Gerontology

Gerontology studies all aspects of the biological aging process. Read on to learn about degree options and jobs available in this field as well as employment outlook and salary data to decide if this is the right career decision.

Is Gerontology For Me?

Career Summary

Gerontology is the study of aging and its associated social, biological and mental processes. Career opportunities exist in a multitude of areas, such as healthcare, research, government, education, housing and recreation. For example, you might work as a human services assistant or social worker for older adults, helping them with medication compliance or applying for benefits that include Medicaid and government-supported housing. You could also perform medical research on diseases of aging, like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease, or study common relational behaviors of society and families toward elderly populations. In addition to research, academic programs in gerontology can offer courses in public policy, human services and social aspects of aging, leading to careers in social services.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers were expected to see 19% job growth, and social service assistant jobs were projected to grow 22% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). The main reason behind the faster-than-average increases in these professions was attributed to the larger numbers of elderly people within the U.S. Median salaries fluctuated based on the type of service, with healthcare social workers earning an income of $50,820, mental health social workers making $40,970 and family social workers taking home $42,120 as of May 2013.

If you're interested in exploring diseases, cures and treatments related to aging, you could work in research through universities, hospitals, private industry or government agencies. The BLS stated that jobs for medical research scientists were expected to increase by 13%, due in part to innovations in biotechnology and the continued federal support to finding causes and solutions to many diseases, including those that afflict aged populations. The median annual salary in 2013 for medical research scientists was $79,840. Those working in industries such as the offices of health practitioners, the federal government and the offices of physicians averaged over $100,000 per year, according to the BLS.

How Can I Work in Gerontology?

Education

Many entry-level positions that support the elderly require only a high school diploma. If you'd like to start working before you finish your studies, you might consider jobs at a nursing home or adult day care facility. Undergraduate certificates and associate's degrees in gerontology focus on social services for aging populations and allow career advancement to management positions.

Undergraduate Studies

More advanced professions, such as gerontology nurse, exercise therapist, policy developer and program director, require a bachelor's or graduate degree with relevant work experience. A bachelor's degree in gerontology includes studies of family and consumer sciences, along with anthropology and human behavior. As a student in this type of program, you could take courses on death and dying, leisure, sexuality and retirement, all as they pertain to aging.

Graduate Programs

Master's degree and doctoral (Ph.D.) programs related to gerontology focus on the sociology and psychology of older populations. With a master's degree, you can usually qualify for jobs in social work, healthcare management and academia. A Ph.D. degree is usually required to teach at the university level or if you conduct medical research, though you could further your studies by attending medical school and earning a Doctor of Medicine. In a master's or Ph.D. program in gerontology, you could take advanced courses on the environment and aging, nutrition, research methods and statistical analysis as well as conduct research in your area of interest.

Related Articles for Gerontology

View More Articles

Related Videos

  • How Do I Become a Wireless Network Administrator? - Video

    If you are interested in working in the telecommunications industry, you may want to consider becoming a Wireless Network Administrator. Wireless Network Administrators work exclusively with wireless networks and are needed in nearly every type of organization imaginable. Learn more about becoming a Wireless Network Administrator here.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • University of the Rockies

    University of the Rockies responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of the Rockies:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »