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Budding Geriatric Care Degrees and Professions

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenJune 28, 2013
Geriatric Care Professions

In response to the aging baby boomer population and approaching Silver Tsunami, there is a need for senior care professionals and experts across the nation. A Place for Mom has had a lot of inquiries about possible geriatric careers, and we’ve discovered that there are many budding geriatric care degree opportunities.

Geriatric Care ProfessionsIt’s true; the nation’s 65+ demographic, which currently accounts for 13% of the overall population, is expected to more than double by 2050 to more than 89 million—which will then be 20% of the population, according to The U.S. Census Bureau. With this exponential increase in the aging population, there is a need for geriatric care experts. And having care knowledge around Alzheimer’s disease, one of the leading epidemics facing the nation, is crucial as the disease is expected to rise from 5.1 million sufferers today to 13.5 million sufferers by 2050, projects The Alzheimer’s Association.

Because of the growth of the senior population, The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job prospects will be particularly good for individuals who specialize in gerontology and aging in the coming years.

Geriatric Care: Preparing for the Future

This elderly demographic shift creates not only a need in senior care management in the senior housing industry—specifically in memory care—but also a need for more geriatric care knowledge, in general. In fact, we at A Place for Mom have even had caregivers reach out, wondering if there’s such a thing as “geriatric care certification.” Well it turns out there are geriatric degrees—not nursing degrees—actual gerontological and aging expert degrees.

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We recently caught up with Eastern Michigan University (EMU) to learn about the types of eldercare degrees being offered at their institution to gain insight into the future of senior care. So whether you’re a caregiver looking for a little more information on caring for your aging loved one, or are student interested in working in the in-demand senior care field professionally, here are a few degrees that might pique your interest:

Graduate Certificate in Dementia

According to EMU, the Graduate Certificate Dementia program offered at their university “is the first of its kind in the U.S.” and is intended for healthcare professionals and students who want to pursue a specialized career in working with dementia sufferers and their families. Since Alzheimer’s disease is rapidly increasing as people live longer and the senior population grows, there are not only many opportunities in this field of study, there is also a crucial need for dementia and Alzheimer’s experts.

Program Overview

This interdisciplinary graduate certificate program provides a theoretical framework and practical grounding in working with people with dementia in the home, in community-based programs, and in 24-hour care settings, including assisted living  facilities, adult foster care homes, nursing homes and hospitals.  Special features of the program include:

  • Person-Centered philosophy
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Field-based learning
  • Interdisciplinary team teaching

The graduate certificate in dementia is recommended for professionals in health care and social services working with people with dementia in the home, in community-based programs, and in 24-hour care settings, including assisted living  facilities, adult foster care homes, nursing homes, and hospitals.

Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

EMU’s Certificate in Gerontology program is designed to help students develop the skills that are needed to satisfy the increasingly diverse needs of the older population.  The in-depth program emphasizes a life course perspective and addresses realities and myths of growing old.

Program Overview

Students receive personal advising to help identify and achieve professional goals.  A number of Masters programs may be combined with the Certificate, including occupational therapy, nutrition, health administration, social work, nursing, psychology, public administration, applied sociology, speech-language pathology, and interior design.

Here are some career paths you can achieve with this degree:

  • Nursing
  • Medicine
  • Occupational and physical therapy
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Nutrition
  • Business administration
  • Education
  • Recreation
  • Retirement housing
  • Insurance

Undergraduate Minor in Aging Strategies

The Minor in Aging Strategies provides a solid foundation of knowledge for undergraduate students who wish to learn more about aging or who contemplate entering graduate programs with specializations in aging studies and gerontology. The minor may be of particular interest to students preparing to work in health and human services, business or government.

Program Overview

The Undergraduate Minor in Aging Strategies provides an interdisciplinary learning experience that features course offerings from instructors involved in the aging network through a broad range of community and research activities.  Teachings include a 120-hour practicum that offers students the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to practice with older adults.

Here are some career paths you can achieve with this degree:

  • Nursing
  • Medicine
  • Occupational and physical therapy
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Nutrition
  • Business administration
  • Education
  • Recreation
  • Retirement housing
  • Insurance

Are you a caregiver interested in getting more training in geriatric care? Or maybe you’re a student or professional in the senior care field looking for additional training and career opportunities. Whatever your situation, we’d like to hear what you think about the degrees being offered in geriatric training. We welcome your comments below.

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Dana Larsen
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Dana Larsen

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