Advanced practice nurses are in high demand and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has an employment outlook of 31% between 2014-2024, with an overall need of 170,400 new Nurse Practitioners during that period. Masters prepared Nurse Practitioners can look forward to a median salary of $104,740 annually.
Nurse Practitioners, specifically in Adult-Gerontology, are needed as more people are added to insurance rolls, the aging of the large Baby Boomer demographic and the overall cost of healthcare increases. Masters degrees are required for this profession and many good programs can be found online, allowing currently working nurses to continue working while advancing their careers.
At first glance, it may appear frighteningly expensive to pursue an advanced degree in nursing. However, when one compares the cost of a Master of Science in Nursing and the increase in salary expectations, it will be money well spent. Completing your degree online will allow you to continue to work and study at home at your own pace. There are avenues for financial assistance you can explore, some of which are listed below.
Are you currently employed as a registered nurse or working in a healthcare environment? Check with your Human Resources department to see whether your employer offers tuition assistance for those advancing their clinical careers.
Federal Financial Aid
Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of federal financial assistance available to post baccalaureate study, except for loans. To see if you qualify for a graduate loan, you will need to complete Federal Student Aid form offered online. Because of the high demand for nurses and advanced care nurses, several organizations offer scholarships or grants for those registered nurses advancing their careers. You may want to explore sites such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners or American Association of Colleges of Nursing to see if there are any financial options available.
Veterans, Active Military, Spouses and Dependents
If you are active, or retired, military, schools are increasingly offering discounts for military personnel and/or spouses or dependents. Be certain, if you fall within this category, that you talk with your admissions advisor whether the school offers military tuition discounts.
It's critical, when going for an advanced degree, that you verify the online school you choose is properly accredited. For MSN programs, accreditation by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) is significant. Many nursing professions also require certification exams and state licensure. Be certain the program you pick will meet all the requirements your state may require.
Best Medical Degrees previously published 50 Highest Paying Nursing Specialties describing nursing professions in demand and with significant salaries. Best Medical Degrees has now researched and identified 10 affordable, online Master of Science in Nursing with Nurse Practitioner concentrations in Adult-Gerontology. Ranked by tuition cost, accreditation and length of program, this list is a good starting point in your search. We also include, when applicable, school rankings by U.S. News and World Report and other rating organizations.
1. East Carolina University
This North Carolina school has been nationally recognized by U.S. News and World Report as in the top 25% of national graduate nursing schools, one of Military Times Best Schools for Vets and one of the Best Southeastern Colleges by Princeton Review. ECU, founded in 1907, has an enrollment of over 29,000 on it's Greenville, NC campus and provides an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner MSN degree available online.
Core courses for this degree include: Theory for the Practice of Advanced Nursing, Research for the Practice of Advanced Nursing, Influencing Healthcare Quality, Safety, and Policy, Healthcare, Finance, and Economics
Advanced Nursing Synthesis. Degree specific courses are: Human Physiology and Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Practice, Concepts of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Advanced Nursing Practice, Health Assessment for Advanced Nursing Practice and Clinical Pharmacology for Advanced Nursing Practice. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Program Length: 47 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $10,716 (Resident); $41,172 (Non Resident)
2. University of Arkansas for Medical Science
Established in 1953, the College of Nursing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). UAMS offers two MSN tracks in gerontology in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner concentrations.
Both tracks cover nursing theory, clinical pharmacology, research methodology, professional practice management, advanced physiology and pathophysiology, acute care management and advanced health assessment. Specific coursework and admission requirements may be found on the College of Nursing at Adult-Gerotology Nurse Practitioner of the UAMS webpage.
Program Length: 41 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $17,015 (Resident); $32,000 (Non Resident)
3. University of Louisiana-Monroe
The Kitty DeGree School of Nursing offers an online Gerontological Clinical Leader Master of Science in Nursing. Coursework includes study in Advanced Theoretical Foundations in Nursing, Health Policy and Global Health, Quality Improvement and Patient Safety and Healthcare Economics.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the School of Nursing holds CCNE accreditation for its bachelors, masters and doctoral programs. A public school, ULM was founded in 1931 and presently has a student enrollment of over 8,000 students. The School of Nursing has been offering online degrees since 1964.
Program Length: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $18,000
4. Southern Indiana University
The graduate nursing program at Southern Indiana University has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report #36 Best Online Programs. Accredited by CCNE, this MSN Nurse Practitioner program offers a Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNR), Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS) study options. Core courses for all three specialties include Roles for Advanced Nursing Practice, Evidence Based Practice for Advanced Nursing, Population Based Care and Health Policy and Healthcare Informatics. Subsequent courses will include pharmacology, pathophysiology, management of acutely ill patients, etc.
Southern Indiana University, located in Evansville, Indiana, was founded in 1965 and has an enrollment of over 10,000 students holds accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. The university has four academic colleges: Romain College of Business, College of Liberal Arts, College of Nursing and Health Professions and Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education.
Program Length: 42 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $18,942 (Residents); $33,264 (Non Resident)
5. Winona State University Rochester
Rochester, Minnesota has been home to Winona State University Rochester since 1917 and has graduated over 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from it's campus. The school has expanded its reach by offering online degrees and provides a MSN in Adult Gerontology programs in both Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner or Adult Gerontology Specialist degree. The university has been acknowledged by U.S. News and World Report as #16 Top Public Schools, #71 Best Regional Universities (Midwest) and #41 Best Schools for Veterans.
The nursing program at Winona State University is accredited by the CCNE and is also approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing. Students in this program will focus on evidence based practices, diagnostics and therapeutics for the adult gerontology patient, acute care of adults and advanced pathophysiology.
Program Length: 54 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $20,142
6. University of Nebraska Medical Center
The University of Nebraska College of Nursing provides a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited MSN in Adult-Gerontology Clinical Specialist degree with specialty tracks in acute care or primary care. The University of Nebraska Medical Center was founded in 1881 as the Omaha Medical College and the College of Nursing was begun in 1917. The College of Nursing has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as #63, nationally, as Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.
Courses include studies in: Leadership in Nursing, Applied Pharmacology for Advanced Nursing Practices, Advanced Assessment Across Life Span, Adult-Gerontology Across the Lifespan I: Common Adult Health Problems, Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist courses, etc. The degree can be completed in 3 years with fulltime study and 4 years part time.
Program Length: 47 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $21,549 (Residents); $44,956 (Non Residents)
7. University of North Dakota
This Grand Forks, North Dakota university has been educating since 1883 when, in a time of Normal (teacher) Schools or agricultural colleges, it began as a college of Arts and Sciences with a Normal School for the training of teachers. UND currently has an enrollment of over 11,000 students and offers an online MSN in Adult Gerontology degree which may be completed in 2-3 years. There are four on campus visits required, each lasting one week. The university has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as #202 in its National Universities rankings.
Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and meets requirements for students to sit for certification exams of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Coursework will encompass theories and practices in advanced nursing, evidence based medicine and courses in pharmacology, gerontology illness management and clinical practicum.
Program Length: 54 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $21,600
8. Clarkson College
This Nebraska college, founded in 1869 as an Omaha nursing school. Since then, the college has appeared on U.S. News and World Report's best school rankings, #39 in its Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), this Nurse Practitioner in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care degree is offered online.
Students will be required to take 17 credit hours in nursing core courses such as Theories/Concepts of Advance Practice Roles, Nursing Law and Ethics, Research Designs and Methods, Role Transitions and Application/Evaluation of Theory in Nursing. The curriculum also includes studies in evidence based research projects and degree specific courses in: Primary Care of the Geriatric Patient, Primary Care of Women, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Nutrition, Behavioral Healthcare for Practitioners, etc.
Program Length: 47 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $21,684
9. University of Cincinnati
U.S. News and World Report ranks this program #8 for Best Online Graduate Nursing Program. Accredited by CCNE and the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC), this online Adult-Gero Primary Care Nurse Practitioner degree is designed for the RN who has completed an advanced nursing education. The University of Cincinnati was founded in 1819 and is a public institution with a current enrollment in excess of 25,000 students.
Coursework for this program include: Biostatistics for Evidence Based Practice, Advanced Physiology, Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Practice, Pharmacology for Advanced Nursing Practice, Theoretical Basis for Clinical Reasoning, Advanced Health Assessment, Finance and Economics of Healthcare
Program. There is an accelerated option which allows degree completion within two years and graduates are eligible to sit for AANP and ANCC credentialing exams.
Program Length: 44 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $31,856 (Resident); $49,588 (Non Resident)
10. Boise State University
Begun in 1932 by the Episcopal Church as Boise Junior College, this Idaho university has an enrollment of over 22,000 students, with 6,600 plus of these students pursuing online degrees. The School of Nursing offers an online degree in Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program with specialties in acute care or primary care. The School of Nursing is accredited by the CCNE.
Students in both specialty tracks will study 9 credit hours in Foundation of Knowledge and Theory for Advanced Nursing, Advanced Research and Scholarly Inquiry for Advanced Nursing, Advanced Principles of Population Health Nursing. Specialty courses will include Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Health Assessment for the Advanced Practice Nurse, Health Assessment for the Advanced Practice Nurse Clinical, Professional Role for the Advanced Practice Nurse, etc. The college requires 700 clinical hours and three, on campus summer intensives lasting 7-10 days.
Program Length: 50 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $37,500