July 23, 2019
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Top 15 Online Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AG-CNS) Degrees 2018-2019

Healthcare Management Degree Guide - Top Online Degree ProgramsBy HMDG Staff
December 2018

A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is a highly skilled advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) with either a master’s or doctorate in nursing. Clinical nurse specialists can become certified in different areas including adult/gerontology, neonatal, or pediatrics. Adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialists (AG-CNS) provide care to adults and geriatric patients in a variety of settings including:

  • critical care units
  • inpatient units
  • specialty practices.

Rather than focusing specifically on patient care like a nurse practitioner would, the AG-CNS has a broader focus. They provide direct care to patients, consultation and training to nursing staff, and make a positive impact on the health care system itself. To become certified as an AG-CNS, students must complete a graduate level advanced practice education program at an accredited university and pass a certification exam.

We created this ranking of the top AG-CNS programs in the country. We came up with our initial list of programs from College Navigator and the AACN. To narrow our list, we considered only programs that prepared students for actual AG-CNS certification by delivering an approved curriculum. From that list, we applied our ranking criteria to determine the top 15 AG-CNS programs from accredited universities in the United States.

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • 15:1 or less= 3 Points
  • 16:1 to 20:1=2 Points
  • Greater than 20:1= 1 Point

Average Graduate Tuition

  • Less than $10,000 per year= 4 Points
  • $10,000 to $15,000 per year= 3 Points
  • $15,000 to $20,000 per year=2 Points
  • More than $20,000 per year= 1 Point

Ranking the Top 15 Clinical Nurse Specialist Adult-Gerontology Programs

#15 – Johns Hopkins University- Baltimore, Maryland

DNP-Adult-Gerontological Critical Care or Adult-Gerontological Health

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $52,170/year
Student to Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Points: 4
One of the best SNP Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist program is at offered by the prestigious Johns Hopkins University. The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing features a Doctor of Nursing Practice Clinical Nurse Specialist Track with options in either Adult-Gerontological Health or Adult-Gerontological Critical Care. Students can complete either track online, coming onsite for course immersions. Most students can complete the program in three to four years of study, including 336 DNP practicum hours and 672 clinical nurse specialist clinical hours.

#14 – University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $33,604/year
Student to Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Points: 4
The top Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist at the University of Pennsylvania is a flexible program available to both full and part-time students. Coursework covers advanced areas like:

  • pathophysiology
  • pharmacology
  • physical assessment

Students gain valuable hands-on training through clinicals, and working under the guidance and supervision of a qualified preceptor. Students are encouraged to select a related minor in an area of interest to further develop their skills and gain additional experience.

#13 – Texas Christian University – Fort Worth, Texas

MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist-Adult Gerontology

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $27,990/year
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Points: 4
The top MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist focused on adult-gerontology is a 38 credit hour program that includes 29 hours of didactic coursework and 9 hours (500 clinical hours) of practicum experience. Students can begin the program during the spring or summer semester, whichever is more convenient. The program is open to both full and part-time students, allowing students to choose the schedule that best meets their needs.

#12 – Michigan State University – East Lansing, Michigan

Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist with Nurse Education Concentration

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $17,436/year in-state and $34,260/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 4
Michigan State University features a unique top Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist with Nurse Education Concentration. It prepares nurses to become clinical experts and educators. Offered in a totally online format, this program is a great choice for busy students who want to advance their career. Students take three to nine credit hours each semester.They can adjust to meet their individual needs. Graduates are eligible to sit for the AGCNS certification exams offered by the ANCC and the AACN.

#11 – University of Massachusetts Boston – Boston, Massachusetts

Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $17,375/year in-state and $33,915/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Points: 4
UMass Boston has one of the top online nursing master’s programs in the country according to U.S. News and World Report. Their specialized Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist program is designed for working nurses. Courses are delivered both on-campus and online. Students can enroll either full or part-time. This 48 credit hour program includes four unique practicum experiences, providing students with a wealth of hands-on training. Clinical sites include Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, and the VA Medical Centers.

#10 – University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Adult/Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist DNP

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $16,728/year in-state and $25,884/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Points: 4
The School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota features an Adult/Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist DNP program. It’s for students with a passion for adult healthcare across their lifespan. This three year, full-time program is delivered in an on-campus format with courses Tuesday through Friday each week. Students complete 1,000 of clinical training at sites arranged by the University. Graduates are prepared to sit for CNS exams through the ANCC and the AACCN.

#9 – Kent State University – Kent, Ohio

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Online

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,310/year in-state and $20,396/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Points: 5
The top Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS) program at Kent State University features 100% online courses. It also has full and part-time customizable program plans to meet the needs of working professionals. Faculty are highly educated and trained professionals who mentor and encourage students to reach their maximum potential. Students can begin the program in either the fall or spring semester. Clinical hours can be completed close to home under the supervision of qualified and dedicated preceptors.

#8 – California State University Dominguez Hills – Carson, California

MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist-AG

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,176/year in-state and $16,680/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 25:1
Points: 5
The top Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist at California State University Dominguez Hills is a graduate level program designed for working nurses. Courses are delivered online in an asynchronous format. Students complete 500 clinical hours under the supervision and guidance of a qualified preceptor. Limited On-campus residency requirements are limited.  This allows students to come together for hands-on classroom instruction and engage with faculty without having to relocate or give up their job. Graduates are eligible to sit for AG-CNS certifications through the ANCC and the AACN.

#7 – Capital University – Columbus, Ohio

MSN-Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult-Gerontology Online

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,340/year
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Points: 6
The MSN program at Capital University features an adult-gerontology CSN specialization that’s flexible, holistic, and comprehensive. Caring professors assume the roles of career counselor, mentor, and professional colleague. Small class size gives students the opportunity to develop a professional network and engage with peers. Courses are offered in hybrid or online formats, making this a great program for working professionals. New in fall 2019, students can choose CapFlex. CapFlex is an online option allowing students to choose from eight or 16 week course formats. They can take one or two classes at a time, depending on their schedule.

#6 – Old Dominion University – Norfolk, Virginia

Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist/Administrator Program Online

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,168/year in-state and $26,820/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Points: 6
Old Dominion University features an innovative top Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist/Administrator Online. It’s in collaboration with East Virginia Medical School’s Standardized Patient Program. This unique partnership provides students with the opportunity to complete safe practicum experiences with specialized actors. Most of the coursework is delivered in an online format. However, students will need to travel to campus for training and testing at various points throughout the program.

#5 – University of Southern Indiana – Evansville, Indiana

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS)

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,884/year in-state and $17,407/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Points: 6
The top Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS) at the University of Southern Indiana is an online program comprised of core courses and clinical nursing courses. This 42 credit hour program can be completed in three years. It includes limited on-campus requirements for four courses. New students are admitted to the program once each year and can take courses year round. The program is recognized by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and meets requirements for the ACCNS-AG certification exam.

#4 – University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, North Dakota

Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,688/year in-state and $20,526/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Points: 6
The top Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist master’s program at the University of North Dakota is with limited on-campus residency requirements. Full-time students can complete their degree in just five semesters, including a summer session. Four times over the course of the program, students come to campus to engage with peers in lectures. There are also labs, simulation, and clinical exams. Students complete over 600 clinical clock hours under the guidance of an approved preceptor. Coursework covers areas like:

  • health promotion
  • assessment
  • illness management
  • pharmacology

Part-time students are also welcome and can complete the program in just three years.

#3 – University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus – Denver, Colorado

Clinical Nurse Specialist Adult-Gerontology

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,714/year in-state and $22,374/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Points: 6
The College of Nursing at the University of Colorado features an Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Master’s program for full-time students. It can be completed in three years of study. Students complete 35 credits of didactic coursework and 540 clinical clock hours covering the roles and responsibilities of the CNS. Graduates are prepared to work in a variety of community and hospital settings, working with patients in acute, critical, hospice, and palliative care.

#2 – Purdue University Northwest – Hammond, Indiana

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AG-CNS)

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $5,746/year in-state and $12,676/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Points: 6
The College of Nursing at Purdue University Northwest offers an innovative top online AG-CNS master’s degree program taught by faculty who are certified in online instruction. Concentration courses are available in areas like:

  • nursing informatics
  • sociocultural influences on health
  • pathophysiological concepts

Students complete 555 clock hours of practicum experience, divided over four different experiences. Both full and part-time students are welcome, with full-time students earning their degree in just 24 months.

#1 – East Carolina University – Greenville, North Carolina

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist-MSN

School Profile
Average Graduate Tuition: $4,749/year in-state and $17,898/year out-of-state
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Points: 6
The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist master’s program at East Carolina University is focused on providing students with cutting-edge practical skills and theoretical knowledge. Full-time students can complete the program in two years. Part-time students can finish in three-and-a-half years. Courses cover areas like:

  • health promotion
  • disease prevention
  • healthcare quality
  • clinical pharmacology

Students complete three different practicum experiences, gaining valuable hands-on training.