9 Best Online AGNP-to-FNP Programs – 2023
Written By: Brooke Schmidt, RN, BSN
Are you an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) considering becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)? Do you wonder if switching specialties or adding a new certification is possible? AGNP-to-FNP programs allow you to seamlessly transition your practice adding a Family Nurse Practitioner focus by earning a post-master's or graduate certification. Maybe you considered these programs but found yourself wondering, "What are the best online AGNP-to-FNP programs?”
In this article, I will share information with you about AGNP-to-FNP online programs, including an overview of the admission requirements, program length, and share a list of the 9 best online AGNP-to-FNP programs for 2023. You will also find some bonus tips to help you through the application process.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GOAL OF AN ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAM?
Online AGNP-to-FNP programs aim to help you to earn the college credentials and clinical skills needed to work as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The programs are designed to allow Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners to transition to an FNP or add a family practice focus to their clinical roles.
5 MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS AND ABILITIES YOU WILL GAIN IN AN ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAM
You will learn new skills and abilities as you add family practice to your Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner role. When you choose to study in one of the best online AGNP-to-FNP programs, you will gain the following five important skills and abilities.
1. The Knowledge to Treat Patients Across the Lifespan:
As an AGNP, you perfected the ability to care for adults and geriatric patients. When you pursue online AGNP-to-FNP programs, you will gain the knowledge and clinical skills needed to care for patients of all ages across the health spectrum. This skill will make you a valuable and highly desired provider for any primary care setting.
2. The Ability to Assess and Diagnose Patients of All Ages:
One of the most essential skills you need as a Family Nurse Practitioner is the ability to assess and diagnose patients. Performing thorough assessments is critical to identifying health issues. The methods you use to assess and diagnose patients as an FNP vary, depending on the patient’s age. In an AGNP-to-FNP online program, you will learn to use age-appropriate interventions to assess patient symptoms and determine whether they have an acute or chronic illness. You will also learn to perform and interpret diagnostic tests to confirm patient diagnoses and implement appropriate care plans.
3. You Will Gain a New Perspective About Younger Patient Populations to Help You Transition to the FNP Role:
Caring for infants, children, and adolescents is much different from caring for adults and older adults. In online AGNP-to-FNP programs, you will gain new perspectives and develop the ability to diagnose and treat conditions in younger patients. Knowing the problems and issues that may arise for these age groups will help you advocate for their best interests and support their parents or guardians in caring for them.
4. You Will Develop Strong Interprofessional Skills:
Caring for a wide variety of patients as a Family Nurse Practitioner requires working closely with clients, their families, and interdisciplinary team members. As a student in AGNP-to-FNP online programs, you learn to communicate with faculty, peers, and clients in classroom and clinical settings. Your interactions will help develop the strong interpersonal skills necessary to provide effective patient care.
5. The Ability to Use Evidence-Based Practices and Research to Promote Positive Patient Outcomes:
Further professional education like you receive in online AGNP-to-FNP programs helps increase your knowledge and ability to access evidenced-based resources and implement the practices. Knowing the best places to look for answers to complex questions and issues will help you provide better patient care, leading to better patient outcomes.
3 MAIN ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAMS
There are many advantages to choosing AGNP-to-FNP online programs. The following are what I believe are the three main advantages of pursuing one of these programs.
1. Earning a Second Nurse Practitioner Certification Makes You a Competitive Job Candidate:
You increase your marketability whenever you learn a new skill or earn a new certification. Online AGNP-to-FNP programs are an excellent option for accomplishing this. When you complete these programs and take your FNP national certification exam, you will be qualified to treat patients of all ages and specialize in adult/gerontology care, as well.
2. With Degrees and Certifications as Both an AGNP and FNP, You Can Enjoy the Benefit of Long-Term Job Security:
Another great benefit of AGNP-to-FNP online programs is the two specialties have some of the best long-term job security among all healthcare providers. Your ability to care for patients from birth to old age makes you an excellent candidate for positions providing care to families in settings that offer long-term employment opportunities. Because you have the knowledge and certification to care for older adults, your patients can remain in your care through old age.
3. You Can Use Your Education and Experiences to Work Almost Anywhere:
Graduates of online AGNP-to-FNP programs can work in various settings. Whether you choose to work in a family practice clinic, adult living facility, own your own practice, or work in travel nursing, the possibilities are endless.
2 MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAMS
Although there are several advantages to earning a degree through AGNP-to-FNP online programs, it is also important to weigh possible disadvantages. The following are two of the main disadvantages of these programs.
1. You may not receive financial aid:
Many online AGNP-to-FNP programs are labeled as non-degree-seeking programs. Since you will be obtaining a new certificate and not a new degree, it could affect your financial aid eligibility. If the cost of your program concerns you, make sure you speak with the financial aid department to understand your eligibility and options for funding your program.
2. You might have to repeat coursework:
Some AGNP-to-FNP online programs allow you to transfer credits from your previous AGNP degree and reduce the overall credits to earn your FNP certificate. If the school does not allow transfer credits or your grade in the class was too low, you might have to repeat some of the same coursework you completed while earning your AGNP degree.
WHO ACCREDITS AGNP-TO-FNP ONLINE PROGRAMS?
Online AGNP-to-FNP programs are accredited by two agencies: the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
. Both agencies ensure the curriculum and program requirements meet minimum standards.
WHEN DO AGNP-TO-FNP ONLINE PROGRAMS START?
AGNP-to-FNP online programs usually have one to three start dates per year. However, start dates vary from one school to another. So, be sure to verify the start dates for each school that interests you when applying. Here are the start dates at a few of the best AGNP-to-FNP online programs featured in this article.
The FNP certificate program at George Washington University
starts twice yearly in the summer and fall.
• Duquesne University’s
FNP program has three start dates throughout the year.
• The Ohio State University
post-master’s FNP program starts once per year in the fall semester.
The Post-Graduate certificate FNP program at the University of South Alabama
starts three times yearly in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
The online AGNP-to-FNP program at Frontier Nursing University
starts twice each year in the spring and summer.
HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN AGNP-TO-FNP ONLINE PROGRAMS?
AGNP-to-FNP online programs have lower credit requirements than an MSN or DNP degree program. Since students have already earned a previous advanced practice degree, they will need fewer credits to earn their FNP certificate. The credits required to complete the program range from 18-38, here are a few of the credit requirements:
• Texas Woman’s University
requires 34 credits, but you may need less after they review your transcripts and AGNP work experience.
The University Of South Carolina
requires 18 credits for APRNs to earn their FNP certification.
• Drexel University’s
FNP post-master’s program consists of 38 credits.
There are 36 credits in the Frontier Nursing University
post-graduate FNP certificate program.
In the Duquesne University
program, you will need 33 credits to complete the online AGNP-to-FNP program.
HOW LONG ARE AGNP-TO-FNP ONLINE PROGRAMS?
The average time to complete one of these programs is around two years, but it can take anywhere from one and a half to three years. Here are the program lengths at some of the top schools:
• University of South Carolina’s
online AGNP-to-FNP program can be completed in as few as three semesters. However, most students follow a six-semester plan of study.
The FNP post-master’s certificate at Duquesne University
takes two and a half years to complete.
The FNP post-master’s program at Texas Woman’s University
takes a little over two years to complete.
The Drexel University
AGNP-to-FNP online program takes an average of two years to complete.
• Frontier Nursing University’s
program is completed in six terms, with each term lasting 11 weeks.
HOW MUCH DO AGNP-TO-FNP ONLINE PROGRAMS COST?
The average cost for online AGNP-to-FNP programs is between $10,000- $60,000. The range in cost is due to factors such as where you live and if the school offers discounted online rates. The following list is the cost of tuition at a few of the best schools:
Tuition for the AGNP-to-FNP online program at Frontier Nursing University
is calculated at a rate of $646 per credit. The program requires 36 credits, making the program cost $23,256.
You can earn a post-master's FNP certificate at Duquesne University
The online AGNP-to-FNP program at George Washington University
costs $1,995 per credit. Therefore, the program, which features a 17-credit hour curriculum, costs $33,915.
• Drexel University’s
per-credit tuition rate is $1,595 for full-time students and $1,485 for part-time students. This rate includes a per credit fee of $1,355, and general fees of $240 per credit for full-time students and $140 for students enrolled part-time. Therefore, tuition for the 38-credit AGNP-to-FNP online program is $56,810 or $60,016, depending on your enrollment status.
The University of South Carolina
has a per-credit rate of $572.25 for in-state students and $1,240 for out-of-state students. So, to complete the 18-credit certificate program, your tuition will be $10,300.50 in-state or $22,320 out-of-state.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM GPA REQUIRED TO GET INTO ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAMS?
Minimum GPA requirements for AGNP-to-FNP online programs are like those found in other graduate nursing programs. They range from a minimum of 3.0 to 3.5. There are a few programs that will let you submit supplemental materials if your GPA falls below their minimum.
The minimum GPA requirement at Frontier Nursing University
is a 3.0 earned during your MSN degree. If your GPA is between 2.80-2.99 you must submit a written statement explaining the reason your average does not meet the minimum and why you feel you should still be admitted. Your explanation must be accompanied by supporting documentation for the claims in your statement, and you must provide professional references.
• Duke University
uses a holistic approach to determine admissions offers, assessing applicant’s work and life experiences alongside measuring academic achievements. The university offers preferential admissions to applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
At Duquesne University
, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale from their previous nursing program.
• George Washington University
has preferred scholastic grade point average of at least 3.0 for all college coursework completed at a regionally accredited college or university.
The minimum GPA requirement for admission to Drexel University’s
online AGNP-to-FNP program is 3.3.
WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAMS?
Admission requirements for most online AGNP-to-FNP programs are similar. But make sure you read the requirements closely, as some require specific clinical nursing experience or completion of prerequisite courses. Here are the admission requirements at some of the top schools:
Admission criteria for the AGNP-to-FNP online program at Drexel University
include holding an MSN degree from a regionally accredited program, a GPA of 3.3 or above, and a current, unrestricted registered nurse license. You must provide official transcripts from any college or university you attended, two professional references, a personal statement, a resume, and a copy of your RN license, and participate in an admissions interview. International applicants or anyone who does not have English as a first language must submit a TOEFL score if they have not previously completed a degree in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.
Applicants seeking admission to the George Washington University
online AGNP-to-FNP program must have an earned MSN degree from an accredited college or university and submit transcripts reflecting a minimum college GPA of 3.0. Candidates must provide official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a resume, a statement of purpose, copy or proof of their current and active nursing license, and documentation showing completion of an AGNP program.
• The Ohio State University
admission criteria include an MSN degree and an active RN license. Prospective students must complete non-degree
and post-master's applications
and an online recorded video interview. Before making an admissions decision, the admission committee holistically reviews all qualified student applications considering your personal and professional experiences, leadership abilities, commitment to the nursing profession, and other important skills and attributes.
To be considered for admission to the online AGNP-to-FNP program at Duke University
, you must have completed a Master of Science in Nursing Degree and be a board-certified Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. You must be a licensed registered nurse in North Carolina or a compact state with no licensing restrictions. Candidates must submit official college transcripts, proof of completing a statistics course, three professional reference letters, and participate in a personal interview. Applicants are encouraged to have at least one year of clinical nursing experience before enrollment.
Candidates for the AGNP-to-FNP online program at the University of South Carolina
must have a Master of Science in Nursing degree and be board certified as an AGNP. You must provide official transcripts from previous nursing programs demonstrating a minimum grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. Additional criteria include providing a personal statement, professional resume, three recommendations, a copy of BLS and APRN certification, and a copy of their RN license. It is also preferred that you have clinical experience in an acute care setting before applying.
WHAT KIND OF COURSES WILL YOU TAKE IN ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAMS?
The post-master’s FNP programs courses will focus on advanced-level concepts since you have already mastered your MSN curriculum. Courses will be more specific than the ones you took in your previous degree. Here is an overview of some of the classes you may take while earning your FNP certificate:
Courses at the University of South Alabama
include Advanced Nursing Assessment, Physio-pathological Basis of Advanced Nursing, Healthcare Policy & Finance, Introduction to Family NP, Health Promotion/Disease Prevention & Issues for Family NP.
The online AGNP-to-FNP program curriculum at Drexel University
includes courses such as Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Professional issues for Nurse Practitioners, Primary Care of the Emerging Family, Primary Care of Infants, Children, & Adolescents, Primary Care of Adults & Older Adults Across the Adult Age Spectrum, and Pharmacology for Family Nurse Practitioners.
Post-graduate FNP certificate courses at Frontier Nursing University
include The Role of the Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care I, II, & III, Psych Concepts for APRNs, Gynecologic Health & Childbearing, Advanced Skills for NP Care, and Primary care Pediatrics.
• Duquesne University’s
courses include Clinical Prevention and Population-Based Health Promotion, Physical Assessment for Advanced Practice Nursing, Pathophysiology for Advanced Practice Nursing, Foundations of Family Care: Women, Foundations of Family Care: Infants, Children & Adolescents, Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing, and Transitioning to Advanced Practice Nursing.
FNP certificate classes at the University of South Carolina
include Pharmacological Management of Pediatric, Adult & Gerontological Patients Across the Lifespan, Advanced Pathophysiology for Nurses, Advanced Health Assessment & Diagnostic Reasoning, Advanced Primary Care of Children for the FNP, Advanced Primary Care of Women for the FNP, Management of Common Chronic Health Problems for the FNP, and Family Nurse Practitioner Legal, Ethical, & Role Transition.
WHAT KIND OF PRACTICAL TRAINING WILL YOU UNDERGO IN ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAMS?
Since most students have worked professionally as an AGNP, the practical training for online AGNP-to-FNP programs focuses on specific skills needed to be an FNP. Clinical hour requirements range from 500-720 hours and will often be accompanied by on-campus intensives or simulation labs. The following list is an overview of the practical training you will undergo at some of the top programs:
Practical training for the AGNP-to-FNP online program at George Washington University
includes 500 hours of clinical with a qualified preceptor. You may choose your clinical site and preceptor, but the school will provide you with information on clinical sites in the area if you have difficulty obtaining a placement. Faculty will visit you during your clinical experience to ensure it meets all the school requirements.
At Frontier Nursing University
, students in the online AGNP-to-FNP program complete a campus visit for CLINICAL BOUND, a skills-intensive course designed to prepare for clinical practicum. After completing CLINICAL BOUND, you will earn 540 clinical hours with a successful challenge of three previous clinical credits. Clinical practicum includes two to three 11-week clinical terms. The university offers clinical placement services to ensure you have a variety of clinical experiences relevant to family practice.
Practical training for the AGNP-to-FNP online program at Duquesne University
includes 700 clinical hours and 50 lab hours. You may complete required clinical hours near where you live for added convenience and the benefit of networking and training in facilities where you may later gain employment.
At Drexel University
, students in the online AGNP-to-FNP program complete 720 clinical practicum hours and participate in two to four on-campus intensives to gain practical training. During on-campus intensives, you will participate in simulated learning experiences in a multidisciplinary patient simulation lab. On-campus intensives are designed to provide guidance and mentoring from instructors and collaboration with peers in your cohort. Direct care clinical hours will be completed with preceptors at varying locations under the direction of an approved preceptor.
The practical training through Texas Woman’s University
is supported by a clinical placement team. Clinical coordinators assist you in finding clinical placements and qualified preceptors. You must complete 630 clinical hours and the accompanying clinical rotation courses.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?
(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 9 Best Online AGNP-to-FNP Programs in the nation for the year 2023.)
VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY
WHAT STARTING SALARY CAN NEW GRADUATES OF THIS PROGRAM EXPECT?
Graduates of AGNP-to-FNP online programs earn starting salaries of approximately $66,480 per year. This pay equals $31.96 per hour, $1,278 per week, and $5,540 per month.
WHAT AVERAGE SALARY CAN GRADUATES OF AGNP-TO-FNP ONLINE PROGRAMS EXPECT?
The average annual salary of graduates of online AGNP-to-FNP programs is $98,741. This pay breaks down to $8,230 per month, $1,899 per week, and $47.47 per hour.
10-YEAR JOB OUTLOOK FOR GRADUATES OF AGNP-TO-FNP ONLINE PROGRAMS
The employment outlook for graduates of AGNP-to-FNP online programs is promising. According to CareerOneStop, graduates can expect a 45.68% increase in job opportunities between 2021 and 2031. This demand is much higher than the average for all other jobs.
IS THE COST OF AN ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAM WORTH THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT?
AGNP-to-FNP online programs offer a way for you to become certified in an additional area. If you want to pursue an FNP career, your investment in the program and earning your certification can help you get a positive return on your investment. Additionally, the program's cost of $10,000 to $60,000 compared to an earning potential of nearly $99,000 annually supports the idea that the program's cost is worth the return on your investment.
BONUS! 5 EXPERT TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING ACCEPTED INTO THE BEST ONLINE AGNP-TO-FNP PROGRAMS
As you search online AGNP-to-FNP programs to find the one best for you, there are several things to consider. The following are a few expert tips to help improve your chances of getting accepted.
1. Gain Clinical Work Experience.
If you want to earn a second nurse practitioner certification through AGNP-to-FNP online programs, a great way to improve your chance of getting accepted is to have clinical work experience. Most programs prefer candidates with at least one year of work experience as an advanced practice registered nurse. Experience working in different settings is a plus.
2. Write an Excellent Statement of Purpose that Outlines Your Goals Clearly.
During the admissions process, you will be asked to prepare a written statement of purpose or letter of intent. Your statement should clearly define your personal and professional goals and reflect the program's goals and expected student outcomes. Preparing a good statement can make a difference in whether your application stands out during the online AGNP-to-FNP program admissions process.
3. Choose Who Writes Your Recommendation Letters Wisely.
It may feel easier to ask people you know to write letters of reference but knowing someone or being their friend may not make them the right choice. Look for people who can speak to your leadership and nursing abilities from a professional perspective. This can be a faculty member or staff mentor during your initial MSN degree, a current or previous job manager, or a medical director you have worked under. Choosing the best references even if asking them feels harder can improve your chances of getting accepted into a great AGNP-to-FNP online program.
4. Provide Examples of Personal and Academic Achievements
Making your application stand out can be as simple as highlighting and providing examples of any educational or professional achievements. If you received leadership awards, scholastic recognition, or were recognized with the nurse of the month or year awards, include these on your resume. These achievements demonstrate your dedication and hard work, which could make you a favorable candidate.
5. Apply to at Least Four or Five Schools.
Online AGNP-to-FNP programs may limit the number of students admitted to each class. You can increase your chances of getting into a good program by applying to more than one school. Verify the admission criteria for each program to ensure you meet all requirements and submit a complete application to each. Remember, if you have yet to receive a response within two to three weeks following the application deadline, follow up with the school.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
In this article, we discussed information about AGNP-to-FNP programs and answered the question, “What are the best online AGNP-to-FNP programs?” Suppose you are an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner and desire to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. In that case, the 9 best online AGNP-to-FNP programs for 2023 featured in this article offer excellent opportunities to accomplish that goal. I encourage you to research your options and compare your personal goals with program goals at some of the top programs to choose a program that is the right fit for you.
Brooke Schmidt, RN, BSN
Brooke Schmidt is a registered nurse with 10 years of clinical experience. She is currently living in Oregon and enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her family. Brooke graduated from The University of Portland with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. During her time in school, Brooke developed a passion for geriatrics and chose a specialized practicum to gain further experience with this population.