How to Get a Degree in Gerontology

Overview

Gerontology is not to be mixed with geriatrics. Gerontology is a study that focuses on aging through its psychological, biological and sociological aspects. Gerontology is an interesting field of medicine that examines and notes the mental, physical and social changes that occur in people as they age over the years.

Gerontologists help provide explanations and theories for how and why people behave the way they do as they get older. It helps to understand this transition because it assists in understanding how people adapt to these changes – and the purpose is to simplify the transitions along the way. The findings and information can help institutions such as governments, offices, marketing agencies, pharmaceuticals, and so on through their planning activities. If you feel you can add value and contribution to this field, then the first step is to get a degree in gerontology.

Importance of Education

The importance of education cannot be stress further, especially for fields of medicine and science, which makes gerontology no exception. Educational qualifications attest to a student’s hard work, dedication and discipline. Academic qualifications also look good on a candidate’s resume as potential employers, head-hunters and recruiters may give preference to an academically sound application. With new concepts, advancements and information in the industry, it is imperative that students stay up to date with what education has to offer. This is why you must actively work hard for a degree in gerontology if you wish to enter the industry and make a name for yourself.

Degree Options and Requirements

An associate of applied sciences in gerontology is a popular option for students to get a feel of this medical field. It is a great way to enter the industry at the assistant’s or researcher’s level. Students use this degree option to develop an academic foundation for gerontology. Some courses that students may be exposed to at this level include principles of gerontology, ethics in aging, sociology, adult development and so on. To get into an associate program, you must have completed a high school diploma successfully.

Another option is for students to pursue a bachelor’s of science in gerontology where they will be given a comprehensive exposure to almost all areas of gerontology. Students opt for this option when they want to receive a 360 degree learning experience. Some popular courses at this level include, human anatomy, disabilities in elders, psychology, nutrition, biology of aging, physiology of aging, and psychology of aging and so on. At the bachelor’s level, students will be exposed to courses that are specific and largely relevant to gerontology.

The next step to advance your career in gerontology is to opt for a master’s level degree. At this stage, candidates are required to have gone through an undergraduate program in gerontology and are required to furnish all supporting documents. Some universities may require students to possess some practical experience by way of internships or supervised training.

During their master’s, students may come across courses such as aging, public policy, retirement, aging and disease, health promotion, women and aging, old-age care, patient rights, communication skills and many other courses that will add value to their degree. A master’s program prepares students for managerial and supervisory roles in health-care, and nursing-care facilities.

Certification is an importance step if you wish to advance further into you career. Certification gives employers the guarantee and security that the candidate has gone through rigorous academic and mental training to hone their skills.

Career Outlook

Gerontology is a field of medicine that is gradually gaining recognition in the industry. A great deal of research is being conducted in this field to give plausible explanations of how and why people behave the way they do as they age. This is vital information for large pharmaceutical industries, the services industry as well as the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) industries. With this information, better products, decisions and services can be created and hence offered.

Salary Prospects

The average annual salary for a gerontology specialist is $32,000 (simplyhired.com). Gerontology workers can commonly find jobs in domestic healthcare facilities, nursing homes and old-age homes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) compiled in 2011 that the annual salary for gerontological social workers in nursing homes was $45,230. On the other hand, the average annual salary for gerontological specialists in health-care facilities was $55,020.

Further Reading

The list of websites below should prove useful to you during your research into the field of gerontology. When researching, be sure to study gerontology from an academic and career point of view. Good luck!

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