Which nurse practitioner degree to pick? AGACNP vs. AGNP vs. FNP


So many choices! I’m currently enrolled in an online NP program at Maryville University, and it’s the AGACNP variety. So far so good, but at this point, we’ve only been doing basic MSN courses so there’s still time to switch.

I’ve gone with the AGACNP because I want the option of working in the hospital, and also because I have no interest in working with women or peds. One thing that concerns me is being hired in the ED because they may want a provider who can treat everyone including women and peds…

Here’s some more info for you to consider if you’re debating between these degrees:

The AGACNP track will take longer to complete than FNP and AGNP

For Maryville University (and I assume similar elsewhere), the AGACNP has to complete 3 full clinical rounds, each with 250 hours.

The FNP has the same amount of clinical rotations (3), but they are not 250 hours each, so the total hours are less. This puts the FNP length somewhere in the middle of both adult types.

The AGNP is the shortest because there are only 2 full-length clinical rotations.

Where do you want to do your clinicals?

If you are going for the AGACNP you can do clinicals in the hospital for every rotation. I know personally, it makes it much easier since I work in the hospital and already have contacts there.

FNP and AGNP rotations are not eligible for hospital-based clinicals. You will have to do urgent or primary care. That means doctors offices, nursing homes, etc.

Where do you want to work?

AGACNP can work in the hospital. FNP and AGNP cannot unless they get acute care certifications.

Anyone else getting their MSN? What program are you in? How do you like it?

What type of NP degree would you choose?

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

0 voters

Agacnp or fnp?

I feel like you can’t really go wrong with either the AGACNP or the FNP, but each have their own quirks. For example, the AGACNP doesn’t work with “all patients” and it might be harder to get hired for an ED job. FNPs can treat all patients, but don’t have the acute part that most want for hiring within a hospital. I work with a hospitalist who’s a FNP and in order to work in the hospital, she had to get an acute care certification on top of her FNP degree.

And then there’s the PA folks who keep advertising for their team. But at this point I already have a BSN, and an NP degree just makes the most sense.


An AGACNP I work with said if he could to do it all over again, he would stick with the AGACNP. Then again, he’s biased haha :laughing:


Clinicals start soon. Crunch time! I’m glad to be moving towards the end of the program though and get some hands-on learning. So far we’ve just been getting the basic MSN courses out of the way and I haven’t felt like I’ve been learning anything of use, just spending lots of money ha


How are you liking your choice of Maryville Uni? I work with someone who’s doing Kaplan, and another who’s at Chamberlain. Neither are allowed to do their clinicals in the hospital for some reason, but I think they’re both in FNP programs, so maybe that’s why. I guess most schools require the AGACNP track to approve clinicals in the acute care setting?

I feel like not being able to do clinicals in the hospital would be a deal breaker for me. They said it can be tough to find sites in the primary care setting. I’ve heard it can take years to get on a waiting list just to precept!


Like I said, it’s not bad, just kinda boring since it’s just the basic stuff and I feel like all that could be cut out from the program, but I’m sure they’re enjoying the extra money from these courses. No doubt someone somewhere decided that lots of education credits must create better NPs… but I’m not sure I agree with that.

I’ll have to report back when clinicals get started, and perhaps next semester where we get into the pathophysiology and pharmacology classes. That should at least be useful. But yeah, I’m glad I can precept in the hospital. It’ll make things easier I’m sure.


Gotta thank the AACN’s MSN Essentials


Yeah, what a joke! A year’s worth of courses that I do not honestly believe will lead me to be a more effective NP, but I’m sure schools sure do love the extra money :money_mouth_face:


Here’s a little update about clinical classes that future NP students might want to consider or get thinking about if you’re new to a program:

  • Our school is making us get a physical, 2 step TB test (PPD and Quantiferon-TB Gold), full immunization records all within 1 year of starting clinicals.
  • We are required to have at least 3 different preceptors. We are able to reuse the same preceptor for our Health Assessment clinical (80 hours) and our first of 3 Adults clinical rotations for the AGACNP program (250 hours each).
  • My school will supply me with a contract for the facility to sign regarding my clinical practice at that location, or the facility can create their own and send it back to my school. A contract must be held for students to perform any clinical hours, so be mindful of your planned facilities and get them this paperwork earlier rather than later.

Hopefully, this prep won’t take too long to complete, but it’s something to consider and plan for.


What are people’s thoughts on FNP vs AGACNP vs AGNP marketability? Would you assume FNPs are more in demand seeing as they are free to work in any setting?

Then again, I suppose it only really matters about where YOU want to work. For example, I don’t have any interest in working with pediatrics, so I wouldn’t mind an adult NP specialty.


I agree that your marketability will depend on your desired clinical setting. If you want to keep all of your options open, go for the FNP. If you know you only want adults, then consider if you want to do primary care (AGNP/AGPCNP), or acute inpatient care. Most hospitals will probably require either an AGACNP degree or an acute care certification in order to practice.


Would like to just update that the clinical paperwork was a complete nightmare, as I had to obtain a contract both with the facility that I would be doing clinical rotations in, as well as a separate contract with physician practice since they are outside contractors with the hospital. On top of that, both groups preferred to use their own affiliation agreements, which prolonged the process with the legal department at my university. I am relieved to finally have all my paperwork completed and be able to precept.

Patho and pharm were a little rough, but I managed to maintain my 4.0 GPA :slight_smile:. I had to take them together in one 16 week semester, and it was a lot of trying to memorize vast amounts of information at a lightning pace. It’s nice to have that in my rear view, and now I’m in health assessment. We have to film ourselves performing various health assessment videos (by system) and will have to perform a final head-to-toe video assessment in order to pass the course. Luckily it is pass or fail, and you are allowed a repeat attempt if you mess it up.

I am starting to appreciate my program now that we are learning what I consider to be useful things that will actually make me an effective and knowledgeable NP. And as for online versus in school, I love online learning. The flexibility allows me to continue to work throughout school and works with my schedule via asynchronous learning. Here’s a good write up about some good online NP programs for getting your MSN: