Enrolling in a nurse practitioner program can help a Georgia registered nurse progress in his or her career and significantly increase his or her earnings. There are several nurse practitioner programs in Georgia that make it convenient for a nurse to complete his or her education while remaining close to family, friends and his or her current job. Once a nurse completes one of these traditional or online nurse practitioner programs in Georgia he or she is ready to sit for a certification exam. After receiving certification, the aspiring nurse practitioner can apply for licensure with the Georgia Nursing Board. Once licensed, a nurse practitioner can work in a variety of healthcare settings in Georgia.
Nurse Practitioner Licensing in Georgia
To become a nurse practitioner in Georgia, a registered nurse must apply for the “Advanced Practice Registered Nurse” (A.R.P.N.) designation. Applicants must file their applications with the Georgia Board of Nursing and should include documentation of the nurse’s education and specialty certification. An applicant must also be able to document either the completion of his or her education program within four years of making the application, or recent employment in the area of advance practice nursing. The board also charges a fee that must accompany the application, so applicants should be sure to verify the fee amount before submitting their paperwork.
Education and Certification Requirements
Educational requirements include completing a graduate degree (master’s level or above) in advance practice nursing and earning a nurse practitioner specialty certification. Aspiring nurse practitioners have the option of completing one of several nurse practitioner programs in Georgia or completing their education through an out-of-state school that holds accreditation through a United States Department of Education-recognized regional accreditation commission. Another option is for them to complete one of the online nurse practitioner programs in Georgia, or another state, and then complete clinical rotations at a site close to home. Once they complete their education, they need to sit for a certification exam sponsored by a professional certifying association recognized by the Georgia Nursing Board. As of 2012, these bodies include the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the National Certification Corporation and the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Nurse Practitioner Programs in Georgia
There are several nurse practitioner programs in Georgia, located at schools around the state. Schools that offer programs include Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Southern University and Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer University. Not all of these programs offer training in all specialties, however, so it is important for those who want to become a nurse practitioner to identify their area of specialization and find a school that offers training in that area. If a prospective student finds that there are no traditional classroom-based programs in his or her area, or that the local programs don’t offer training in his or her preferred specialty, he or she may want to investigate online nurse practitioner programs in Georgia or other areas. Distance learning programs often have arrangements with healthcare institutions that allow students to complete practicum courses near their homes while taking courses online.
Career Opportunities and Professional Organizations
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for nurse practitioners in Georgia as of February 2012 was $97,000, which is 5% more than the national average for nurse practitioners. This is significantly more than the $83,000 annual salary for registered nurses in Georgia, demonstrating the value of licensure and employment as a nurse practitioner. Many nurse practitioners in Georgia belong to one of several national and statewide professional organizations. These groups often provide continuing education programs and networking opportunities to nurse practitioners. They may also engage in public advocacy and lobbying efforts. National organizations include the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American College of Nurse Practitioners, as well as several specialist practice groups such as the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. In Georgia, several state groups also exist, including chapters of national organizations as well as the United Advanced Practice Nurses of Georgia.