Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Georgia was facing a dire crisis in healthcare — a major shortage in nursing staffing levels across the state’s public health infrastructure. An aging workforce and high turnover in nursing roles were pegged as the key contributors, on top of the impact of an aging population across the country.
While it’s unknown what the long-term impact of the coronavirus emergency will have on medical and health staffing, particularly for nurses, there’s no doubt that Georgia is in serious need of highly trained nursing professionals. We wanted to understand how attractive the state is for one particular subset of nursing professionals, those who have earned or are pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
SEE ALSO: Georgia DNP Programs with Online Options
Average Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Salaries in Georgia
DNP degrees can lead to a host of new career opportunities, many of which are very highly paying and satisfying. We analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics covering six DNP-related jobs — nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor.
Half of the DNP jobs we studied come with average salaries that are upwards of $100,000 in Georgia, with a fourth reaching nearly that level. In Georgia, as in every other state, the highest-paying DNP job is nurse anesthetist, while Georgia’s worst-paying job is registered nurse (which is also by far the most common DNP job we studied). Despite falling to the bottom of the list for DNP jobs, RNs still make about $20,000 more per year than the average worker in the state.
How Much Does a DNP Make in Georgia?
The average salary ranges from $69,590 to $174,310 in Georgia.
Average annual Georgia salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$77,270.00|
In Georgia and every other state, RN jobs are by far the most plentiful. No other job is even close in Georgia, with the next-closest (nurse practitioner) having an employment rate that’s just a fraction of the rate for RNs. Notably, though, Georgia’s rate for nurse midwife employment is the fourth-highest in the country, and the state ranks No. 11 for NP employment.
Georgia employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.236|
Several major cities and metro areas in Georgia offer a six-job average annual wage of a least $100,000, with Columbus leading the way. The Columbus metro area, which includes portions of Alabama, has the 12th-highest average across the nearly 400 U.S. cities and metro areas for which data was available.
Average salary by city, top 5
Jump to a Career
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Administrator
- Post Secondary Nurse Instructor
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
It’s no surprise that the most common job held by those with a DNP degree is nurse practitioner, given that the job title is referenced in the name of the degree. In Georgia, NPs are authorized to perform some of the same functions as doctors, though the state has some of the most restrictive practice regulations on NPs. All 10 of the Georgia metro areas or cities for which data was reported, the average NP wage is upwards of $100,000. Wages are highest in the Columbus metro area, which includes counties in Alabama, with the Warner Robins area not far behind.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area, top 10
NPs in Georgia are most likely to find employment by searching in the Albany area, with the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, which includes portions of Georgia, coming in second. Several other cities in the state offer NP employment rates that are higher than the state overall.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
While most RN jobs don’t require a DNP, many graduates will still go on to fill jobs in which the title is RN. Wages are highest in the Atlanta metro area, which includes Sandy Springs and Roswell, and the Hinesville area is also home to wages that are higher than the state’s overall average for RN jobs.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area, top 10
RN jobs are far and away the most common of the six DNP jobs we analyzed, and several cities and metro areas in the state have even higher concentrations of RN employment than the state as a whole. Rome’s rate is by far the highest at more than 37 per 1,000, which is well over double the state’s rate. Most other cities in the top 10 among communities for which data was available surpass the state’s employment rate for RNs as well.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
DNP degree-holders who want to work in leadership positions instead of spending their time on patient care may be interested in a position as a nurse administrator, formally medical and healthcare managers. These jobs tend to come with massive responsibilities, and wages are typically commensurate with that. Nurse administrators are second on the list in the state, and a majority of the cities in the top 10 have average nurse administrator wages in the six figures, with the Rome metro area taking the top spot.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area, top 10
Jobs for nurse administrators are relatively common, with Macon’s rate setting the pace among cities and metro areas in Georgia, though the Augusta-Richmond County area isn’t far behind. All cities and metro areas in Georgia for which data was available have far higher rates than the state overall.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
Helping to close the gap in nursing employment are postsecondary nursing instructors, or those who are working to train the next wave of nursing professionals. This is a popular option after earning a DNP, and many nursing professionals with the degree may supplement their income or consider a shift into academia. Not much data is available for communities across the state, though nursing instructors in Savannah can expect to make considerably more than their average counterpart elsewhere in Georgia.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
Of the two areas with available data, employment is higher in Savannah, though the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area’s employment rate isn’t far behind the state’s overall rate for nursing instructors.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
In every state, average wages for nurse anesthetists is the highest of the six jobs, Georgia included. Two cities in the state have wages that are even higher than Georgia’s, and the Columbus area, which includes portions of Alabama, ranks No. 3 among all U.S. cities and metro areas for average nurse anesthetist wages.
Average annual nurse anesthetist wage by city/metro area
No data was available on employment per 1,000 jobs for nurse anesthetists for any cities that are entirely or partially in the state of Georgia.
Nurse midwifery, the practice of assisting women through pregnancy, labor and birth, is a major educational track in many DNP programs, and these professionals tend to enjoy high wages as a result of the extreme importance of their work. While little data was available for Georgia cities, the Atlanta area is home to an average wage for nurse midwives that’s higher than the state’s average ($118,078 vs $107,610), though the city has a slightly lower rate of employment for nurse midwives.
The dedication required to obtain a DNP degree is extreme, and for nursing professionals with the drive to complete this rigorous educational track, their motivation goes far beyond the material. But high wages and ample job opportunities certainly don’t hurt. Fortunately for DNP students and professionals in Georgia, the state enjoys relatively high wages and decent employment levels.
Our analysis covered six jobs that are commonly available with a DNP degree, though that’s not meant as a complete listing of all possible jobs. We used the May 2019 data, which was released in April 2020.