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Best Online Degrees in: Gerontology

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Gerontology

Value
This award goes to Ashford University, a Clinton, Iowa-based institution that also offers a variety of fully online degrees. The school is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, so students transferring to or from regionally accredited schools may have an easier time transferring their credits. Students may be able to transfer up to 90 credits of previous coursework toward their bachelor’s degree, as well as elect to take two classes at once instead of one, saving them both time and money.

Flexibility
At Ashford University, students can expect flexible options when it comes to schedule, class availability, and course options. For starters, online classes are self-paced and asynchronous, so you can log in at any time. The school also receives high marks from students, ranking high on College Prowler’s list of schools with the best class availability, and best online course options, the results of which are based on students reviews. For those reasons, the school receives this award.

Career Support
At Ashford University, students can receive career counseling even if they aren’t on campus. They can email the Career Services office to request career advice and guidance, including reviewing a resume and help planning a career path. Through online tools, students can also search for jobs, prepare for interviews, explore careers, research companies, and connect with alumni.

Financial Support
This award goes to Ashford University for its generous financial aid offerings. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 93% of full-time beginning undergraduate students received financial aid during the 2010-11 school year, with 83% receiving grant or scholarship aid. The average amount received in grant or scholarship aid was $6,037.

Technology Support
Ashford University receives this award thanks to its accessible online learning environment and support. Students can check course materials, read discussion board threads, view grades, and find important contact information via their smartphone, iPad, or tablet through the school’s mobile app. Before they can even get started, though, they take step-by-step tutorials in the school’s online learning module to gain an understanding of the features. If they’re having any technical issues with the online learning module, they can contact the school’s support center by live chat, submitting a ticket online, or calling a hotline, where a team is on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Student Engagement
At Ashford University, online students have a number of ways to connect with their school. They can engage with fellow students and faculty easily through the school’s mobile app and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. They also can participate in a number of honor societies geared toward both online and campus-based students, including Alpha Sigma Lambda, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Golden Key International Honour Society. For these reasons, Ashford receives this award.

Disability Support
This award goes to Ashford University, where students who qualify can receive a range of disability accommodations through the school’s Office of Student Access and Wellness. These resources include disability-related advocacy and advising; course audio content in an accessible format, such as captioned videos, transcripts, or live remote captioning; course textbooks provided in electronic format; and additional time to complete quizzes, exams, assignments, projects, and papers.

Library and Research Support
This distinction goes to Ashford University for its distance learner-friendly academic and research resources. Students, whether they’re on campus or online, have access to electronic resources, such as scholarly journal and magazine articles, e-books, newspaper articles, legal documents, government publications, and academic resources like JSTOR. They can also request articles and documents that aren’t available electronically. If they need help, students can contact librarians online via email.

Faculty Accessibility
Ashford University receives this award for its student-approved instructor communication and accessibility. The school ranks among the top schools for professor communication and professor accessibility on College Prowler, whose rankings are based on student reviews. In these rankings, students consider how well their teachers are in frequent contact with them and if they hold regular office hours. Additionally, the school’s student-to-faculty ratio is 24 to 1, according to College Navigator. Small class sizes help teachers maintain involvement in their students work.

Alumni Engagement
This award goes to Ashford University, where graduates can enjoy some of the same benefits as current students, such as library resources and career services through the school’s Alumni Relations. For instance, alumni can connect with a virtual coach to help with resume writing and preparation, explore career opportunities, search a job database, and connect with their fellow alumni online and through regional events held nationwide. They also can become mentors to current students and remain connected to the university.

Prior Learning Options
At Ashford University, new students can earn up to 90 credits before they even start through the school’s Prior Learning Assessment Program. Previous experience can include credits from regionally or approved nationally accredited institutions, corporate training, continuing education programs, national testing programs like CLEP, military training, and workshops. For these reasons, Ashford receives this distinction.

New Online Student Orientation
This award goes to Ashford University, where all new students are required to take an interactive Student Success Orientation that prepares them for taking online courses by instructing them in the school’s policies and resources. The orientation also helps them self-evaluate their readiness to succeed in an online classroom setting. Throughout their academic career, students can also refer to tutorials in using the school’s online learning module.

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Gerontology

Gerontology is a study of the aging process beginning at middle age. If you have an interest in the effects of aging and want to have a career providing care for the elderly, you may want to consider earning an online bachelor’s degree in gerontology. Many students are able to earn a bachelor’s degree in four years. However, the amount of time it takes you to earn your degree will depend on factors such as whether you’re a full-time or part-time student, the requirements of your program, your ability to successfully complete each course, and the number of credits you’re able to transfer and use toward your degree.

Class Curriculum

A gerontology program will teach you about the physical and psychological effects of aging. Each institution will have different curriculum for their program, but these are a few of the more common courses you can expect to take:

  • Caregiving for Elders. This course will focus on methods used to provide care for the elderly. Students will learn about challenges, multiple options of care, and adapting to different environments and conditions for independent and dependent living.
  • Case Management. This course will cover the methods used by health and human services case managers in various settings and facilities. This course will also focus on social, business, and managerial skills.
  • Social and Psychopathologies of Aging. This course will examine the biological, social, and cultural factors of aging that affect an individual’s psychological wellness. The course will also cover how to diagnose, treat, prevent, and provide intervention for psychological disorders.

Assignments in an online bachelor’s degree program in gerontology will consist of researching theories and information pertaining to the aging process and writing reports to demonstrate your understanding of the topics being covered. Some programs will require you to go to facilities such as nursing homes and observe behaviors, consult with personnel, and gain hands-on training in the field of gerontology.

Building a Career

Gerontology graduates will be able to combine psychology and social, biological, and health sciences with their knowledge of the human aging process and effects of aging to provide care and counsel to aging adults. A bachelor’s degree in gerontology can lead to several careers providing care and aid for the elderly. Many graduates choose to pursue a career as a nursing aide, social worker, or medical service manager, each of which has unique educational requirements. Keep in mind, earning your degree will make you a more valuable candidate, but it will not guarantee employment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that nursing aides earn an average of $24,400 a year and are expected to see a 21% growth in employment through 2022. The BLS also shows that social workers earn an average of $44,200 a year and are expected to see a 19% growth in employment through 2022. Finally, the BLS shows that medical service managers earn an average of $88,580 a year and are expected to see a 22% growth in employment through 2022. However, income is based on several factors, including your amount of experience, where you’re located in the country, and your employer, so your income may differ from the national averages.

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