Online Training Programs in Gerontology

Distance training in gerontology is often offered through online graduate certificate programs and individual courses and seminars. Students study all aspects of aging and learn to care for the growing number of elderly. Read on to learn more.

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Program Overview

Online graduate certificate programs can be completed in one year; however, individuals who want a lighter course load can extend the program to two years. In some cases, several universities combine a program, allowing students to take courses from educators who are the most knowledgeable in the field of gerontology.

Admissions Information

Graduate-level programs typically require applicants to have a bachelor's degree in a related area. Individuals interested in taking stand-alone courses may be able to do so as non-degree seeking students; however, instructor approval may be required.


In a graduate certificate program, students may complete gerontology courses related to a specific field, such as public health, law, social work, nursing or rehabilitation. Sample course titles are listed below:

  • Healthcare and the elderly
  • Social and cultural issues in aging
  • Perspectives on disability
  • Sociology of aging
  • Family life of the aging population
  • Memory and cognition
  • Aging, death and dying

Practical Experience

Gerontology programs often require an internship experience, which is set up through the school and gives students the opportunity to work in an assisted living facility and apply what they've learned through courses to provide care to an aging population. This is usually completed over the summer.

Online Learning Details

Most courses are offered in asynchronous format, allowing students to complete studies at their pace, though adhering to assignment deadlines. Some programs may be offered as a cohort, allowing the same group of students to go through the program together.

In most cases, students take online courses in gerontology through Blackboard or a similar program which allows them to access coursework, lectures, lecture notes and interact with other classmates. Participation in online class discussions may be required, and students may need to secure a proctor for exams. Most schools also make electronic libraries, which include e-books, e-journals and other texts, available students taking an online program.

Program Outcomes

According to the National Academy on an Aging Society, aging baby boomers and longer life spans will double the population of Americans over age 65 between 2007-2030, for a total of about 71 million older adults, potentially leading to a wide variety of career options in the field. Through an online program in gerontology, students become familiar with how the elderly think and act. They learn specific techniques for providing quality patient care to an aging population.

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