Online Master’s Programs in Gerontology

Would you like to earn a master's degree in gerontology? Here, we outline what you'll learn, career options, and other helpful resources.

October 18, 2021

reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s Programs in Gerontology

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What You’ll Learn with a Online Master's in Gerontology and Career Potential

Population projections suggest that the number of U.S. adults over age 65 will reach 80 million by 2040. This will create demand for healthcare professionals who can treat aging populations. A gerontology degree emphasizes care methods and quality of life for aging individuals. Professionals in this field focus on both mental and physical health.

Geriatrics focuses specifically on medical care for aging populations. Gerontology graduates find careers in healthcare management, counseling, social work, and nursing. A master's degree in gerontology does not prepare candidates for geriatrician roles, which require a medical degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects much-faster-than-average growth for gerontology-related careers in 2020-2030. Health services managers enjoy 32% growth projections and nurse practitioners enjoy 45%. Nearly all gerontology careers require at least a bachelor's in gerontology degree. A master's can lead to many higher paying jobs. This page covers master's in gerontology degrees, including typical courses and career outcomes.

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What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Gerontology Program?

Earning a gerontology degree online builds specialized skills related to aging population care. The list below highlights five typical gerontology courses. While course titles may differ among schools, general content should remain the same.

What Common Courses Are Offered in a Master's in Gerontology Program?

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

Graduation requirements for gerontology degrees vary among schools and programs. A master's degree in gerontology typically culminates in a capstone or thesis during the final semesters. These projects assess overall student learning and form a bridge to professional gerontology practice.

Capstone projects typically relate to practical elements of professional practice. A thesis serves students interested in research or academic careers.

What Specializations Are Available in a Master's in Gerontology Program?

Students earning their gerontology degree online can choose a specialization, preparing them for different career paths. The list below highlights five popular gerontology specialization tracks.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Gerontology Degree?

Gerontology includes many career paths and professional roles. This list highlights just a few of the field's options.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Gerontology?

Students can follow many career paths after completing a master's degree in gerontology. This list highlights some of the most popular career paths for gerontology graduates.

Career Salary Potential
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Geriatric Care Manager $104,280 32%
Sociologist $86,110 5%
Geriatric Social Worker $51,760 12%
Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner $117,670 45%
Occupational Therapist $86,280 17%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Master's in Gerontology Program Accreditation

When researching any gerontology degree online, make sure that both the school and the program hold proper accreditation. The accreditation process regulates schools and ensures they adhere to national education standards.

Accreditation comes in three types: regional, national, and programmatic. Regional accreditation serves four-year colleges, while national accreditation serves vocational and trade schools. Any school offering a master's degree in gerontology should hold regional accreditation, rather than national accreditation.

Programmatic accreditation evaluates individual programs within a certain field. For gerontology, look for either Accreditation for Gerontology Education Council or Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education accreditation.

How to Pay for a Master's in Gerontology Degree

Graduate students can find many funding options for their gerontology degree. This list outlines three common funding sources: loans, graduate assistantships, and financial support for military personnel and veterans.

Some programs offer full or partial tuition remission through graduate assistantships, which require students to teach or assist in research. For example, St. Cloud State University in Michigan offers graduate assistantships to roughly 30% of full-time graduate students. Graduate students use both federal and private student loans to finance their education. Filling out the FAFSA shows students their eligibility for different types of aid. The federal government offers educational funding to military veterans and their families through many programs. The VA provides education benefits for veterans primarily through the GI Bill®.

Additional Resources

Gerontologists and other professionals in the field depend on different industry organizations to share knowledge. Many of these organizations offer memberships to graduate students pursuing gerontology degrees.

A nonprofit dedicated to aging health, the Alliance for Aging Research advocates for effective public policy and research. The organization hosts resources on aging and informative public events. Serving over 2,000 geriatric psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals, AAGP offers networking and collaboration resources for industry professionals. Student members can access job boards, educational publications, and other resources.

With over 6,000 geriatrics healthcare members, AGS works to improve patient care, public policy, education, and research. Student members receive access to career resources, networking opportunities, and educational events.

Bringing together professionals focused on aging, ASA works to build leadership skills and knowledge among its members. Members receive access to job resources, networking opportunities, and professional conferences.

Dedicated to education, research, and practice in the aging field, GSA serves over 5,500 members nationwide. Membership benefits include access to trade publications, awards and fellowships, and mentorship services.

Online Master’s in Gerontology Programs

University of North Carolina at Greensboro View School Profile Greensboro, NC $10396

UNCG offers the state's only fully online master's in gerontology. The 30-credit program provides specialized training for leadership roles. Enrollees learn how to address the needs of a growing elderly population. The program emphasizes applied learning through projects and case studies.

Courses explore health and aging and social services for the aging. A course focuses on how to use qualitative and quantitative research methods in gerontology. A required seminar examines critical aging issues. Students can customize the curriculum by choosing three elective courses.

Enrollees complete the program with a capstone project. Degree-seekers apply gerontology research during a field experience. The program's seven-week courses accelerate degree completion. North Carolina residents pay the most affordable tuition. Admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

University of Utah View School Profile Salt Lake City, UT $13460

The U offers a gerontology program with multiple options. Graduate students can pursue a master of science in gerontology. Learners can complete the program entirely online and enroll part time or full time. The curriculum requires the completion of 33-34 credits. Students explore topics such as health and optimal aging. They also study the physiology and psychology of aging.

Participants learn about social and public policy in aging. They explore various agencies and programs for older adults. A gerontology practicum gives learners experience working directly with this population. To graduate, enrollees complete a project or thesis.

Students living in western states may qualify for in-state tuition because the U participates in the Western Regional Graduate Program. Admission to this online master's in gerontology program requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Kansas State University View School Profile Manhattan, KS $18002

K-State offers 165 graduate programs, including a 36-credit online master's in gerontology. The school offers this degree in collaboration with the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA). The degree prepares students to serve the elderly population.

Required courses explore perspectives in gerontology and adult development and aging. Learners examine research methods and program evaluation in aging. They also study public policy, economics, and aging. In addition, enrollees can customize the degree with four elective courses. Options include a course on aging and mental health and a seminar on long-term care administration.

This master's in gerontology online does not require a culminating thesis. GPIDEA students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Iowa State University View School Profile Ames, IA $14643

Founded in 1858, Iowa State offers programs through 10 academic units. The online master of family and consumer sciences offers a gerontology specialization. The degree prepares professionals to work directly with older adults or in education and research. Iowa State offers the program in collaboration with the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance.

The 36-credit curriculum covers topics such as adult development and aging in the family. Enrollees study nutrition and physical activity in aging. Students can use four elective courses in areas such as estate planning and rural aging statistics. Learners can also complete an elective in grant writing. Degree-seekers can use up to three credits to complete a practicum.

Students can enroll full time or part time. All enrollees pay the same tuition regardless of residency. To apply, students need a bachelor's degree.

Webster University View School Profile Saint Louis, MO Unconfirmed

Webster offers a 36-credit master of arts in gerontology. Learners receive advanced training in the various facets of aging. The curriculum draws from fields such as management and the behavioral and social sciences.

Learners examine topics such as the physiology and psychology of aging. Enrollees learn how to apply research to address gerontological challenges. They develop skills to manage programs for older adults efficiently. A course focuses on economic issues of middle-aged and older adults. Students apply their knowledge in a capstone project.

Graduates understand how to provide services to the older adult population. Students pay the same tuition regardless of residency, and military personnel receive tuition discounts. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA.

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