As the baby boomers have aged, the need for specialists in senior care has increased. Gerontology programs exist to meet that need. They train future professionals in develop facilities and programs for the senior population. While pursuing a gerontology bachelors degree, students will learn how to manage senior care, promote longevity, and encourage the use of various therapies for the elderly. The skills acquired during gerontology bachelor degree programs also prepare students to become educators and, if they choose, program coordinators.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
A bachelor’s degree program is a good way to set the foundation for a future career in gerontology. Bachelor’s degrees set students up to be well-rounded in both their major area of study and general areas, which can make them marketable for a variety of careers. In addition, these programs will teach students how to think critically and conduct ethical programs. Finally, bachelor’s degrees are prerequisites for graduate study. Students interested in pursuing master’s degrees and doctoral degrees should therefore seek to earn an undergraduate degree first.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Requirements for admission into bachelor’s degree programs in gerontology vary. However, it is common for universities to expect students to have the following:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- GPA of 2.0 or higher
- Passing SAT or ACT scores
Inside a Gerontology Bachelor’s Degree Program
While attending a gerontology bachelor’s degree program, students will take classes in health, human development, and public policies. Some specific classes will include aging and health, cognitive functioning in the elderly, health record keeping, and the legal aspects of aging. Students will also learn about the current issues in caring for the elderly, as well as methods for conducting research. In addition, some programs allow students to specialize in an area of gerontology, which may include additional course work in informatics or health care policy.
Most students will have to complete a project or thesis before graduating from a bachelor’s degree program. This will test their knowledge of patient care and the aging process. It will also demonstrate their skills in research and critical analysis. In total, the degree program should take around four years to complete, although students who take classes on a part-time basis may take longer to earn their bachelor’s degree.
What’s Next for Gerontology Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
After graduating, students can go on to become medical and health services managers, a position that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports earns $84,270 annually. Job outlooks for these managers are good, with growth projected at 22% by 2020. Students may also want to consider becoming care advisors, senior program coordinators, or geriatric analysts.
Students who want to pursue higher education can consider a master’s degree program. Master’s degrees provide additional insight into gerontology subjects and also help students conduct higher-level research. They also open up the academic career field for students who hope to teach at the post-secondary level.