With an estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers entering retirement each day (Source), it’s no wonder the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 31% job growth for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) between 2016-2026. Nurse Practitioners who specialize in Adult Gerontology Acute Care, no doubt, will be in demand to care for that rapidly growing demographic.
Universities and colleges are developing online AG-ACNP degrees to allow nurses to obtain an advanced degree in this specialty while continuing to work. Researching and identifying these programs can be a fulltime task. Best Medical Degrees has done much of the legwork for you. This ranking of available online AG-ACNP programs will provide you a base from which to begin your search.
Things To Look For
Because of the skills sets necessary for providing acute patient care, schools may offer online didactic coursework, but may also require some on-campus attendance for patient simulations or skills assessment. Clinical experiences are frequently offered in your home community under an approved preceptor. Schools will work with you to identify appropriate clinical sites.
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) compares national standards for distance education or, online, programs. Not all states are eligible for all schools. Information for a school’s SARA admission policies can typically be found on school websites. If you’re unable to find it, be certain to check either with your state’s licensing board or a school advisor to determine if your state qualifies for the online degree program.
This is sometimes difficult to nail down. Universities and colleges may add additional fees for online students and some may not. Some institutions charge out of state tuition for online students and other may not. This ranking uses information from the National Center for Educational Statistics to ascertain an estimate for an academic year, without adding additional fees or charges.
Best Medical Degrees has researched several areas to develop this ranking: 1) identification of online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) resulting in an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree, 2) national rankings a determined by U.S. News and World Report, Washington Monthly and Forbes Magazine, Military Times and The Princeton Review, 3) accreditation standards of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and 4) developed tuition cost ranges per academic year as published by the National Center for Educational Statistics data and school websites. (Tuition estimates do not include any additional fees accessed by the school or university) and 5) how long the program may take for completion.
Academic Year Tuition Estimate: $5,000-$15,000
1. University of Alabama Huntsville
This is a hybrid program requiring a mix of online and on-campus participation. The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and requires applicants to have an accredited BSN degree, a current, unrestricted nursing license, acceptable Graduated Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores, along with additional academic material. Hybrid coursework, requiring on-campus attendance includes: Advanced Health Assessment, Adult-Gerontology ACNP I, II, III, IV. Online courses include: Advanced Pathophysiology, Scholarly Inquiry for Advanced Practice, Advanced Pharmacology and thesis or non-thesis elective. Clinical experiences also require the student to provide a health screening documentation including records of vaccinations for MMR, Hepatitis B, TB, TDap, etc. Totally 42 credit hours and 672 clinical hours, once successfully completed, the graduate is eligible to sit for the national certification as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.
Forbes Magazine ranks the University of Alabama Huntsville as one of its America’s Best Value Colleges and rated a Best Nursing Schools: Masters by U.S. News and World Report. Established in 1949, the University of Birmingham Huntsville offers over 100 areas of study in its nine colleges.
2. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
This MSN Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner online program may be completed in 48 semester hours and holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This is a hybrid program which requires occasional visits to the Lubbock, Texas campus. Admission requirements include at least one year of nursing experience in an acute care, intensive care, or emergency department setting within the past years of application, an unencumbered and valid nursing license, a BSN from a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or from the American Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredited nursing program, etc. Coursework for this degree involves studies in: Scientific Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice, Leadership for Healthcare, Informatics, Quality and Safety, Critical Care Pharmacology, Foundations for Advanced Practice Nursing Role, Pharmacotherapeutics for Nurses in Advanced Practice, Advanced Practice Nursing: Application of Pathophysiology and Essentials of Acute Care. Course which includes on-campus skills labs are: Diagnostic Methods for Advanced Nursing Practice, Advanced Health Assessment and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care. Graduates are eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification exams. As a participant in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), this program is unable to accept distance education students from California and Florida.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s School of Nursing has been named one of Forbes Magazine’s America’s Top Colleges and ranks in the top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nursing Schools: Masters Programs.
3. University of South Alabama
The University of South Alabama has an online, hybrid MSN Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner which holds accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Admission to this program includes a an holding of an unecumbered nursing license and two years nursing experience, a BSN from an accredited degree program and additional academic documentation. Coursework for the BSN to MSN involves studies in: Physiopathological Basis of Advanced Nursing, Evidence-Based Practice and Quality Improvement in Health Care, Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurse, Introduction to Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Health Promotion/Disease Prevention & Issues for Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Advanced Nursing Assessment as well as others. Students enrolled online will be expected to attend an orientation session on campus in the Fall and may be required to attend on-campus following during some specialty courses and for a final exam and presentations. The degree requires 45 credit hours of coursework and 600 practicum hours.
Founded in 1963 in Mobile, Alabama, the University of South Alabama has been ranked in the National Universities ranking by U.S. News and World Report and ranked by Forbes Magazine’s America’s Top Colleges. Enrollment is published as 15,000 students.
4. University of Texas El Paso
An Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) degree may be completed in 7 semesters, requiring 49 credit hours and 675 clinical hours. Successful graduates are eligible to sit for national certification offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). A participant in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, UTEP is authorized to accept students from a majority of states, but not all. Potential applicants should verify they qualify by reviewing State Authorization for the university. Admissions requires a valid, unencumbered nursing license from your state of current practice, an accredited BSN degree, 2 to 3 years of critical care, as well as other academic information. Studies for this program involve: Nursing Theories, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Health Law & Policy, Advanced Health Assessment, Adult & Geriatric Health, Acute & Critical Illness and Acute & Critical Illness Practicum. While didactic coursework is offered online, students may be asked to come to the El Paso campus on occasion during specialty coursework; and, students may be required to travel 200 miles or more to fulfill appropriate clinical requirements, according to the school website.
Forbes Magazine rates the University of Texas El Paso as one of America’s Best College Values and U.S. News and World Report ranks it as one of the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. The University of Texas El Paso is the second oldest institution in the University of Texas System. Established in 1914, it has grown to 74 undergraduate programs, 76 master’s programs and 22 doctoral degree programs.
Academic Year Tuition Estimate: $10,000-$20,000
5. Maryville University
Maryville University provides a 100% online MSN Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree which may be completed in 32 months and requires 26 credit hours of core courses, 18 hours of specialty concentration coursework and 830 clinical hours. Clinical experiences are conducted under an approved preceptor in your home community. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), students in this program will follow a curriculum of: Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice, Leadership and Quality, Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Diagnosis and Management and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Diagnosis and Management Practicum. Admission requires completion of a BSN from a CCNE or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), a current unencumbered license, etc. The university is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) in all 50 states. However, students from Alabama should verify that the program meets licensing requirements for that state.
Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville University was founded in 1872 currently has over 8,000 enrolled students, with approximately 45% of those students enrolled online. Maryville University has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report in the top 200 of its Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs as #165 in its National Universities ranking, Forbes Magazine places the school in its top 500 of America’s Top Colleges and Washington Monthly rates it #135 in its Best Bang for the Buck-Midwest. Kiplinger’s listed Maryville University in its Best Values in Private Colleges and ranked it #154 among all colleges.
6. University of South Carolina
Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the University of South Carolina College of Nursing supports an online Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) degree. The University of South Carolina participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement and recommends students, “…contact the State Board of Nursing they plan to conduct their clinical practica prior to matriculation to confirm graduate student clinical practica is permitted by students from out of state graduate programs.” Applicants must have a BSN from a nationally accredited institution, a minimum of 600 hours of nursing experience within the past 2 years in an acute care setting and an unencumbered nursing license (the license must be active in the state in which the clinical experience will be conducted). The GRE is not required for admission. The program requires 40 credit hours of coursework in: Theoretical and Conceptual Foundation for Nursing, Advanced Pathophysiology for Nurses, Pharmacologic Management of Pediatric, Adult, and Gerontological Patients Across the Healthcare Delivery Continuum, Application of Basic Statistics for Nursing Practice & Service Management, Diagnostic Interpretation and Therapeutic Modalities, Advanced Health Assessment, Clinical Application of Population Analysis, Research Methods for Nursing, etc. Two on-campus immersion experiences are required while enrolled in Advanced Health Assessment and Management of Acute Adult and Gerontological Health Problems. The degree requires 672 clinical hours.
The University of South Carolina is a highly ranked institution, having received high ratings from Forbes Magazine as one of its America’s Top Colleges, The Kiplinger Report’s Best College Values, Money Magazine’s Best Colleges for Your Money 2018 and U.S. News and World Report rates this one of its Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. The school is also recognized as U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges for Vets and Top Public Schools. Located in Columbia, South Carolina, the university was established in 1801, with the main campus located in Columbia, South Carolina.
7. University of North Colorado
This hybrid, online MSN Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. The program is comprised of 50 credit hours, does requires one summer intensive on the Greeley, Colorado campus and 585 clinical hours. Students may choose between a thesis or a comprehensive exam for completion of the program. Coursework includes studies in: Advanced Pharmacology, Research and Evidence-based Practice in Nursing, Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Advanced Practice of Nursing, Adult Gerontology Acute Care, Acute Care Skills and AGACNP Synthesis Practicum. The degree may be completed in 3 years attending part-time. Admissions requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited (NLN/ACEN or CCNE) nursing program, current Colorado nursing license or eligibility for Colorado licensure as a registered nurse and at least one year clinical nursing experience (acute care preferred but not required). Under the SARA participation agreement, the University of Northern Colorado accepts students from all 50 states. Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for the AGACNP-BC certification exam of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the ACNPC-AG certification exam from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Board.
Founded in 1889, The University of Northern Colorado campus is located in Greeley, Colorado. The university has been nationally recognized as having one of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs: Masters, Forbes Magazine lists the school as one of America’s Top Colleges and Washington Monthly names it one of its Best Bang for the Buck: West.
8. Colorado University Anschutz Medical Campus
The Anschutz Medical Campus of Colorado University has an online, hybrid MSN Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner CCNE accredited degree. A BSN degree from an accredited nursing program and a current unencumbered nursing license are required for admission, along with other academic information. The program requires 35 didactic credit hours and 630 clinical hours for completion with on campus attendance for some courses. Coursework for this hybrid program involves: Advanced Pathophysiology, Foundations of Healthcare Informatics, Advanced Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Advanced Assessment, Evidence-Based Practice: Evaluating Evidence, Theory Foundations for Advanced Nursing, Introduction to AG-ACNP, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Diagnostics & Therapeutics and AGACNP Advanced Practicum. Clinical experiences may be completed in any hospital. The degree can be completed in 2-3 years and qualifies students to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) exam.
The Anschutz Medical Campus of Colorado University ranks in U.S. News and World Report’s Top Nursing Programs. Located in Aurora, Colorado, the College of Nursing at Colorado University dates to 1898. The University of Colorado has been rated one of America’s Best Value Colleges by Forbes Magazine and Money Magazine ranks the university in its Best Colleges for Your Money 2018.
9. University of Southern Indiana
Requiring 42 credit hours and 705 clinical hours, the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (MSN AGACNP) program through the University of Southern Indiana’s College of Nursing and Health Professions is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Admission, offered once a year, to the three year program requests a BSN from a nationally accredited school, an unencumbered US RN license in all states of practice and one year full-time clinical nursing practice (recommended, but not required). Students are required to attend a mandatory on-campus attendance when enrolled in Roles for Advanced Nursing Practice and an additional two-day campus intensive for AGACNP candidate. Students are responsible for identifying clinical practice sites in their community and approval is necessary from the faculty. Additional clinical requirements include drug screening and a criminal background record check (including a Zachary Law Compliance Check). Online coursework involves studies in: Evidenced Based Practice for Advanced Nursing, Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice, Population Based Care and Health Policy, Healthcare Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice, Nursing Leadership in Health Systems, Advanced Concepts of Pathophysiology, Advanced Health Assessment, Clinical Pharmacology for Advanced Nursing Practice and Management of Acutely Ill Adults.
This online nursing program has been ranked by Washington Monthly as one of its Best Bang for the Buck: Midwest and U.S. News and World Report named it one of its Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and . Located in Evansville, Indiana, SIU was established in 1965.
10. Saint Louis University
The Adult/Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitionerprogram at Saint Louis University offers 100% online coursework, but does require two on-campus visits. A two-day orientation before beginning the program and one visit during one of the clinical management course on skills. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the program requires 20 credit hours of core coursework in: Ethics in Nursing and Health Care, Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Health Assessment & Clinical Decision Making, Health Promotion, Advanced Pathophysiology, Principles of Practice Management, etc. Specialty specific studies involve 36 credit hours in: Critical Appraisal of Technology: Acute Care, Advanced Clinical Studies in the Acute Care Setting, Nursing Practicum, etc. Applicants must hold a BSN from an accredited institution, an unrestricted nursing license in the state you’ll be completing your clinical experience and a current CPR certification. Additional admission data is also required. Under the SARA participation, the school is unable to accept applicants from all states. The school website lists those states which are eligible.
Saint Louis University has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs and Forbes Magazine named it as one of its America’s Best Value Colleges. Washington Monthly rates the university as “Best Bang For Your Buck: Midwest” and The Princeton Review rated Saint Louis University on its The Best 381 Colleges: 2017 Edition. Established by Jesuits in 1818, the university is located in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Academic Year Tuition Estimate: $20,000-30,000+
11. Georgetown University
The School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Georgetown University offers a MSN Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree which is a hybrid program, requiring 2 on-campus intensives, as well as 40 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. The program may be completed in 23 months and requires applicants to have a current U.S. nursing license, have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or CNL/entry-level MSN from a CCNE or ACEN accredited institution, among other admission requirements. The program is able to accept students from a majority of states under the SARA agreement. A list of approved states is provided on the school website. Coursework for this program involves studies in: Advanced Health Assessment, Principles of Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, Health Care Ethics, Advanced Concepts in Pharmacology, Foundations of Health Systems and Policy, Primary Health Care of the Family, Research Methods & Biostatistics for Health Care Providers, Research Evidence, Best Practices in Health Care, etc. On-campus intensives, lasting 3-5 days, cover Health Assessment and Family Nurse Practitioner studies with standardized patients, training/workshops and simulators. Clinical experiences are arranged through the school with the student providing suggestions and/or referrals for clinical sites for consideration. This program holds Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accreditation and has a 94.44% school exam pass rate with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and an impressive 100% school pass rate for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) exam.
Georgetown University was founded in 1789 with the School of Nursing and Health Sciences established in 1903. Located in Washington D.C., Georgetown University ranks in the top 50 of Money Magazine’s Best Colleges for Your Money 2018, Forbes Magazine’s #50 in America’s Best Value Colleges, The Princeton Review’s Colleges That Pay You Back and U.S. News and World Report ranks it one of its Best Nursing Schools: Masters.
12. Northern Kentucky University
Northern Kentucky University offers an online MSN Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitionerprogram which may be completed in 20 months and requiring 46 credit hours. Core courses requires 24 credit hours in: Theoretical Foundations in Nursing Practice and Research, Theory and Research, Analysis and Application of Health Data for Advanced Nursing Practice (ANP), Human Pathophysiology, Advanced Clinical Pharmacology and Intervention for APRN’s and Role Development in Advanced Practice Nursing. Specialty studies of 15 credit hours in: Differential Diagnosis and Disease Management in Acute Care I-III, Advanced Technologies for Acute Care and Diagnostic Reasoning, Seminar in Health Promotion and Acute Care Clinical Decision Making and Adult Gero Acute Care Residency I-IV and a capstone project. It’s assumed clinical experiences may be conducted in your home community under a qualified preceptor, but not specified on the school’s website. Be certain to check with a school advisor. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) graduates are eligible to sit for the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care certification exam.
Washington Monthly names NKU one of its “Best Bang for the Buck-South”, Forbes Magazine named it one of America’s Top Colleges and U.S. News and World Report has rated Northern Kentucky University’s online graduate nursing program at #28 in its Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. Located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, NKU was established in 1968.
13. Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University
This university is the product of the merging of two universities; and, through its Jefferson College School of Nursing, offers an online MSN Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree which may be completed in 15 months. Admission to the AGACNP program requires a minimum of one year clinical experience, a conferred BSN, an active nursing license, a criminal background check and an American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) certification. The degree requires 36 credit hours for completion. Core coursework is expected in: Health Policy, Legal & Ethical Dimensions of Practice, Research For Advanced Nursing Practice, Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse, Epidemiology for the Health Professions and Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice. Specialty studies include: Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Pathophysiology of Human Disease, Diagnostic Reasoning and Clinical Decision Making for Acute Care and Comprehensive Assessment for Clinical Decision Making. Students earn 16 hours of clinical experience a week in each clinical course. The Jefferson College of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and has a 95% pass rate on national certification exams.
Thomas Jefferson University was founded in 1824 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as Jefferson Medical College, with the Jefferson College of Nursing being established in 1891. U.S. News and World Report ranks Thomas Jefferson University #85 as Best Nursing Schools-Masters ranking in its Best Graduate School Rankings in 2018.
14. Drexel University
This is a hybrid degree in MSN Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner that involves 2-3 clinical course intensives in the second and third semesters which requires on-campus attendance. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the program covers core coursework in: Confronting Issues in Contemporary Health Care Environments, Advanced Ethical Decision Making in Health Care, Quality and Safety in Healthcare, Research Methods and Biostatistics and Evaluation and Translation of Health Research. Specialty support courses are: Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Clinical Assessment & Diagnostic Reasoning, Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP I: Introduction to Adult Gerontology Acute Care Medicine, Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP II: Mgnt/Care of Patients in Acute/Crit Care Med Set, Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP III: Mgnt/Care of Patients in Acute Surgical Setting, Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP IV: Management of Care of Patients in Critical Care Settings and Adult Gero Acute Care NP V: Mgmt/Care of Clients in Acute, Critical Care, Med or Surg Settings. Along with clinical courses, the program is completed in 57 credit hours. Students from all states may not qualify and it’s important you verify your state’s participation in the State Authorization agreements before applying. In addition to other academic requirements, admission requires a BSN from an accredited institution, an unrestricted and current nursing license and one-year nursing experience is preferred (but not required).
Drexel University has been ranked by Washington Monthly as one of its “Best Bang for the Buck” universities in the Northeast. Forbes Magazine ranked Drexel University as one of America’s Top Colleges and U.S. News and World Report rates the university in its Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs, top 100 National Universities and Best Value Schools. A private university, Drexel was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1891.
15. George Washington University
George Washington University offers an online, hybrid degree in MSN Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree which may be completed in 51 credit hours and 650 clinical hours (which may be conducted in an approved clinical setting in the student’s home community). A BSN from a regionally accredited university or college, an active, unencumbered nursing license and other academic documentation is required for admission. George Washington University is unable to accept applicants from Alabama, Louisiana, North Dakota and is limited in the clinical placements in New York, due to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Students will study: Concepts in Population Health Nursing Leadership,Health Policy, Quality and Political Processes, Evidence-Based Practice for Health Care Researchers, Biostatistics for Health Care Researchers, Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology and Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning. (This last course requires on-campus attendance). The AGACNP requirements include: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) Introduction, Genetics for Health Care Providers and Advanced Pharmacology for Nursing. The degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and qualifies graduates to to sit for the ANCC and AANP certification exams.
George Washington University, located in Washington D.C., was established in 1821 and its Nursing School dates to 1918. A highly ranked university, George Washington University has been ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Top Colleges and Washington Monthly rates GW as one of its “Best Bang for the Buck-Southeast”. U.S. News and World Report rated the nursing program at #5 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs, top 50 of Best Colleges for Veterans and in the publication’s top 100 of Best College Values.