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HOW DO I BECOME A PROFESSIONAL IN AGING?
There are three educational avenues to becoming a professional in the field of aging. The first two involve enrolling in a formal credit program at a college or university.
Associate level -- Community college programs train people through specific courses in gerontology and skill training experiences. The courses can lead to an A.A. degree or a certificate or emphasis in gerontology. Credits earned in these community college programs can usually be used toward a four-year degree. Students in these education and training programs generally seek entry-level jobs or advancement in their current employment.
Bachelor's level -- Many colleges and universities offer a major or bachelor's degree in gerontology or a certificate, minor, or specialization in aging to complement a traditional academic major. A field experience usually is required. Graduates are qualified for entry-level or mid-level jobs as practitioners and planners in local and state agencies offering programs and services to older persons.
Master's level -- Nearly 100 universities offer a master's degree in gerontology. Master's-level training prepares professionals to become skilled administrators, planners, and practitioners. Many universities offer graduate specializations which permit students to major in another academic or clinical field with a specialization in aging.
Doctoral level -- Some universities offer doctoral level specializations in aging within other academic and clinical departments. A few universities offer a Ph.D. in gerontology. Doctoral programs prepare students for careers in research, teaching, administration, or clinical practice.
Postdoctoral level -- Postdoctoral training programs or fellowships are available in gerontology and geriatrics. Many of these are funded through federal agencies and can be completed in academic or clinical settings.