What kind of degree do I need to be a Gerontologist?

A gerontologist refers to the plethora of working professionals that concentrate their efforts on the care and development of the aging adult or the elderly. They may include geriatric social workers, personal care aides, hospital or other facility directors, in addition to, therapists, psychologists or recreational and life enrichment personnel.

Educational requirements may differ depending upon the area of specialization you choose. The online master’s degree is the preferred degree for a position in gerontology. Although a bachelor’s degree in gerontology will provide you with an entry-level position working with geriatric patients, the online master’s degree in gerontology will afford you advanced management positions, a position as a Social Worker or, perhaps as a Certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (CGNP).

In some cases, depending on your field of choice, you may be required to obtain other degrees, as well. A degree in social work or psychology might be required for someone hoping to enter gerontology as a Case Manager or direct patient care contact will require a nursing degree. Special certifications are required in some instances, for example, as in a position of a Recreational Therapist or other life improvement careers, however, most administrative or Social Worker positions demand an online master’s degree in gerontology.

The field of gerontology is very diverse and most students, upon entering their school of choice, will choose an area of specialization. The main subjects to explore within this field would include healthcare, sociology, psychology and the area of social work. At the online master’s degree level, you will study in areas relating to the aging process, such as, research, health policy, biology, sociology, psychology and age-related medical conditions and diseases. You will also learn how to meet the emotional needs of the elderly, as well as, discuss issues concerning mortality and bereavement. As a gerontologist, you will be responsible for the well-being and advocacy of the elderly or aging adult, often working cohesively with their caregivers.

Along with your online master’s degree in gerontology, it takes a special kind of person to care for our aging elderly. The gerontologist must be a compassionate person forging a strong bond or relationship with their patient by showing empathy. Often times, your patient may be upset, stressed or in pain. They will look to you for relief and comfort. The gerontologist must also be a good communicator. In order to answer the patient’s questions or concerns, you must be able to communicate efficiently and compassionately.

From time to time, elderly patients may need to speak to you regarding very personal or uncomfortable subjects, therefore, interpersonal skills are a must. Are you an effective problem solver? You must be when treating elderly or aging clients. They will depend on you to help make them feel comfortable when discussing and solving any number of different issues regarding their health, home-life and social fellowship. You must be a good listener.   Your bedside manner will be of the utmost importance.

Gerontologist often work together with other medical doctors or specialist who work as advocates for the elderly. If you are interested in a career as a healthcare professional, please check out our Top 15 Online Schools for a Master’s Degree in Gerontology to help you in your endeavors.