Are you a busy, working adult preparing to pursue a gerontology career path? If so, earning a graduate gerontology degree online may be the perfect choice for your schedule. 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].
Finding time for grad school may be easier said than done. Whether you’re employed, 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 online gerontology certificate to a PhD in gerontology online.
Like campus-based programs, Online Gerontology Graduate Programs may be available in a variety of levels and formats. Some formats include 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 gerontology programs are completely online, others may have in-person portions like a residency. If you are hoping to earn a medical degree in gerontology through online gerontology graduate programs, 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 combines elements of a PhD and a medical degree. A dual degree might be the perfect choice for a gerontologist who hopes to practice medicine.[i]
What are few possible benefits of pursuing a graduate gerontology degree online? Some possible benefits include:
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, you should 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!
Generally, medical scientists such as gerontologists don’t need licensure or certification. 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 requirements 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!
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 online gerontology graduate programs options to choose from, depending on your goals. Here are some programs you might encounter:
PhD in Gerontology Online – The PhD in gerontology online 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 online may offer an opportunity to explore the concerns of the aging community while pursuing your academic and professional goals!
Masters 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. Master of Healthcare Administration in Gerontology - look for an MHA program offering a concentration in gerontology. Masters in Gerontology Online Degree Programs
Certificate in Gerontology Online – If you’re hoping to prepare for a specific gerontology career path, earning a graduate certificate online in gerontology 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!
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. They must be able to explain the results of their research and experiments. In addition, gerontologists typically write grant proposals that may help fund their work.[i]
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. This is 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