Registered nurse ranked second among the fastest-growing occupations in Georgia in 2012, with a projected growth rate of 35.6% from 2008-18, according to the state’s Department of Labor.
That equates to almost 3,500 RN openings annually in the Peach State.
By comparison, the national employment rate for RNs is expected to increase 26% between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition.
“RN demand continues to outstrip RN supply, creating an unprecedented shortage of RNs in the United States,” a January 2012 article in theAmerican Journal of Medical Quality noted. The article’s authors determined that Georgia’s registered nurse deficit could surpass 43,000 by 2030.
Population trends offer clues to the state’s lingering nursing shortage.
From 2000 to 2010, Georgia’s population grew by more than 18%, almost double the national rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010, almost 11% of Georgia residents were age 65 or older. That percentage is projected to increase to 16% by 2030.
An aging population that will require more medical care is one of the factors cited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to explain the nation’s continuing RN shortfall. Other dynamics include: federal legislation is expected to provide millions of additional Americans with healthcare coverage; a wave of RNs are set to reach retirement age in the coming decade or so; and nursing school enrollment isn’t keeping pace with job growth.
As hospitals and other healthcare employers seek to hire more RNs, advances in technology and an increasingly complex regulatory landscape mean that there’s likely to be greater demand for nurses with advanced educational qualifications.
The Institute of Medicine has called for the proportion of nurses with bachelor’s degrees to increase to 80% nationally by 2020. The national institute’s 2011 report noted that RN to BSN degree programs and online learning are among the options for moving toward that target.
A 2010 survey by the University System of Georgia’s Center for Health Workforce Planning and Analysis noted that 31.4% of the state’s RNs had a bachelor’s in nursing at the time of their initial licensure.
RNs in Georgia earned an average salary of $65,414 in 2011, up from $59,260 a year before, according to an Advance for Nurses survey.
Nationally, RNs earned an average salary of $64,690 in 2010, the BLS reported.
In Georgia, applicants for licensure as an RN must have graduated from an approved nursing education program and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
RNs licensed in another state can seek licensure by endorsement in Georgia if they have graduated from an approved nursing program and passed the recognized licensing exam.
Licenses must be renewed every two years. As of May 2012, the Georgia Board of Nursing does not require RNs to complete continuing education (CE) hours.
It’s important to note that nursing licensure requirements and fees can change. For the most up-to-date information contact the Georgia Board of Nursing at:
Mailing address: 237 Coliseum Drive, Macon, GA 31217-3858
Phone: (478) 207-2440