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What Are the Different Types of Gerontology Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 December 2018
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Among the various gerontology degree programs are those offered for graduate and post-graduate degrees. A gerontology certificate may also be earned by students, many of which hold a degree in another subject, but who would like to engage in a gerontology education to more effectively work with elderly people. Certain programs may focus more on health care as it relates to aging populations, while others may emphasize administrative duties, mental health counseling or research as it applies to elderly generations. Programs may be offered via online instruction or at traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. All gerontology degree programs, however, are designed to help students prepare for a future gerontology career.

Many colleges and universities offer gerontology degree programs as well as the opportunity for students to earn a gerontology diploma in a particular area of interest. For example, a student may enter a program with a heavy emphasis on psychology in order to apply her skills toward gerontology counseling, or an administrative or management degree may also be earned through certain gerontology degree programs. Some individuals may earn a gerontology degree for the express purpose of engaging in research that may someday benefit aging populations. While the emphasis of each degree may vary according to one’s interest, students entering gerontology degree programs generally do so with the intention of studying aging issues in order to someday work in a capacity that offers support, help and insight to individuals as they age.

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While undergraduate gerontology degree opportunities may exist in certain areas, a lot of gerontology degree programs are targeted toward graduate or post-graduate students. Many such programs require a minimum of two years of formal study in addition to time spent completing internships and rigorous testing to qualify for a degree in this area. Some gerontology degree programs are offered through online study or may be offered at physical locations while still allowing students the option of completing certain classes online.

Other gerontology degree programs offer diploma or certificate programs. These courses are often accessed by people who already have a degree in an area that can be used in a gerontology career, but who want or need additional education in a specific area of interest, such as recreation, health or nutritional support for seniors. These types of programs can generally be completed in less time than a gerontology degree.

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