How do I become a Certified Geriatric Care Manager?

If your passion is helping our aging or elderly population, then a career in gerontology may be for you. There are many career paths you may choose to take in this field, however, the Certified Geriatric Care Manager (CGCM) can have a lucrative and a rewarding career by helping families and individuals take care of and cope with terminal or acute illnesses, as well as, disabilities and psychological needs amongst our aging seniors.

Certified Geriatric Care Managers often work in long-term nursing homes or managing the care of home-bound patients. Although the CGCM can own nursing or psychology degrees and participate in bedside patient care, they play a more prevalent role in the planning and managing aspects of healthcare.

The preferred degree for a position as a Geriatric Care Manager is an online master’s degree in gerontology, however, some employers only require a bachelor’s degree. Make no mistake though, the higher the degree, the more the paycheck.

Although it is not required, to further your career if you have earned an advanced degree, then you may want to consider entry into the Geriatric Care Manager certification program. Certificate programs include courses in age-related diseases and illnesses, in addition to, classes teaching you how to assess cognitive skills and emotional needs. Graduates of this certification program may then be eligible to qualify for Health or Medical Service Manager positions. The CGCM certification will make you more attractive to potential employers and it shows them that you have gone the extra mile to be the best in your chosen field.

The duties of the CGCM typically include identifying medical needs and determining eligibility of services, offer and facilitate alternative housing options, schedule mental health services and assist families and patients with financial and legal transactions, conduct overall advocacy visits for the patient while establishing a plan of care that fits the needs of the patient and their care-givers. Regular assessment visits are required to evaluate the care and satisfaction of the client and to determine future needs.

If you plan to have a long and successful career in healthcare, in addition to earning your online master’s degree in gerontology, you must sincerely enjoy working with the aging or elderly in your community. You must be willing to advocate for their needs to ensure the best quality of life for your client. You must have patience, be a good communicator and especially a good listener. You must be an ethical, emotionally stable, responsible person with integrity and empathy, along with, a strong sense of business and creativity. And perhaps the most important attribute for being an impressive elderly advocate, is a positive attitude.

The typical salary for the Certified Geriatric Care Manager may vary greatly depending on their level of education, skills, previous experience, facility location or regional route, as well as, the type of facility you are employed by. The salary for a CGCM averages $88,580 per year, however, someone with one to three years may earn an entry salary of $48,877 annually and work their way to $114,834 per year, with eight plus years of experience. The field of healthcare management is expected to grow 17% between now and 2024.

Certified Geriatric Care Managers are often hired to manage nursing homes, home healthcare agencies, hospitals, geriatric doctor offices, government agencies and non-profit organizations.

If you are interested in learning more about a career in gerontology, check out our Top 15 Online Schools for a Master’s Degree in Gerontology to assist you in your endeavors.