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.
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.