The field of gerontology is growing. As more people live well into their 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond, more jobs being created to meet their needs. So career opportunities in gerontology are expected to be very good ongoing.
More and more employers are looking for workers that have at least an associate degree in gerontology to fill jobs that cater to both ill seniors who need constant care and active older adults interested in recreation and leisure programs.
Studies for an associate degree in gerontology will prepare you to support nurses, social workers, physicians, or other healthcare professionals who support older adults. Once you earn an online associate degree in gerontology, you can work as a geriatric aide, supporting administrators and professionals in nursing homes, senior centers, healthcare facilities, or social service agencies. You might also work one-on-one with clients in private homes.
Specific job responsibility will depend on the type of facility you work in or your area of specialty. Geriatric aides often work with elderly patients, helping to feed, dress, and bathe patients who are not physically able to care for their own needs. You might also work on organizing social activities for groups of seniors, provide transportation, or serve as a companion.
An online associate degree program in gerontology will focus on teaching you about the aging process. Courses will train you to take medical information and work with patients. You might look for programs that also offer relevant experience via field work or internships. Courses in liberal arts, sciences, and humanities may also be required to complete your degree.
While pursuing your degree, you might want to look into volunteer opportunities or find entry-level work within an agency that serves older people since having hands-on experience can help you stand out in the job market. With continued work experience, you might be able move up in the field and take on responsibilities such as running a group home.
To succeed in the gerontology field, you should genuinely enjoy interacting with older people and be concerned about their needs. To advance in the field and increase your responsibility and position, you should consider pursuing a bachelor degree or higher with a concentration in a specific area of gerontology such as social services for the elderly, nursing home administration, or financial and estate planning.
Gerontology is the physical, mental, and sociological study of aging. It includes the study of changes in adults as they age, the ways that society changes with an aging population, and the ways we apply this information to programs and policies for older adults. A degree in gerontology prepares the student for careers working with older adults or as advocates for the elderly.
Gerontology is a diverse field with career opportunities in human services, government agencies, retirement communities, nursing homes, health care, and long-term institutional care. Gerontologists serve as social workers, nursing aids, social scientists, and healthcare managers. Careers for gerontologists are numerous because they include almost any profession in which an older person is cared for and assisted.
Nurses, occupational therapists, and other healthcare providers also benefit from degrees in gerontology. A degree in gerontology allows professionals to better understand the problems surrounding their aging patients and how to better care for them. Communication skills are important for gerontologists because they are often responsible for recording and relaying information regarding their client or patient. They must be able to work with a diverse population of people, particularly older adults.
These are ideal for students seeking entry level positions working with older adults. These jobs include entry-level positions in nursing homes, in senior day care centers, or in the homes of private clients. A high school diploma is required to enter an undergraduate certificate program. These short courses of study usually include four to 10 courses such as Introduction to Gerontology, Communication and Aging, and Psychological Aspects of Aging.
Associate Degree in Gerontology This is a two-year program that includes general education courses and courses specific to gerontology. The associate degree prepares you for an entry-level career in gerontology, advancement in your current career, or a bachelor’s degree. Most programs now require associate degree candidates to complete internships.
Students earning a bachelor’s degree in gerontology are prepared for entry- to mid-level positions working with older adults in a variety of settings. Bachelor’s degrees in gerontology typically take four years to complete and require an internship. Courses in gerontological studies are required in addition to general education courses such as algebra, biology and sociology. Online bachelor’s degrees in gerontology focus particularly on nonclinical aspects of the field, such as communication, policy, advocacy and social services. Online students may often arrange local practica to fulfill hands-on training requirements.
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* Dr. Kerstin Gerst Emerson, faculty at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Gerontology, guides viewers through an introduction to the field of gerontology. This short video includes discussion of the difference between gerontology and geriatrics and challenges 10 common myths about older adults.
What is Gerontology?