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Major Overview: Gerontology Program

Majors Overview April 7, 2015

Get information about the gerontology major and its education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Gerontology Major

Schools offer bachelor’s degree programs in gerontology as the most suitable choice for individuals seeking to work on behalf of and with the elderly. Some schools include gerontology as a concentration within a health services or behavioral science degree program. Students enrolled in such programs learn about the emotional, mental, and physical effects of aging.

Coursework in a gerontology program is typically a combination of training in sociology, psychology, and health care administration. Additionally, the program teaches enrolled students about the ways in which the elderly are affected by community policies and programs—information that could prove most useful to aspiring policy analysts, social workers, and advocates. These programs commonly include practicum experiences and internship components.

Education Requirements

There are no special admissions requirements in most gerontology programs. Prerequisites, if any, are minimal, such as a requirement to complete an introductory gerontology course apart from having to submit a minimum grade point average of 2.5.

Coursework

Apart from an intensive practicum, gerontology majors are typically required to complete an internship, usually in the senior year of the program. Over the duration of the program, enrolled students complete core coursework such as the following:

•Common disabilities among the elderly
•Foundations in nutrition
•Psychological effects of death
•Human anatomy
•Medical terms
•Bodily systems and functions
•Exercise and the science of movement

Career Choices

Those who complete gerontology majors can choose from numerous job options in nursing homes, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, and government sectors. They may aspire for specific job titles such as:

•Nursing home recreation specialist
•Gerontological policy analyst
•Adult day care administrator
•Elderly advocate or social worker
•Community outreach program developer

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, faster-than-average job growth rate of nineteen percent have been predicted for social workers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $44,200.

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of bachelor’s degree programs in gerontology may opt for continuing education by earning a master’s degree in the field. They may also consider a master’s degree in public administration or social work. Those interested in pursuing medical or law school may choose to pursue a gerontology major.

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