What is Gerontology?
Gerontology is the scientific study of old age, the process of aging, and the particular problems of old people. Unlike doctors, who focus solely on the medical aspects of aging, gerontologists focus on the social, psychological, and cultural factors surrounding aging. They also attempt to gain an academic understanding of the biological process of aging.
How much money can you earn working in Gerontology?
Gerontology is a great field to be entering right now. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job market for Social and Human Service Assistants will grow by around 16 percent over the next decade, a rate it defines as “much faster than average.” Almost 400,000 people are already employed in this field. With the projected growth, this means that gerontologists can expect at least 6,000 new job openings per year!
And this growth isn’t likely to stop soon. There have been countless reports on the national news about the Baby Boomer generation’s looming retirement. This deluge of retirees isn’t just important to the Social Security Administration. It also means even more people who need experts like gerontologists to manage and support their care.
Why choose a Bachelor’s in Gerontology?
Gerontology is a highly specialized and specific field. Attending a program in biology or sociology will give students an introduction to the aging process. However, only a Gerontology specific program will guarantee students the depth and diversity of knowledge that they need to stand out in a competitive job market.
With so much job growth expected in the coming years, many people will be trying to vie for these new jobs. By pursuing one of these Gerontology programs, students will receive the specified knowledge they need to stand out. If you aren’t sure about Gerontology, but interested in online education, check out the Best Online Colleges and Universities.
What are the Best Bachelor’s in Gerontology?
College Choice considers several factors including institutional merit, student fulfillment, and return on investment to develop rankings. Institutional merit combines metrics such as student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates and endowment to measure each school’s ability to provide excellent and cost-effective education for each student. Student fulfillment measures how fulfilled current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at each school. And finally return on investment looks at the fiscal benefits students are likely to receive from each school’s education, weighted against the costs of attendance, namely tuition and student loans. In the end, we believe these four schools represent the top choices for Gerontology Bachelor’s programs.
See our rankings methodology page.
University of Nebraska Omaha
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $11,223
The University of Nebraska at Omaha is a public research university located in Omaha, Nebraska. The school was founded as the Omaha Presbyterian Theological Seminary, striving to provide a Christian-based education, but which was not run by a church itself. The school has just over 1,000 academic staff members who serve a student body of around 15,000 students.
Omaha offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Gerontology, which emphasizes the physical, psychological, and social aspects of aging. Students complete 120 hours credit hours, including 36 hours specifically within the major itself, comprised of:
- Gerontology Electives
- Gerontology Practicum
- Statistics & Research Methods
- Concentration or Minor courses
All students must pursue a minor, a second major, or a concentration as a part of their degree program.
Elective courses are specifically geared for students’ career goals, helping to make them more marketable to employers once they complete the program. The practicum course includes 156 hours spent at a practicum site of the student’s choosing. Stats & Research help qualify students for administrative and graduate schools positions post-grad.
College Choice Score: 98.79
Average Net Price: $15,498
The State University of New York College at Oneonta, often referred to as O-State, is a four-year liberal arts college located in Oneonta, NY. O-State has a student body of approximately 6,000 graduates and undergraduates. Oneonta began as the Oneonta Normal School in 1889, which helped to train teachers and expand public education. It now offers more than 35 bachelor’s degrees and a number of master’s programs.
O-State offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Gerontology, which involves students taking 39-42 semester hours in the core courses of sociology. The major also includes elective courses focusing on the study of aging. Example courses include:
- Sociology of Death and Dying
- Families and Aging
- The Family
- Comparative Aging: A Global Perspective
Students also take interdisciplinary electives, involving departments such as politics, anthropology, and psychology.
The university has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for its civic partnerships and successful efforts to integrate service activities into the classroom. The O-State Gerontology program has been rated #3 in the country by Univeristy.com. It is the smallest major within the sociology department, which allows students to take advantage of individualized attention and guidance.
University of Maryland University College
College Choice Score: 87.08
Average Net Price: $12,483
The University of Maryland University College is a public not-for-profit university, located in Adelphi, MD. UMUC is one of the largest distance learning universities in the world, with over 90,000 students. The university offers around 120 undergraduate programs, and has a 100% admissions rate for its undergraduate programs.
Students complete a 3-credit internship, which is intended to apply classroom knowledge to real-world settings. Students spend around 15 weeks at the internship. Example projects include:
- Design a health promotion campaign
- Analyze case studies of aging services
- Consider how your own aging process will be affected by issues discussed in classes/coursework
This program is designed to help prepare you for a number of gerontological careers in areas that include program management, program and policy analysis, services development, and housing and facilities management.
UMUC accepts up to 90 transfer credits for the 120 credit program. Costs per credit are $499 for out-of-state, $289 for in-state, and $250 for military members. Healthcare experience or experience with the elderly is recommended.
Southern New Hampshire University
College Choice Score: 85.27
Average Net Price: $34,984
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, non-profit university located in between Manchester and Hooksett, NH. SNHU has 159 full-time staff members, and an online and in-person student body of approximately 70,000 students. Most of its students and many of its best-known programs are administered online.
Southern New Hampshire offers a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Services, with a concentration in Gerontology. Courses in the program offer looks into wellness and disease, policy issues, long-term care, and the aspects of aging. Sample courses include:
- Lifespan Development
- Case Management
- Perspectives in Aging
- Aging, Politics, and Policy
The degree involves the completion of 120 total credits, which include 30 elective credits in the concentration itself.
Tuition costs are around $960 per course, but SNHU also offered discounted rates for U.S. service members, as well as spouses of those on active duty. Reduced rates for these groups are around $675 per course. There is no application fee, but there is a $150 graduation fee and course material costs vary by schedule.