RegisteredNursing.org Staff Writers | Updated/Verified: Aug 29, 2023
Master's prepared nurses who wish to specialize further and expand their knowledge base can choose to complete a post-master's certificate program. This option not only provides additional specialized knowledge, but can even allow advanced-practice nurses to change careers and become certified in another specialty. Those interested in adult medicine or gerontology can earn a post-master's certificate and possibly even further sub-specialize.
Choosing an AGNP Post-Master's Certificate Program
Selecting a post-master's certificate program can be daunting. With the adult-gerontology specialty, students can either pursue a program with an acute or primary care focus. Along with the offered adult-gerontology focus, students should keep the following in mind when researching academic programs:
Accreditation– The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) are the two nationally-recognized accreditation agencies for nursing programs. Some programs may be locally accredited, but for ease of licensure or certification, it's best to look for accreditation by one of these entities.
Cost– The overall cost to complete a program is a significant factor when selecting a post-master's certificate program. Cost may vary between programs, states, and even cities. Some schools may charge higher fees for out-of-state residents as well. Books, supplies, and university or technology fees are also added
Program Length– For many students, a post-master's certificate is an extended educational option. Because of this, many students are likely still working and managing a family while returning to school. Therefore, for some, the shorter the program, the better. However, students should ensure that the curriculum is sufficient for licensure/certification.
Online Options– This is another important factor that students look for. As mentioned earlier, students are likely continuing to work when enrolling in a post-master's certificate program. Online programs offer flexibility and self-paced learning which benefits those who are balancing work, family, and school responsibilities.
Internship/Externship Options– Students researching post-master's certificate programs should find out what their clinical experience will look like. Some programs are contracted with local hospitals or clinics, and sometimes students must find their facility. With the adult-gerontology specialty, the externship/internship options are usually pretty abundant.
Online post-master's certificate programs, like other academic programs, are becoming more and more prevalent. The following are some key points to keep in mind when considering an online program.
Online vs. Classroom-Based Adult Gerontology Post-Master's Certificate Programs
As stated earlier, online post-master's certificate programs offer students a great deal of flexibility. Nurses can work odd hours, as patient care is not always nine-to-five. Nurses work evenings, weekends, holidays, and night shifts. Being able to participate and study when convenient is critical for many nurses. Additionally, students can study using their personal learning methods and style, which helps retention.
However, some students prefer on-site learning to online programs. They may favor the didactic element between teachers and students as well as peer support. Some find the classroom setting more conducive to learning. Additionally, some students dislike the technology requirements and costs associated with online learning.