Online Gerontology Certificate Programs
If you’re hoping to pursue the career goal of improving quality of life for elderly people, earning an online gerontology certificate may be a move worth considering! Professionals in the field of gerontology can have diverse roles, but typically, they seek to better understand the biology of aging, while exploring ways to resolve some of the health challenges of growing older.[i] Gerontology certificate programs online could be the perfect way to enhance your knowledge of the study of old age, while preparing to pursue a professional role that may have a positive impact on elderly populations. Plus, learning online may allow you to pursue your academic goals from the comfort of home…potentially helpful to busy, working adults who don’t have the flexibility to attend a campus-based program! Below, you’ll find information that could help you plan your next steps.
Did you know: the population of U.S. residents aged 85 and older is projected to double by 2036 and triple by 2049![ii]
Gerontology is basically the study of the changes that happen to people as they age. Gerontologists are medical scientists who examine the biology of aging. They may conduct studies on diseases related to aging, in order to identify causes, treatments, and preventions. They may also develop healthcare programs, prepare and analyze medical samples, test drugs, and lots more. Other professionals who work in the field of gerontology may include physicians[iii] and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)[iv], among others. For example, nurse practitioners may work specifically with adult and geriatric patients to provide primary and preventative care, as well as counsel patients on how to stay healthy as they age.[iv]
But why is gerontology so important? One reason may be that the elderly population in the
United States is projected to grow considerably in coming years. In fact, the population of U.S. residents aged 65 and over is expected to be about 83.7 million by 2050…that’s nearly double the senior population reported in 2012. ii With so many older citizens coming onto the scene, it may make sense to focus efforts on understanding and addressing the health challenges of this population!
Types of gerontology certificate programs online
If you’re interested in earning an online gerontology certificate, you may be hoping to build on previous professional and academic experience in order to pursue new career goals! For example, after earning an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing), a prospective nurse practitioner may be interested in pursuing an adult-geriatric specialty. iv Earning a related online gerontology certificate could be a great next step. Here are a few options you might encounter:
Post-Graduate Adult-Gerontology Certificate – This option could potentially help you prepare to pursue a Nurse Practitioner role that involves working with adult and geriatric patients. You may learn about preventative care, acute and chronic healthcare problems, providing educational health consulting, and other possible topics of interest.
Graduate Certificate in Gerontology Online – A more general online gerontology certificate may cover a range of potential topics and issues, from human services to healthcare. You may have the chance to get an in-depth look at the study of aging while gaining insight into some of the physical, mental, and social challenges faced by aging adults.
Other Gerontology Certificate Programs – You may be able to find other gerontology certificate programs online that deal with specific issues affecting elderly populations – like senior housing, social services for seniors, etc. Your options may depend on program availability, as well as your prospective career goals.
Is earning an online gerontology certificate for me?
If you’re new to online learning, you’re probably wondering if this format may suit your needs, goals, and abilities. Of course, nobody can truly answer that question except you…but it may help to understand some of the potential benefits and challenges of pursuing gerontology courses online.
Flexible scheduling – You may be able to pursue your studies at a time that’s more convenient to your schedule, like nights and weekends. For working adults and parents, an online certificate program may be a great way to fit learning into a busy life!
Location, location, location – Don’t live near a college or university that offers gerontology certificate programs? Pursuing gerontology courses online could give you access to professors and peers in your field, from the convenience of your own home. You may even find programs offered by large, distinguished research universities.
Self-directed learning – If you prefer to take a self-motivated approach to your studies, you may enjoy online learning. Working independently might even be good practice for setting deadlines and pushing yourself to achieve!
Independence – For some students, independence might be a big plus. However, if you learn best by lots of personal interaction, you may need to make a bit more effort to reach out to your instructors and peers via technology tools, like forums or video chat.
Time management – An online gerontology certificate will likely require you to allocate time to studying, working on assignments, and communicating with your peers and professors. Of course, the same goes for traditional, campus-based learning. But if you become easily sidetracked by social media and other temptations, you may have to set strict deadlines for your online learning goals!
What should I look for in an online gerontology certificate program?
Once you’ve identified some prospective online gerontology certificate programs that seem relevant to your career goals, you’ll have to decide which one may be perfect for you. Some factors you may want to explore include accreditation, the program’s reputation for student satisfaction and success, and availability of resources that meet your needs – like online library services, IT assistance, etc. Besides the program’s website and representatives, you can check out your state’s higher education agency and the Better Business Bureau for more info[v]. Finally, ask to speak to some current students and alumni who might be able to offer insight into the program you’re considering.
Ready to get started?
Below, you’ll find some online gerontology certificate programs that may be worth checking out. Click the program that interests you to learn more about certificate content, goals, accreditation, and more!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm#tab-2 | [ii] census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1140.pdf | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm#tab-4 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-2 | [v] studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/consider#work-flexibility
Purdue University Global
If you’re a registered nurse with a master’s degree who is ready to expand your professional skills, consider earning an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate at Purdue Global.
UMass Online's Gerontology Graduate Certificate with a focus in management of aging services is targeted to individuals in the aging network who are looking to upgrade their skills or advance in new directions within the field or for those lookin...
Florida Atlantic University
University of Pittsburgh
The Graduate Gerontology Certificate is offered through the University Center for Social and Urban Research in collaboration...
University of Indianapolis
The graduate Certificate in Gerontology and the Master of Science in Gerontology are designed to meet the needs of persons with an interest in the aging population. The 18 hours required for the certificate are a subset of the 36 hours required for t...
North Georgia College & State University
Positioned in the fastest-growing region of the state, UNG develops students into leaders for a diverse and global society.
University of Louisiana At Monroe
Twenty-Five years ago, the National Institute on Aging recognized ULM's excellence in aging by awarding the University funds to develop the first Center on Aging in Louisiana. Since that time, the Institute of Gerontology has led the state in offerin...
Kansas State University
Gerontology Master's Degree The gerontology master's degree program is designed to prepare students who plan to work directly with older people or who will be involved in education or research related to aging issues. This program provides...
University of Arizona
Deepen your understanding of the aging process through gerontological studies.
University of Southern California
As a small school rooted in a world-class research university located in the heart of one of the most important cities on earth, the USC Davis School of Gerontology—and its research and services arm, the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center—are home to...
Nova Southeastern University
Gerontology, Graduate CertificateUpcoming Start Date: March 11, 2019
Our certificate program offers an 18 credit, six course curriculum, which covers the major areas of Gerontology. These six areas provide professionals already working in the fields of human services, health care, long term care, senior housing, or any...
Rochester Institute of Technology
Senior living is a phenomenon in the United States which is here to stay. Whether the living accommodations are part of a larger system providing a continuum of care or stand alone facilities the demand is strong for this senior living option and wil...
The George Washington UniversityUpcoming Start Date: January 14, 2019
For professionals holding a Bachelor’s degree who wish to further expand their skills within the field of nursing, the GW School of Nursing offers six specialties within the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree: -Adult-Gerontology Primary Care N...
- Westminster, MDWestminster, MD
This certificate allows students to focus on the mental, physical and social aspects of life and aging.
Texas Tech University
The College of Human Sciences is a member of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA), a consortium of primarily land grant u...
Registered nurses (RNs) with a master’s degree in nursing could prepare to advance their careers by enrolling in the School of Nursing’s graduate-level Adult Nurse Practitioner Certificate program.
Maryville University Nurse Practitioners offer a preventative, educational approach to healthcare, helping patients see their whole healthcare picture.