Choosing a college major can be difficult. Those desiring to make a living advocating for older adults may want to consider obtaining a gerontology degree. For those outside of the loop, gerontology maps changes in older adult populations and studies how society changes in accordance with their needs. In terms of the current historical moment, this is an especially in-demand occupation due to the prevalence of aging Baby Boomers. For this reason, the profession has been quite a lucrative and rewarding one for incoming college students. Read on to see if majoring in gerontology is the right step for you.
What the Curriculum Consists Of
Gerontology falls within the field of psychology. Due to its macroscopic origins, much of the curriculum involves studying tougher, more expansive subjects than one would initially expect.
As with most programs, the intensity of the coursework increases every year. Typically, students will immerse themselves in general coursework during their first two years, then complete the requirements for the major in the last two years. Students usually complete many of the prerequisite classes in the first few years before studying Geriatrics and completing field practicums. In addition to the field itself, typical gerontology requirements usually consist of courses like Psychology, Public Health, Child and Family Development, Social Work, and Nutritional Sciences.
Rather to immediately choosing an occupation, some students may want to continue their studies by obtaining a masters in gerontology from somewhere like the Stanford Geriatric Education Center, itself a subsidiary of the Stanford University School of Medicine. However, at some point, students will need to consider their career prospects outside of academia. To this extent, choosing a major is one thing, but forging a career path is quite another.
Students who complete a gerontology program will obviously possess a broader knowledge of sociological aspects as applied to the aging population; however, in order to apply their knowledge, they must also consider what occupations exist within the field. Current research shows that the US’s population of elderly individuals will double by 2060. Consequently, gerontology majors have a lot of potential career avenues including public policy, social work, grant writing, art therapy, pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, geriatric advocacy, mental health work, and much more.
Fortunately for gerontology majors, demand is exponentially increasing. This means graduates will be greeted with a plethora of career options. However, this demand fluctuates in accordance with the specific career. As indicated above, a degree in gerontology prepares one for work in a diverse range of fields. Either way, specialists who are conditioned to working with the elderly are in higher demand now than ever before.
Currently, there are a wealth of institutions where one can earn a degree in gerontology. The best way to locate an accredited program is to do some extensive searching and comparing. Use some of the information above as a point of departure when discussing the potential outcomes of each institution’s programs. This will help you tailor your degree to your career aspirations. Trust me. You will thank yourself for that upon graduation.