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Best Nursing Schools in Atlanta (Georgia) + Nurse Salary – 2020


Atlanta, Georgia is home to dozens of hospitals, including some of the best research hospitals in the nation. With a population of just under half a million people within the city limits, and with more than a million people in Fulton County where Atlanta is situated, there are plenty of clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, and other medical facilities providing care, and nurses are always in high demand. If you have considered a career in nursing, the following list of the best nursing schools in Atlanta can help you make better decisions about your education and your future.

Which are the Best Nursing Schools in Atlanta for the Academic Year 2020-2021?


1. Emory University

Why Emory University?

Emory University is one of the most prestigious research centers in the entire United States, especially when it comes to cancer research. The upcoming Winship Cancer Institute is the prime example of the school’s dedication to personalized healthcare delivery; it will give patients direct access to the treatments and opportunities currently being researched by the outstanding faculty and student body at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. If you are interested in nursing programs in Atlanta focused on cancer research, Emory University is an amazing choice.

Whether you’re interested in obtaining your first undergraduate degree in nursing or you want to explore your options for graduate degrees that allow you to specialize in a field of your choice, become a nurse educator, or even work as a nurse practitioner, Emory University can provide it. The school is very well known for its dedication to veterans, as well; its unique Emory Healthcare Veterans Programs seeks to provide much-needed care to local veterans, and it also caters to servicemembers who want to pursue careers in nursing.

Undergraduate Programs: You can choose between two BSN programs at Emory University: the standard four-year program or the accelerated program that will allow you to earn your BSN from start to finish in 15 months with full-time study if you already have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline or field.

Graduate Programs: If you have already earned your BSN, or if you are interested in pursuing higher education after you have earned your baccalaureate degree, you can choose from numerous graduate programs at Emory University, as well. These include the accelerated BSN to MSN program, the standard MSN program, and a wide variety of dual degrees, doctoral, and post-graduate programs.

Complete List of Programs Offered

Undergraduate • Bachelors Program
• Accelerated Program
Graduate • Accelerated Programs
• Masters Programs
• Doctoral Programs
• Dual-Degree Programs
• Post-Graduate Programs


2. Georgia State University

Why Georgia State University?

Georgia State University’s Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions is a very popular nursing college in Atlanta due in part to its huge variety of degree opportunities. Since 1968, the School of Nursing has focused on graduating nurses from all walks of life who share one common goal: improving patient care through technology, innovation, research, and compassion.

The nursing programs at Georgia State University (GSU) focus on providing students with the education and skills they need to deliver excellent healthcare in diverse urban settings. With programs like Project Healthy Grandparents and the Health & Wellness Collaborative, which focus on maintaining good health in the community. As a GSU student, you can choose from more than 200 different locations for your clinical learning, and you can work in any number of settings, from trauma and emergency care to maternity, home care, and even hospice.

Undergraduate Programs: GSU offers numerous programs designed to suit students’ goals, dreams, and current lives. These include the associate degree (ADN) at Perimeter College, which is essentially a community college delivered by the university staff. You might also choose a traditional or accelerated BSN program depending on your previous education, and if you are already working as an RN but you would like to further your education to improve your relevancy in the workforce, the RN to BSN online bridge program is perfect for your needs.

Graduate Programs: Not many nursing schools in the area offer the wide variety of graduate degree programs that GSU provides. Here, you can obtain your traditional MSN, a DNP, or even a PhD depending on your career goals. You may even choose to pursue a post-master’s certificate to improve your knowledge in a specific field, which can help you land the job of your dreams. Georgia State University also provides a very popular RN to MSN bridge program, and it is one of the only schools in the area to offer its students a BSN to PhD degree track designed to streamline your entire education from your undergraduate to your graduate degree.

Complete List of Programs Offered

Undergraduate • Associate Degree @ Perimeter
• Traditional Bachelor of Science
• Accelerated Bachelor of Science
• RN to BS Online Bridge Program
Graduate • Master of Science
• Post-Master’s Certificate
• RN to MS Bridge Program
• BSN to PhD Degree Track
• Doctor of Nursing Practice
• Doctor of Philosophy


3. Atlanta Technical College

Why Atlanta Technical College?

Though baccalaureate, master’s, and even doctoral degrees are all excellent choices for aspiring nurses who want the very best out of their education, working nurses often take things one step at a time. Atlanta Technical College offers flexible nursing programs that are designed to help you get your foot in the door of the healthcare industry with a solid undergraduate or certificate foundation that will serve you well into the future. This is one of the only nursing schools in Atlanta offering night and weekend programs.

Atlanta Technical College strives to provide everyone with equal opportunities in the careers of their choice. For this reason, the staff and faculty dedicate themselves to providing more than just education; they also provide career counseling and other services designed to help students transition from school into the workforce – or even from one career into another. You will find that the classes here are incredibly flexible, too, so if you have been putting off nursing school due to your busy schedule, ATC offers you the opportunity to study in your spare time.

Undergraduate Programs: You can choose from two very popular programs at Atlanta Technical College. The first is the traditional Associate of Science in Nursing Degree, or ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing), which prepares you for licensure as an RN. You might also choose to participate in the Nurse Aide (Nursing Assistant) program, which is a fantastic option if you want to enter the workforce exceedingly quickly. Numerous students across Atlanta choose to work as Certified Nurse Aides/Assistants (CNAs) throughout the rest of their nursing education.

Complete List of Programs Offered

Undergraduate • Associate of Science in Nursing (RN)
• Nurse Aide


4. Herzing University – Atlanta

Why Herzing University - Atlanta?

Herzing University has 10 different locations spread across the eastern part of the United States, but its Atlanta campus is by far the most popular destination for international students. When you attend Herzing University at Atlanta, you will be among a very diverse population of aspiring nurses, nurse educators, and healthcare leaders who understand the critical role of nurses in today’s healthcare industry.

At Herzing University, you will learn how to become an effective nurse, teacher, leader, administrator, or even nurse practitioner who can deliver the highest quality care not only today, but also in the future. Thanks to technological breakthroughs and cutting-edge research, healthcare is always changing. Herzing University’s mission is to help you learn how to adapt to these changes throughout your career.

Undergraduate Programs: You can choose from a variety of undergraduate programs at Herzing University Atlanta, including a traditional BSN degree as well as an RN to BSN degree designed for RNs who have associate degrees and who want to further their education for higher pay, more knowledge, and the ability to provide better care to their patients. The school also offers a 12-month LPN (licensed practical nurse) diploma program that can help you get a jumpstart on your career as a nurse.

Graduate Programs: Should you choose to educate yourself beyond the undergraduate level, you can pursue one of three MSN programs that can help you become a family nurse practitioner (FNP), nursing educator, or even a nursing administrator responsible for overseeing an entire staff of nurses in one of Atlanta’s most prominent facilities. Post-master’s certificates for nursing educators and nurse practitioners are also available for those who wish to become certified in multiple specialties.

Complete List of Programs Offered

Undergraduate • LPN
• Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
• RN to BSN
Graduate • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
• MSN - Nursing Educator
• MSN - Nursing Leadership & Administration
• Post Master’s Certificate FNP
• Post Master’s Certificate NE


How Many Nurses are Currently Employed in Atlanta?


There are currently 77,130 nurses employed throughout the city of Atlanta serving not only the population of the city, but also the surrounding area and others who travel from across the country to receive care at one of several renowned facilities. This number includes 41,940 registered nurses, which makes up the majority of the city’s nursing workforce, along with 500 nurse educators, 3,600 nurse practitioners, 19,340 CNAs, and 11,480 licensed practical nurses.

Occupation Employment
Certified Nursing Assistants 19,340
Licensed Practical Nurses 11,480
Registered Nurses 41,940
Nurse Practitioners 3,600
Nurse Anesthetists N/A
Nurse Midwives 270
Nurse Educators 500
Total Number of Nurses 77,130
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Work Environment and Working Hours for Nurses in Atlanta


Your work environment and working hours will vary a great deal, depending on multiple factors. These include the specialization you choose, your place of employment, and even your role within your place of employment. For example, if you choose to work at Grady Memorial Hospital’s Marcus Trauma Center, which is widely regarded as one of the best in the world and verified by the American College of Surgeons, you can expect a high-stress, fast-paced work environment. You may also work nights, weekends, and even holidays if you choose to work in the emergency medicine field since sickness and injury occur all the time – not just when it’s convenient.

On the other hand, if you choose to work in a clinic or for a doctor’s private practice, the environment is significantly different. You will likely work only during the day and very rarely on weekends or holidays. Though working in a doctor’s office can be stressful at times, when it is compared to working in one of the world’s best trauma centers, it is far less stressful and much more predictable. Keep this in mind if you want to become a nurse in Atlanta and choose your employer and career path carefully.

Which Atlanta Hospitals are Hiring the Most Number of Nurses?


There are more than 25 different hospitals in Atlanta and the surrounding area, and a handful of these employ a huge portion of the city’s nurses. Grady Memorial Hospital, which is home to one of the best level one trauma centers in the world, is the largest employer of nurses in Atlanta. You might also work at WellStar Kennestone Hospital or the WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, the University Hospital, or even Memorial University Medical Center.

Many of the biggest employers of nurses are university hospitals, which means they strive to educate the next generation of nurses. These hospitals work directly with the local universities, so you may find yourself completing your clinicals at any one of them as you earn your degree. You might also seek employment just outside of Atlanta at the Gwinnett Medical Center located in Lawrenceville or the Northeast Georgia Medical Center located in Gainesville.

Rank Hospital Name
1 Grady Memorial Hospital
2 Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville
3 WellStar Kennestone Hospital
4 Emory University Hospital
5 Medical Center Navicent Health
6 Gwinnett Medical Center - Lawrenceville
7 University Hospital
8 Northside Hospital - Atlanta
9 WellStar Atlanta Medical Center
10 Memorial University Medical Center


Which Atlanta Nursing Homes are Hiring the Most Number of Nurses?


Nursing and rehabilitation centers are the second largest employers of nurses in Atlanta. These facilities provide long-term care to individuals who are recovering from injury or illness, and many also provide end-of-life care to senior citizens who are no longer able to properly care for themselves at home. The nursing homes in Atlanta city limits hiring the most nurses include Crestview Health & Rehab Center, Budd Terrace at Wesley Woods, Dunwoody Health and Rehabilitation Center, and Nurse Care of Buckhead. Just outside of Atlanta, you might apply for a position at Roswell Nursing & Rehab Center, Lake City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC, or Glenwood Health and Rehabilitation Center in Decatur, among others.

Rank Nursing Home Name Location
1 Crestview Health & Rehab Center Atlanta
2 Roswell Nursing & Rehab Center Roswell
3 Budd Terrace at Wesley Woods Atlanta
4 Lake City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC Lake City
5 Dunwoody Health and Rehabilitation Center Atlanta
6 Glenwood Health and Rehabilitation Center Decatur
7 Nurse Care of Buckhead Atlanta
8 Westbury Mcdonough, LLC Mcdonough
9 Powder Springs Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Powder Springs
10 Christian City Rehabilitation Center Union City


What are the Major Reasons Behind the Strong Demand for Nurses in Atlanta?


As a nurse in Atlanta, you can enjoy a fantastic salary, amazing job security, and many opportunities to further your career through education and experience. There are a few factors driving the strong demand for nurses in Atlanta, but of these, increased access to healthcare is by far the most influential. In recent years, many of the lower-income families in Atlanta who did not previously qualify for subsidized healthcare but could not afford private healthcare have been given access to affordable premiums and excellent coverage. This means more people than ever before are seeing their doctors and nurse practitioners regularly.

Aside from this, Atlanta is home to some of the best research hospitals in the nation, if not the world. This brings sick and injured people from across the country to the several university hospitals in the city for treatments that may not be available elsewhere. The sheer number of people coming to Atlanta for cancer treatments or for groundbreaking research also drives the demand for nurses forward.

Starting Nurse Salary in Atlanta


After you complete your nursing program, your salary will vary depending on your exact title and your employer, among other things. As an example, a CNA earns $21,730 a year starting out in Atlanta while an LPN earns $34,265, and an RN earns $57,180. Nurse practitioners earn $88,155 in their first year, while CRNAs (nurse anesthetists) earn $94,905.

Occupation Average Starting Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual

CNA

$10.45 $1,811 $21,730

LPN

$16.48 $2,855 $34,265

RN

$27.49 $4,765 $57,180

NP

$42.38 $7,346 $88,155

CRNA

$45.63 $7,909 $94,905
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Average Nurse Salary in Atlanta


CNA: CNAs make up a large portion of the nursing workforce in Atlanta, and they earn an average of $27,780 a year. This includes CNAs working in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other facilities, as well.

LPN: The average annual LPN salary in Atlanta is $44,110. It is important to note that many of Atlanta’s most prominent employers seek RNs due to their education and ability to take on new skills, but LPNs are still in demand in some cases, particularly when it comes to home-based health and nursing homes in the Atlanta area.

RN: RNs are among the most coveted nurses of them all, particularly when it comes to Atlanta’s many university and teaching hospitals. The average registered nurse salary in Atlanta is a very respectable $73,190 a year.

NP: In Atlanta, nurse practitioners bridge critical gaps between RNs and physicians. If you become a nurse practitioner, you will have many of the same duties and responsibilities as a doctor – diagnosing patients, providing treatments, providing specialist referrals, etc. Because of this, your salary will be much higher than that of an LPN or even RN at an average of $109,410.

CRNA: The demand for nurse anesthetists also continues to grow. As new technologies and techniques make it possible for surgeons to correct illnesses and injuries, and as more people gain access to medical coverage making those treatments more affordable, more surgeries are taking place, and this drives the demand for CRNAs across Atlanta. In this profession, you can earn an average annual salary of $138,660.

Occupation Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
CNA $13.36 $2,315 $27,780
LPN $21.21 $3,676 $44,110
RN $35.19 $6,099 $73,190
NP $52.60 $9,118 $109,410
CRNA $66.66 $11,555 $138,660
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Nurse Salary with Experience


Aside from furthering your education with a graduate degree or post-graduate certificate, the best way to increase your salary in any nursing role is to gain experience. To put this into perspective, a first-year RN earns $57,180 a year. Once that RN gains five to nine years of experience, he or she can earn $72,480. Furthermore, after 20 years, he or she will earn an average of $97,820 a year – almost double the starting salary for RNs in Atlanta.

Years of Experience Average Salary
CNA LPN RN NP CRNA
1-4 years $22,830 $38,080 $60,900 $92,730 $99,810
5-9 years $26,680 $44,810 $72,430 $107,330 $141,090
10-19 years $31,770 $50,360 $83,970 $122,060 $158,790
20 years or more $37,860 $58,410 $97,820 $131,920 $183,710
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Average Nurse Salary in Atlanta Compared to Georgia State


The salary for nurses across the state of Georgia is relatively close to the national average, but nurses working in Atlanta do seem to have a slight advantage. Nurse anesthetists are the only nursing professionals in Atlanta earning less than the state average. All other nursing professionals earn between 2.49% and 7.38% more than the state average.

Occupation Atlanta Georgia Difference
Number %
CNA $27,780 $25,870 $1,910 7.38%
LPN $44,110 $41,690 $2,420 5.80%
RN $73,190 $68,950 $4,240 6.15%
NP $109,410 $106,750 $2,660 2.49%
CRNA $138,660 $151,070 - $12,410 - 8.21%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Average Nurse Salary in Atlanta Compared to National


At the national level, Atlanta nurses earn slightly less than their counterparts across the board. Nurse practitioners have the smallest gap, with Atlanta NPs earning 0.56% less than the national average, which is equal to a difference of only about $620 a year. CRNAs earn 20.67% less than the national average, which is a significant difference of $36,130 a year.

Occupation Atlanta National Difference
Number %
CNA $27,780 $29,580 - $1,800 - 6.09%
LPN $44,110 $47,050 - $2,940 - 6.25%
RN $73,190 $75,510 - $2,320 - 3.07%
NP $109,410 $110,030 - $620 - 0.56%
CRNA $138,660 $174,790 - $36,130 - 20.67%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Nurse Salaries in Comparison to Other Closely Related Health Care Occupations in Atlanta


When choosing a career path in Atlanta’s booming healthcare industry, it is often helpful to consider the salaries associated with some closely-related occupations. Nurse anesthetists earn more than any other nursing professional in the city with an average annual salary of $138,660, but this is only slightly higher than pharmacists, who earn an average annual salary of $118,520. Nursing assistants earn the least of all the professions at $27,780 a year, on average, which is only slightly less than medical assistants, who earn $33,620 in Atlanta.

Occupation Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Nurse Anesthetist N/A $66.66 $11,555 $138,660
Pharmacist 5,910 $56.98 $9,877 $118,520
Nurse Midwife 270 $54.55 $9,456 $113,470
Nurse Practitioner 3,600 $52.60 $9,118 $109,410
Physician Assistant 2,010 $50.79 $8,804 $105,650
Radiation Therapist 410 $42.62 $7,388 $88,650
Nursing Instructor and Teacher, Postsecondary 500 N/A $7,114 $85,370
Physical Therapist 2,850 $40.95 $7,098 $85,180
Occupational Therapist 1,810 $39.41 $6,830 $81,960
Registered Nurse 41,940 $35.19 $6,099 $73,190
Dental Hygienist 4,220 $32.37 $5,612 $67,340
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer 1,220 $30.94 $5,363 $64,360
Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician 960 $29.45 $5,105 $61,260
Respiratory Therapist 2,300 $29.19 $5,060 $60,720
Radiologic Technologist 3,140 $28.90 $5,009 $60,110
Dietitians and Nutritionist 1,240 $26.81 $4,646 $55,750
Physical Therapist Assistant 1,250 $25.32 $4,389 $52,670
Surgical Technologist 2,670 $22.57 $3,912 $46,940
Licensed Practical Nurse 11,480 $21.21 $3,676 $44,110
Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic 4,660 $17.66 $3,062 $36,740
Medical Assistant 14,520 $16.16 $2,802 $33,620
Nursing Assistant 19,340 $13.36 $2,315 $27,780
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


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