Gerontologists are professionals who study the affects of aging on humans, often working with the elderly to make the aging process easier, both physically and emotionally. Gerontologists work in a variety of medical and academic settings, and often enjoy rewarding careers coupled with excellent benefits and competitive salaries.
There are many branches within the field of gerontology. Biogerontologists study the physical and biological effects of aging. Research gerontologists work directly with patients and perform research on how making the lives of the elderly can be made easier and more comfortable. Applied gerontologists are professionals who work directly with elderly patients and their families.
Aspiring gerontologists often study a wide range of subjects, which may include nursing, psychology, sociology and medicine. While there is no specific level of education that's required to become a practicing gerontologist, those who are interested in the field should take courses in sociology, biology, chemistry and psychology, and should preform well in both communications and science classes.
Many colleges and online schools offer degree programs in gerontology.
Different types of gerontologists work in different locations. Some places where professional applied gerontologists are found include hospitals, nursing homes and centers for senior citizens. Research gerontologists might work in labs or at universities. Gerontologists might also teach at colleges, hospitals and universities.
Gerontologists of all types can expect to have a diverse team of co-workers. They may work, teach or perform research alongside occupational and physical therapists, dietitians, medical doctors or nurses.
Gerontology is an excellent career for those who enjoy forming relationships with other people and working with a team, as well as those who are service-minded. Gerontologists often have the opportunity to help make elderly people's lives easier and more comfortable. Also, they often enjoy excellent salaries and health-care benefits.
Facts and Figures
As generations of Americans continue to age and require care, the field of gerontology has grown steadily. MSHealthcareers.com reports that job openings in the gerontology field are expected to grow by 36 percent until 2012.
Gerontologists often enjoy competitive salaries. Salary.com reports that gerontologists can expect to earn between $35,000 and $50,000 annually in their first four years in the field.