Health care is a great career option, as the field is growing significantly and shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the health care sector will account for more than a third of the projected job growth from 2014 to 2024. And as the population ages, the demand for medical professionals will continue to increase. Registered nurses are expected to continue being in high demand, as the BLS predicts a 16 percent increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.
Becoming a nurse is a common entry point to health care field, and the first step is to attend a nursing school. The state of Georgia is home to a large number of colleges and universities that offer many different nursing programs.
Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs
Nursing programs in Georgia can help students get started on the right path. There are a wide variety of different careers in the nursing field, and each one has slightly different educational requirements. Here are some of the most common entry-level nursing positions:
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN): In Georgia, becoming a licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse (LPN or LVN) requires completing an approved educational program, which usually takes approximately a year. All LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination, also known as NCLEX-PN.
- Registered Nurse (RN): According to 2014 data from the BLS, registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. In addition, all RNs must be licensed, including in the state of Georgia.
- Nurse Practitioner (NP): These highly trained nurses are also known as practice registered nurses (APRNs), and according to the BLS, they must earn at least a master's degree in one of the specialty roles. In addition, NPs or APRNs must also be licensed registered nurses in their state and pass the NCLEX-PN.
The body that governs nursing in Georgia is the Georgia Board of Nursing, which is a member state of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. In all states, nursing is a regulated profession with strict oversight, and those who want to pursue this career must be prepared to work with these regulatory bodies and pass certain examinations.
Many nursing schools offer classes and resources online, especially with continuing education credits, which are required to keep your license up to date. Online degrees can be a good choice for many professionals who might have to combine a career with family responsibilities. The flexibility of online classes oftentimes means that students are able to complete their degrees significantly more quickly than they would in traditional classroom settings.
Online nursing programs are readily available throughout the nation, including in the state of Georgia. Online learning might not be the best choice for everyone, as some might prefer in-person learning, but it's a popular option indeed. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 5.5 million were enrolled in a distance learning course through a degree-granting institution in 2013.
Nursing Career Outlook in Georgia
Nursing is a solid career choice in the entire country, and Georgia is no exception. According to the 2015 data from the BLS, the following are some of the employment statistics for nursing professions that aspiring students might find useful:
|Occupation||Total Employment in Georgia (2015)||Average Salary in Georgia (2015)||% Job Growth in Georgia (2014-2024)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015
In terms of earning for nursing professionals specifically in some of Georgia's largest metropolitan areas, please see the data below:
|Location||Occupation||Total Employed (2015)||Average Salary (2015)|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta||Registered nurses||36,200||$65,990|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015
Nursing programs require students to take classes in a variety of fields and specializations, including, among many others, the following:
- Assessment of Health and Illness
- Nursing therapies
- Mental health
- Nursing informatics
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Topics in Nursing Systems
- Quality and Safety
Classes might vary a bit depending on the particular school and the program. Students should be sure to contact the particular program they are interested in to make sure that the university offers the classes and specializations are most interested in. Find out more information on schools in your area by browsing the listings below.
- The Baby Boomer Number Game, U.S. News & World Report, Money, March 23, 2012, http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2012/03/23/the-baby-boomer-number-game
- Distance Learning, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=80
- Georgia Board of Nursing, National Council of State Boards of Nursing, https://www.ncsbn.org/Georgia.htm
- Industry employment and output projections to 2024, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2015/article/industry-employment-and-output-projections-to-2024-1.htm
- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm
- May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Georgia, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
- Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, Occupational Outlook handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm
- Nursing Courses, University of Michigan School of Nursing, http://www.nursing.umich.edu/academic-programs/nursing-courses
- Registered Nurses, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm