If you work in the field of nursing, choosing to specialize a nursing degree in geriatrics can open up opportunities that make it possible for you to advance your career. Working in any setting as a nurse is fulfilling, but working with a special demographic of patients that you have a connection with will make you excited for work every day. When you specialize your nursing degree and get certified in geriatrics, you will work closely with elderly patients to provide excellent care in many different settings, from long-term care facilities to hospital admissions.

Geriatrics is a growing specialty area because of the aging baby boomers generation. The statistics show that the population of people over 55 will go from 60 to 107 million by 2030. This rapid growth creates an obvious need for specialists. To be considered a specialist in the geriatrics practice area, you will need enhanced training and professional experience. You can do this after you graduate from nursing school or after you have been working in the field for some time and you want to garner new opportunities. Read on, and learn about the steps you need to take as a registered nurse to specialize and make a move for a better future.

What Are the Educational Requirements to Become a Geriatric Nurse?

To specialize in geriatric nursing, you will need to pursue an advanced degree that covers curriculum specific to geriatrics and caring for aging patients. All registered nurses must complete nursing programs or a Bachelor’s degree program to get licensed and take the NCLEX exam (Please see: 30 Best Affordable RN-BSN Degree Programs). After you have done this, you will go a step further to earn a Master’s degree in Geriatric Nursing or Adult Health Nursing. These programs can take between 2 and 3 years to complete and will cover a wide range of subjects. Some of the common courses that you will required to complete to earn your Master’s include: nursing research, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and elderly nursing issues.

Earning a Certificate in Gerontology

If you already possess a Master’s degree in Nursing and it is not focused on gerontology, you do not have to earn a new Master’s degree to specialize. Instead, you can enroll in a graduate certificate program that prepares you to become a clinical nurse or a practitioner who works with elderly patients. You can take various courses that teach you about promoting health, chronic health management, nursing theories, and nursing issues so that you are familiar with the topics before you try to earn your credentials.

Earning Your Certification to Be Viewed as a Credible Specialist

The American Nurses’ Credentialing Center offers advanced credentials for adult nurse practitioners (ANPs) who meet eligibility requirements. To be considered eligible, you must possess a Master’s degree, postgraduate or doctoral degree from a recognized adult nurse practitioner program. You will also need to have at least 500 clinical hours of professional experience. If you meet the criteria, you can test for your ANP credential to be seen as a specialist.

Geriatric nursing is perhaps the fastest growing specialty in nursing. If you want to enter a field that presents a lot of opportunity, this could be the right direction. Take your career to the next level, earn your Master’s, and specialize a nursing degree in geriatrics for a new career outlook.