Gerontology is a specialized branch of medicine that studies aging. It is a relatively new field and one of the most rapidly growing, offering excellent starting salaries and job availability. Graduates of a gerontology degree program can find job positions in hospitals, retirement homes, and many other health and social service facilities. Anyone with an interest in health care and treating the elderly is a good candidate for an online gerontology degree.
Online Gerontology Degree Duration
The length of study in the pursuit of an online gerontology degree depends on the level of the degree as well as the number of course hours taken each term. The time required for an associates degree is two years, a bachelors degree generally takes 4 to 5 years, and a masters degree is typically completed in 2 to 4 years. Once both bachelors and masters degrees are obtained, there is an option to work toward a PhD, which takes about 6 years to earn.
Gerontology Associates Course Information
An associates degree in gerontology is designed to prepare entry level job seekers for positions working with the elderly, possibly in senior centers and nursing homes. In addition, it is a beneficial starting point for those wishing to pursue a bachelors degree at a later date. Nurses, RNs, LPNs, and others in the health profession can expand on their skills by adding the associates in gerontology to their educational accomplishments, and it can aid them in career advancement.
Gerontology Bachelor Course Information
An online gerontology degree generally requires around 42 credit hours of coursework. Graduates can seek careers helping aging adults or in advocacy programs for the elderly. Many nurses and other health care professionals are seeing the advantage of pursuing a BA in gerontology in addition to their previous training. Students pursuing an online gerontology degree are usually required to fulfill some hands-on and lab training requirements as well as an internship.
Gerontology Masters Course Information
The masters degree in gerontology narrows the focus to one aspect of the profession and is geared at landing positions at the management level. This may be in administration for health care facilities, nursing homes, elderly care facilities, or family services organizations. A pre-requisite for an online gerontology degree at the masters level is a bachelors degree in the same major. Some schools limit the masters degree program in gerontology only to those planning to purse the PhD.
Gerontology Doctors Course Information
Both a bachelors and a masters degree in gerontology are required to enter the PhD program in this field. Most schools have a time limit on the completion of the PhD after acceptance into the program and/or based on the date of completion of the masters in gerontology. Holders of the PhD can pursue careers in health care administration, as biogerontologists, in education, and in research. Many biogerontologists also hold an MD degree.
Gerontology Degree Career Outlook
The gerontology major is a relatively new one and was necessitated by a steady increase in the percentage of people aged 65 or older. This is a result of the baby boomer era and the fact that those born during that time are now reaching retirement age, combined with the fact that due to advances in the health care industry, people live longer now than they used to. There is now and will continue to be a growing need for degree holders in the major of gerontology.
For individuals wanting to pursue a degree, the ability to do so online makes an education possible for those faced with work and family responsibilities as well as geographical limitations. The health care industry offers a stable career future, and the field of gerontology offers great income potential and personal reward.