Top Gerontology Degrees Online in 2019

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What is a Gerontology Degree Online Program?

A gerontology degree will prepare you to work with the senior population in various ways. You will learn to analyze aging issues. You will also learn how to help the public with human development issues facing seniors. This is an expanding industry due to the baby boomer generation. Online degree programs range from RNs to nurse practitioners to doctoral degrees. Many degrees are in health and psychology with an emphasis on gerontology.

Bachelor’s DegreesMaster’s DegreesDoctorate Degrees
Human Services (BA) – Gerontology ConcentrationGerontology (GRN) MSPhD Program in Leadership and Gerontology
The Bachelor’s in Human Services degree program prepares the graduate to assess the needs of clients and populations and to plan and implement programs and services that will assist in promoting improvement in personal and social functioning.The master’s degree in Gerontology provides students many hands-on and application-oriented activities to maximize understanding of the interconnectedness of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual aspects of aging.The PhD program in leadership with a specialization in gerontology provides a multidisciplinary framework from which to respond to existing age-related questions, and intensive, in-depth training for those who want unique preparation for leadership roles for addressing issues related to aging.
  • Perspectives in aging
  • Aging and wellness
  • Aging, politics, and Policy
  • Biology of Aging
  • Psychology of Aging
  • Aging in a Diverse Society
  • The Physiology of Aging
  • Gerontological Theory
  • Sociocultural Aspects of Aging

Gerontology Degree Online Programs

Professionals in gerontology generally have already earned their degree of choice and add courses related to aging if they choose to specialize. They may also take these courses while studying for other degrees. There are few schools that offer a gerontology degree, but that number is growing. The three biggest areas are in human services, health sciences, and public health.

Programs for gerontology include Nursing, Human Services, Psychology, Social Work, and Rehabilitation Studies. Also included are Occupational Therapy, Health Service Management, and Community Health Work.

To become a Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) requires an advanced degree and training. AGNPs have more independence than RNs. They can work in a variety of settings, including private practices. AGNPs have the ability to prescribe medicines and order diagnostic tests.

Gerontologists are scientists who study the health and social needs of older adults. Some medical doctors and psychologists are also gerontologists. They provide specialized care in hospitals and assisted living facilities. They may also perform and publish studies to help other medical professionals.

Bachelor’s in Human Services with a Gerontology Concentration

An online bachelor’s degree in human services typically takes 120 credits. The classes will include sociology, ethics, public policy, and case management courses. To these, there will be classes specific to various perspectives on aging.

Those with a bachelor’s in human services who specialize in gerontology may find careers as a group home manager, a residential counselor, a case manager, a social services liaison, or a community outreach manager.

Master’s in Gerontology

An online master’s degree often requires a bachelor’s degree plus another 30-36 credits of courses specific to all aspects of aging. Classes can include such courses as biology of aging, psychology of aging, and research methodology.

Those with a master’s in gerontology are better prepared to become advocates for the elderly and to hold positions in leadership to improve living conditions for the aging population.

Doctorate in Gerontology

An online PhD will require a master’s degree, a writing sample, letters of recommendation, plus an additional 30 credit hours. These additional credit hours will include courses in research, leadership, and classes specific to the field of gerontology.

Those holding a doctorate degree in gerontology may find careers in local and federal government within the aging network established by federal law. Other careers may be in academic or research settings or in healthcare.

What Do Gerontology Degree Courses Look Like?

A typical program will include varied subject matter that affects seniors. These may include social, health, cultural, ethical, biblical, and economic issues facing seniors. You can also expect to see courses that examine the effect of aging on families and other caregivers. Each individual track will vary depending on the focus of the degree or program.

Introduction to Gerontology: An introductory gerontology course gives an overview of the field of gerontology. Students typically learn about major concepts, theories and principles of gerontology.

Aging & Health: This type of course examines the health concerns and issues of older persons. It covers physical, mental and emotional health.

Death & Dying: This type of course examines the psychosocial aspects of death and dying. Topics may include preparation for death, care of terminally ill patients, grief practices and more.

Ethical & Legal Aspects of Aging: Typically, this course explores ethical and legal issues that impact older adults. The student may study cases and court decisions.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Degree in Gerontology?

The length of time it takes to get a gerontology degree will depend on the program. On average, a full-time student may need 4 years to earn a bachelor’s degree in gerontology. This can sometimes be completed in two years if you already have an associate degree. Students pursuing a master’s degree full-time may need about 2 years. A PhD program will take about 4 years to complete.

Gerontology Degrees That Could be Completed in 48 Months to Complete

SchoolDegree Level# of Credits RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete
Ashford UniversityBachelors120Multiple48
Southern New Hampshire UniversityBachelors120Multiple48
Park UniversityBachelors120Multiple48
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The Cost of a Gerontology Degree Program

The cost of an online gerontology degree depends on the college chosen, the number of credits required, and whether you qualify for tuition discounts. Tuition may be lower if you qualify for in-state tuition or military discounts.

SchoolDegree Level# of Credits RequiredCost Per CreditTotal Tuition Cost
Ashford UniversityBachelors120$485$58,200
Southern New Hampshire UniversityBachelors120$320$38,400
Park UniversityBachelors120$415$49,800

Top Schools that Offer Gerontology Degree Programs

According to the NCES, there were 864 schools that offer gerontology degrees or programs.  From those schools there were 1,451 gerontology degrees or programs awarded to students. 32.6 percent of these programs were master’s.

School2016 Grads total/degrees awardedTuition (Out of State)
University of Southern California116$51.400
Portland Community College92$8,140
University of Massachusetts-Boston65$31,700
California State University – Sacramento63$16,600
Stark State College46$5,900
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College45$6,260
Brenau University39$26,800

Choosing an Accredited Gerontology Degree Program

Choosing an accredited gerontology degree program is important because it helps to show that the school meets quality standards. Employers often need applicants that have a degree from an accredited school or program.

To see if a school is current on accreditation, you can visit the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP).

What Can You Do With a Gerontology Degree?

In 2017, there were over 860,000 people working in careers involving gerontology and this is currently growing by 6.62%. This includes many different specialized career fields. Women are more likely to hold degrees and the average age of degree holders is 41.

Top Salaries by State for a Medical and Health Services Manager

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
California34,510$125,770
Texas30,010$105,450
New York25,830$143,030
Pennsylvania16,410$97,310
Massachusetts15,380$133,900

Jobs with a Gerontology Degree

Healthcare Social Worker

Social workers help others cope with issues in their lives. Healthcare social workers help people and families dealing with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses.

Median Salary: $58,470

Job growth through 2026: 16% (Much faster than average)

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Medical and Health Services Managers

Medical and Health Services Managers can also be healthcare executives or healthcare administrators. They may manage an entire healthcare facility, a specific department, or even a medical practice.

Median Salary: $99,730

Job growth through 2026: 20% (Much faster than average)

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Social and Human Service Assistants

Social and human service assistants provide support for families in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work. They may assist others, such as social workers.

Median Salary: $33,750

Job growth through 2026: 16% (Much faster than average)

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma and on the job training

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EducationDynamics maintains business relationships with the schools it features.

This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.