dcsimg
Table of Contents

Some choose to age like a fine wine while others rebel, staying young at heart. However one does it, aging is a part of life -- one that brings with it a myriad of physical, emotional and behavioral changes. Gerontology is the study of how we age, and how our life choices impact this process. Those who earn gerontology degrees can apply this knowledge in a very practical way to a number of different roles. Here is a quick review of what gerontology degree programs entail (and the type of jobs they might lead to).

Spotlight: Gerontology Degree Programs

Gerontology degree programs teach students about the human aging process, including the behavioral, physical, and even social changes that accompany it. Students also learn how behaviors adopted earlier in life, such as exercise, can influence one's overall well-being in their golden years. Gerontology degree programs vary in scope and emphasis, but The College Board reports that in addition to taking general education classes, students in most gerontology programs study the following topics:

  • Biology of aging
  • Sociology of aging
  • Psychology of aging
  • Death and dying
  • Fieldwork in gerontology

The College Board mentions that students can earn gerontology degrees at either the undergraduate or graduate level. The degree that suits them best depends on their career goals. Students who want to give their resumes an additional boost can become student members of the Gerontological Society of America or the Sigma Phi Omega honor society, an honor reserved for those enrolled in gerontological and related health programs.

Gerontology

Beyond the Degree: Careers for Gerontology Grads

Gerontology majors develop skills and attain knowledge that is applicable to a myriad of careers -- and not just in the healthcare sector. The following are just a few of those positions.

  • Recreational therapists plan and direct recreation-based treatment programs for patients who are sick, injured, or otherwise disabled. Programs can include elements of art, music, dance, sports and even drama. Many recreational therapists choose to work in geriatric facilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), recreational therapists typically earn at least a bachelor's degree before entering the field, and many employers require certification. The BLS projects demand for recreational therapists to grow by 13 percent nationally between 2012 and 2022 but emphasizes that prospects should be especially strong for those who work with the elderly.
  • Social workers help people cope with and treat behavioral, emotional and developmental challenges. Many choose to work with a specific age group, such as the elderly. The BLS reports that most social workers require a bachelor's degree to enter the field, although clinical social workers must typically earn a master's degree and become licensed. National employment of social workers is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, faster than the national average for U.S. occupations. Much of this growth should be driven by an aging baby boomer population, potentially increasing demand for those with gerontology degrees or certificates.
  • Registered nurses, or RNs, provide basic medical care under the direction of physicians. They can work in a variety of settings, including geriatric clinics and homes. According to the BLS, RNs typically must hold an associate or bachelor's degree and pass a national licensing exam to enter the field. The BLS projects national demand for RNs to grow by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Gerontology degrees may help qualify individuals for entry-level jobs in any of the above-listed careers listed, but graduates' options are not limited to those. They could serve as licensed practical nurses or orderlies at geriatric care facilities. They could become home health aides or occupational therapists that specialize in working with the elderly. Students can learn more about their options by visiting the BLS online or by contacting schools that offer gerontology degree programs.

Sources:
"Major: Gerontology," The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/multi-interdisciplinary-studies-gerontology
"Recreational Therapists," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/recreational-therapists.htm
"Registered Nurses," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
"Social Workers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm
"SPO Membership," Sigma Phi Omega, http://www.sigmaphiomega.org/membership.html
"Students," The Gerontological Society of America, http://www.geron.org/Students

Pursue your Gerontology major today…

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
 
Matching School Ads
2 Program(s) Found
  • Provides an exclusive Ashford Mobile app to keep students connected to the online classroom on the go.
  • Offers a business program in partnership and collaboration with Forbes magazine.
  • Offers several credit transfer and previous experience options for students who qualify.
  • Dedicated to fostering intellectual and personal growth since 1918.
  • Offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in business, health, education, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
  • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
  • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
  • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
  • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
  • Financial Aid
  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
  • Online Courses
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

  • Online Courses
  • Founded in Southern California in 1998 by dog training expert Steven Appelbaum.
  • The largest independent dog training company in the United States.
  • Offers 11-stage programs that feature an in-home study component along with a hands-on training module.
  • A member of the MyCAA Financial Assistance program, which offers eligible military spouses up to $4,000 of tuition assistance that can be used towards any of their courses.
  • Helps graduates find employment and coaches those who are looking to start their own business.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
  • Offers 24/7 online tech support, with a typical response time of 4 hours or less.
  • Has online help centers that offer assistance with writing, statistics, medical assisting, and more.
  • Provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.
  • Researches trends for growing fields to tailor a more effective curriculum.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104