How Do I Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner?

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Frequently Asked Questions About Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners
Steps to Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
Certification and Requirements to Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

Prospective students can explore this page to learn more information about adult gerontology nurse practitioners (AGNPs) and the scope of their work. AGNPs, which split into two categories of care, focus on providing care to adult and elderly patients. Those focused on acute care deal more with illnesses and injuries, while professionals in primary care promote health and wellness to a singular patient population.

Most AGNP candidates hold master’s degrees, according to Career One Stop, although some professionals hold doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees, which allow them to pursue higher-level professional roles.

On this page, AGNP candidates can review job responsibilities in the field and the steps to becoming an AGNP, along with information on certification and licensure. Specific requirements can vary, depending on the state.

Frequently Asked Questions About Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners


  • What does an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner do?

    AGNPs can focus on primary or acute care. Acute care AGNPs work with patients throughout their adult lives who suffer from injuries or minor illnesses. Primary care AGNPs work with the same patient population but on a more ongoing basis, focusing on health promotion rather than acute treatment.


  • How much do adult-gerontology nurse practitioners make?

    AGNPs can experience different salaries depending on their location, degree level, and experience in the field. AGNPs earn a median salary of $89,637, according to PayScale. Entry-level professionals experience annual average salaries of about $88,000, while those in their mid-career level enjoy annual average wages of $101,000.


  • What nurse practitioner specialty is the highest paid?

    Nurse practitioners (NPs) can focus on many specialty areas to work with many diverse patient populations. These occupations typically offer lucrative salaries. Nurse anesthetists receive the highest wages in the field, enjoying a median annual wage of $167,950 in 2018.


  • How long does it take to become an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner?

    The amount of time it takes to become an AGNP depends on each professional’s degree path. Earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) takes students about four years to complete while an MSN takes an additional two years. Earning national certification takes less than a year, so many AGNP candidates can obtain certification within about six years.


  • What degree do I need to be an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner?

    To practice as an AGNP, candidates must earn a BSN and a registered nurse (RN) license. After they complete their BSNs, learners can advance into a master’s degree — the minimum requirement for national certification opportunities. Learners can also pursue certification with DNP degrees.


  • What's the difference between an acute care AGNP and a primary care AGNP?

    Both types of AGNPs, whether focused on acute or primary care, must earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree to practice. Professionals focused on acute care provide treatment for patients dealing with illnesses or injuries, while primary care AGNPs promote health and wellness more broadly for patients.


Steps to Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

  • Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners focused on primary care or acute care must hold a minimum of an MSN to practice professionally. NPs can also earn a DNP if they want to expand their career opportunities and increase their earning potential.
  • Nursing students can explore bridge programs that allow them to earn advanced degrees in less time. Many programs also often feature flexible online formats, providing learners with a convenient structure that enables them to continue working as they earn their degree.
  • Before learners can pursue an advanced nursing degree, they must earn their RN licenses and BSN degree. At the master’s level, learners can often pursue specialization opportunities, with many colleges and universities allowing enrollees to focus their degrees on adult-gerontology primary or acute care.
  • After earning an advanced degree, AGNP candidates can seek licensure through their state’s board of nursing. Professionals can consider the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner board certification offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The American Association of Critical Care Nurses also offers two different acute care NP certifications focused on adult and adult-gerontological care.

Certification and Requirements to Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

To become an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, each professional must start by earning their RN license. To earn their RN license, a candidate must complete an undergraduate degree in nursing, completing and passing the NCLEX-RN exam after earning their degree.

After obtaining their RN license and completing an undergraduate nursing program, professionals interested in the discipline must earn an MSN. At the master’s level, learners can often pursue specializations in adult-gerontology primary care or adult-gerontology acute care, depending on their specific career goals.

AGNP candidates must earn board certification in adult-gerontology primary care or adult-gerontology acute care through ANCC. Professionals must also earn their credentials in their intended state of practice. Nurses in states that allow NPs prescribing privileges need to apply for a DEA number if they want to prescribe controlled substances.

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