If you’re a busy, working adult preparing to pursue a gerontology career path, earning a graduate gerontology degree online may be the perfect choice for your schedule. As you probably know, gerontologists are medical scientists who study the elderly, help find solutions for age-related challenges, and much more. If this is the career path for you, you’ll likely need to earn a graduate degree[i]…but finding time for grad school may be easier said than done. Whether you’re employed, you’re a parent, or you live far from local colleges and universities, pursuing Online Gerontology Graduate Programs might be a way to fit your studies into your busy life! Choose from a variety of potential options, from an online gerontology certificate to a PhD in gerontology online.
What you should know about Online Gerontology Graduate Programs:
Like campus-based programs, Online Gerontology Graduate Programs may be available in a variety of levels and formats – like certificate programs, master’s degree programs, PhDs, and dual programs. You may be able to pursue your gerontology courses online from anywhere with an internet connection, at any time of the day or night. However, keep in mind that while some programs are completely online, others may have in-person portions…like a residency, if you are hoping to earn a medical degree in gerontology. i Here are a few other factors to consider:
Prerequisites – Typically, candidates complete undergraduate studies before pursuing a graduate gerontology degree online. That usually means earning a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a similar area. Undergraduate students should take courses in subjects like the physical sciences, math, and life sciences. i
Accreditation – Gerontology online programs should be accredited, just like campus-based programs! Accreditation by a regional or national accrediting body may help to ensure that a program meets high quality standards.[ii]
Your Goals – The gerontology online degree program you choose may depend on your intended career path! For example, if you are interested in conducting gerontology research, you may wish to consider a research degree like PhD. On the other hand, a dual degree that combines elements of a PhD and a medical degree might be the perfect choice for a gerontologist who hopes to practice medicine. i
Gerontology courses online: pros and cons
Potential flexibility, scheduling courses around your other commitments, and accessing university resources even if you don’t live near campus are just a few possible benefits of pursuing a graduate gerontology degree online. You may have access to your professors via the internet and enjoy opportunities to communicate with fellow students via online message boards, video chat, and other technology. Of course, online programs may come with unique challenges. For example, staying on track and setting personal deadlines may be easier for some than for others. You should also be comfortable working independently if you opt to pursue a gerontology online degree; however, consider that medical scientists such as gerontologists often work with little supervision.[iii] If you’re interested in developing experiments and conducting research on your own terms, it may not be a bad idea to get some practice!
Could earning a gerontology degree online qualify me for licensure?[i]
Generally, medical scientists such as gerontologists don’t need licensure or certification, as they mostly conduct research. However, if you plan to practice medicine, administer drugs, or perform other clinical functions, you may need a license to practice as a physician. In that case, you should follow requirements for physicians and surgeons; while these vary by state, you must typically graduate from an accredited medical school, pass a standardized national licensure exam, and complete a residency.[iv] It’s important to check with the graduate program you are considering, to make sure it is appropriate for your goals!
What graduate gerontology online programs may be available?
Fun fact: a doctoral degree was the required level of education for 29% of medical scientists – a role that includes gerontologists![v]
You may have a variety of program options to choose from, depending on your goals. Here are some programs you might encounter:
PhD in Gerontology Online – This degree program may focus on research methods, data interpretation, and other aspects of studying an aging population. You may engage in original research, in addition to completing and defending a thesis.[i]
Master of Arts in Gerontology Online – Did you know that about 20% of medical scientists (like gerontologists) earn a master’s degree?[v] Earning an M.A. in Gerontology may offer an opportunity to explore the concerns of the aging community while pursuing your academic and professional goals!
Master of Healthcare Administration in Gerontology Online – If you’re interested in the challenges of healthcare administration as they apply to the elderly population, this program may be perfect for you. Look for an MHA program offering a concentration in gerontology.
Certificate in Gerontology Online – If you’re hoping to prepare for a specific gerontology career path, earning a graduate certificate may be the way to go! You could choose from possible gerontology certificate programs online that cover long-term elder care, health and human services, and other areas related to the study of old age!
What technology skills might I need to earn a graduate gerontology degree online?
That may depend on the program! Of course, familiarity with using a PC and standard online learning platforms like Blackboard is probably a good idea. And email may be a big part of both graduate school and a future professional role. In fact, 99% of medical scientists like gerontologists said they respond to email every single day.[v] Communication skills are important for gerontologists, as they must be able to explain the results of their research and experiments, in addition to writing grant proposals that may help fund their work.[i]
Take the next step to earning a gerontology degree online!
You may be able to find accredited Online Gerontology Graduate Programs that suit your goals, strengths, and hectic schedule. You might recognize some prospective universities for their campus-based programs…all the more reason to consider online learning as a way to pursue your career ambitions! Explore some of your options, below.
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm#tab-4 | [ii] www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html?exp=2 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm#tab-2 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm#tab-4 | [v] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-1042.00