20 Best Online Gerontology MSN Programs

20 Best Online Gerontology MSN Programs

Top MSN Gerontology Programs

20 Best Online Gerontology MSN Programs

The best online Gerontology MSN programs teach a Geriatric Nursing specialty practice focused on the care of older adults, including needs and limitations. Since the science of medicine is advancing rapidly and technological interventions are extending people’s living space across the world, this specialized field of care is critical. It will only continue to become more urgent. The World Health Organization (WHO) expects that between the years 2000 and 2050, the number of people in the world who are over age 60 will increase from 605 million to 2 billion. With this many people needing specialized care, now is the time for nurses to consider a specialty in Adult/Geriatric Nursing.


Finding the Best Gerontology Nursing Programs

Our editors at TopRN have ranked the Top 20 Nurse Practitioner Programs focusing on Gerontology. The only program on the list is not a Nurse Practitioner training program. Therefore, it does not enable graduates to sit for the ANCC Board Certification Exams. It is the Masters in Gerontology from the School of Nursing at Utah. It is a degree of advanced nursing theory rather than advanced nursing practice. 

  • Reputation (as reported by the institution’s Times Higher Education Ranking)
  • Cost (per online credit hour)
  • Success Outcomes (from 10-year post-graduation salary, as reported to College Scorecard)

The CCNE accredits all nursing programs featured in this list for Nurse Practitioner education.


1. University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas, also known as U of A, has its flagship campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is the largest and most comprehensive school for higher learning within Arkansas. The university was started in 1871. The campus is at the farm site that sits atop a hill above the Ozark Mountains. Over time, this location gave the university its nickname, “the hill.” They are also known as being the first large public southern post-secondary school to offer admittance to African-American students without prior litigation. One of the exciting aspects of U of A is their online program that spans many disciplines, including in collaboration with their own Eleanor Mann School of Nursing.

The U of A unique Master of Science in Nursing prepares students to be experts in the critically important and niche field of Geriatric or Gerontological Nursing. This clinical program lays the foundation for graduates to excel in Adult Geriatric Acute Care Nursing Practitioners (AGACNP). The coursework is entirely online, allowing students the flexibility to be effective in all aspects of their lives, including maintaining their current professional nursing obligations. Students will engage in problem-solving complex health problems that specifically impact older adults while learning the skills to sustain organizations and employ quality improvement practices. Applicants must apply directly to the U of A Graduate School and submit their GRE Scores upon their application.

Focus: Adult-Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Degree: DNP

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2. Drexel University

Drexel University is the home to many renowned colleges, including the distinct College of Nursing and Health Professions. This Drexel gem is known for its innovation, which includes technological advancements that bring them to the top of nursing excellence and their prioritizing of civic engagement. Located in the Heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel is committed to expanding into the community in which it resides. They offer programs such as a health center in North Philadelphia that doubles as an interdisciplinary practice for nursing students and instructors. This site has been operational and managed by nurses since 1996. The College of Nursing and Health Practitioners program offerings include fully online degree programs, and the total enrollment is close to 5,000 students.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University features a hybrid program that trains students to be Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners. This specialized program offers students complex training and experience to effectively manage medical, critical care, and surgical practices for older adults dealing with acute illness. In addition, students have the skills to treat and diagnose patients. Therefore, this comprehensive program is rigorous in its training of highly competent practitioners. Applicants must first have their Bachelor of Science in Nursing to apply for the program. In addition, though the program is primarily online, students must be on campus for practicum courses.

Focus: Master of Science in Nursing: Adult-Gerontology Acute Nurse Practitioner Concentration

**Hybrid Program**

Degree: MSN

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3. Purdue Global University

Purdue Global University

Purdue Global University opened in 2018 as an entity of the Purdue University System. Their primary focus is training adult learners in various disciplines, including business-related fields, nursing, and other fields that lead to immediate career paths. They are primarily an online school with 14 locations, and they serve close to 30,000 students. A tier one research university in Lafayette, Indiana, is among their sites. 

Purdue Global University delivers a specialized program for students to earn their Master of Science in Nursing online, specializing in Adult-Gerontology Primary or Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. The program’s framework includes training students to effectively diagnose, treat, and manage acute health conditions. Students also learn to provide preventative care, promote general health and wellness, prescribe and manage medications. In addition, they utilize the most current technology to assist patients and work with individuals, families, and communities as a health educator and coach. The program is rigorous, requiring 30 core credit hours 51 elective credits, totaling 81 total credits for completion. In addition, students will engage in clinical practice to apply skills and knowledge to real-world experiences in various health care settings in their communities.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Primary or Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Degree: MSN

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4. Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center started in 1969 in Lubbock, Texas. Their programming includes disciplines such as the biomedical sciences, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and health professions. Additionally, the school has many campuses scattered among 100 counties in Western Texas, including Abilene, El Paso, Amarillo, Dallas, and the Permian Basin. They are known for their distance and online learning options that serve various students from adult learners requiring flexibility and traditional students interested in alternative education. Many of the institution’s goals are to serve the historically medically underserved populations in and around West Texas, both with career advancement opportunities and comprehensive healthcare.

The all-encompassing nursing programs that Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center specialize in are Master’s of Science in Nursing degrees in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program. The program is primarily delivered online with infrequently required sessions at the campus in Lubbock. Students train to provide culturally sensitive and acute care for older adults with chronic and ongoing health problems. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam and the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Degree: MSN

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5. Georgetown University

Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies began in 1903. Located in the heart of Washington DC, students have access to the culture and history that this International City invites. This multi-disciplinary health sciences institution has been operating with a simple mission of Advancing the Health and Well-Being of Individuals and Communities. In addition, they are the home to the Center for Health Equity, a hub for research, Teaching, and Implementation. Finally, there are various programs offered through their online program called [email protected]

Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Sciences offers an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. The school’s program combines live online coursework with on-the-ground clinical experience. The program was designed for students already working as registered nurses to gain greater skills in working with families, facilitating ethical decision-making, and providing direct patient management skills in various complex healthcare settings. Before entering the program, students must have Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification. The program is four credits in length and will take 23 months to complete. In addition, there are three on-campus residencies required throughout the program.

Focus: Specialization in Gerontology

Degree: MSN

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6. University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina College of Nursing started in 1957 as the first accredited national baccalaureate nursing program in South Carolina. They are in the capital city of Columbia. However, they have many opportunities for students to study nursing online. The on-campus facilities include state-of-the-art, technologically advanced labs that simulate real-life health care settings. These labs enable students to practice and make mistakes in scenarios identical to real life. In 2016 the US News and World Report ranked their Doctorate and Nurse Practitioner Programs number #1. In addition, they have an active research agenda that includes cancer survivorship and vulnerable populations.

The University of South Carolina offers a graduate program in advanced practice nursing specializing with an emphasis on Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. The program is primarily online, though students must attend clinical residencies on campus at least two times per year. Students will have opportunities to administer healthcare to older adults who are acutely ill and dealing with complex health problems. Completing the program enables students to sit for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam and the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Degree: MSN

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7. Duke University

Duke University is a private liberal arts university located in the lovely southern town of Durham, North Carolina. It is one of the informal groups of the elite, private universities called “Southern Ivy League” due to its reputation for excellence and selective acceptance rates, much like that of the Ivy League of the Northeast. Over two sprawling campuses divided by the town’s main street, Duke offers students a rich education steeped in tradition that is also at the cutting edge of innovation. The School of Nursing at Duke began in 1931. It survived a complete overhaul in 1985, eventually reopening with a new curriculum and focus on research. In 2006 and 2008, Duke School of Nursing launched their PhD in Nursing and their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), in those years respectively, the only ones in the state.

The School of Nursing now offers distance learning in several Master of Science in Nursing focus areas, including Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Acute Care or Primary Care. Students can either attend full-time and attend a hybrid model with an on-campus attendance fall semester and distance learning in spring, or attend part-time in the distance learning spring semesters only. Graduates from the acute care track will have completed 48 credit hours and 728 clinical hours for the degree. The primary care track requires 42 hours and 560 clinical hours. In addition, there are four required core courses for MSN students. Global Health, Professionalism, and Nursing Scholarship in two parts, ensuring graduates have as many options open to them as possible as well-rounded nursing professionals.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care or Acute Care

**Hybrid Program**

Degree: MSN

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8. The George Washington University

In the country’s backbone, George Washington University School of Nursing is just blocks from the White House, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. GWU has comprehensive program and degree offerings, including bachelor’s, Master’s, doctoral, and specialized certificate programs. They are known for their competitive admissions process and academic rigor, ensuring that students will graduate with the skill set and abilities to be leaders in the fields of nursing. In addition, GWU features an additional campus in Ashburn, Virginia- the Virginia Science and Tech Campus.

George Washington University offers two Gerontology related programs, including the MSN: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Both programs are delivered online with on-campus residency requirements, where students are responsible for their travel. Both programs offer abundant opportunities to work with aging populations, including longer-term care, home health, and assisted living. The acute care emphasis prepares students to treat critically ill patients and learn the skills to collaborate with their families with health care plans and complex and ethical decision-making. Critical care trains students to work in high-intensity environments required for the field.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Degree: MSN

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9. The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public research university located Birmingham in central Alabama. The university’s history dates back to 1859 with the founding of the Medical College of Alabama, the original purpose for some of the first buildings and land that UAB utilizes today. In 1936 The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa opened the Birmingham Extension Center of The University of Alabama on those same grounds. In 1966, the two merged, forming the University of Alabama at Birmingham. However, it was still a satellite campus of the Tuscaloosa school. In 1969, UAB became its entity three years later and began the groundwork for the traditions and innovation students enjoy today.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s specialized program for Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing Practitioner prepares students to provide primary care to older adults in various healthcare settings. This program consists of 44 required credit hours with 600 hours towards dedicated patient care. Several courses required for MSN degree completion are offered either on-campus or online, in a distance-learning format. UAB uses the educational software Canvas to deliver synchronous course work to students whose lives require a non-traditional approach to their education. In addition, this approach makes the program accessible to busy RNs. They are going back to school and require flexibility but are still local to the Birmingham area.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

**Hybrid Program**

Degree: DNP

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10. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University is in Music City, USA, Nashville, Tennessee. This prestigious school is nicknamed Vandy to those who know it well. Vanderbilt is one of the informal elite, private universities called “Southern Ivy League” due to their reputation for excellence and selective acceptance rates, much like that of the Ivy League of the Northeast. The School of Nursing at Vanderbilt was established in 1908, 35 years after the university opened in 1873. With a list of “firsts” under its belt, Vandy School of Nursing (VUSN) is often ahead of its time. The school offers some of the first programs in the nation, like the Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program. It is also the first to allow non-nurses to enter a master’s degree in nursing without repeating undergraduate classes in 1986. With such a long record of a higher standard, the VUSN is still ahead of the curve.

One of the innovative programs that Vanderbilt School of Nursing offers is the online Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program. The program is delivered in a hybrid online educational system using the latest technological advancements. So, students learn from taped lectures, web conferencing, online discussions, and on-campus learning through seminars. In addition, clinical practicum experiences are in the student’s home area for convenience and community building. Furthermore, zero MSN students must follow a predetermined program of studies. Those students who do not have an undergraduate degree in nursing may enter the program and must complete a full-time Pre-Specialty Year in addition to the MSN programming.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

**Hybrid Program**

Degree: MSN

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11. Emory University

Emory University is in Atlanta, Georgia. The school was opened in 1836 by the Methodist Episcopal Church. It is a private university and operates the 16th largest endowment in the country, used for investing and expenditures, and a $628 million research funding budget generated by the efforts of faculty and scholars. The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is adjacent to the Emory Medical Center, adding to its reputation as the largest and most comprehensive medical center in Georgia. The School of Nursing has been ranked in the top three nursing schools in the country for the past several years by US News and World Report.

The MSN program at the Woodruff School of Nursing offers either an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner or Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. Both programs are a hybrid delivery model, with some courses online and others offered on campus. Labs and clinicals must be arranged and attended in person. For students who have an undergraduate degree in something other than nursing, all nursing prerequisites are available 100% online, including online labs. Students only can attend the Primary Care Program full-time or part-time. However, students must attend the Acute Care Program on a full-time basis. Both programs are four semesters long.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Degree: MSN

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12. University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati is on the Ohio River, which makes up the state’s southern border. With a vast student body of 44,000 students, UC is the second-largest university in Ohio. They operate a roughly $400 million research budget per year through research grants and other research funding. The College of Nursing at Cincinnati was founded in 1889, placing it among the oldest public nursing schools in the country. The US News and World Report ranked the Nursing School in the top 10% of nursing programs in 2017. They offer innovative programming, including distance learning and online degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

The School of Nursing at CU offers an entirely online MSN in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program for students with or without an undergraduate degree in nursing. Students can complete the program in two years at a full-time pace. However, students who don’t hold a BSN degree may first be required to complete a prerequisite year. The Gerontology Center at UC, also called the Center on Aging with Dignity, relies on social science research. This research informs some aspects of nursing care for elderly patients, using an interdisciplinary style to enhance a long tradition of excellent medical insight. Graduates of this online program will have completed 44 total credit hours, 504 hours of clinicals, and 42 lab hours, each completed online or in their home communities.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP Program

Degree: MSN

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13. Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University is a private school in Saint Louis, Missouri. They were founded in 1818 by the Roman Catholic Church. Today, they offer 100 undergraduate options for degrees and nearly that many graduate and post bachelor’s degrees. The School of Nursing at SLU started in 1928. It was the first program to offer an accelerated Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in 1971 for students seeking a fast-track undergraduate degree in nursing or for second degree-seeking students. The SLU School of Nursing’s mission is to educate the whole person, including their spirit, mind, and body. They use the most innovative and cutting-edge methods available to make this happen.

SLU’s School of Nursing is proud to support an Adult/Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner or Primary Care Nurse Practitioner offered 100% online. The program is for students who have already achieved an RN degree and are working in that capacity full-time. Besides the focus area of immediate care versus ongoing care, the main differences between the two programs are the number of credit hours needed for completion. In addition, the Primary care program requires an extra credit hour in the area of the Nursing Practicum summer semester. This extra time allows for additional practice for the needs of the elderly veteran population through veterans affairs programs.

Focus: Specialization in Gerontology

Degree: MSN

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14. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. The schools take pride in their commitment to a progressive liberal arts education for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic or religious background. Emphasized in all programs is a commitment to service and leadership for students and faculty alike. Initially founded by Southern Baptists in 1949, GCU operated as a for-profit institution for ten years but returned fully in 2018 to a non-profit, student-centered school. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences at GCU has three different locations in Arizona. Sites include St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Banner Boswell Medical Center, and Scottsdale HonorHealth. Multiple locations give students more options for practical education, especially those choosing a distance learning path.

The work of Geriatric Nurse Practitioners must begin with a high-quality foundation of education focused on just this topic. GCU offers a Master’s degree in Nursing with a Specialization in Gerontology. Applicants of this program must have an active RN license and be comfortable in an online classroom setting. Graduates of this program are interested in providing competent advanced practice for adults and the frail elderly in critical care and acute settings. The evidence-based program of study features expert faculty and the most cutting-edge educational technology. Additionally, graduates of this program are eligible for certification as Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners. 

Focus: Specialization in Gerontology

Degree: MSN

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15. Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University is a private Catholic university founded in 1856 by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley. It is one of the oldest diocesan universities in the US, under the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. The campus and online programs educate nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 90 rigorous majors and programs each year. The main campus is in South Orange, New Jersey, more than a dozen miles from Manhattan. In addition, the College of Nursing is in the brand new Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Clifton and Nutley.

The College of Nursing offers an online Master of Science in Nursing, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program. So, working RNs in this program learn to practice in the capacity of a nurse practitioner, primarily serving elderly populations in primary care or acute settings. Furthermore, graduates of this online program can assess and provide care to people across their lifespan, including the specific conditions affecting us in advanced age. Students can choose between two learning tracks, the acute track, and the primary care track. These are relatively identical regarding student expectations of time and commitment, with a different content focus.

Focus: Specialization in Gerontology

Degree: MSN

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16. The University of Texas at Arlington

The history of the University of Texas at Arlington dates back to 1885 when Arlington College opened. Arlington opened to improve the options for quality education for the rural people who lived between Dallas and Fort Worth. Now, UTA is one of the largest producers of college graduates in the entire state of Texas. If no one from Texas has told you today, Texas is a massive state. The school did not become the University of Texas at Arlington as we know it today until 1967, after many iterations and changes in vision. The school is one of the R-1: Doctoral Universities with the Highest Research Activity. Consistent with the mission of the University, UTA is committed to comprehensive programs and elevating the life options of the students who choose to attend. They do this through the 180 baccalaureate, Master’s, and doctoral degree programs.

The University of Texas at Arlington offers a Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Online with focus areas in Adult-Gerontology Primary and Acute Care. UTA proudly features a graduate pass rate of 96% on the national certification exam for the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner board certification exam. In addition, nearly 100% of graduates from this program are employed three months after graduation. This Accelerated MSN program will allow nurses to provide leadership in professional nursing and interdisciplinary health care, with competent patient advocacy as a prominent feature. **Please note that the program is only available to BSN holders with an active RN license in Texas and California.

Focus: Family, Pediatric Primary and Acute Care, Adult/Gero Primary and Acute Care

Degree: MSN

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17. University of Utah

The University of Utah is a public research university located in Salt Lake City, Utah. With over 100 undergraduate degrees available and almost as many graduate school options, U of U is selective in its admissions process for admitting new students. Established in 1850 by the “Mormon Moses” himself, Brigham Young, the university is still heavily attended by members of and influenced by the leadership of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) church establishment. The university started in 1850, years before Utah was even a state. Thus, it is Utah’s oldest institution of higher education. It became the University of Utah in 1892 and created traditions and developed outstanding leaders ever since.

The College of Nursing at the University of Utah offers a Master of Science in Gerontology that allows for a theoretical application of health and wellness for people as they age. It is not a Master’s of Science in Nursing, and graduates will not take nursing licensing exams nor practice nursing at a Master’s level. The program is offered 100% online and is an excellent option for those with an RN or nursing background interested in other aspects of elder care than direct patient care. Additionally, students can choose from a Master’s Thesis option or a Master’s Project option, requiring 33 and 34 credits, respectively.

Focus: Gerontology

**not an MSN program**

Degree: MS

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18. Old Dominion University

The ODU School of Nursing offers a Family Nurse Practitioner Program that focuses on Adult-Gerontology Primary Care. Students in this dynamic program will learn to provide high-quality care that is both primary preventative and in relation to chronic illness for adults at various stages of life. The coursework provides students with the complex skills to perform diagnostic testing, take patients’ histories, interpret lab results, and prescribe medications. An essential and unique feature of ODU’s FNP program is the relationship OSU has with Eastern Virginia Medical School and its Standardized Patient Program. 

Another unique feature of the ODS FNP program is that it is one of only 17 nursing schools in the country funded to provide a technology-supported preceptor infrastructure. A nurse preceptor is a nurse who is in the dual role of practitioner and educator, think somewhere in between a teacher and a mentor. ODU is committed to training nursing educators, especially those interested in improving healthcare for people in rural parts of Virginia and the south.

Focus: Specialization in Gerontology

Degree: MSN

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19. Wilmington University

Wilmington University is directly on the Delaware River in New Castle, Delaware. They offer over 100 career-focused degree programs that emphasize in-demand knowledge, prioritizing students’ success above all else. They were founded in 1968 as Wilmington College and got approval to switch to university in 2007. Part of the career-focused aspect of WilmU includes a unique focus in the College of Health Sciences. The college accepts only upper-level students or those who have completed two years of study in their focus area, either as transfer students or those from other programs at WilmU. Another unique feature of the college is that they accept up to 90 transfer credits as an institution, allowing more students to find success here than elsewhere.

The College of Health Professions at Wilmington University offers a Master’s in Science in Nursing as a Nurse Practitioner with a focus on Adult-Gerontology Family Nursing. Furthermore, WilmU is proud to provide unparalleled flexibility not to derail the valuable education that working nurses receive every day they show up to work. The accelerated curriculum prepared nurses for advanced practice while maintaining a specific focus on the specific needs of aging adults and how those differ from the general population. Graduates will be prepared to work in a wide of healthcare settings, including hospitals, community-based clinics, private practice, prisons, occupational health settings, patient homes, shelters, adult daycare, assisted living settings, and also private practice.

Focus: Specialization in Gerontology

Degree: MSN

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20. Clarkson College

Clarkson College is a private college located in Omaha, Nebraska. The college was founded in 1888, then going by Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. The original campus was located only a few blocks from Omaha, Nebraska. The main focus of the college is to provide education in undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees in the health sciences. With such a specialized focus on healthcare and health professions, the faculty at Clarkson are experts in the things that make excellent nursing. Through technological advancements, Clarkson nursing students are well-trained and well-rounded professionals, like their state-of-the-art simulation lab, equipped with simulated adult and infant patients. They celebrated 125 years of educating the great caretakers of tomorrow in 2013 and continue to do just that today.

Clarkson’s online RN to MSN program allows working RNs to complete their BSN degree while earning graduate-level credit. This program helps nurses smoothly transition into the program with the flexibility needed with a demanding nursing schedule. Nurse Practitioner majors must attend up to four on-campus visits. The rest of their coursework is online. In addition, students may elect to complete an additional 21-29 credit hours in the specialty area of the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. This focus area allows Nurse Practitioners to facilitate the management and diagnosis of acute and chronic primary care health wellness concerns in adult and elderly patients.

Focus: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Degree: MSN

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20 Best Online Gerontology MSN Programs

What is a Gerontology Nursing?

The nurses who begin studying in specialized areas tend to be at Master’s level or above in their study. Since an undergraduate degree in nursing is a generalist education, nurses who work specifically with the elderly require an advanced practice or a specialist degree. These degrees include an MSN degree, a DPN (Doctor of Nursing Practice), or also a PhD in Nursing.

Often, undergraduate degrees leave out education dedicated to elder patient care unless the school has a dedicated interdisciplinary Geriatric program. Like those that highlight elder patient care at every level of nurse education, these programs often offer dual nursing degree graduate programs. Undergraduate nurses have the option to become credentialed in Geriatric Patient Care through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). However, fewer than 1% of US BSN nurses have obtained this certification. In addition, undergraduate nursing programs often do not have the time and infrastructure t0 expose their students to the material.

Well-intentioned aspiring nurses may gleefully bound into the study of geriatrics, hoping to care for others like their sweet old grandmother. But, unfortunately, it isn’t for everyone. Gerontology is about more than providing quality care for and spending time with older patients. 

It also requires employing steps to keep them healthier and lowering the likelihood of becoming sick, getting injured, or succumbing to a chronic condition that might prevent them from enjoying a comfortable life. Often, vulnerable elderly patients cannot manage their health nor navigate the systems that house and care for them. This is why it is essential to use services like the CareAgape Senior Homes offer. Nurses tasked with the wellness of geriatric patients in all health care settings are needed to function as patient advocates more than most other areas nursing requires.


How Long Does it take to get a Gerontology Certificate?

To obtain a graduate-level certification in Gerontological Nursing, the ANCC requires two years or more of experience working as an RN, two-thousand hours or more of clinical experience, and at least 30 hours of continuing education beyond the initial RN degree. Both the clinical experience and continuing education must be within the specialty of Gerontological Nursing. 


Which Organization Certifies Nurses in Gerontological nursing?

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certifies gerontological nursing. Furthermore, the ANCC offers additional nursing certifications in three areas. Gerontological Nursing awards the Board Certified Registered Nurse specializing in Gerontology (RN-BC). Other certifications are the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP-BC) and the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP-BC). 

After all of their hard work of obtaining their MSN, Nurse Practitioners must also complete their Board Certification if they are hoping to work in that capacity. They may remain employed as a Registered Nurse throughout this process. However, never forfeit that option even if they do not pass their Master’s level boards. Luckily, almost all schools featured in this list boast a board pass rate of 95% or more. 


Online MSN in Adult Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

Since the precursor to any MSN degree is an ADN, BSN, or a student’s non-nursing bachelor’s degree, many MSN programs understand that students in these programs require flexibility. They are often working RNs or professionals in other fields and cannot attend traditional classes. Master’s level students in a career-oriented field like nursing cannot simply stop working to attend their next level of schooling, so many of these programs make it possible to do both. With the flexibility of a hybrid MSN program, working RNs or career-changing professionals can learn about this next level of professional nursing without dedicating their lives to commuting to their school. Each of the following programs is entirely online, except where noted about clinical course work and when called Hybrid in their title. 

The option to complete an MSN degree online is one that only schools dedicated to the flexibility of distance education can offer. Without the best education software and instructors trained explicitly in distance education, an online or hybrid nursing course is not worth any more than the Netflix login in code from your mom. On the other hand, an episode or two of our favorite nursing dramas can teach more than a lousy nursing program, and for a much friendlier price tag! (at least that is what we tell ourselves during Grey’s Anatomy when we should be studying for our boards).


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Sandra Janowicz
Author

Keeley Jones
Registered Nurse

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief