If you’re interested in helping the aging population, two career paths lie before you: gerontology and geriatrics. A career in gerontology means becoming an advocate for older adults and using your knowledge of aging to coordinate essential eldercare services. A career in geriatrics means becoming a licensed medical professional and using your expertise to administer high-quality care to older adults. Both career paths are rewarding, yet they contain numerous branching paths that can make it challenging to find your ideal career.
The University of Florida offers online gerontology graduate programs designed to help you provide eldercare services as a gerontologist or medical care as a geriatrician. To better explain how our master’s degree or graduate certificate can help you achieve your career goals, we’ll be exploring the various career paths available to graduates of our program.
Gerontology Career Paths
Not all gerontology careers require a degree. A person with a high school diploma seeking an entry-level position can excel as a personal care aid —one of many roles in high demand due to the growth of the aging population. However, you are going to need a degree if you want to advance your career in the field of aging. In our online MS in gerontology program, you can tailor your degree with one of three specialty tracks. Aspiring gerontologists will particularly benefit from tracks in:
- Geriatric Care Management
Think of geriatric care managers as “professional relatives.” Working closely with older adults and their families, these professionals develop short-and long-term care plans detailing services that will help older adults live safely and independently for as long as possible. Geriatric care managers assess older adults’ physical and emotional concerns and prioritize their needs. Our Geriatric Care Management track provides the knowledge required to consider and coordinate the physical, social and psychological services older adults need and the analytical, communication, interpersonal and leadership skills that will help you thrive in your role.
- Psychosocial Gerontology
Aging adults experience stressors unique to their age group, such as retirement, in addition to common hardships experienced by most people. These concerns are often accompanied by a gradual decrease in mental capacity and an increased risk of developing conditions like depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Aspiring professionals seeking to prevent and treat geriatric-related mental disorders can pursue our Psychosocial Gerontology track. This track provides the foundational knowledge of geropsychology needed for psychological roles in the field of aging.
Geriatrics Career Paths
Geriatricians have a more straightforward career path ahead of them than gerontologists, though no less demanding. To become a geriatrician, students must apply to and gain acceptance into a health-profession school. Health-profession schools provide an intellectual bootcamp in which students absorb as much information as they can while in the classroom or during their clinical rotations. This breakneck pace places the responsibility to grow academically and professionally in the hands of students. Students interested in geriatric medicine will benefit most from our master’s-level specialty track in Medical Physiology or our Graduate Certificate in Aging and Geriatric Practice:
- Medical Physiology
Our master’s-level Medical Physiology track provides foundational knowledge of geriatric medicine, focusing on the major systems of the human body. This track will help you gain a competitive edge and secure admittance to the health-profession school of your choosing. Moreover, our MS in gerontology’s asynchronous format will allow you to engage in coursework at your convenience, control the pace of your education and prepare for the rigors of health-profession school.
- Graduate Certificate
For aspiring geriatricians, we also offer a Graduate Certificate in Aging and Geriatric Practice. This graduate certificate program is affordable, asynchronous and online and will deepen your knowledge of gerontology in preparation for health-profession school. Earn a graduate certificate in as little as one year and improve your resume, differentiate yourself from your competitors and impress health-profession school admission committees. Gain an even stronger advantage in this competitive process by applying all 15 credit hours earned in this graduate certificate program to the MS in gerontology, as long as you are accepted and earn a “B” grade or higher.
Find Your Career Path at UF
Where do you see your career path taking you? Will you become an advocate for older adults by helping them maintain their health and independence? Or will you devote your life to preventing, diagnosing and treating age-related diseases and conditions as a geriatric specialist? Regardless, your first step in advancing your career is to join one of our online graduate programs in gerontology.
As a graduate student, you’ll have the opportunity to earn a master’s degree and specialize in your area of interest. Alternatively, you can pursue a Graduate Certificate in Aging and Geriatric Practice and set yourself up for success in health-profession school and beyond. You can even earn a master’s degree and a graduate certificate with the successful completion of the 9-credit track in addition to your degree. Our programs are:
- Entirely online and asynchronous.
- Competitively priced with the same tuition for all students, regardless of their location.
- Updated regularly to reflect the latest trends and research findings.
UF’s online graduate programs in gerontology give you the chance to earn a career-enhancing credential entirely online and at your convenience. Through our program, you’ll learn how to help older adults maintain their health and independence as they transition from one stage of life to the next, and upon graduating, you’ll be able to apply your knowledge to any number of roles in the field of gerontology or geriatrics. Until then, apply to one of our online graduate programs in gerontology to take the first step on your career path.