Top Online Adult-Gerontology NP Programs

Registered nurses aspiring to become adult-gerontology nurse practitioners must earn a master of science in nursing (MSN), a post-master’s certificate, or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) with an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP) or adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP) specialization.

The current pathway to becoming a nurse practitioner is earning a graduate degree in nursing, completing an NP specialization, and earning a professional NP certification (such as adult-gerontology). Recently, educational enrollment trends and advocacy from professional organizations lead many to believe that a DNP will replace an MSN as the new minimum educational requirement in the coming years.

Most nurse practitioners, also known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), hold at least a master’s degree. Still, there’s a growing movement to move the educational requirement to the doctoral level. 

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), in January 2019, an estimated 17.8 percent of nurse practitioners held a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. And while a DNP is not required to practice as an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), in concert with other organizations, continues to advocate to make a DNP the new educational standard for nurse practitioners. 

To support nursing practice autonomy, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), the National Institute of Health (NIH), Campaign for Action, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation show their support for the DNP degree requirement. NPs with APRN credentials are well-positioned to access various roles in specialized clinical care, administrative teams in hospitals, or work in clinical or instructional research in academia.  

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are one of the most in-demand occupations in the burgeoning sector of healthcare. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that nurse practitioner careers, along with nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives, and projected to grow 45 percent between 2019 and 2029, a rate that’s much faster than the national average for all occupations at 4 percent (BLS 2020). For NPs, this projected growth is even higher at 52 percent during the same decade. 

Additionally, the BLS shows most nurse practitioners work with patients in offices of physicians (47 percent) or hospitals (27 percent). Increased access to medical care through the Affordable Care Act and the aging Baby Boomer population are two of the main reasons these healthcare environments need more nurse practitioners to fulfill patient care, administrative, and research-based healthcare needs. 

Online adult-gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP) programs have become commonplace, and today aspiring AGNPs can find a selection of programs at the masters and doctoral levels. Alternatively, MSN-prepared registered nurses can pursue a post-master’s AGNP certificate to enter this specialized nursing field. Most programs allow out-of-state students to enroll, although certain states may be restricted, so please explore our detailed school profiles to get the details. 

While most programs are designed for RNs holding a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), some programs will accommodate RNs with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Most online AGNP programs offer flexibility in learning with most coursework online, a minimal amount of campus visits, and allow (and sometimes assist in finding) preceptorships in a location that’s near a student city or area of residence.

Read on to learn about the top online adult-gerontology NP programs. 

Online AGNP Program Rankings

The staff gathered program data for all online AGNP programs accepting students at the outset of the 2021-2022 academic year. Those programs are listed here and ranked by our AdvanceU score, which factors in cost, admissions flexibility, and program variety. This in-depth nurse practitioner program database comprises 928 online NP programs at the MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate levels. To qualify as “online” for our purposes, each program has to require fewer than ten campus visits in total.

At our aspiration is to ensure the accuracy of the data on our website. Should you find an error or a missing program, please contact us to bring it to our attention.

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Adult-Gerontology NP Career and Salary

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP, 2018), about 10.9 percent of nurse practitioner students study gerontology including adult-gerontology primary care (AGPCNP), adult-gerontology acute care (AGACNP), and general adult-gerontology (AGNP).

Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners may work in a variety of settings including outpatient care centers, private practice, hospitals, government facilities, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, research firms, and home health care situations. The main practice settings for the various specialties include (AANP, 2018):

  • AGNP/AGPCNP: Hospital Outpatient Clinics, Long-Term Care Facilities
  • AGACNP: Hospital Inpatient Units

AGNPs often work in collaboration with health care teams to create a workable health care plan for their patients, keeping in mind the long-term benefits of the plan as well as the feasibility of patient compliance. AGNPs are able to assess, diagnose, and treat patients including young adults, adults, older adults, and elderly adults. They prescribe medications, conduct patient education at the patient, family, and community levels, operate and monitor medical equipment, and make recommendations for further care.

The pay range for nurse practitioners (which are grouped with nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives in government data) falls between $80,670 and $182,750, with the median annual wage for nurse practitioners specifically landing at $107,030 (BLS, 2018). In addition, the nurse practitioner occupational outlook from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects that this occupation will grow by 28 percent between 2018 and 2028, compared to the average of 5 percent for all occupations. This amounts to an increase of 53,500 job openings by 2028 (BLS, 2018).