A Rapidly Changing Population

Let's face it: Aging has changed, and so have our elders. By the year 2030, Americans aged 65 and older will outnumber children, meaning 1 in 5 Americans will be of retirement age. This rapid change is our country’s population is creating exciting opportunities for professionals with the expertise to create new ways of understanding and embracing aging in the twenty-first century. Students who earn their Graduate Certificate in Gerontology will be prepared for this shift because they will understand how to support, celebrate and care for the older adults in our community.

Promoting long, healthy lives is an important concern for individuals, families, local communities and nations. For example, while Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults and the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S., we still have no cure or or adequate treatments. In addition to bench science, we need policies, programs and services that support the more than 5 million Americans with dementia as well as their family members.

Students pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology will learn:

  • how and why we age
  • ways to reduce the stigma around aging and optimize the aging process
  • the purpose, strengths, and challenges of programs and services for improving the quality of life for older people and their families
  • ways to take advantage of the resources that older adults represent 

This certificate program is unique in its inclusion of courses in urban studies and planning, government policy, social work, psychology and sociology. 

A Flexible Learning Format

This certificate may be completed fully online or through both online and traditional classroom courses. It can also be completed as a stand-alone post-baccalaureate program or in conjunction with a graduate program at PSU. Courses may be applied toward PSU doctoral programs in Urban Studies and Planning, Public Affairs and Policy, Community Health, and Health Systems Management & Policy, and master’s programs in Public Health, Public Policy, Social Work, Sociology, Public Administration: Health Administration, and other doctoral and master’s programs, provided the courses meet the appropriate standards for use in the particular degree program.

A World of Career Possibilities

Employment possibilities in the field of aging services are vast, and there are myriad opportunities for entrepreneurship in this field that are yet to be discovered. They include positions at international, federal, state, and local levels of governments, as well as positions in non-profit and for-profit organizations. Our faculty are global leaders on the cutting edge of social science research on aging, including best practices in housing and long-term care, planning for age-friendly communities, behavior health, aging services, workforce development, work-life issues and family caregiving. For more information, please visit the Careers in Aging page.

Download our digital program pamphlet for additional details.