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Doctoral in Geriatrics and Gerontology

The geriatrics and gerontology programs focus on diseases and problems related to aging population. Students in these programs get to know about the process of aging and its effects on the psychological, physical and social level. A degree in geriatrics and gerontology can help students work as home health aides, personal care aides or geriatrics care managers. Employment of home health aides and personal care aides is expected to grow by 22% or higher  during 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations , according to O*Net Online. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for medical and health service managers is also very positive with a 23% expected job growth from 2012 to 2022.

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As population ages and the elderly population grow, the demand for these professionals will rise because the elderly require assistance and companionship due to their health problems. So if you have patience and the will to serve the aged, a degree in geriatrics and gerontology can help you pursue a  career with a good potential job growth.

Doctoral in Geriatrics and Gerontology
The geriatrics and gerontology programs are offered at the undergraduate to graduate level. Doctoral programs are also available in this area of study. The associate degree typically takes 2 years to complete while the bachelor's program may be completed in 4 years. The master's degree is a 1-2 year program. A PhD program usually spans over 4-6 years. The exact duration of geriatrics and gerontology programs depends on the route that students take, and so can span for shorter or longer periods. These programs are offered in regular as well as evening schedules. In addition to regular schools, some distance-learning colleges also offer programs in this area of study. The online route can be suitable for those who cannot attend regular classes due to busy work schedules or other commitments.

The undergraduate programs are suitable for those who want to qualify for entry-level jobs in the field while those who are interested in management positions can pursue the master's programs. However, the doctoral in geriatrics and gerontology is designed for students who are interested in seeking research oriented positions as well as those that entail roles of responsibility.

Curriculum in Geriatrics and Gerontology Programs
Students in the geriatrics and gerontology programs learn about physiology, psychology of aging, anatomy, geriatric health management, and counseling. In addition, they also cover the legal and financial side of dealings with the aged people. In some programs, students may also have to complete internships at nursing home or other healthcare facilities.

Employment Career Outlook
Earning a degree in geriatrics and gerontology allows students to pursue work in a variety of settings such as social service organizations, hospitals, nursing homes, government agencies and patients' homes. Opportunities are also available in community agencies and research firms.

Medical and health services managers made a median wage of $88,580 per year in 2012 while the median annual salary for home health aides was $20,820 in the same year (BLS). Most managers involved in geriatrics care work full time.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Doctoral Degree in Geriatrics and Gerontology?

Several universities offer a 4 to 6-year doctoral degree in Geriatrics and Gerontology. Typically, institutions like the University of Massachusetts offer this doctoral degree on-campus full/part-time. However, there are several other institutions such as the University of Southern California, Walden University, Maryville University and the Northcentral University  that offer an online doctoral degree.

What Are the Requirements to Complete a Doctoral Degree in Geriatrics and Gerontology?

The requirements to complete a doctoral degree vary for each university. However, a few similarities in the method of teaching can be observed. For instance, students of a doctoral degree are generally required to take lectures, pass written exams, perform lab work, write thesis & research articles, etc. The credit hour requirements are different for each university depending on the curriculum. For example, the online doctoral degree in Gerontology offered at the Northcentral University requires students to complete 60 credit hours.

How Much Can I Make after Completing a Doctoral Degree in Geriatrics and Gerontology?

After completing a doctoral degree in Geriatrics and Gerontology, graduates often work at public or private hospitals, clinics, elderly homes, etc. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the annual median salary of the following professions as:


Median Salary

Social Scientists and Related Workers

$81,340per year

Occupational Therapists

$84,270 per year

Medical and Health Services Managers

$99,730 per year

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