Online Gerontology Degrees

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 degree programs.

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.

"Major: Gerontology," The College Board,
"Recreational Therapists," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014,
"Registered Nurses," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014,
"Social Workers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014,
"SPO Membership," Sigma Phi Omega,
"Students," The Gerontological Society of America,

Pursue your Gerontology major today…

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • 100+ locations and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
4 Program(s) Found
  • Features 43 degree programs and more than 142 specializations.
  • Offers several ways to save on tuition, including multiple grant and scholarship opportunities, low-cost credits, accelerated programs, and more.
  • Reduced tuition, transfer credits, and other benefits are available for all military service members and veterans.
  • Allows students to preview a free, one-week mini course to give an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • The program culminates in a Master of Science degree, delivered online by Georgetown University’s nationally ranked School of Nursing & Health Studies External link.
  • The school was founded in 1903, dedicated to its mission, “to improve the health and well-being of all people.”
  • The program is a blend of highly interactive online class sessions, social connections between peers and faculty, and real-world clinical experiences.
  • Programs include health systems administration, international health, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Named #35 Best Colleges for Veterans in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2014.
  • Founded in 1872 and located on 130 picturesque acres in West St. Louis County.
  • The student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 64.3%of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 83.8%.
  • Offers more than 75 degrees at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels to students from 49 states and 28 countries.
  • Its athletics teams compete in 18 sports at the Division II level in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • According to a Walden-sponsored study, 88.2% of graduates are very satisfied or satisfied with their education and more than 85% of students are likely or very likely to recommend the school to others.
  • In that same study, 88% of graduates said their education helped them enhance their professional performance.
  • Students can save 15% on tuition over the lifetime of their program if they are active-duty military, a veteran, or an employee of the Veteran’s Administration.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
2 Program(s) Found
  • Formed in 2001, it has 28 locations across the United States.
  • Offers customized blend format of online and campus classes.
  • Extensive activity in the local campus communities.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses