How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Georgia

Nurse administrators perform essential functions that are highly desirable and needed in the medical industry. Their role will become even more critical in the coming years as the US population begins to age. With the necessary education and training, you can start your career as a nurse administrator. In this career field, you will manage the daily activities of nurses and other healthcare staff. As a nursing administrator, you could find yourself working in a long-term health facility, a hospital, a clinic, a school, or even a consultant operating out of your own offices.

Employment Outlook for Nurse Administrators in Georgia

The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that a nurse administrator employed in Georgia can expect an average salary of $109,840 annually, which is slightly more than the national average of $101,340. Salaries are based upon factors such as experience, education and certifications, so they can vary. You’ll also find that they are affected by your employer’s location, the nature of their business and the requirements of your job. Employment in this field is expected to grow about 32 percent over the next decade.

What a Job as a Nurse Administrator Involves

Primarily, the goal of a nurse administrator is to oversee the daily schedule of nursing and auxiliary staff assigned to you to assure the highest level of patient care. The nurse administrator is responsible for seeing to it that all nurses are properly trained and maintain the required certifications to continue providing the best care at all times. You could also create policies, determine budget requirements, and care for patients when needed.

The nurse administrator must possess a strong sense of leadership to find success in their field. You will have a diverse staff reporting to you, but you will also be reporting to your own superiors, who will direct some of your activities and require you to maintain satisfactory progress and efficiency within your department. In most cases, you will report to a facility administrator or director of nursing, but this will depend on your employer’s hierarchy.

How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Georgia

Before you can become a nurse administrator in Georgia, you are required to be a registered nurse. This requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and an active nursing license. Some employers may also require that you have a master’s degree. Experience may also be a huge factor in whether you are selected over other candidates, as your reputation and knowledge are valuable assets when looking for a high-ranking position such as that of a nurse administrator.

Currently, 25 colleges in Georgia offer a BSN degree. How much tuition you pay will depend on which school you select, the type of degree you pursue, and whether you opt to take classes online, in person or a combination of the two. You can expect to pay between $6,000 and $9,000 in yearly tuition at a public university, but you will also need to consider supplies, books, room and board, all of which may add to this cost. Out-of-state tuition can also be much more expensive if you reside outside of Georgia. Private college tuition can be significantly more costly.

Overall, Georgia has a solid reputation for its students’ performance on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Students completing their BSN at a Georgia university have passing rate averages in the United States well over the national average. Achieving your degree in this state will put you well above the competition right from the start. One of the schools below will undoubtedly look great on your resume when you apply for that future nurse administrator job you have in mind.

Top Ranking Nursing Programs in Georgia

1. Georgia College (GC), Milledgeville

The BSN program at Georgia College has a 98.09 percent passage rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. The outstanding GC nursing programs excel at putting registered nurses into the workforce with all of the knowledge and skills they need to be a success. Their coursework is built around the principle that their graduates should always keep learning so that the skills they were taught in the classroom and hands-on practice are always being improved. They endeavor to provide their students with the nursing skills required to be successful and the valuable leadership qualities that will serve them well as they move forward in their careers.

2. Kennesaw State University (KSU), Kennesaw

Kennesaw State University offers a BSN program and other graduate and post-graduate programs in nursing. An impressive 98.6 percent of students achieving their degree from KSU’s WellStar School of nursing go on to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Graduates of KSU who enter the nursing field are already ahead of the competition due to the university’s reputation for turning out graduates who are licensed at a far greater rate than the national average.

3. College of Coastal Georgia (CCG), Brunswick

The College of Coastal Georgia offers a BSN program that boasts a 97.7 percent rate of students who go on to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The CCG school of nursing includes classroom instruction, service-learning opportunities, lessons in community health and the skills needed to become a top-notch registered nurse upon graduation. The curriculum is designed to include a healthy balance of academic and field application that will prepare students for careers in nursing and give them the skills to move into executive levels of healthcare beyond registered nursing if desired.

4. Emory University (EU), Atlanta

Emory University offers a BSN degree that will prepare every student for a rewarding career as a registered nurse upon completion. 95.84 percent of the students who complete their BSN program go on to ace the NCLEX-RN exam. The EU College of Nursing curriculum provides students with clinical and classroom studies, which will prepare them for careers in nursing well beyond general duties. Graduates of this BSN program are well equipped to move on into higher-level positions such as nurse administrators.

5. Gordon State College (GSC), Barnesville

Gordon State College offers a BSN degree that prepares students to enter the nursing field. 95.46 percent of graduates from their nursing programs pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The advanced nursing programs, facilities and resources at GSC foster a learning environment that is key to ensuring their students are skilled and capable in their new careers as registered nurses. The combination of practical experience and academic learning applied in their curriculum allows graduates to start a career as an RN and move into the job of nurse administrator.

These are the top schools, but they are certainly not the only ones available. Factors such as your location, costs or personal circumstances may mean you will attend another school better suited to your needs. A bit of research into the programs and outlook for graduates from any school will give you a better picture of what they have to offer. Do your homework, and you’ll find the education you need to achieve success as a nurse administrator.

Additional Requirements to Become a Nurse Administrator in Georgia

Once you’ve completed your BSN degree, you will need to pass the Georgia Nursing Board (GBN) exam to become a licensed registered nurse. In addition to providing adequate transcripts and paying applicable fees, the GBN requires that you pass a criminal background check and register with COGENT for fingerprinting.

Next, you will need to pass the NCLEX-RN to be granted a nursing license in Georgia. Once you’ve submitted the information necessary to apply for the exam and it is approved, you will receive permission to take the NCLEX-RN. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE. Valid government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or non-driver identification, will be required by the exam proctor when you arrive to take the exam.

Applying to Become a Nurse Administrator

Once you have become a licensed registered nurse, you can take the next step toward achieving your goal by applying for a nurse administrator job. While many employers are looking for experience for this higher-level position, some facilities will forego this in favor of other factors. If you have transitioned from a career in licensed practical nursing, converted a previous diploma-based RN degree to a BSN, or previously worked in some health-related occupation, this might fulfill your requirements.

To maximize your chances of getting your first job as a nursing administrator, you should seek immediate employment as a registered nurse upon obtaining your license. This will allow you to gain the experience, skills, and knowledge needed to excel in your career choice. During your employment as an RN, you will need to complete all continuing education credits and keep your license in good standing. Any lapses can reflect poorly on your ability to organize and affect potential employment as a nurse administrator.

Keep in mind that Georgia participates in the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) agreement. This compact allows nurses who are licensed in Georgia to practice in all but a few other states—meaning that an RN licensed in Georgia can apply for a multi-state license and work outside of Georgia with greater ease than their counterparts in some other states.

The competition for a position as a nurse administrator is fierce. There are fewer positions and more requirements than entering the general field of nursing. However, you can become a proficient and well-earning nurse administrator with a solid education, good employment record and reputation, and moxie.