How to Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)


    GUIDE
    July 10, 2020
    Nurse practitioner diagnosing elderly patient in office room

    By: Kathleen Gaines, MSN, BA, RN, CBC

    An Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse that specializes in the care of adults from adolescence through old age. They work with patients and their caregivers on managing chronic conditions, diseases, and other health conditions. If you’re considering becoming an AGNP, this guide will explain what they do, how to become one, and more. 

    Part One What is an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner?

    Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners provide care and support to patients throughout their adult lives. AGNPs diagnose, examine, and treat their patients, while offering routine checkups, assessments, counseling and education. 

    They also provide constant education to their patients and their caregivers. The goal of AGNPs is to develop and implement healthy lifestyles and disease prevention plans for their patients.  

    Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP vs Primary Care NP

    Adult-Gerontology NPs can specialize in primary care or acute care. It is important to determine which path to take as certification is determined by this. 

    Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)

    AG-ACNPs focus on treating illnesses, including stabilizing their condition, and restoring them to health. They typically work in hospitals or inpatient settings.

    Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-PCNP) 

    AG-PCNPs on the other hand, focus on illness prevention and promoting health in their patients. They often work in community clinics or private practice settings. 

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    Part Two What Do Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners Do?

    Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners oversee the care of patients 13 years of age and older. While some might focus on the younger spectrum of patients, most will focus solely on the geriatric community. 

    Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners have specific duties depending on if they are primary or acute care and they’ll vary based on where they work. They may include:

    • Analyzing patients' health histories, symptoms, and diagnostic information to develop appropriate diagnoses and comprehensive treatment plans accordingly
    • Prescribing medication dosages, routes and frequencies and educating patients on the risks and side effects associated with medication
    • Ordering and interpreting the results of diagnostic tests 
    • Educating patients and caregivers about self-management of acute or chronic illnesses and conditions
    • Diagnosing and treating common acute health care problems 
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of a patient's treatment plan and making changes to plan if needed

    Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) Duties

    AG-ACNPs generally care for patients in a hospital setting so their day-to-day duties include diagnosing patients and developing treatment plans, stabilizing patients in critical care areas, prescribing medications, and performing procedures.

    Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-PCNP) Duties

    AG-PCNPs are primarily concerned with preventative care and disease prevention. As such, their duties include teaching patients and their families about maintaining their health and preventing disease and helping patients manage long-term health issues.

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    Part Three Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Salary

    According to Glassdoor.com, Adult-Gerontology NPs make, on average, $110,076 per year.

    Payscale.com reports an average annual salary of Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners of $90,102 or $47.02 per hour. 

    Based on years of experience, NPs can make the following, 

    • 1-4 years of experience earn an average salary of $89,577
    • 5-9 years of experience earns an average salary of $102,047
    • 10-19 years of experience earns an average salary of $95,501
    • 20+ years of experience earns an average salary of $82,200

    In this field, salary is reported to decrease over time especially compared to other specialized Nurse Practitioners. Unfortunately, these NPs typically work in settings that have lower salaries. 

    Highest Paying States for AGNPs

    Currently, the highest paying states for Adult-Gerontology NPs that have reported salaries, according to payscale.com are as follows:

    • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - $115,893
    • Portland, Oregon - $110,000
    • York, Pennsylvania - $102,439
    • Dallas, Texas - $96,497

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for nurse practitioners in 2019 was $115,800 per year, or $55.67 per hour. Unfortunately, the BLS does not differentiate between different types of Nurse Practitioners. 

    Regardless of the workplace setting, full-time and part-time nurses enjoy similar benefits. While actual benefits may vary depending on the institution most include the following:

    • Health insurance
    • Certification Reimbursement      
    • Retirement Options
    • Holiday Pay
    • Family Leave of Absence
    • Maternity Leave
    • Dental Insurance
    • Dependent health insurance coverage
    • Life Insurance
    • Paid time off
    • Relocation assistance
    • Childcare
    • Bereavement leave       
    • Vision Insurance        
    • Discounts on extracurricular activities      
    • Continuing Education Reimbursement
    • Relocation packages
    • Attendance at nursing conferences

    Part Four How Do You Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner?

    To become an Adult-Gerontology NP, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

    Step 1: Attend Nursing School

    You’ll need to earn either an ADN or a BSN from an accredited nursing program in order to take the first steps to become a registered nurse. ADN-prepared nurses will need to complete an additional step of either completing their BSN degree or entering into an accelerated RN to MSN program which will let them earn their BSN and MSN at the same time.

    Step 2: Pass the NCLEX-RN

    Become a Registered Nurse by passing the NCLEX examination.

    Step 3: Gain Experience or Continue Your Education

    Nurses can choose to gain some nursing experience before going back to school or go directly into an MSN program depending on their unique situation. Most NP programs will require a minimum of TWO years of relevant work experience.

    Step 4: Graduate With Your Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Degree From an Accredited Nursing Program

    Enter into an MSN/NP program that offers a program to become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. For tips on getting into nursing school, check out our article on What To Know About Applying to Nursing Schools

    Step 5: Become a Certified NP by Passing Your National Examination

    There are several certifications available for those that graduate from an accredited adult gerontology nurse practitioner program.

    Certification Options Available for Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners

    1. AGPCNP-BC Certification
    2. AGACNP-BC Certification 
    3. A-GNP Certification

    1. AGPCNP-BC Certification

    The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP-BC) certification.

    AGPCNP-BC Certification Requirements

    • Current U.S. nursing license is required
    • Successful completion of an accredited graduate program
    • Nationally recognized competencies of the NP role and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Or Family/Across the Life Span population specialty.
    • APRN core (advanced physical assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology).
    • NP program’s required number of faculty-supervised direct patient care clinical hours

    Additional Exam Information

    • $395 examination fee. Discounts are available for members of specific nursing associations
    • This certification exam is a 3.5-hour test consisting of 175 multiple-choice items.  
    • Of the 175 items, 150 are scored and 25 are used to gather statistical data on item performance for future exams.

    2. Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP-BC) Certification 

     The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP-BC) certification

    AGACNP-BC Certification Requirements

    • Current U.S. nursing license is required
    • Successful completion of an accredited graduate program
    • Nationally recognized competencies of the NP role and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Or Family/Across the Life Span population specialty.
    • APRN core(advanced physical assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology).
    • NP program’s required number of faculty-supervised direct patient care clinical hours

    Additional Exam Information

    • $395 examination fee. Discounts are available for members of specific nursing associations
    • This certification exam is a 4-hour test consisting of 200 multiple-choice items.  
    • Of the 200 items, 175 are scored and 25 are used to gather statistical data on item performance for future exams.
    • Effective November 1, 2020: the exam will allow 3.5 hours to answer 175 questions (150 scored plus 25 pretest questions that are not scored).

    3.  Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GNP) Certification

    The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners offers the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GNP) Certification. This certification is available to APRNs that meet the following criteria. 

    A-GNP Certification Requirements

    • Current U.S. nursing license is required
    • Successful completion of an accredited graduate program
    • Nationally recognized competencies of the NP role and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Or Family/Across the Life Span population specialty.
    • APRN core(advanced physical assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology).
    • NP program’s required number of faculty-supervised direct patient care clinical hours

    Additional Exam Information

    • $365 examination fee. Discounts are available for members of the AANP. 
    • Of the 150 items, 135 are scored and 15 are used to gather statistical data on item performance for future exams.
    • Computerized examination with a three-hour time limit. 

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    Part Five What is the Career Outlook for an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner?

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the career outlook for NPs is excellent. As of 2018, there were 189,100 Nurse Practitioners in the United States, while in 2028 there is an expected need of 242,400 providers. This is a 28% growth. 

    The National Center for Workforce Analysis (NCHWA) reported an estimated 20,000 primary care physician shortfall by 2025. Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners will help fill the void in this area. Furthermore, as the baby boomer generation continues to age -- Adult-Gerontology NPs will be in HIGH demand across the country. Currently, the highest concentrated need is in Florida and Arizona due to the large retired community. 

    Part Six What are the Continuing Education Requirements for Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners?

    CEU hours will vary based on the state of licensure. For each state an individual is licensed, CEU hours will be required. Generally, NPs are required to have a minimum of 75 contact hours of continuing education in the specialty area (psychiatric nursing).

    Additionally, even though they are functioning in an APRN role, they must maintain their RN certification. In order for an individual to renew their RN license, they will need to fill out an application, complete a specific number of CEU hours, and pay a nominal fee. Each state has specific requirements and it is important to check with the board of nursing prior to applying for license renewal.

    A detailed look at Continuing Nurse Education hours can be found here.

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    Part Seven Where Can I Learn More about Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners?

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    Part Eight Other Nurse Practitioner Specialties

    1. General Nurse Practitioner
    2. Family Nurse Practitioner
    3. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
    4. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
    5. Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    6. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
    7. Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
    8. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner
    9. Emergency Nurse Practitioner

    Part Nine Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner FAQs

    • How much does an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner make?

      • According to Glassdoor.com, Adult-Gerontology NPs make on average $110,076. 
    • What is the difference between FNP and AGNP?

      • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners care for and treat patients from age 13 through geriatrics. Family Nurse Practitioners, on the other hand, typically care for patients from infancy through geriatrics. However, Adult-Gerontology NPs are generally focused on the elderly population. 
    • How long does it take to become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner?

      • There are numerous steps to becoming an Adult-Gerontology NP. Typically, from the start of undergraduate education to the completion of an Advanced Practice NP degree, an individual can expect it to take a minimum of 10 years. Earning a BSN is roughly four years from start to finish. Gaining relevant bedside experience is essential prior to starting a nurse practitioner program. Most programs want a minimum of two years of experience. An NP program typically takes three years to complete. 

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