Masters in Gerontology
What Do You Learn in a Masters in Gerontology?
Completing a Masters in Gerontology Studies (Masters in Gerontological Studies or MGS) may enable people to better work with older people or in fields related to the aging process. Those who complete this educational path typically work in one of three areas: research/academic work, non-social work direct services, or in policy related to older people. Other paths may be present as well.
To do this type of work, individuals typically need to complete a significant amount of education. They may have a bachelor’s degree in this field or a related field but typically require hands-on and academic study in the field or concentration they select.
Featured Online Programs in Gerontology
Top 25 Schools Graduating Students with a Masters Degree in Gerontology
The following are the top 25 schools for those seeking a master’s degree in gerontology, based on the number of students graduating with that degree in the 2019/2020 school year from data reported by NCES.
|College / University||Graduates||Acceptance Rate|
|University of Southern California||132||11%|
|University of Massachusetts-Boston||31||76%|
|University of Indianapolis||19||93%|
|University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences||13||N/A|
|Bowling Green State University-Main Campus||12||72%|
|Georgia State University||11||76%|
|California State University-Fullerton||8||53%|
|University of Nebraska at Omaha||8||83%|
|University of North Carolina at Greensboro||8||82%|
|Eastern Illinois University||6||53%|
|San Francisco State University||6||67%|
|University of La Verne||6||55%|
|University of North Carolina Wilmington||6||65%|
|Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Arecibo||5||26%|
|Texas State University||5||81%|
|University of Louisiana at Monroe||5||80%|
|University of North Carolina at Charlotte||5||65%|
|University of South Florida||5||48%|
Gerontology Courses May Include
Students may be able to select from a wide range of electives. This may help them to complete their educational path in areas of interest or in areas they wish to focus on specifically in their career. Below are a few of the courses commonly found in a masters in gerontology.
This is an introductory course into the field of gerontology. The psychological, sociological, and political aspects of the field and how it relates to the elderly are common topics. Basic theoretical perspectives, and the future of gerontology are likely to be discussed.
Economic Issues for Older Adults
In this course students typically examine the economic issues related to middle aged and older adults. Post retirement planning, financial planning, and housing options are often topics included. The economic impact of the older adult on society may be examined.
Psychology of Aging
An understanding of psychological aging is the common premise of this course. Theoretical and empirical foundations may be discussed. Normal age-related psychological changes may be covered in this course. Psychological changes and psychological function of aging adults may also be a part of this course.
Management of Programs for Older Adults
This course typically covers the managing and administration of organizations as a whole. There is typically a focus on these types of programs and facilities based on how the relate to the elderly. Looking at current facilities and seeing deficiencies and what may be done to improve them is typically a major portion of this course.
This course usually covers a number of different methods for research regarding the elderly. Some may include data collection, methods, analysis, and interpretation of the data. How this data relates to the elderly is also common main point of emphasis is this course.
Issues in Gerontology
Some of the major issues facing gerontology may be discussed in this course. A look back at what has been done and how the field has progressed and how issues in the past have been solved is typically a major portion of this course.
- Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
5 Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a Masters in Gerontology
The cost of completing a master’s degree may seem prohibitive to some people. NCES states that the average master’s degree program during the 2019/2020 school year was $19,792. Considering that, many students may wish to consider a variety of funding options to help them cover those costs in some or fully. There are a variety of ways that may be available to students at the graduate level. The following are some of those opportunities potentially available to students.
One step many students may wish to consider is applying for scholarships. These are not loans, but rather awards of funds to help pay for tuition, books, and other needs, in some cases. A variety of organizations offer scholarships including schools, professional associations, and local organizations. Scholarships typically require students to apply for them, meet all of the necessary criteria related to them, and be selected from a group of people. Though competitive in some cases, it may be worth looking for scholarships in gerontology since these funds often do not require repayment.
Who Can Apply: The AfterCollege/AACN Scholarship is available to U.S. graduate and undergraduate students who are pursuing an education in nursing or a related healthcare field. Four awards offered annually: one per quarter.
Amount: $10,000 ($2,500 per quarter. The total dollars awarded for this scholarship is $10,000.)
Deadline: December 31, 2021
Who Can Apply: The District of Columbia Nursing Scholarship is a one-time $2,500 award given annually to two students in financial need who are residents in the District of Columbia who have been accepted or are currently enrolled in a Nursing program at the University of the District of Columbia. A minimum GPA of 3.25 is required.
Deadline: January 31
Who Can Apply: This award is available for members of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) who are currently enrolled in a nursing program with at least one year of study remaining. Candidate must be in good scholastic standing at the time of application. Awards range from $1,000- $5,000. Applicants must have a minimum of one full year of school remaining and be in good scholastic standing at the time of application.
Deadline: April 1
Federal loans are another potential option for paying for a master’s degree. Students may be able to apply for federal loans at the graduate level, though the types of loans may be different than those available to undergraduate students.
Federal loans are backed by the U.S. federal government. A component of that is providing borrowers with some specific benefits related to repayment or qualifications. However, these terms may be different at the graduate level than they are at the undergrad level.
Here is a look at some of the options for graduate degree programs through federal student loans:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These are available to graduate schools and professional students. Unlike direct subsidized loans, which are made available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, direct unsubsidized loans do not have a need based requirement. More students may be eligible for them.
- Direct PLUS Loans: These are made available to professional or graduate level students. They are designed to pay for educational expenses that are typically not paid for through other loans. Eligibility for these loans is not based on financial need. However, some require a credit check to be performed, and borrowers may not qualify without meeting other requirements in some cases.
- Direct Consolidation Loans: These loans enable a student to combine all of their undergraduate and graduate level federal debt into one new loan. This consolidation loan is typically provided after a student completes their education.
Private Student Loans
Another potential option is to look into private student loans. Private loans are not backed by the government, but they may still provide financial help to students looking to complete their graduate degree. These loans differ significantly. Borrowers may wish to take a closer look at all of the terms and conditions of these loans before making the decision to invest in them. Compare things like:
- Interest rates
- When repayment starts
- Credit qualifications
- GRE or GPA requirements
- Repayment terms including availability of forbearance and refinancing
Is occupational therapist a good career?
Working as an occupational therapist with a gerontology degree may involve a focus on providing this service to older adults. That may include assessing, planning, and organizing rehabilitation provides that help to rebuild skills in areas like daily living skills, homemaking, and vocational areas. It may aim to help individuals to regain or improve independence or support the needs of a person with developmental delays. They may use a range of therapeutic techniques while also teaching people to adapt to their environment.
The work of an occupational therapist may involve testing and evaluating a person’s physical and mental abilities to determine realistic rehabilitation goals. They may work to complete and maintain records, plan and organization occupational therapy programs, and plan and implement programs and social activities. Some may work in a hospital setting, or they may work in an institutional or community setting providing these services. They may help people who need support rehabilitating due to previous injury, illness, or psychological problems. Many also spend time selecting activities that may help with learning work and life-management skills when a person has limitations, either physically or mentally.
The daily work activities of an occupational therapist may include analyzing patient data to determine needs and create treatment goals. Evaluating a patient’s functioning, capabilities, and overall health. Recording medical history and then designing a treatment plan. Some may also work to design public or employee health programs or direct healthcare delivery programs.
Those working in this field typically need to have a master’s degree or higher. Many employers expect individuals to have some work experience in the field. There is typically little on the job support provided with employers expecting individuals to have the skills they need.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
2022 Median Salary for Occupational Therapists
The following is the median salary people earned working as an occupational therapist in each state in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|North Dakota||$78,020||New Hampshire||$83,930|
Is gerontology nurse practitioner a good career?
Those who work as a gerontology nurse practitioner provides diagnostic and treatment services to people who older. The work they do is typically the same as the work of a nurse practitioner. That may include diagnosing and treating episodic, acute, and chronic illness as a part of a healthcare team. They may focus on disease prevention and health promotion. They may also order and perform, then interpret diagnostic tests, including x-rays and lab work. They may also prescribe medications. They may have a specific level of education to meet the needs of older people.
A gerontology nurse practitioner may work to maintain complete and detailed records of a person’s prognosis and health care plans, develop treatment plans for them based on scientific rationale and standards of care, and provide patients with the information they need to promote health and reduce risk factors. They may help patients manage or prevent disease or disability as well. Many times, they analyze and interpret a person’s medical history, symptoms, physical findings, and diagnostic results to diagnose conditions and healthcare needs. They may not only diagnose but also create treatment plans, including for complex conditions, episodic events, comorbid, unstable, and emergency care needs.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Day-to-day skills may include recording patient medical histories, developing medical treatment plans, and analyzing test data or images to make a diagnosis of a condition or need or to create treatment plans. They may also communicate that information directly to the patient and their family.
In addition to completing a master’s degree or higher, many nurse practitioners for gerontology also need to be licensed by the state they work in. Typically employers expect them to have a high level of education in the field and working experience. Little on-the-job training is typically provided.
2022 Median Salary for Gerontology Nurse Practitioners
Those who worked as a gerontology nurse practitioner in 2022 earned the following, by state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|North Dakota||$113,940||New Hampshire||$125,780|