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Best Online Post Master’s Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs For 2021


Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

Adult gerontology nurse practitioners (AGNPs) are advanced practice RNs who are qualified to diagnose, treat and manage illnesses and injuries affecting adolescents, adults, and senior citizens. Nurse practitioners with MSN or DNP degrees can add this specialty to their clinical skill set by pursuing one of the many available online post master’s certificate adult gerontology nurse practitioner programs.

Because the patient population they treat is so varied, AGNPs have an extremely broad clinical focus. They can either work either in primary care, providing holistic, wellness-based treatment, preventative and educational services, or in acute care, dealing with patients in crisis who require hospitalization or some other form of institutionalized care. This guide to the 10 best online post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner certificate programs for 2021 will give you information about some of the best AGNP post master’s programs in the nation.


What Is the Main Purpose of a Post Master’s Certificate Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program?


Online post master’s certificate adult gerontology nurse practitioner programs exist so that advanced practice nurses with MSNs or DNPs can expand their clinical repertoire and assume new professional roles in the health-related care and management of adults and senior citizens. Currently, 46 million Americans are over the age of 65, and that number is expected to increase over the next decade.

Older adults have markedly different healthcare needs than younger adults because of the higher incidences of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and hypertension that exist within the older population. Frequently, these health issues occur in combination and require the type of healthcare management that adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners are trained to provide. Additionally, many older adults live in rural areas where there are significant shortages in the number of primary care providers. Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners are ideally qualified to remedy this gap in services.

After you’ve finished your education from one of the many available online post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner certificate programs, you’ll be eligible to take the Adult Gerontology certification exam. Two agencies give qualifying exams in this area — the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) — but the subject matter the two exams cover is essentially the same. Once you pass your exam, you’re eligible to seek additional specialty certification through the Nursing Board in the state where you hope to practice.


How Many Online Post Master’s Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs Are Currently Being Offered?


There are basically two types of online post master’s AGNP certificate programs being offered — the AG-ACNP and the AG-PCNP. The difference between the AG-ACNP and AG-PCNP specializations is based upon the nurse practitioner’s most common point of contact with a given patient. AG-PCNPs develop long-term relationships with patients and are as likely to focus upon prevention, education, and wellness promotion as they are to treat diseases. AG-ACNPs, on the other hand, interact episodically with patients who are affected by serious flair-ups of new illnesses or injuries, or by traumatic exacerbations of chronic conditions. Currently, there are 40 acute care and 33 primary care online post master’s certificate adult gerontology nurse practitioner programs in the U.S.

AG-ACNP 40
AG-PCNP 33
Total 73


5 Benefits of Post Master’s Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs


As an adult gerontology nurse practitioner, you’ll be able to assess, diagnose, treat and manage health conditions found among adults and senior citizens. There are myriad advantages to enrolling in one of the many online post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner certificate programs in furtherance of this goal:

1. Flexibility: When you enroll in an online post-master’s AGNP certificate program, you’ll retain control of your schedule. You won’t have to modify your work schedule or sacrifice your relationships with family members and friends because you can decide when to attend class and study. And as a distance education student, you’ll be exposed to alternative ways of learning such as interactive videos and augmented reality that are often far more effective than traditional didactic teaching models.
2. Cost savings: No one would argue that the best online post master’s certificate adult gerontology nurse practitioner programs are cheap! Depending upon the school you attend, they can put you out of pocket anywhere between $12,000 and $55,000. But certificate adult gerontology post master’s NP programs are considerably less expensive than equivalent graduate degree programs.
3. Time savings: Full-time students typically complete an AGNP post master’s certificate program in one year or less whereas a graduate degree program usually takes two to three years to complete.
4. Career advancement: A post master’s certificate in adult-gerontology will enable advanced practice nurses to leverage their knowledge and skills in new directions.
5. Job security: As of 2020, there are only 7,000 geriatricians in the U.S., only half of whom practice full-time. According to research conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration, however, the U.S. will need 33,200 professionals specializing in geriatrics by the year 2025. Nurse practitioners who specialize in adult-geriatrics have many of the skill sets these specialized physicians are trained in, so they are ideally suited to take up the slack.


How Long Do Online Post Master’s Certificate Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Programs Take to Complete?


Online post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner certificate programs typically take between one and two years to complete, depending upon whether you are a full-time or part-time student. The University of Northern Colorado’s 27-credit program, for example, is designed to be completed in five 16-week terms. Some offerings, like the five-semester program at the George Washington University in the District of Columbia, can only be pursued part-time. Full-time students pursuing an AG-ACNP post master’s certificate at the University of Pittsburgh, however, can count on finishing their coursework in three terms.

Credit requirements vary among programs, but two students in the same program may have different credit requirements since many programs customize study plans to give students credit for coursework they’ve already completed, and this will affect the amount of time it will take them to complete the program. Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, develops an individualized plan of study for every student enrolled in their AG-ACNP and AG-PCNP programs.


How Much Do Online Post Master’s Certificate Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Programs Cost?


Tuition for online post master’s certificate adult gerontology nurse practitioner programs is assessed on a per-credit basis, so the amount you end up paying to complete your certificate will depend upon the number of credits you’re required to take. You’ll usually pay more for a post master’s certificate program at a private university than you will at a public university, at least if you’re a resident of the state that public university is located in. Public university tuition for non-residents is often commensurate with tuition at private universities. The University of Pittsburgh, for example, charges Pennsylvania residents $920 per credit but students who live outside The Keystone State pay $1,098 per credit.

If cost is your main criterion, the University of Iowa in Iowa City and the University of Texas at Arlington are standouts on the list of best online post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner certificate programs: The former charges $560 per credit hour while the latter charges $654. Of course, cost-per-credit represents only one of the line items associated with the total cost of attendance. The University of Alabama at Birmingham actually takes the trouble to break the out-of-pocket expenses for you: In addition to a $654 per-credit charge, you’ll also be assessed $225 in technology fees, $600 for educational materials, and $88 for a background check. Most schools, however, don’t present these kinds breakdowns on their websites, so it’s worth taking the time to email a school you’re interested in attending to find out about additional costs.


Coursework


Online post master’s certificate AGNP programs are designed to make sure you can hit the ground running when you start your new job as an adult-gerontology NP. The curriculum at the best post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner online certificate programs, however, reflects AGNP licensing requirements for the state in which the program is physically located. Since requirements for AGNP licensure vary from state to state, this can be an issue. Check to make sure the program you’re applying to meets the educational requirements of the state where you’re planning to practice as an advanced practice nurse.

Core classes for AGNP certificate programs typically include an introduction to practice, which focuses on major healthcare issues found in the target population. Thereafter, the acute care specialization and the primary care specialization diverge. Prospective AG-ACNPs enrolled in George Washington University’s certificate program study the treatment and management of complex, acute and chronic pathologies in two separate courses while courses for prospective AG-PCNPs break out diseases as they affect specific age groups.

Many programs have an on-campus component. The University of Northern Colorado, for instance, requires all certificate students to attend a one-week summer intensive session onsite. Some schools will customize an individual AGNP study plan for you: Drexel University offers a formal Gap Analysis of previously completed coursework; if the university decides your previous classes and clinical experiences are relevant to its adult-gerontology requirements, you won’t have to retake them. Some schools, like Vanderbilt University, will also let you apply your post-master’s AGNP certificate coursework toward fulfillment of the requirements for a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.


Clinical Training


In most distance-learning AGNP post master’s certificate programs, setting up clinical learning experiences is a collaborative effort, shared between the student and the school. Students are responsible for finding placements close to where they live, but schools are responsible for vetting those placements and verifying that prospective preceptors have sufficient expertise in the adult-gerontology advanced practice nursing specialty to mentor students effectively.

Before you can sit for your AGNP certification exam, both the AANC and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) require 500 hours of clinical training. However, different states have different clinical hour requirements for licensure, so you really need to verify specific requirements with the Board of Nursing in the state where you intend to practice before you enroll in one of the best online post master’s certificate adult gerontology nurse practitioner programs.

Drexel University requires students to fulfill 800 clinical hours unless they qualify for a reduction through a Gap Analysis. Vanderbilt University’s program entails 500 supervised hours of direct patient care. The University of Northern Colorado’s AG-ACNP program includes 585 clinical hours. The University of Pittsburgh requires 540 clinical hours; however, you may qualify for a reduction of up to 300 hours if you’ve worked professionally with adult/gerontology patient populations and can test out of the requirement.


Admission Requirements


Admission requirements for online post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner certificate programs are straightforward, and they don’t vary much from institution to institution. Admission criteria typically include:

• An unencumbered RN license
• Proof of advanced practice certification
• Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
• A grade point average of 3.0 or higher in previous classwork
• A resume or curriculum vitae
• Professional recommendations
• A personal statement

Most programs require three letters of recommendation, but Drexel University only requires two. The University of Alabama requires a criminal background check. The University of Pittsburgh highly recommends that applicants have at least one year of professional experience. In order to be admitted into the AG-ACNP certificate program offered by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, you must prove you are certified in an advanced practice nursing specialty other than AG-ACNP.



FOLLOWING ARE THE 10 BEST ONLINE POST MASTER’S ADULT GERONTOLOGY NURSE PRACTITIONER CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS FOR 2021


1. The George Washington University - Washington DC

Tracks Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner


2. Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA

Tracks Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner


3. Maryville University - St. Louis, MO

Tracks Offered: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner


4. University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

Tracks Offered: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner


5. University of Norther Colorado - Greeley, CO

Tracks Offered: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nursing Practice


6. Vanderbilt University - Nashville TN

Tracks Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner


7. The University of Texas at Arlington - Arlington, TX

Tracks Offered: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner


8. University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA

Tracks Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) and Gerontology for Nurse Practitioner


9. University of Tennessee Health Science Center - Memphis, TN

Tracks Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner


10. University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA

Tracks Offered: Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care and Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care

View Ranking Methodology



Career Opportunities After Completing This Post Master’s Certificate Program


Since the patient population they’re trained to care for encompasses individuals from adolescence to old age, adult-gerontology nurse practitioners function as healthcare generalists, and that means they have ample employment opportunities. Nurses with an AG-ACNP certification work in hospitals, intensive care units, trauma units, emergency departments, sub-acute-care units, surgical operating theaters and rehabilitation units. Nurses with an AG-PCNP certification work in hospitals, home healthcare agencies, community clinics, physicians’ offices and assisted living facilities.


Average Salary


On average, adult-gerontology nurse practitioners earn $43.61 an hour, which comes out to $7,560 a month or slightly more than $90,000 annually.

Per Hour $43.61
Per Month $7,560
Per Year $90,702
(Source: payscale.com)


Job Outlook


According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging, the demand for adult gerontology care is expected to increase nearly 15 percent in the next four years. But the U.S. is experiencing a serious shortage both of primary care doctors and physicians who are specially trained in health issues that beset the elderly. This works to drive up the demand for adult gerontology nurse practitioners who are trained to perform many of the same clinical functions as physicians. Graduates of online post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner certificate programs should face few difficulties finding employment.


Conclusion


Whether you pursue an adult-gerontology acute care NP certificate or an adult-gerontology primary care certificate, you’ll be positioning yourself to take advantage of a whole new world of professional opportunities. The best online post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner certificate programs for 2021 can help you earn a higher salary and find greater satisfaction in the nursing care you’re committed to delivering.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


What’s the difference between an AG-ACNP and an AG-PCNP?

Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners (AG-ACNPs) and adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners (AG-PCNPs) deal with the same patient population, but they deal with them at different points of contact within the healthcare delivery cycle. AG-PCNPs form long-term relationships with the patients they serve and see them repeatedly for diagnosis, treatment, and/or management while AG-ACNPs typically see a patient only when that patient’s condition is severe enough to require hospitalization.

What’s the difference between an AG-PCNP and PCNP?

Though there is overlap, AG-PCNPs (adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners) and PCNPs (primary care nurse practitioners) are trained to provide care to two separate populations. AG-PCNPs provide primary care for patients aged 12 or older while PCNPs provide primary care to individuals across their lifespans from infancy to old age.

What hours will I work as an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner?

The hours you work will depend upon where you work. AG-PCNPs can be found more often in physicians’ offices, community clinics, and other venues that keep to a nine-to-five schedule. While you may be called upon to work the occasional weekend, you won’t routinely work nights although you may occasionally find yourself on call. AG-ACNPs, on the other hand, typically work in hospitals or other medical facilities that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may be assigned to a swing shift (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.) or a night shift (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.), and you can count on working every other weekend.

Do prospective employers know that you received your AG-NP certification through certificate training?

No. Prospective employers can only see what’s on your nursing license. There is no functional difference between the clinical education you receive through online post master’s adult gerontology nurse practitioner certificate programs and the clinical education you receive in a graduate nursing program.