This article talks about how you can benefit from pursuing a gerontology degree. Gerontology is the study of the social, psychological and biological aspects of aging. Gerontology is the study about how people age. The study focuses on physical, mental, and social changes in human beings as they age as well as studying the aging process itself. It is different from geriatrics, which is the branch of medicine, which studies diseases of the elderly. Geriatrics is an area that covers diverse issues including the sociological mental and physical aspects of aging. It covers not only how an individual ages but also how societies affect and are affected by this and how the information gathered on this subject can help in providing better care for the aging population.
Gerontology Education and Training
There are several reasons why you will want to pursue a good gerontology course. One of these reasons is that it offers better job security and then there is also a growing aging population to take care of. There are also a diverse numbers of career options available to those with such a degree. This means that you will not be locked into a single and narrow career path.
In order to qualify for a Gerontology Degree, it is necessary to have basic qualification such as a high school diploma. Besides these qualifications, it is also necessary to possess outstanding communication abilities and skills. Geriatric nursing certification is a related area of study for those who wish to work as a geriatric nurse practitioner.
Studying gerontology means getting to understand the social mental and medical aspects of aging. A masters degree or a related degree can help you tremendously. You can become a nurse or occupational therapist or a healthcare provider. Gerontology classes include:
- Counseling Older Adults
- Physiology of Aging
- Psychology of Adult Development
- Social Policy and Aging
- Stress, Health and Aging
- Biology of Aging
- Life Span Developmental Sociology
- Legal Issues in Long-Term Care
- Health Administration in Long-Term Care
Basically, such a degree offers you a chance to develop a closer understanding of all the different problems associated with aging and also how to take care of these problems. One of the most important of all skills that you will need to develop is that of being a good communicator.
You will also be entrusted with the task of recording as well as relaying patient/client information. As a gerontologist, you will need to work with different kinds of people most of whom are old adults. Therefore, you must have a burning desire to provide help to elderly people.
With a gerontology degree in hand, you will not find it hard to find work in any field in which taking care of aged people is the main concern. You can find employment in a retirement community and in a nursing home as well as in an assisted living facility as well as long term care facility. You can also become a social worker or social scientist and a nursing aid as well as healthcare manager.
A career as a gerontologist will help you earn between $30,000 and $60,000 a year. How much you earn will depend on whether you are working in a supervisory capacity or not. Entry level salaries fall in the range of $22,000 to $35,000 per year.
The job outlook for gerontologists is expected to increase as there is a growing elderly population to take care of. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing professionals can expect to see 39% in opportunities by 2016. Some geriatric nursing education careers include positions in:
- Health facilities
- Assisted living facilities
- Nursing homes
- Mental health centers
- Social service agencies
- Residential facilities
- Government agencies
- Community agencies
- Advocacy groups
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists gerontology workers in the same category as social workers, where the employment of social workers is expected to grow by 25% from 2010 to 2020.
The number one reason why it pays to enroll in a gerontology degree course today is that this is one of the best fields in the country. With this degree in hand, it will not be hard to find employment, which is another good reason to enroll in gerontology courses.
Employment opportunities for gerontologists are expected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations. Over the next decade employment opportunities will increase by over 36%. The average Annual Salary for someone with a gerontology degree is $41,800.
The median annual wage of social workers was $42,480 in 2010 (BLS). The salary range is $28,500 to $55,300, and this varies depending on one’s education and experience. Gerontological Nurse Practitioners (GNPs) earn an average of $75,000 annually while Geriatric RNs earn around $60,407. Geriatric physicians earn around $172,267 as of 2012.