AG-PCNP Career Overview
- What You Will Do: Evaluate patients, diagnose illnesses, provide education, prescribe medication, perform minor surgical procedures, and more
- Where Will You Work: Hospitals, occupational health clinics, community health centers, private practices, home care, colleges, prisons
- Employment Projections: There is a growth of 31 percent anticipated for NP roles between 2016 and 2026.
- How Much Will I Earn: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners (AG-PCNPs) have a broad salary range that goes from $75,000 to $115,000.
- Number of Programs: In the U.S. there are 160 AG-PCNP programs.
- How Long Does It Take to Become an AG-PCNP: Becoming an AG-PCNP will take between 2 and 3 years of schooling.
- Requirements to Become One: An RN and NP license is required after you get a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in nursing.
Eight Steps to Become AG-PCNP
- Earn Your RN – First you must earn your RN or BSN through an ACEN or CCNE accredited university. Our BSN guide can help you navigate the process!
- Pass The NCLEX-RN Exam – The NCLEX-RN exam is daunting but with our NCLEX-RN guide and practice exams you can pass it on the first try!
- Earn Your MSN – Your classes will include advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, nursing theory courses and more.
- Complete Supervised Clinical Hours – Finishing 500 supervised clinical hours as a part of your AG-PCNP program is required.
- Become Board Certified – To become a certified AG-PCNP you have to pass the AG-PCNP exam through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
- Obtain Licensure – You must get licensed through your state as an NP.
- Obtain a DEA Number – You will need DEA registration in order to prescribe medication.
- Maintain Active Certification and Licensure – ANCC requires 100 continuing education (CE) hours and 1,000 hours of clinical practice for you to stay certified. Your BLS, DEA, and RN licenses must also stay active.
What is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP?
An AG-PCNP is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who provides preventative and chronic care for adult patients. As an AG-PCNP you will collect patient histories, perform clinical exams, prescribe medication, refer patients and more. As a primary care provider you will have the opportunity to continue to see your patients throughout their lifespan and form lasting bonds. Find our guide to the related Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – AG-ACNP career.
How Do I Become an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP?
Becoming an AG-PCNP requires obtaining first a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s in nursing. There are also other options for you to become an AG-PCNP if you are not an RN and/or do not have a BSN.
- BSN to MSN: With a BSN degree you will spend 2 years earning a master’s in nursing.
- Bachelors to MSN: Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing programs enable non-nurses who have bachelor’s degrees to become NPs. There are pre-requisite courses that you will need to complete for entry into a Direct Entry program. These courses will likely include chemistry, anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology, and more. Depending on the program you will spend 2 to 3 years earning your master’s.
- BSN to DNP: You will earn both an MSN and doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) when you complete a DNP degree. These programs take about 4 years. DNP programs prepare APRNs to use research in their clinical practice.
- MSN to DNP: If you have an MSN you will spend about 2 to 3 years completing a DNP program.
Certification and Licensure: Obtaining certification through the ANCC confirms that you meet the qualifications to provide care for the adult gerontology population. The ANCC requires that all NPs renew certification every 5 years. To do this you will need to meet the 1,000 clinical hours and 100 CE hours requirements. After you are certified you can apply for licensure through your state board of nursing (BON). Then you will be legally able to practice in your state. Submitting transcripts, proof of RN licensure and national certification as well as a fee is required for licensure.
Where Do AG-PCNPs Typically Work?
AG-PCNPs have a broad practice setting. You can work in private practices, occupational health clinics, community health clinics, colleges, assisted living facilities, shelters, and home care. This means that you will have a lot of variety and flexibility to change your work environment if you choose to.
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics NPs in any population foci make an median of $104,610 per year. The overall salary range for AG-PCNPs can vary from $75,000 to $115,000 annually depending on what city, state, and setting you practice in. If you work in medically underserved areas you may get paid less than what you would make in a private practice, however, there are other financial benefits that should not be discounted. You can get loan forgiveness through certain programs if you work in medically underserved areas. These include the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. If you have a Perkins Loan you may be eligible to get that forgiven as well.
Online AG-PCNP Programs
The internet has made education much more accessible for the busy adult. Online AG-PCNP programs allow you to pursue a career path as an NP while still keeping up with your other life commitments. Online programs allow you to complete your coursework from the comfort of your home and do your clinical hours in a convenient location. Most programs only require that you be on campus a couple times a year at most. There are 13 fully online AG-PCNP programs in the U.S. and a number of hybrid courses that offer a mix of online and in classroom courses.
What is a Typical AG-PCNP Curriculum?
Curriculums vary by university. Vanderbilt University has a good example of a typical AG-PCNP curriculum:
- Advanced Health Assessment
- Research Methods for Advanced Practice Nursing
- Advanced Pathophysiology
- Adult Gerontology Primary Care
- Advanced Pharmacology
- Conceptual Basis for Advanced Practice Nursing
- Ethical Issues in Advanced Practice Nursing
The Role of the AG-PCNP in the Mental Healthcare Provider Shortage
The U.S. currently has a shortage in primary care providers, and with the Affordable Care Act, this gap is growing. Since AG-PCNPs provide primary care to the adult population, they are in a unique position to fill this demand and increase access to care for newly ensured Americans. AG-PCNPs are a cost effective way to increase primary and preventative care in the U.S.
Number of AG-PCNP Programs in the United States
There are 13 fully online AG-PCNP programs in the U.S. These include the following:
- University of South Alabama
- University of Central Arkansas
- University of Colorado Colorado Springs
- George Washington University
- Florida A&M University
- South University
- Boise State University
- Ball State University
- Indiana University-Purdue University (Fort Wayne)
- Walden University
- Felician University
- Thomas Jefferson University
- University of Texas Medical Branch
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Resources
- American Nurses Credentialing Center
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
Denisco, S. M., Barker, A. M., (2016). Advanced practice nursing: Essential knowledge for the profession. Burlington, MA: Jones and Barlett Learning.