Online Master’s Degrees in Gerontology

In 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. As of August 2023, more than 60,800,000 seniors are 65 or older. 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 in their 70s, 80s, and 90s will be required. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of adults over 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.

The United States needs more 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 lecture that nursing facilities were 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 aging services management. Graduate-level education in the field 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.

Featured Nursing Home & Aging Services Administration Programs
Arizona State University Aging (MS) View Full Profile
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In addition, the medical management field is both lucrative and predicted to be a high-growth occupation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022), growth for medical and health managers is predicted at 28 percent in the decade preceding 2031—much faster than the average job growth predicted for all occupations (5 percent). According to the BLS (May 2022), the annual mean salary for a medical or health manager is $127,980. Using data from well-recognized, reputable compensation consulting firms, Salary.com found that the median annual salary for nursing home administrators was $126,705 as of August 2023.

Experienced professionals interested in earning a master’s degree in gerontology and nursing home management can 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.

Featured Online Master’s Degrees in Gerontology

Professors to Know in Online Master’s Programs in Gerontology

  • Susan Enguídanos, PhD, MPH University of Southern California

    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 psychological and social aspects of death and dying, end-of-life care, and continuum of care: a systems perspective.

    Her research has been published in prominent journals such as the Journal of American Geriatric Society, Journal of Pain & Symptom Management, and Journal of Palliative Medicine. Dr. Enguídanos completed her PhD in social work from the University of Southern California, a master’s degree in public health from California State University, and a BA in psychology for the University of California, Los Angeles.

  • Edward Alan Miller, PhD, MPA University of Massachusetts Boston

    Dr. Edward Alan Miller is a professor chair in the Department of Gerontology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Dr. Miller holds a PhD in political science and health service organization & policy 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.

    Dr. Miller’s areas of expertise include aging and long-term care, program implementation and evaluation, intergovernmental relations, telemedicine and e-health, and Medicaid. His research has appeared in well-respected journals such as Medical Care, Public Administration Review, Milbank Quarterly, The Gerontologist, Social Science & Medicine, Journal of Aging & Social Policy, and Journal of Health Politics, Policy, & Law.

  • Elise Eifert, PhD University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Elise Eifert is an assistant professor and graduate gerontology program coordinator at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is also a director of graduate studies at UNC Greensboro. She teaches or has taught courses such as theoretical foundations of aging; social

    services for aging; and planning and evaluation for professionals in aging. Notably, at UNC she has developed several courses such as critical issues in aging, research methods in gerontology, health and aging, theoretical foundations of aging, and planning and evaluation for professionals in aging, among others.

    Her research focuses on how people transition from their former role into the family caregiver role, and how this transition affects identity and the use of home and community-based services. Dr. Eifert completed her PhD in public health education and her graduate certificate in gerontology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Moreover, she completed her MS from Indiana University at Bloomington and her BS from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani
Writer

Farheen Gani has written many how-to career, online program, and scholarship guides related to master of healthcare administration degrees since 2018. Some guides she has written include online healthcare management programs, master's in regulatory science programs, and health administration scholarships. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).

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