With the baby boomer generation reaching 65 (retirement age) in 2011 the need for gerontologists has never been higher and becoming a gerontologist has never been a better idea. The healthcare field will be in the highest need for workers with the arrival of the baby boomer generation in to their senior citizen age. In the article below we will be covering what gerontology is, how you can go about becoming one and much more.
How to Become a Gerontologist in a few East Steps
There are just a few steps that it will take to become a gerontologist. We will break them down for you below.
1 – Choose the type of career level you want (Geriatric socials worker, PCA or life enrichment professional)
2 – Pick the level of education you want to achieve (certification, bachelors or masters)
3 – Gather work experience
4 – Get Masters Degree (if applicable)
5 – Obtain certification or license
Select Accredited Gerontology Schools Below
What is Gerontology?
Gerontology is the study of aging. The gerontologist is the umbrella term that refers to the professionals who are working with the elderly population. These positions are geriatric social workers, life enrichment professionals, recreation therapists, personal care aides and facility directors. We cover the different careers within gerontology and the respective levels of education below.
What Types of Gerontology Careers are Available?
Gerontological social work is a field that requires a minimum of bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Each individual gerontologist’s scope of practice will be different depending on what level of education licensing is achieved. The first step to becoming a gerontologist is to decide which level of education and position in gerontology you want. Below we will cover all of the opportunities that are there for you choosing.
Geriatric Social Worker
Many people may not know that there is such a thing as adult Protective Services. They and similar agencies are the entities that employ geriatric social workers. GSWs are professionals that manage and handle cases that involve seniors and the elderly where their well-being may be at risk due to their level of income, living conditions or just overall lack of a family/support system.
A GSW will meet with elderly client and their families to communicate and also establish which level of assistance that may be required. Geriatric social workers will also help patients complete all of their paperwork, assist with referrals and can also act as their liaisons with any institutions involved with their care. Education to become a geriatric social worker is a minimum of a bachelors degree and in most cases they earn their masters degree.
Median salaries for geriatric social workers is $52,380 according to bls.gov’s latest statistics and is predicted to grow by 12% over the next decade.
Life Enrichment Professional
Another career that many may know exists is a life enrichment professional. They specialize in setting up adult enrichment programs and they provide recreational therapy for senior citizens and the elderly. The life enrichment specialist specialize in arranging activities that can be as simple as arts and crafts but set up more detailed activities like a senior community initiative. Many retirement communities have life enrichment professionals working and running programs for their residents. Education necessary to become a life enrichment professional is a minimum of a bachelors degree.
Median salaries for life enrichment professional is $45,890 according to bls.gov’s latest statistics and is predicted to grow by 12% over the next decade.
Personal Care Aides
A personal care aide (PCA) is also known as a home health aide (HHA) or a certified nursing aide (CNA) in some cases. A PCA works in the patient’s home and assists the patient with their daily activities. The day to day responsibilities will vary according to the patients ability to move around and take care of themselves. If they are in need of constant care, then bathing and feeding will be a regular task. Sometimes the duties are less involved that that but the PCA is there to assist in their daily lives. Education necessary to become a PCA is a certification and no degree is required in most cases.
Median salaries for life enrichment professional is $24,060 according to bls.gov’s latest statistics and is predicted to grow by 41% over the next decade.
a facility administrator or director are in charge of the day to day and overall operations of institutions that care for the elderly or seniors. These can be nursing homes, assisted-living facilities or communities. The director will be in charge of the overall budget, the hiring and firing of workers, meeting the standards given by the state and all other regulations involved. The education required will be a masters degree in healthcare administration in most situations.
Median salaries for life enrichment professional is $99,730 according to bls.gov’s latest statistics and is predicted to grow by 20% over the next decade.
Is it a Good Time to Become a Gerontologist?
According to the latest data from bls.gov, most healthcare careers are seeing fantastic growth. And gerontology careers are no different for the next decade. As we stated above, the baby boomer generation is creating a record demand for the field as a whole and the time to become a gerontologist is better now than ever before!