Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Certification Retirement
Gerontological nurse practitioner certifications will soon go into retirement in favor of adult-gerontology certifications. Applications for the final examination will be accepted until December 31, 2015, and the final examination for this specialty will take place on December 31, 2016. As long as professional development and practice requirements are met, those with this certification can continue to renew their status as gerontological nurse practitioners. Those who have not yet begun graduate education to become a gerontological nurse practitioner may not be able to apply for this specialty before its retirement.
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Role
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), gerontological nurse practitioners are engaged with the health and wellness spectrum across all ages of adults. They focus on individuals, families, groups, communities or health care systems, while integrating theory and best practice and using creative and critical thinking. The profession requires proficiency in influencing and/or developing health and social policy and in planning, implementation and evaluation of health programs.
Gerontological nurse practitioners offer improved quality and cost-effective services and generate, test and/or evaluate gerontological knowledge.
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Salary
A gerontological nurse practitioner salaries average $37,000 per year. Salaries for gerontological nurse practitioners can vary depending on the practitioner’s level of experience and geographic location. In the United States, a large aging population of baby boomers is living longer with complex medical conditions, which contributes to a growing demand for gerontological nurse practitioners across the nation. Gerontological nurse practitioners provide interventions that either restore patients to an optimal level of function or assist patients in palliative care. Gerontological nurse practitioners can work in extended care facilities, home health agencies, acute care facilities or private practice. Some gerontological nurse practitioners choose to work under a physician or with a team of other advance practice nurses.
How to Become a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
There are several steps to becoming a gerontological nurse practitioner. Prior education, certification and clinical practice are among the requirements for being accepted into a gerontological nurse practitioner program. Here is a step-by-step path you can take to become a gerontological nurse practitioner.
- Become a registered nurse. In order to apply to a gerontological nurse practitioner program, you must have completed a degree in registered nursing and be certified as a registered nurse in a U.S. state or territory. Passing the NCLEX-RN examination is required for certification as a registered nurse. Working one to two years before applying for a nurse practitioner program is highly recommended.
- Apply to gerontological nurse practitioner programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These programs must be master’s, postgraduate or doctoral programs. More information on gerontological nurse practitioner programs and coursework requirements can be found below.
- Complete 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours related to the gerontological nurse practitioner role and population.
- Apply to take the gerontological nurse practitioner exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to earn your gerontological nurse practitioner certification. The exam tests comprehension of assessment of acute and chronic illness, clinical management, nurse practitioner and patient relationship, professional role and policy, and research utilization, process and outcomes. Final transcripts and proof of education are required. More information about certification can be found at the bottom of this page.
- Apply for state certification as a gerontological nurse practitioner in the state where you wish to practice. Go to our state certification pages to find out what the requirements are and how to apply. Many applications can be submitted online.
- Once you have earned your gerontological nurse practitioner certification, certification must be renewed every five years. In addition to renewing certification through the board, renewal through the state is also required and may require additional fulfillment of continuing education contact hours.
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Programs
As with any nurse practitioner degree, AGNPs must complete required educational prerequisites including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited program, a current RN license and one to two years of direct patient care experience. AGNP programs may be completed as a master’s or post-master’s certificate, depending on the program.
Gerontological nurse practitioner programs are more accessible than ever thanks to online and remote education options. Prospective students can choose from a variety of programs and plans including online only and online/classroom combinations on full- or part-time schedules.
The curriculum and core classes may vary slightly from program to program, but students should be prepared to complete between 40 and 50 credit hours. Core classes include advanced physical assessment techniques, pharmacology, theory and research related to the focus area plus practicum placement at the end of the program. Full-time students can expect to carry four or five classes each semester, and part-time students will carry the minimum number of hours as determined by the institution.
The practicum, which includes onsite training with real patients, is a key component of nurse practitioner training. After students are connected with a nurse or physician preceptor, they will assess and treat real patients under their guidance. Required practicum hours can range from 500 to 600 hours or more depending on the program, and some may predetermine how many hours each week students must spend in clinicals — ranging from 15 to 24 hours per week or more.
Nurses who choose part-time enrollment can expect to take three years or longer to complete a degree. Full-time students can finish in two years or eight semesters, depending on the specific program.
In order to complete the path to gerontologic nurse practitioner, students who graduate from an approved educational program will need to take the gerontologic nurse practitioner certification exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The exam will test comprehension of assessment and diagnosis techniques, pharmacology, theory and more. Upon successful completion of the exam, NPs must apply to their state board of nursing to practice.
Online Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Programs
For working registered nurses who do not want to put their career on pause or uproot their lives to attend a far-away on-campus program, online gerontological nurse practitioner programs can be both a flexible and high-quality option. When looking for an online AGNP program, make sure that it is high quality, with interactive features such as live classes and excellent placement services that will help you get the most out of your education. Some universities offer online programs that are identical to what they offer on campus, allowing students to earn a degree from a university they know and whose reputation they trust, without having to relocate to attend the program. AGNP online programs are growing in popularity and are a great way to become a gerontological nurse practitioner.
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Certification
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)