Discover Gerontology Degrees & Gerontology Careers

Gerontology Degree Online

Fueled by an aging population, there is a constant need for professionals in the health sciences and human services fields with a complete understanding of older people and their unique health concerns.

Gerontologists study how to improve the quality of life of this aging population, and society at large, to help baby boomers and the elderly continue to live fulfilling lives.

how to become a gerontologist

What Is Gerontology?

Gerontology is a multidisciplinary field that can be applied to many different careers and professions because it combines the social, psychological, and biological aspects of aging.

What Can You Do With a Gerontology Degree? 

Research, such as a study done by Pew Research, suggests there will be more than 3.5 million centenarians or those who are 100 years or older, in 2050, compared with only about 450,000 in 2015. As a result, there will be an increased need for those with an understanding of:

  • Gerontology
  • Human services
  • Aging services

Degrees in these fields are designed to teach the challenge of caring for the nation’s aging population, as well as strategies to improve care to effect positive change.

How to Earn a Gerontology Degree

Earning a gerontology degree isn’t as straightforward as many other fields because few schools offer a gerontology degree.

Instead, professionals in the field have usually earned their degree in a variety of subjects that teach the key concepts and research of gerontology and how to apply those concepts to different fields.

For instance, gerontologists work in a variety of industries, such as:

  • Health care
  • Government
  • Non-profits
  • Business community

Check out some of the degrees you can earn to enter the field of gerontology below to find one that suits you. Then, complete the form on this page to get matched to the perfect program for you by selecting “Health & Medicine” degrees. 

Human Services Degree

Human services is one of the degrees you can pursue to examine some of the key concepts in gerontology. While there aren’t many specific gerontology degrees, some online human services programs offer a gerontology concentration to tailor your curriculum for that field.

Some of the key concepts of human services include:

  • Health characteristics of aging populations
  • Issues impacting the quality of life of aging populations
  • Analyze contemporary social problems in America
  • Principles of organizational behavior
  • Explore concepts of aging, its history, and its on impact on society

Health Sciences Degrees

Health sciences bachelor’s degrees teach how the world of health care is changing like never before and how to apply the principles of health care to provide the highest quality care.

But health sciences is about much more than providing care. Instead, key topics include:

  • Understanding demography, epidemiology, biostatistics, and other tools to assess community health
  • Applying concepts of health, healing, and wellness from a broad historical and multicultural perspective
  • Understanding the interrelation of cultural, economic, political, and social aspects of health care delivery

Usually, health sciences bachelor’s programs include a mix of courses that include microbiology, environmental health, and practices in public health. Understanding each of these subjects, and how they apply to the aging population, help teach how to provide better overall care.

Public Health Degree

As the name suggests, online public health degrees focus on reducing health risks to large populations.

Public health combines many aspects, including disaster relief and child wellness programs, as well as how to improve the care of an aging population. But public health programs usually deal with these issues on a larger scale, such as in a community or a global issue, and are not as focused on individual care. You can find many public health degree programs, including MPH programs that accept low GPA. 

As a result, typically these programs analyze topics such as:

  • Examine the role of public health in protecting and promoting the health of populations
  • Analyze social, political, and economic issues that impact global health
  • Explain the biological effects of infectious and chronic disease
  • Identify ways technology can be used to improve the health of populations
  • Articulate how public health policy is developed and how individuals and groups influence policy change

Fields of Gerontology

In order to cover all of these concepts in gerontology, online public health bachelor’s programs, and the other degrees listed on this page, combine aspects of:

  • Biology
  • Social Sciences
  • Statistics
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology

Usually, this also includes a comprehensive understanding and insights on healthcare administration and delivery systems, as well as studying the process of aging.

What Is a Gerontologist?

Gerontologists improve the quality of life and promote the well-being of persons as they age within their:

  • Families
  • Communities
  • Societies

This is through the application of research, education, and interdisciplinary knowledge of the aging process and aging populations.

Gerontology Careers

Gerontologists, whether in the field of human services, health sciences, or public health, develop ways to enhance programs for the elderly in order to improve care on a social and psychological level. 

Gerontology and Geriatrics

Gerontology is the multi-faceted approach to studying the physical aspects of aging, as well as the mental, social, and societal implications.

On the other hand, geriatrics is strictly focused on the medical aspects of aging bodies and how they change and adjust to change in elder years.

What Does a Gerontologist Do?

Gerontologists are scientists, researchers, assistants, and aides that combine aspects of many fields to study the biological, social, and societal aspects of aging. Instead of focusing on the particular health of one older person - which is the job of a geriatrics professional - they study the impact aging has on the individual, the family and the community.

For example, a gerontologist may devote his or her efforts to finding the most sustainable and effective way to care for the elderly population in the community. They conduct research about the services and support that is most beneficial to the aging populace and also help individuals face-to-face.

Some of the key responsibilities include:

  • Determine what type of aid a client needs
  • Work with clients and other professional to develop a treatment plan
  • Help clients stay in their own home and live under their own care whenever possible
  • Coordinate meal deliveries
  • Help clients complete paperwork to apply for assistance programs

In addition, sometimes these responsibilities include helping clients look for residential care facilities, such as nursing homes, if the client is no longer able to take care of himself or herself.(I)

Degrees in Gerontology

Earning one of the degrees on this page covers some of the key concepts and research of gerontology. This may offer you more options than other fields. This flexibility allows you to pursue a variety of careers upon earning your degree.

Get matched to the perfect program for you in human services, health sciences, or public health by completing the form on this page!

Common Gerontology Courses

As there are different degrees that you may pursue for a career in gerontology, the specific courses you may take vary as well. However, some of the core courses you may take in either human services, health sciences, or public health degree include:

  • Healthcare Delivery Systems
  • Healthcare Quality Management
  • Population Health and Cultural Competence
  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Behavioral and Cultural Issues in Healthcare
  • Human Disease and Prevention
  • Sociology of Social Problems
  • Perspectives in Aging
  • Aging, Politics, and Policy
  • The Epidemiology of Aging

These courses, and others, focus on teaching the key concepts and theories of gerontology, as well as how to apply them to specific fields to effect positive change. 

What Is Human Services?

Human services is broadly defined as maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life. This usually includes a focus on prevention, as well as remediation of problems.

In simpler terms, those in human services are looking to serve the needs of larger populations. This may include large efforts meant to reach several people at once or other ways to help people improve their lives.

Types of Gerontology Degrees

Name of DegreeKey TopicsCommon Courses


Human Services

Health characteristics of aging populations

Aging, Politics, and Policy, Sociology of Social Problems, Perspectives in Aging

Quality of life of aging populations



Health Sciences

Applying concepts of health, healing, and wellness

Microbiology, Environmental Health, Practices in Public Health

Understanding demography, epidemiology, and biostatics



Public Health

Protect and promote health of populations

Population Health and Cultural Competence, Principles of Epidemiology, Behavioral and Cultural Issues in Healthcare

Identify ways technology can improve health of populations

Earn a Gerontology Degree

Interested in helping an aging population receive the care they deserve? Do you want to learn how to improve the lives of senior citizens and future populations? Then find the perfect program for you!

Complete the form on this page to get matched to programs in human services, health sciences, and public health for free!

Gerontology Career Paths and Potential Salaries

Gerontology professionals may pursue a number of different career paths composed of many different responsibilities. They may work in the public or private sector and in various settings.

For example, a social and human service assistant may take care of an older person within his or her own place of residence, at a long-term care facility, or even in a community center helping older people every day.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Gerontology Degree

On the other side of the spectrum, you could pursue more research work pertaining to the changes in society that will result from an aging population. You may pursue a career with a research organization or a university that specifically conducts studies and analysis to harness valuable data about the way older individuals live and how these lifestyles can be improved and maintained.

Gerontology Salaries & Gerontology Careers

Your salary as a gerontologist is largely decided by your specific job title, your level of education, your experience in the industry, and your skill. Consider the following careers, with statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016.

Degrees in Gerontology Related Fields

Social and Human Service Assistants

Social and human service assistants provide client services, including support for families, in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work. They assist other workers, such as social workers, and they help clients find benefits or community services.

  • Median Salary: $33,120 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 16%  (Much faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Medical Scientists

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.

  • Median Salary:$82,090 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 13%  (Faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Doctoral or professional degree


Sociologists study society and social behavior by examining the groups, cultures, organizations, social institutions, and processes that develop when people interact and work together.

  • Median Salary:$79,650 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 1%  (Little or no change)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Master's Degree