Top Online Adult-Gerontology NP Programs (2023)
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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, followed by a professional certification (such as AGACNP-BC for acute care, or AGPCNP-BC for primary care).
Nurse practitioners are classified as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs); most hold a master’s degree. Still, there’s a growing movement to move the educational requirement to the doctoral level. Advocacy from professional organizations leads some to believe that a DNP will replace an MSN as the new minimum educational requirement in the coming years.
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. In concert with other organizations, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) advocates making 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), and the Campaign for Action support the DNP degree requirement.
But, for now, an advanced nursing degree with a nurse practitioner specialization remains the educational standard, meaning both MSN- and DNP-prepared registered nurses may work as NPs, so long as they complete a nurse practitioner program and earn a related professional certification.
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.
Although certain states may be restricted, most programs allow out-of-state students to enroll. Please explore our detailed school profiles below to get the details on state authorizations and restrictions.
While most adult-gerontology NP programs are designed for RNs holding at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), some 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 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 NPSchools.com staff gathered program data for all online AGNP programs accepting students at the outset of the 2022-2023 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 1,008 online NP programs at the MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate levels. To qualify as “online” for our purposes, each program must require fewer than ten campus visits.
At NPSchools.com, 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.
Adult-Gerontology NP Career and Salary
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are among the most in-demand occupations in the burgeoning healthcare sector. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that nurse practitioner positions are expected to grow 40 percent between 2021 and 2031, a rate that’s much faster than the national average for all occupations at 5 percent (BLS 2022). This amounts to an increase of 118,600 job openings by 2031 (BLS 2022).
Additionally, the BLS (2022) shows that most nurse practitioners work with patients in physicians’ offices (47 percent) or hospitals (25 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.
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), in 2023, about 21.6 percent of nurse practitioner students study gerontology, including adult-gerontology primary care (AGPCNP), adult-gerontology acute care (AGACNP), general adult-gerontology (AGNP), and general adult (ANP) practice areas.
Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners may work in various settings, including outpatient care centers, private practice, hospitals, government facilities, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, research firms, and home healthcare 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 collaborate with healthcare teams to create a workable healthcare plan for their patients, keeping in mind the long-term benefits of the plan as well as the feasibility of patient compliance. AGNPs can 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 $79,870 and $200,540, with the median annual wage for nurse practitioners specifically landing at $120,680 (BLS 2022).