Top Online Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Programs (AGNP): 2023
Explore online grad program options, find top-rated nursing schools, and start your path to becoming an AGNP.
A former practicing attorney, Michael Hoffman has years of experience as a freelance journalist specializing in the research and writing of higher education content – from online learning to financial aid, and everything in between. Michael is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara College of Law. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael practiced for several years as a civil litigator in Los Angeles and worked in Santa Monica, California as a development executive for a major film producer.
When it comes to choosing an online adult gerontology nurse practitioner program, it’s worth investing the time to thoroughly research the programs currently available. We’re here to help you effectively use your research time by providing you with our picks for the best online AGNP programs offered in 2023. We’ve ranked programs based on important elements such as accreditation, affordability, and curriculum flexibility.
Base Methodology for EduMed’s 2023 Online College Rankings
1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs
To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.
2. Assign Weightings
After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.
Online Program Availability
Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.
Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.
Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is home to a hybrid adult/gerontology nurse practitioner program that students complete over eight semesters. In addition to online and in-person classes, graduate students gain extensive clinical expertise through hundreds of clinical hours. The online component for this program delivers course content asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace.
Throughout this 73-credit curriculum, nursing students complete a deep roster of courses, including primary care management, pathophysiology for advanced practice nursing, informatics in healthcare, and effective leadership for practice.
Prospective students must hold active and unrestricted RN licensure and a bachelor’s in nursing from an accredited program. GRE scores are not required for applicants with an undergraduate GPA greater than 3.2.
DNP Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
The University of Iowa is home to a doctor of nursing practice degree specializing in adult/gerontology acute care. In addition to solidifying foundational skills, these DNP students place particular emphasis on older adults who are vulnerable to health complications.
Throughout this program, DNP students complete 75 credits of coursework and tackle classes such as clinical data management and evaluation, interprofessional skills and team-based healthcare, and pathophysiology for advanced clinical practice. Alongside online and in-person coursework, students also complete over 1,000 hours of clinical experience.
Prospective DNP students must hold active RN licensure and have at least two years of full-time clinical experience. This hybrid DNP program does not require standardized test scores for admission.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)-Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (Acute Care)
The University of Missouri’s Kansas City campus offers a hybrid nursing master’s with a specialization in adult gerontology nursing practice. Throughout this 46-credit program, nursing students complete a blend of online and on-campus courses and typically graduate in two to three years. While most traditional coursework is completed online, students must attend one on-campus residency each semester.
Core courses for this master’s program include topics such as health promotion across the lifespan, theoretical foundations in nursing, nursing research, and cultural diversity and values. Interested nursing students must hold a BSN degree from an accredited program and an unencumbered nursing license. Prospective students must have a minimum 3.2 GPA from their last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
Master of Science in Nursing-Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI) provides a nursing master’s in adult gerontology primary care that students can complete in two to three years. Upon graduation, nursing students meet the eligibility requirements for certification through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Throughout this 42-credit program, students complete courses such as leadership for advanced nursing practice, advanced concepts in gerontology, advanced pathophysiology across the lifespan, advanced pharmacology across the lifespan, and advanced practice management in adult gerontology primary care. Students can complete most coursework online, but clinical requirements must be met in Indiana.
MSN Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Ohio’s University of Toledo is home to a doctor of nursing practice program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This online program is available as a post-bachelor’s or a post-master’s track, and students can complete this program in three to four years. Throughout the program, students tackle a 74-credit curriculum and complete courses such as information technology in nursing and healthcare systems, advanced research for evidence-based practice, advanced pharmacotherapeutics, advanced health assessment for the DNP, and acute management of older adults.
Prospective students should hold an active nursing license and submit an application with a current resume, statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation. Additionally, prospective students must include official transcripts from all prior schools.
Youngstown State University is an Ohio-based public institution that offers a nursing master’s in adult gerontology acute care. This 51-credit graduate program blends theoretical and practical coursework, with students gaining essential knowledge about the social issues surrounding healthcare for older adults.
Students complete most of their coursework online while dedicating over 500 hours to clinical work in an acute care environment. Core classes include topics such as differential diagnoses, healthcare issues and trends, and advanced health assessment.
Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s in nursing and have at least one year of professional experience in a critical care setting. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and provide academic transcripts and proof of nursing licensure.
MSN Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
The University of Pittsburgh is a public research institution that is home to an MSN-to-DNP in adult gerontology program that students can complete online as both full-time and part-time students. Full-time students can complete this online track in about two years and tackle a 41-credit curriculum. Required classes include topics such as applied statistics for evidence-based practice, the science of healthcare delivery, data analysis for DNP projects, and leadership development.
Prospective students must hold an active RN licensure with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants can apply online and must include official transcripts, documentation of licensure, and a professional resume.
MSN-to-DNP Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
One way to understand online AGNP programs is to look inside a program. Is it fully online? Will it lead to the career outcome you’re looking for? Can you afford it? We’ve profiled three of today’s most popular adult gerontology nurse practitioner programs with online elements for its students. See if one of these programs has what you need.
All of the AGNP programs are presented in a hybrid format. Most coursework can be completed online, but some courses require attendance on UI’s Iowa City campus. Additionally, all four programs require completion of substantial in-person clinical hours. Currently, clinicals must be completed within Iowa, with placement typically made at facilities near the student’s place of residence.
Georgetown University offers three online acute care AGNP programs for RNs that provide graduates the eligibility to sit for national certification exams offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (AGACNP-BC) and American Association of Critical Care Nurses (ACNPC-AG). The MSN with AGACNP curriculum is a 40-credit, six-term program that can be completed with two years of study. The program consists of online courses combined with three required on-campus intensives and 600 to 700 in-person clinical hours, and is designed for current RNs with a minimum of one year of relevant full-time work experience. The BSN to DNP with AG-ACNP specialization is a 69-credit program that combines online coursework with three on-campus intensives and 1000 clinical hours. Students have the option of full-time (eight 15-week terms) or part-time study (11 15-week terms). GU additionally offers a part-time AG-ACNP Post-Master’s Certificate program requiring a minimum of 15 credits and 600-700 clinical hours. All of GU’s AGNP programs are presented in a cohort-model format with starting dates each year in both the spring and fall.
Duke University offers AGNP-Acute Care and AGNP-Primary Care MSN programs that combine online didactic coursework with on-campus intensives and in-person clinical hours leading to eligibility for board certification as an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner. Courses are taught by faculty members with experience in a range of acute care practice environments, and feature instructional support through the use of multimedia presentations and high-fidelity simulation equipment. AGNP-Acute Care students are required to complete 48-credits of coursework and 840 in-person clinical hours, while AGNP-Primary Care students must complete 42-credits of coursework and 560 clinical hours.
Duke additionally offers post-graduate certificate programs open to RNs who already possess their MSN degrees and are interested in qualifying for national certification in acute care or primary care AGNP practice. Admission requirements into either certificate program include, among others, current RN licensure or eligibility for licensure, and either a MSN degree from a properly-accredited program or master’s degree in another discipline deemed acceptable to the AGNP faculty.
Key Information About Online Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Programs
As you begin researching online AGNP programs, it’s natural to have some questions. Below are the answers to the most common questions about adult gerontology nursing, what types of AGNP degree programs are available, what you can expect to learn in your degree program, and more.
What is adult gerontology nursing?
Gerontology is the study of old age and the aging process. So, it’s no surprise that the first thought many people have when they hear “adult gerontology nursing” is the care and treatment of the elderly. That’s not the case, however. The key term here is “aging process,” and if you think about it, the aging process begins the moment we are born. The practice of an AGNP nurse actually encompasses all aspects of the adult aging process, including issues of both illness and wellness, from adolescence to adulthood and on through to old age. That’s where the value of AGNP’s specialized practice lies: in the ability to address the broad range of care and treatment issues related to aging throughout the entire adult life cycle.
What are the different types of AGNP online programs?
There are several online academic pathways to becoming an AGNP, more than with most nursing specialties, in fact. There are three graduate degree levels to consider, for example. There are also two distinct specializations within the larger AGNP field, each with its own distinct curriculums and academic requirements. Here’s a detailed look at the available options.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
MSN programs are designed for RNs seeking to advance and specialize their practice by obtaining their AGNP certification. Some programs require applicants to possess a BSN degree, while others accept currently-licensed RNs with a non-BSN undergrad credential. Most programs also require a minimum of one year of nursing work experience. All programs require students to complete didactic coursework (often available 100% online,) and completion of a substantial number of in-person clinical hours.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
DNP programs are for current RNs with extensive work experience interested in advanced practice and leadership positions in the AGNP field. Both traditional MSN entry and BSN-to-DNP programs are available online that prepare graduates to obtain board certification as an AGNP. Some DNP programs also offer courses of study for currently board-certified AGNPs who wish to obtain the doctorate credential. DNP programs take about a year longer than an MSN to complete for students entering with a BSN.
Post-graduate AGNP certificate programs are for current APRNs with either an MSN or DNP who wish to obtain AGNP board certification and expand their practices into adult gerontology settings. Programs are typically presented in a part-time format, and all include didactic coursework (usually completed entirely online) and clinical hour requirements. These programs may or may not require on-campus visits.
Adult Gerontology Acute Care (AGACNP)
The AGACNP specialization prepares graduates to provide comprehensive advanced care to adult patients experiencing urgent and sometimes severe health issues resulting from the worsening of chronic illness, episodic illness, terminal illness, etc. They work in a range of nursing practice settings, including surgery, cardiology, internal medicine, oncology, trauma, and many others.
Nurses with the AGPCNP specialization provide a full range of long-term healthcare services to adult gerontology patients in settings that include hospitals, physician’s offices, long-term care facilities, community and specialty clinics, rehabilitation centers, and many others. AGPCNP practitioners additionally work with patients’ families to keep them properly informed and involved in the continuing support needs of their loved ones.
What will I learn in an online AGNP program?
The goal of any quality online AGNP program is to ensure that its students graduate with advanced knowledge and skills that can be immediately applied on their first day of advanced nursing practice. This knowledge will come from all elements of the academic program, including didactic coursework, clinicals, internships, capstone projects, etc. Your exact learning outcomes will depend partially on your specialization (acute care or primary care) as well as the particular school and program you choose. Regardless, all AGNP graduates should expect to attain the following common learning outcomes:
Manage the healthcare needs of patients based upon physical examinations and assessments, health histories, and behavioral and developmental assessments, particularly in how they relate to the aging process.
Provide effective advanced nursing care to patients employing pathophysiological, pharmacotherapeutic, and cultural principles.
Communicate and collaborate with interprofessional team members to improve the health outcomes of individual patients and across diverse populations and settings.
Effectively employ knowledge of systems and organizational leadership theories and practices.
Demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the advancement of AGNP practice and the broader nursing profession.
Example AGNP Courses
Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning
This class provides an introduction to the theoretical principles and practical application of advanced health assessment techniques and diagnostic reasoning. Components covered include history taking, identification of normal and abnormal conditions, and assessment of psychological changes and psychosocial variations.
Advanced Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics
In this class, students gain a working knowledge of the advanced principles of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics as they apply to the care of individuals across the entire adult life span. Appropriate pharmacology and therapeutics of a number of conditions and diseases commonly found in both the primary and acute care settings are covered.
Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
Beginning with a foundation of normal physiology, this course presents an examination of advanced physiology and pathophysiology across the human life span, and the resulting clinical implications for advanced nursing practice. Emphasis is placed on the correlation of appearances of illness and pathophysiological processes needed to formulate proper diagnoses and realistic healthcare goals.
Ethical Decision Making in Advanced Nursing Practice
This course presents a look at the concepts and theories of ethical medical and healthcare practices and their application to the decision-making process. Included is a survey of evidence-based and interprofessional literature as it relates to the difficult moral challenges that inevitably arise in dealing with adult gerontology patients, especially those facing terminal illnesses.
Scientific Inquiry and Research Methods
AGPNs are required to possess a strong understanding of the research process, analytical techniques, and methods of scientific inquiry. The course provides a foundational examination of the systematic approaches taken by scientists in developing and conducting research. Topics covered include research concepts and methods, literature searches, the design of scientific studies, data collection, and analysis and interpretation techniques.
Can I complete an AGNP program 100% online?
You will not be able to complete your AGNP program entirely online if you take into account the in-person clinical hour requirements that are part of every program. In terms of other requirements, most programs offer the bulk of their didactic coursework online (all of it, in some cases), but additionally require some on-campus participation in the form of short two- or three-day “intensives.” A few programs, like Maryville University’s AGNP programs, can be completed with no required on-campus attendance.
How long does it take to complete an online nurse practitioner gerontology program?
The time it takes to earn an AGNP degree varies from program to program depending on a range of factors including full-time vs. part-time study, transfer credits and practicum hours allowed, and the degree level you’re pursuing. You should have a good understanding of the time limits and allowances in place for any program you are considering before your enroll.
With that in mind, here’s a baseline estimate of how long each type of AGNP program usually takes to complete.
MSN: One-and-a-half (accelerated plans) to two years full-time; Three years or more part-time.
BSN to DNP: Three to four years. Programs often allow substantially more time to complete the capstone project.
MSN to DNP: Two to three years. Programs often allow substantially more time to complete the capstone project.
Post-Graduate Certificate: One-and-a-half to two years.
How much do online AGNP programs cost?
The cost associated with earning an online AGNP degree or certificate will vary based on the many of the same factors as those that affect program length we’ve listed above. Another major cost factor is whether the program you choose is offered by a public or private institution. Here are a few sample tuition costs (as of fall 2019) for three online AGNP programs. Remember, however, that your total cost will likely be higher because of additional fees, the cost of books and supplies, and more.
Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
Total Credits: 60
Where to Find Help Paying for Your Online AGNP Program
College can be expensive, and paying for any degree or certificate program can be difficult even under the best of circumstances. That’s why it’s important to understand all of your funding options and have your financial resources lined up before entering your AGNP program. Fortunately, there are a number of real, manageable sources available. Here’s a look at the most common. And check out our ultimate guide to financial aid for even more information on how to get help paying for your AGNP program.
Scholarships are competitive and are typically awarded on the basis of specific criteria such as a student’s scholastic achievements, specific talent (athletic, artistic, etc.) or extracurricular activities like volunteer work. Other factors, such belonging to a minority group or having extreme financial need, may also be considered. Scholarships are most attractive because they do not need to be paid back.
Grants are money awards for college that, like scholarships, do not need to be paid back. Unlike scholarships, grants are almost always awarded primarily on the basis of financial need. Some federal grants are available for grad students, although most federal grant moneys are designated for undergraduates. Grants from state governments, non-profits, private organizations, and graduate programs themselves may also be available, however, so be sure to speak with school financial aid offices to find out.
Student loans are exactly what they sound like – loans that are made for the specific purpose of paying for college. And like any other type of loan, they must be paid back with interest, usually starting immediately after graduation. The biggest advantage to the student loan is that it will likely be the easiest form of financial aid for you to obtain. The largest source of loans for AGNP students is the federal government. Federal Direct PLUS Loans, also known as Grad PLUS Loans, are available to students enrolled at least half-time in an eligible graduate program. To apply for federal student loans, or any other form of federal student aid, fill out and submit the FAFSA application. Both state and private student loan programs may also be available, so be sure to check with your school’s financial aid department for availability.
Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships
Graduate assistantships are paid positions where students carry out teaching or research work, typically for a professor in the student’s academic department. Fellowships are a form of scholarship program awarded to students who intend to pursue specific research or work on advanced project while in school. Graduate assistantships and fellowships are most often limited to doctoral students, but may in some cases be available to master’s students as well.
Other Potential Sources
Your current employer may offer college funding in the form of a tuition reimbursement program. Check with HR person at your job about availability. Also, if you are a military veteran or currently serving, the GI Bill is a great source of college funding.
Understanding Accreditation for Online Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Programs
Accreditation is an essential consideration for any degree or certificate program choice you make because proper accreditation is how you are assured that the education you receive meets certain minimum standards of quality. There are two basic types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation addresses the college or university itself. It is administered in the United States by a number of Department of Education-approved independent regional and national agencies.
Confirming a school or program’s accreditation status is easy. Current accreditation information can almost always be found on the individual program’s website and/or institution’s accreditation webpage. You can also search for accreditation status by visiting the CCNE and ACEN websites, as well as this DOE database.
Getting Your Professional License and Certification After Your Online AGNP Program
All AGNPs in the United States must be licensed as RNs in the state or states in which they practice. Additionally, some states require nurse practitioners to hold a specific NP license to practice within that state. If you are looking for an AGNP degree or certificate program, you are likely already a RN or possibly even an APRN. Regardless of your RN or APRN status, if you want to learn more about a particular state’s licensure requirements, contact the state’s regulatory agency directly. You can find contact information using this NCSBN interactive map. You can also find licensure information for each state by visiting the American Association of Nurse Practitioners website.
Career and Salary Outlook for Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioners
Money and job security are among the most important considerations when deciding on a future career. Fortunately for prospective AGNPs, the outlook is bright. How bright? Here’s a look.
Are adult gerontological nurse practitioners in high demand?
When it comes to job prospects, the future looks bright for certified AGNPs for some time to come. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job growth rate for nurse practitioners, of which AGNPs are a subgroup, is projected to increase 26% between 2018 and 2028, adding over 50,000 new jobs. And given the nation’s rapidly-growing elderly population, you can expect that figure to be solid moving forward. There’s also an expanding public interest in preventative care and wellness, which is included in the AGNP’s professional practice.
How much do adult gerontological nurse practitioners make?
Earnings for AGNPs vary depending on factors such as job location (specific state, city vs. rural, etc.), type of organization or facility (hospital, long-term residence, private physician’s practice, etc.), and amount of work experience as an AGNP. Nevertheless, AGNP salaries are impressive on average. For example, as of May 2018, the BLS reports that the median salary for nurse practitioners is $107, 030, as compared to $71,730 for RNs. Additionally, PayScale puts the median salary for AGNPs at $89,169 as of September 2019. Other salary estimates for AGNPs range from the low 70s to the low-to-mid 100s, depending on the particular source.
Helpful Resources for AGNP Students and Professionals
Below is a list of additional online resources to help you gain a better understanding of the AGNP profession and how you can join it:
The preeminent organization of professional nurses in the U.S. This website offers information about the profession generally and its various specializations, certification, and scholarship and grant opportunities.