How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Gerontologist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $93,730
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 8.2%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Growing Industry
    Career Attribute

A gerontologist works closely with the elderly, whether it is improving the living standards of senior citizens or looking after their physical or emotional health. Gerontologists come from a wide range of backgrounds due to the interdisciplinary nature of the work.


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What is a Gerontologist?


The duties of a qualified gerontologist involve the following points:

  • Supervise and follow-up regarding the day to day personal hygiene of seniors at a facility, reporting any significant changes in physical well-being to family members or the respective physician.
  • Monitor the serving of seniors at the dining area such that it is in a friendly and courteous manner as per established guidelines and policies.
  • Review submitted weekly reports from other staff like service coordinators, then follow up when required on documentation accuracy and language.
  • Ensure the smooth functioning of the assigned facility with regard to patient welfare, health and socialization in accordance with state and health department regulations.
  • Either perform all tasks or delegate and schedule work for program service coordinators and ensure that it is completed in a timely manner.

Day In The Life

Gerontologists vary greatly on the type of role and specialization they choose to pursue. For instance, if you are working as a research gerontologist, you would spend most of your day doing research on various aspects of aging, optimal living environments for the elderly, etc. If you are an applied gerontologist you would be working face to face with seniors, focusing on interactions with families and individuals, etc. In administrative positions, gerontologists utilize their leadership skills to build and implement different programs while overseeing services for improving operational capacity.

The overall responsibility of a gerontologist is to better understand the aging process and promote awareness about the effects of aging on older adults. This takes place through publishing books, presenting new research about the elderly and producing relevant video clips or television programs. You may also choose to teach gerontology at a university or college, which would include teaching in classrooms, grading papers and traveling to relevant speaking engagements as a professor.

Work Schedule

Gerontologist usually work set hours, like other professionals serving as day-care providers in healthcare or social service contexts. The work environment can vary, ranging from nursing homes, hospitals and other private practice.

Growth Of The Job

Jobs in this sector are expected to increase at around 12% by 2022 – this is the average rate in comparison with other jobs. There are many opportunities for growth as the baby-boom generation grows older, requiring well-equipped senior care nursing homes and other facilities. There will also be job openings when older workers choose to transfer, stop working or retire.

In related professions such as nursing, psychology and rehabilitation counseling, you could apply your gerontology skills to emerging career paths as a research psychologist, registered nurse or rehabilitation counselor.

Typical Employers

As a gerontologist, you may work in industries such as academia, research, government, healthcare and policy. Typically, gerontologists are employed by hospitals, research organisations, non-profits, social service agencies, health care facilities, retirement homes and other community organisations. Some also choose to start an independent consulting business to advise leading healthcare agencies and companies on viable products or services targeting the elderly.

Another career option is working as a full-time researcher or research scientist to further your understanding of aging processes and their impact on different populations. If your role is in the industry or government, you will help contribute to designing innovative products that will assist senior citizens with their standard of living.

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How To Become a Gerontologist

You must complete a master’s degree to qualify for most roles and a Ph.D. is a definite advantage for job prospects. The educational qualifications of a gerontologist will differ as it is influenced by variables such as type of role and whether they have worked in administrative, applied or research-oriented gerontology.

Aspiring candidates come from diverse backgrounds like nutrition, psychology, counseling social work, nursing, healthcare, nutrition and related fields. For example, if you are interested in a case manager role, that will likely require a degree in psychology versus a healthcare manager job which requires a specialization in nursing or health services management. Some universities are not offering concentrations in gerontology within a degree program such as public health, social work and psychology. The course content is generally about the impact of aging on various aspects of a person’s life.

Gerontologist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Gerontologist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Gerontologist's can make an average annual salary of $93,730, or $45 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $57,640 or $28 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #82 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Gerontologist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Gerontologists

  • 61.7%   Doctorate
  • 28.9%   Masters
  • 7.5%   Bachelors
  • 0.5%   Associates
  • 0.9%   College
  • 0.3%   High School
  • 0.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Gerontologist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 8,900 jobs for a total of 116,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 8.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #268 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Gerontologists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 37,100 2,500 3%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 19,400 800 1%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 10,700 800 1%

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