Careers in Gerontology

Market analysts predict expanding opportunities for qualified gerontologist into the future. Given existing and projected population demographics in the U.S. and globally, no industry, career, or profession will be unaffected by aging. Gerontological training is a strategically and ethically sound choice for aspiring professionals in a wide range of employment sectors, including social work, financial services, legal professions marketing, web design, and product design. Some professionals devote themselves full time to the field of aging; others divide their time between aging and other areas of interest within their disciplinary, professional, or clinical areas.

Some professionals work directly with older persons in roles such as:

  • Developing programs in health promotion, senior theater groups, and intergenerational activities in senior centers, community agencies, and retirement communities
  • Providing direct care to frail, ill, or impaired older persons in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, or in adult day- or home-care programs
  • Counseling older persons and their families about issues of caregiving, employment, mental health, and death and dying
  • Advising older adults about estate planning and investments, financing long-term care, or housing options

Some professionals are less directly involved with older persons but work on their behalf through activities such as:

  • Conducting research on the aging processes and diseases associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis
  • Analyzing issues related to older persons such as retirement opportunities, income maintenance, the health care system, and housing alternatives
  • Planning, administering, and evaluating community-based services and service-delivery systems for older persons
  • Teaching courses on aging to college and university students, health care professionals, and older adults
  • Advocating with or on behalf of older persons before legislative bodies or in institutional settings
  • Designing products to meet the special interests and needs of older persons
  • Advising business, industry, and labor regarding older workers and consumers

Where do professionals in aging work?

  • Community, human service, and religious organizations
  • Health care and long-term care institutions
  • Federal, state and local government agencies
  • Retirement communities
  • Academic, educational, and research settings
  • Professional organizations
  • Business and industry

The materials presented above are excerpted from and Careers in Aging: Consider the Possibilities, a publication of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE).

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