The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the highest degree level nurses can achieve. It demonstrates the highest level of clinical expertise and leadership. While advanced-practice nurses and leaders usually begin with a master's degree, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has advocated that all APRN programs transition from MSN to DNP as the minimum requirement.

DNP nurses can work as advanced-practice nurses such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. However, they can also work in more administrative roles such as nurse educators, nurse executives, nurse leaders, and in informatics.

Choosing a DNP Program

It is a momentous step when choosing to return to school. Some nurses have been out of academia for a while and may not know or remember where to begin. As a starting point, nurses should consider the following when choosing a program.

What to Consider When Choosing a DNP Program

  • Cost– The average cost of tuition in Georgia is around $700 per credit. This figure is only for the cost per tuition- university fees, supplies, and books are an added expense. Out-of-state residents may also need to pay a higher tuition rate.
  • Online Options– The majority of the DNP programs in Georgia are hybrid programs- so some face-to-face campus learning is required. However, there are online-only schools available as well. Some are 100% online, and some require campus visitation for orientation or interviewing.
  • Accreditation– Nursing programs must be accredited by one of two nationally recognized agencies- the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Georgia has seven DNP programs available which are accredited by the CCNE.
  • Residency Options– Nurses enrolled in DNP programs are required to either complete a set number of supervised clinical hours or complete a DNP project. Those enrolled in leadership or executive tracks, for example, may be required to complete a DNP project that demonstrates competency in research, project management, and leadership. APRN tracks (i.e., nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, etc.) must complete between 1000 and 2500 clinical hours. Because many DNP programs are online, students must find mentors and clinical opportunity within their community.

Additionally, post-graduation residency programs are becoming more prevalent, allowing graduates to further their clinical experience. Georgia has one residency program available to NP graduates and it’s held at Emory University.

Emory University's DNP program is available to both BSN and MSN students. BSN students may choose from the following tracks:

  • FNP
  • Adult/Gerontology NP (acute and primary care)
  • Emergency NP
  • Neonatal NP
  • Pediatric NP (acute and primary care)
  • Women's Health NP
  • Nurse Midwife

Additionally, the school offers a DNP in Nurse Anesthesia for BSN students. Depending on the specialty track (BSN-DNP or MSN-DNP), online learning may be available.

Admission & State Licensing or Certification Requirements


Admission requirements are variable. They are determined based on the school as well as the nurse's starting point (BSN or MSN), and the chosen specialty track. General admission requirements may include:

  • Valid Georgia RN license
  • MSN or BSN degree from an accredited university
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher (specific GPA requirements may vary between schools)
  • Completion of a statistics course
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume/CV
  • Submission of a portfolio which may include:
    • Research experience
    • Publications
    • Community service projects
    • Educational goal statement
    • Professional presentations
  • Faculty interview


DNP students in Georgia who do already possess specialty certification are eligible to apply upon graduation. Students may be certified in various NP specialties (Pediatric, Adult/ Gerontology, Psychiatric, Women's Health), midwifery, or emergency care. Students can also become certified as a CNS. Certification agencies should be nationally recognized, such as the following:

  • The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • The National Certification Corporation (NCC)


Georgia is part of the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) which means nurses who are licensed in other compact states can apply for multi-state licensure. DNP students who are not yet licensed as an APRN or clinical nurse specialists must apply for advanced-practice licensure in Georgia. Requirements include:

  • Hold a current RN license
  • Ensure official transcripts are sent to the board
  • Have an MSN or DNP
  • Provide proof of graduation from an approved nursing education program within four years of application
  • Submit evidence of national specialty certification
  • Complete a paper application and get it notarized
  • Pay application fees
  • Consent to a background check

Georgia BSN to DNP Program Options

Although the DNP is considered the "terminal" degree for nurses, that doesn't necessarily mean that BSN nurses have a long, treacherous road ahead. In fact, almost all the DNP programs in Georgia have BSN to DNP options, and the program can be completed in three to four years (depending on full or part-time status).

Many BSN to DNP tracks offers APRN specialties, such as:

  • Adult/Gerontology NP
  • Pediatric NP
  • Women's Health NP
  • Neonatal NP
  • Family NP
  • Nurse Anesthetist

However, some schools in Georgia, such as Emory University, offer leadership tracks. For example:

  • Nurse executive
  • Nurse leader/clinical leadership
  • Informatics
  • Clinical nurse specialist

Related Education Paths

Helpful DNP Agencies and Organizations in Georgia

List of Campus and Online DNP Programs in Georgia

Atlanta, GA

1520 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980

DNP Programs
33 Gilmer St SE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 413-2000

Augusta, GA

College of Nursing
1120 15th Street
Augusta, GA 30912
(706) 721-3771

Milledgeville,, GA

DNP Programs
231 W. Hancock St.
Milledgeville,, GA 31061
(800) 342-0471

Statesboro, GA

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