Your gerontology degree could be the key that opens the door to a long career, as old people are always going to be around.
Let's take look at what is available in terms of degrees and certifications.
"Gerontology is the study of aging. Professionals in the science examine the biological, social, and psychological aspects of growing old. With higher life expectancies and frequent medical breakthroughs in treating aging Americans, demand for gerontology professionals will rise in the coming years as elderly patients require more individualized care.
A trained gerontologist can work in a variety of places, including health facilities, mental health centers, social service agencies, residential facilities, government agencies, community agencies, and advocacy groups.
Required Qualifications for Gerontology Careers
Many colleges and universities offer courses in gerontology, and students can choose from an undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, or certificate program. The basic qualification required to enroll for a course in gerontology is a high school diploma. After the successful completion of a gerontology degree, you can transition into social work, health care, social science, and various aspects of public policy. Apart from the educational qualifications, a successful gerontologist has:
* Excellent communication skills * Ability to work with different kinds of people, especially older adults * The desire to assist older adults * Sensitivity, patience, and compassion
States have varying certification requirements for this profession. According to The National Association for Professional Gerontologists (NAPG), credentialing is available for graduates of formal career training programs.
For those who have completed an associate's degree or certificate program, NAPG offers credentials for work as a gerontological coordinator. Bachelor's degree grads can apply for credentials as a gerontological specialist. And those who complete a master's degree can receive designations as a gerontologist.
Online Gerontology Degree Programs
Today's online colleges and universities offer the full range of programs leading to degrees in gerontology science. Students can earn a specialist certificate in aging, a bachelor's degree in gerontology, a master of geriatric health, master of health administration with a gerontology specialization, or a master's of science degree in geriatric nursing.
Additional or advanced online training in business, management, or policy planning can prepare gerontology professionals to assume leadership positions in federal, state, and local government, private care facilities, or aging research laboratories.
Students learn how to meet the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of aging Americans, how to plan or oversee geriatric programs for long-term care facilities, or teach gerontology. The study of aging can also examine biological, economic, and social aspects affecting seniors. Students are given the opportunity to develop counseling skills, study the ethical concerns in geriatric care. Additional topics of study include government policies and medical funding issues, the effects of stress, risk factors, and chronic conditions, work and aging, and death and dying.
Gerontology Career Outlook and Salaries
Jobs for gerontologists going into social work will be plentiful. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of social and human service assistants will grow by nearly 34 percent during the 2006-2016 decade, adding approximately 114,000 jobs.
Salaries in gerontology range from just above minimum wage all the way to nurse or doctor-level salaries, depending on the professional's location, clientele, education, and expertise."
I am a Boomer, 64 years of age, and as I read the above, it all seems rather clinical.
The degree programs are training for the professional and policy maker, and I hope that the clinicians who come from those programs will be open to helping the Seniors they work with record their life history or do a life review with them.
And while I see some references to wellness in the above program description, there are a lot of folks my age and older who are working very hard to keep themselves vital and alive, and those degree programs need to emphazize wellness too, including the recent discoveries about brain fitness.
But before I get into that, I want to give you a link to some online programs where you can pursue your gerontology degree.
Be prepared to include in your gerontology degree studies knowledge about neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, which are recently discovered capacities of the human brain.
Those discoveries will be particularly important to your Senior clients, who probably will not be aware of the potential to keep their brain super sharp by enhancing neurogenesis and neuroplasticity by using tools like the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program.
The Posit Science Brain Fitness Program has recently been studied in the IMPACT research and the researchers were quite surprised by the results. For more information, there is a link below and in the right side bar to the Posit Science folks.