GERONTOLOGISTS study the aging processes, and individuals and their problems from middle age through later life. They study physical, mental, and social changes in older people as they age; the changes in society from an aging population; and the application of this knowledge to policies and programs. They study intellectual ability, personality, health care, mental health, family relations, housing arrangements, employment and retirement, economics in later life, crimes against elderly persons, ethics of extending life, volunteering, government programs, and community programs. Their goal is to understand aging so that people can be helped to achieve a high quality of life.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $104,500 average per year ($50.25 per hour)
- A small occupation (24,700 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (2.2% per year)
A master's degree is usually the minimum requirement for GERONTOLOGISTS in applied research or community college teaching. A Ph.D. is essential for top-level positions in research institutes, consulting firms, corporations, and government agencies; and required for teaching and research positions in colleges and universities. A bachelor's degree usually qualifies for entry-level positions, such as research assistant, administrative aide, or management trainee. Many colleges and universities offer various levels of training in gerontology.