Masters of Gerontology Programs in Virginia
Masters in Gerontology Degree Information
A Masters in Gerontology examines the biological, social, psychological, epidemiological, and psychological effects the aging population has on communities and policies affecting the public. This type of degree may serve as an enhancement to undergraduate or graduate studies related to public service. Gerontology is an interesting field of study that examines the relationships of individuals aged 65 years and older on the world around them. In many universities, this type of degree is viewed as a concentration, although coursework may allow for a complete degree in this field to be earned on its own.
Popular Areas of Research in Masters in Gerontology Programs in Virginia
With a steadily aging population around the world, gerontology studies have grown in both popularity and demand. While many master’s programs focus on introducing the subject matter of gerontology and research methodology in preparation for a thesis or project that may be required, there are a variety of other areas related to the field that many students enjoy studying. These include social, biological, health, and psychological effects of aging.
In programs where a thesis is required, students may conduct research in one of these four areas. Although the degree may stand on its own, it might also benefit as a supplement to other degrees in sociology, biology, psychology, and medicine with a focus on serving the aging population. Focused study on the elderly may be particularly popular for those individuals interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in the field of medicine.
Skills and Qualities of Masters in Gerontology Students
It takes a unique person with a specific set of characteristics to desire to and successful work with the elderly. There are a variety of qualities and skills that may be necessary in order to qualify for a successful career. Some of these skills and qualities that may benefit individuals working with the elderly include:
- Patience – Aging populations have specific needs and perform activities at a different speed than younger generations are used to. Those who work in geriatrics should have patience when it comes to speech and physical activity.
- Organization – Be it keeping track of medications or managing a special diet, individuals working directly with the elderly should be able to stay on top of tasks and perform them in an orderly manner.
- Listening – No matter if it’s listening to the elderly speak or learning about policies affecting the aging population, listening is a vital skill for almost any career.
- Communication – It’s important for social workers, healthcare workers, and care managers to communicate instructions to their charges as well as to doctors and professionals in a position to directly help the elderly.
- Attention to Detail – Many workers in fields related to gerontology are charged with specific tasks from preparing meals to exercise routines. An attention to detail to fulfill needs and track progress may be useful.
- Problem Solving – From thinking up policies to assist the aging population to addressing direct health problems, gerontology workers should be quick on their feet to think and resolve issues as they appear.
- Analyzing and Interpreting Data – Whether working in the healthcare industry or a civic position, the ability to analyze and interpret data is an important skill from which many gerontology-related careers may benefit.
Gerontology-Related Potential Career Paths in Virginia
Earning a master’s degree may help many individuals to qualify for to pursue a variety of potential career opportunities in a number of different fields. Some positions may offer direct access to aging populations while other careers handle the elderly in a more indirect way. Here are a few popular career choices that deal directly with the elderly and may benefit from a master’s degree in gerontology:
- Social Workers – Aging has many different effects on an individual. Sometimes simply coping with physical decline and losing more and more loved ones to age-related causes necessitates mental healthcare through a therapist. Social workers may help the elderly with issues related to depression, dementia, and other ailments that come with age.
- Care Managers – As individuals get older, they may require more assistance in doing seemingly simple everyday tasks. Some may require constant companionship for their safety and emotional wellbeing. Care managers offer assistance through a variety of services such as meal preparation, bathing assistance, transportation, and errand services.
- Healthcare – Medical care is necessary for people of all ages. Focusing on geriatrics allows healthcare workers to assist a very specific portion of the population. The elderly are often in need of medication and medical devices to assist them in getting around.
While a Masters in Gerontology may be earned on its own, this type of degree is often viewed as a concentration in the wider field of study of public service. One thing that is for certain is that the aging population is quickly growing, which means there is high demand for careers related to the care of the elderly. Whether studying it as a supplement to a doctoral degree or just to satiate a personal interest, earning a degree in gerontology may present a variety of potential career opportunities in the not-too-distant future.
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Schools with Gerontology Master’s Programs in Virginia
GradSchools.com offers 4 Masters of Gerontology Programs in Virginia
Purdue University Global
Grand Canyon University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
George Mason University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Norfolk State University