Bachelor’s in Gerontology Program Guide
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The Urban Institute projects that between 2000 and 2040, the number of Americans 85 or older will quadruple. As this population typically requires significant healthcare, social services, and advocacy, the demand for gerontologists should mirror these demographic shifts.
A bachelor's degree in gerontology prepares learners to address the mental, physical, and social needs of an aging population. Graduates can pursue careers in growing fields like social work, health administration, and occupational therapy.
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Should I Get a Bachelor's in Gerontology?
A bachelor's degree in gerontology provides students with the theoretical and practical skills needed to advocate for aging people. Learners hone the communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills needed for successful careers in gerontology.
A bachelor's degree in gerontology provides students with the theoretical and practical skills needed to advocate for aging people.
Degree-seekers also gain widely applicable health-related instruction in addition to completing general education coursework. As a result, students can pursue a broad spectrum of career opportunities. Typical careers for gerontology graduates include social work, mental health, health services administration.
Between 2019 and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects significant job growth in social work (13%) and occupational therapy (16%). An aging baby-boom generation means that gerontology professionals should remain in high demand for the foreseeable future.
What Will I Learn in a Gerontology Bachelor's Program?
Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in gerontology must typically complete 120 credits. In addition to general education coursework, students complete core gerontology classes like biology of aging, psychology of adult development and aging, and working with minority elderly.
In addition to traditional coursework, degree-seekers typically complete a gerontology practicum in a professional setting. This fieldwork requirement provides learners with over 100 hours of in-person experiential learning, an irreplaceable introduction to the field's professional responsibilities.
For students interested in administrative careers, this concentration focuses on the practical skills required for effective leadership in gerontology. Common courses include management and administration of aging programs, long-term care administration, and senior housing.
In this concentration, students often complete classes in hospice care, recreation for the aging, and nutrition and aging. Coursework also highlights the value of building resilience among older individuals and their families.
This concentration introduces foundational theories and methods in gerontology for students considering a future in providing healthcare to an aging population. Covered topics include hospice, nutrition and aging, and health aspects of aging.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Gerontology?
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in gerontology can apply their specialized training within many career paths.
Additionally, this degree can lead to many professional certificates and master's programs. Students often pursue certifications, such as gerontological specialist, advanced aging life care, and certified hospice and palliative social work. Read on to learn more about popular careers and how graduates can elevate their degrees.
Popular Career Paths
- Social Worker
- Community Health Worker
- Social and Human Services Assistant
- Occupational Therapy Assistant
Popular Continuing Education Paths
- Master's in Gerontology
- Master's in Public Health
- Occupational Therapy Board Certificate in Gerontology
- Certified Geriatric Care Manager
How Much Money Can I Make With a Bachelor's in Gerontology?
While salaries vary among specific careers, a bachelor's degree in gerontology leads to expanded career options and higher pay. According to the BLS, social and community services managers earn a median annual salary of $69,600. Additionally, social workers make a median income of $51,760 per year.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Gerontology Programs
What is gerontology?
Gerontology is the study of aging. Professionals in the field explore the cognitive, physical, and social implications of an aging population. Experts use their knowledge to influence policies and advocate for effective programming for this population.
Is a bachelor's in gerontology worth it?
How much does it cost to get a bachelor's in gerontology?
Earning a bachelor's degree in gerontology requires a significant investment of time and money. Nevertheless, students can find ways to save money through financial aid and in-state tuition. Online programs also cut back on food and housing costs.
How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in gerontology?
A bachelor's degree in gerontology takes about four years to complete for full-time students. Students who transfer credits, hold an associate degree, or enroll in accelerated programs can graduate in less time.
Is gerontology a good career?
Yes. Gerontology professionals perform meaningful work and often earn high salaries. For example, social and community services managers earn a median annual salary of $69,600. As baby boomers age, gerontology professionals should remain in high demand.