish to specialize in. The Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Primary Care tracks admit students in the fall and the spring while the Adult Gerontology Acute Care and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care tracks only admit students in the spring.

Nurses who graduated with associate degrees may be admitted into this MSN program if their professional experience has been particularly noteworthy. In order to do so, they must complete any undergraduate classes they did not take that are prerequisites for graduating with a baccalaureate degree.

Post-BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult Health Gerontology NP, Pediatric NP, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health NP

Post-BSN to DNP NP specializations are offered in a hybrid format: Students can finish the 39-semester units these programs require online, but students are required to come to the Atlanta campus for a single day at the beginning of the fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester. Students are responsible for completing a capstone project that demonstrates how research can be translated into evidence-based practice. Students must also complete a minimum of 500 clinical practice hours.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Nurses who already have an MSN can enhance their clinical scope of practice by obtaining a post-master’s certificate. Some classes may be taken via a distance-learning format while others will have to be completed at GSU’s Atlanta or Alpharetta campuses. Classes for the Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner certification and the Family Nurse Practitioner certification begin in both the fall and spring semesters; classes for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification begin in the fall while classes for the Adult Gerontology Acute care Nurse Practitioner certification and the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner certification begin in the spring.

3) Georgia College & State University - Milledgeville


Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master's Certificate

Advance practice nursing students at Georgia College & State University are educated to deal with a health care system whose demands are always evolving. This is another one of the nurse practitioner programs in Georgia that was initially set up to help deal with GA’s critical nursing shortage. Three NP specialties are offered at this school; they can be pursued in conjunction with an MSN programs or as post-MSN certifications.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

MSN programs at Georgia College & State University are offered in a distance-learning format, which makes them a very practical choice for working nurses. The 45-hour Advanced Assessment course can only be completed on the Milledgeville campus, however. Though minimal campus attendance is required, all clinical rotations must be completed within the state of Georgia, and the university must approve all preceptors. The university will help students who need assistance finding preceptors or health care facilities in which to do their clinical rotations. All coursework must be completed within seven years of starting the program.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

For nurses who want to expand their scope of practice and who already hold MSN, DNP, or Ph.D. degrees, Georgia College & State University offers three certificate options. The programs are offered in an online format with only minimal campus attendance. Candidates must complete 31 credit hours in addition to clinical rotations. Upon certificate completion, students will be eligible to sit for board certification in their new field of specialty.

4) Georgia Southern University - Savannah


Programs Offered: Post-BSN to DNP and Post-Master's Certificate

Georgia Southern University, which is part of the University of Georgia system, is renowned for its hands-on, practical approach to nursing education. The university is known as a military-friendly school and offers fee waivers, scholarships, and other types of support for nurse veterans and active members of the armed forces who want to expand their advance practice skills. The university’s post-BSN to DNP track offers four NP specializations. The university offers those same four NP specializations as certificate training programs for nurses who already have master’s degrees.

Post-BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric/ Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Georgia Southern University uses an online format to teach the academic coursework associated with its post-BSN to DNP NP curriculum. Selected courses will be synchronous, meaning that they will be taught in real-time, but most will allow you to complete necessary coursework on your own. Students have the option of graduating from this program with a master’s degree after they’ve completed the academic requirements for their clinical specialty plus 720 clinical hours. Students who continue on the DNP track are responsible for completing 1,350 clinical hours.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Georgia Southern University offers nurses who already have an MSN the opportunity to enhance their scope of practice by obtaining an advanced practice certificate. Study programs are individualized for each participant in the certificate programs based on a gap analysis that compares classes participants have already taken with the requirements for each specialty. Certificate candidates will also be responsible for completing 630 clinical hours.

5) Kennesaw State University - Kennesaw


Programs Offered: MSN

Kennesaw State University’s nursing school was initially set up to train nursing professionals to work in rural health care settings. That’s still one of the university’s emphases, so it’s not surprising that the single NP specialization Kennesaw offers is a Primary Care Nurse Practice option as part of a master’s degree program. Candidates must have at least one year of professional experience as a registered nurse providing direct patient care in order to be considered for admission into the program; that experience must have taken place within the previous five years.

MSN Concentrations: Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Kennesaw’s Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/MSN program consists of 40 semester credit hours, which include core classes, specific Primary Care Nurse Practice classes, and a clinical residency. Students will also complete 630 clinical hours at clinics, community health agencies, and public health departments throughout Georgia. Clinical rotations are spread across the entire four-semester program. Classes are offered on an alternate weekend schedule. Students must earn a grade of B or better in all classes to remain in the program.

6) Augusta University - Augusta


Programs Offered: Post-BSN to DNP and Post-Graduate Certificate

In 2005, Augusta University became the first university in Georgia to launch a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program. The university offers four NP specialties, which can be pursued either as post-BSN to DNP concentrations or as certificate tracks. The university is affiliated with Georgia’s only public academic medical center, which means that many interdisciplinary learning opportunities are available to nurses who choose to pursue their advanced practice training at this school.

Post-BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Augusta University’s post-BSN to DNP NP specialties are a hybrid of online and campus classes. Fulltime students will complete their NP studies in two years while part-time students will complete their NP studies in four years. All students are required to complete a capstone project in their area of specialization. NP candidates have the opportunity to do their clinical rotations at the 478-bed Augusta University Medical Center and the 154-bed Children's Hospital of Georgia.

Post-Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Augusta University’s post-graduate certificate options are designed to accommodate nurses who already have a graduate degree and have been certified as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in at least one specialty area. Candidates must have maintained at least a 3.0-grade point average in their graduate studies in order to be considered for admission. It takes one year of study to earn a certificate, and classes begin in the spring semester. Study plans are individualized for each student on the basis of a gap analysis that takes into account certification and accreditation standards as well as classes students may have already taken in pursuit of their graduate degree. Clinical rotations are scheduled in relevant hospital units, specialty clinics, and other health care facilities throughout Georgia, South Carolina, or Tennessee.

7) Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University - Atlanta


Programs Offered: MSN, Post-Master's DNP, BSN to DNP, and Post-Master's Certificate

The Georgia Baptist College of Nursing was a leader in nursing education for 100 years before it merged with Mercer University in 2001. This nurse practitioner school in Georgia offers three NP specialty options to students who are studying for either an MSN degree or a BSN to DNP degree. Those same three options are available to students who want to pursue post-master’s certification. Students who are interested in pursuing a DNP after they’ve completed a master’s degree have one NP option.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

The three NP specializations associated with the master’s degree can be completed either in four semesters (fulltime) or seven semesters (part-time.) Applicants will have to have a minimum of one year of work experience to be admitted into the program as a fulltime student unless they get permission from the Associate Graduate Dean. The program uses a hybrid format; some of the online classes will take place in real-time while others will allow students to proceed with the required coursework at their own pace. Students can complete their clinical rotations in areas close to where they live, but the university must approve preceptors and facilities.

The Family Nurse Practice specialty requires 49 total course hours and 660 practicum hours; the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practice specialty requires 48 total course hours and 540 practicum hours; and the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practice specialty requires 43-course hours and 540 practicum hours.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)

The BSN to DNP NP track is identical to the MSN NP track except that it includes an additional two semesters that are dedicated to DNP-related coursework. DNP-related coursework takes place after work associated with a student’s NP specialty has been completed.

Post-Master's DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Mercer University offers one NP specialty for nurses who’ve already earned a master’s degree and who are already certified as advance practice nurses in another specialty. The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practice specialty associated with the post-master’s track takes six semesters to finish, and completion requires 55 credit hours and 660 practicum hours.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)

For nurses who’ve already earned a master’s degree, who are certified as advanced practice specialists but who are not interested in obtaining a DNP degree, Mercer University offers three certificate curriculum options. All three certification concentrations require three semesters of coursework. The FNP certificate involves 23 credit hours and 660 practicum hours; the AGANP certificate involves 23 credit hours and 540 practicum hours; and the AGPCNP certificate involves 17 credit hours and 540 practicum hours.

8) Clayton State University - Morrow


Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master's Certificate

Clayton State University is another NP school in GA whose focus is upon helping to relieve the pressing shortage of advance practice nurses in the Peach State. “U.S. News & World Report” has recognized Clayton as one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse institutions of higher learning in the southern part of the U.S. The university is located in an Atlanta suburb, and clinical rotations utilize many of that city’s most prestigious medical centers and hospitals.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Full-time students can complete the MSN FNP concentration in two academic years or four semesters of study. Students have the option of attending the program part-time, but they must take a minimum of four classes within each academic year and graduate within six years. Nurses must complete 47 credit hours and 585 practicum hours in order to earn their MSN degree. All classes in Clayton State University’s FNP/master’s degree track are conducted online, which makes this program a convenient option for working RNs. Classes utilize both a synchronous and asynchronous format. Synchronous classes are conducted using the WebEx app.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Nurses who have already completed a master’s degree with a non-clinical emphasis can become Family Nurse Practitioners through Clayton State University’s post-master’s NP certificate program. Earning the certificate requires 41 to 46 credit hours and 585 clinical and laboratory hours. Nurses must maintain at least a B average in order to remain in the program.

9) Columbus State University - Columbus

Programs Offered: MSN

“U.S. News & World Report” has named Columbus State University as one of the best regional institutions of higher education in the South, singling out its College of Education and Health Professions for special acclaim. The university offers a Family Nurse Practice option in conjunction with its master’s degree program. Columbus State’s FNP specialty was ranked third in affordability by CollegeChoice.net in a recent survey of national NP programs.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Columbus State University’s Family Nurse Practitioner MSN program was designed with the working nurse in mind. The program is spread over five semesters. You’ll be required to take 44-semester credits and to put in 765 hours of clinical time. Full-time students may be able to complete the curriculum in as short a period of time as two years.
All academic coursework is completed online, and classes are entirely asynchronous, meaning that you can pursue your learning goals at your own speed. You’ll have the opportunity to do your clinical practicum at a health care facility that’s close to where you live. In order to remain in good standing throughout the program, you must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

10) Valdosta State University - Valdosta


Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master's Certificate

The nursing shortage is particularly acute in the southern parts of Georgia close to the state’s shared border with Florida, and this is one reason why Valdosta State University has invested so heavily in its advanced practice nursing programs. Valdosta’s NP programs are oriented toward graduating advance practice nurses who will work semi-autonomously in a community setting under a physician’s supervision. The university offers the same three NP specialties as both master’s degree specializations and as post-master’s certificate concentrations.

MSN Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Valdosta’s MSN-related nurse practitioner track is a hybrid model. Most of the classwork can be completed online, but students must attend five-weekend meetings on campus during the fall and spring semesters, and four-weekend meetings on campus during the summer semester.

Nurses pursuing the FNP track must complete 50 total credit hours and 715 clinical hours. Nurses pursuing the FPMHNP track must complete 56 total credit hours and 645 clinical hours. FPMHNP clinical rotations are scheduled in private, state, or Veterans Administration in-patient or outpatient psychiatric facilities, private psychiatric practices, community mental health centers, correctional facilities, domestic violence shelters, residential substance abuse facilities, and schools.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Nurses who’ve already graduated from a nursing master’s degree program can enhance their scope of practice by pursuing one of Valdosta’s three post-master’s nurse practitioner certificates. Academic coursework is a blend of online and campus classes. Certificate study programs are tailored to each individual nurse’s specific needs so that nurses can take advantage of past learning experiences that will satisfy course requirements and accreditation standards. Courses that are approved for transfer must have been taken some time in the past seven years.

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