How to Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

Adult gerontology assesses the causes and impacts of age-related diseases in humans. An adult-gerontology nurse practitioner focuses on treating and caring for adults in the late adulthood stage to the end of life. They have unique health needs because their bodies stop developing after maturity. As the patients in this population bracket age, their bodies’ ability to heal and respond to stressors reduces.

A geriatric nurse aims to provide the best quality care to aging adults. The care involves preventing injuries and illnesses, supporting the healing process, relieving disease effects, and being older adults’ health advocates. If you’re interested in a career in this field, this article explains how to become an adult gerontology nurse practitioner.

Become a Registered Nurse (RN)

The journey to becoming an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner starts by becoming a Registered Nurse via an associate degree in nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or a nursing diploma. After completing one of these programs, you, a potential nurse, must pass the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination) before applying for your nursing license in a state of choice.

You should also meet the state’s licensure requirements to become a Registered Nurse. While some people work as RNs after getting their licenses, you can go directly to an MSN. Nevertheless, some MSN programs may have RN experience as an admission requirement.

Earn a Post Graduate APRN Certificate

Based on your career goals, the post-graduate APRN certificate program allows you to specialize in becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric or Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, or an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP). Specializing AGPCNP certification will help you become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. Fortunately, you can take the AGPCNP certificate online. The coursework is 100% online and asynchronous. To gain admission to the two-year online adult gerontology post masters, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree in nursing with a 3.0 GPA, one year of clinical experience, and an unencumbered RN license.

Get a BSN degree

Before working as an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, you’ll require a BSN degree. The degree helps you learn nursing basics and develops the skills necessary to become a Registered Nurse. A BSN degree might be needed to pursue an advanced degree like the MSN.

Enroll for a Doctor of Nursing (DNP)

In a DNP program, the courses will involve evidenced–based nursing, including professional role development and communication, decision-making and diagnostic management, management of adults, advanced pathophysiology and physiology, women’s healthcare, and older adults’ pharmacotherapeutics.

The program length varies from institution to institution, but you may take four years studying full-time and five to six years attending part-time classes. In the third or fourth year, you’ll require a clinical practicum that allows you to work with patients in medical facilities to test your knowledge.

Earn an MSN in adult gerontology

An MSN in adult gerontology, a master’s level degree, is a specialization that equips nurse practitioners to handle specific geriatric patient needs. Earning an MSN consists of a combination of practical experience and classroom instruction. An MSN track takes around two to three years, with most programs requiring 500 clinical hours on average. As an MSN adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, you can work in nursing homes, private practices, inpatient facilities, academia, or emergency departments.

You can work as a nurse administrator, hospice care nurse, nurse practitioner, specialty care provider, and home healthcare. Earning an MSN in adult gerontology will also give you the knowledge, skills, and confidence to address the geriatric patient needs you to specialize in.

Gain working experience

Before becoming a certified Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, you must complete at least 500 supervised clinical practice hours in adult-gerontology primary care. Consider looking for a job working with senior citizens to gain the required hands-on experience. Volunteering in facilities that offer geriatric care can also help you gain work experience.

Become a certified Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

The ANCC AGACNP board certification exam offers reliable clinical skills and knowledge assessment for the nursing practitioner. The exam lets you answer 200 questions for 4 hours, where 175 of them are scored and 25 pretest queries that aren’t scored. 

Upon completing the eligibility requirements for the certification exam and successfully passing, you’ll be awarded the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner- Board Certified credential.

Develop the necessary skills

To be an effective care provider, a gerontology nurse should be compassionate and patient, especially towards patients with memory loss or delirium. As people age, their illnesses and conditions become more complex. This requires AGNPs to have strong analytical skills to examine health needs effectively.

Health complexities rise with age, so as a gerontological nurse, you must have critical thinking skills to develop the right care plans while constantly assessing health status and suggesting solutions to prevent and treat illnesses. You should also implement different methods to effectively communicate with geriatric patients to ensure they understand the care they’re getting.


Becoming an AGNP enables you to care for older adults. Follow this guide to become an adult gerontology nurse practitioner.