Master's Degrees in Geriatric Health
Persons with master's degrees in geriatric health (also called gerontology) can work as health care managers, consultants, or advocates for the elderly population. Learn about program and class options, employment opportunities, and how earning a master's degree could help advance your career working with geriatric patients.
What Master's Degrees Are Available in Gerontology?
A handful of schools offer master's-level programs in gerontology and health administration. These programs might benefit you if you're a current or prospective health care professional who's interested in managing the health care of older adults.
|Degree Options||Master's in gerontology and/or health administration|
|Courses||Geriatric care, aging, disease control, ethics, leadership|
|Online Options||Courses are available online; however, a practicum will be required|
|Careers||Healthcare manager, consultant or advocate for the elderly, administrator of a skilled nursing or assisted living facility (licensure required)|
|Other Options||Registered nurses with a BSN can earn a Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Practitioner in Gerontology|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||20% growth (for all medical and health services managers)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$84,260 (for medical and health service managers in nursing and residential care facilities)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Classes Will I Take?
Your master's program is likely to cover a variety of business and management topics, such as finance, human resources, information technology, leadership and marketing. Subjects more specific to gerontology might include:
- The aging process
- Disease control
- Ethics and geriatric care
- Health care delivery for the elderly
- Multicultural perspectives on aging
- Psychology of aging
Most gerontology programs take about two years, and you may be required to complete some work in a clinic or hospital as part of your course of study. You also might have to conduct independent research.
What Are My Online Options?
Some schools offer gerontology courses online, but you'll still need to complete a practicum at a clinic, hospital or nursing home. In addition to a reliable Internet connection, your online courses might require software to view media, such as Windows Media Player or Adobe Acrobat. You also might need access to programs like Microsoft Word and Excel. Typically, you'll be required to attend one or two virtual classes each week and then submit assignments through a course management system like Blackboard.
What Can This Degree Do For My Career?
A master's program in gerontology can qualify you to work in a public or private agency as a health care manager, consultant or advocate for the elderly and their families. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care managers employed by nursing home facilities made a median annual salary of $84,260 per year as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov).
If you plan to work as an administrator in a nursing care facility, you'll need to earn state licensure. You also might need a license to manage an assisted-living facility. Your master's program likely will provide you with the skills and knowledge to meet licensure requirements, which typically include completion of an approved training program and passage of an exam.
What Other Options Are Available to Me?
If you're a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), another option in geriatric care is a graduate program in geriatric nursing. Through a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) - Nurse Practitioner in Gerontology program, you can explore health maintenance issues, therapy techniques and diagnostic methods that are specific to older adults. You also might learn to manage acute, chronic and episodic conditions relative to elderly patients. These programs typically take two years to complete and include multiple practicums. Some classes may be available online.