Online Master’s Degrees in Gerontology & Nursing Home Management

As of 2016, the number of seniors living in the United States reached 50,000,000, and the population of Baby Boomers turning 65 happens at an estimated 10,000 people per day. This influx of older adults in the US population will mean an increased demand for geriatric-specific healthcare services. Hospital-based care, long term care facilities, in-home care, chronic-condition management, and hospice will all require a more robust, qualified workforce ready to handle the unique needs of seniors.

While those just turning 65 may not need constant care and attention, a workforce that understands the healthcare needs of adults living into their 70s, 80s, and 90s will be required. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of adults over the age of 80—the average age of many nursing home residents—will increase by around 30 percent by the year 2030, from 2 to 2.9 percent of the total population.

Currently, the United States has a shortage of healthcare professionals qualified to manage the systems and teams capable of responding to this demand. John Whitman, executive director of the TRECS Institute, indicated in a recent lecture that nursing facilities are experiencing increased difficulty filling key nursing home positions. Whitman stated that he is “concerned we don’t have enough people coming into these DON (director of nursing) and administrator positions.”

Professionals already in healthcare looking to advance into management or those with management backgrounds looking to transition into healthcare may consider pursuing a master’s degree in gerontology or nursing home management. A graduate-level education in nursing home management can put degree-holders in a strong position to find employment at one of the more than 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S.

In addition, the medical management field is both lucrative and predicted to be a high-growth occupation. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growth for medical and health managers is predicted at 20 percent in the decade preceding 2026—much faster than the average job growth predicted for all occupations (7 percent). According to the BLS, the annual mean salary for a medical or health manager is $96,540. Using data from well-recognized, reputable compensation consulting firms, Salary.com found that the median annual salary for nursing home managers was $109,468.

Experienced professionals interested in earning a master’s degree in gerontology and nursing home management have the option to expand their skills through online programs. Designed with the busy schedules of working professionals in mind, online master’s programs provide the opportunity for advancement into managerial or leadership positions in the field, often without requiring a student to physically relocate or drastically change the established schedule by which they live their lives.

Keep reading for more information on distance-based programs and distinguished professors leading courses in online master’s programs in gerontology.

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Professors to Know in Online Master’s Programs in Gerontology

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    Susan Enguídanos, PhD, MPH

    Dr. Susan Enguídanos is an associate professor of gerontology at USC. Dr. Enguídanos has focused her academic research on critical gerontological topics like palliative care, continuity of care, end-of-life care, and physician-patient communications. Her research on end-of-life care received a national Kaiser Permanente Award for quality. At USC, Dr. Enguídanos has a joint appointment with the School of Social Work and teaches teaches psychological and social aspects of death and dying, end-of-life care, and continuum of care: systems perspective.

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    Edward Alan Miller, PhD, MPA

    Dr. Edward Alan Miller is a professor in the Department of Gerontology and Public Policy PhD Program. Dr. Miller also serves as the director of the McCormack Graduate School graduate program, gerontology PhD program, and gerontology policy/research MS program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Dr. Miller holds a PhD in political science from the University of Michigan, utilizing the background to delve into research devoted to "understanding the determinants and effects of federal and state policies affecting vulnerable populations, including the frail and disabled elderly, mentally ill, and Veterans." At UMB, Dr. Miller teaches contemporary issues in health politics and policy, and advanced policy analysis.

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    Gary Kannenberg, PhD

    Dr. Gary Kannenberg is a professor in the psychology department at Webster University, teaching integrated studies in gerontology. Just one of his many academic publications, Dr. Kannenberg presented a paper he co-authored in 2015 with the title "The Use of Capstone Course in the Assessment of an Online Gerontology Graduate Program." Dr. Kannenberg has followed his research interests to study such topics as drug and alcohol dependence, counseling process and theory, and government and human behavior. Notably, Dr. Kannenberg's recent paper, "Course Development Guidelines for Online Capstone/Thesis Courses," was accepted for presentation for the 17th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education in 2019.

Featured Online Master’s Degrees in Gerontology

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