What Can I Do with a Degree in Gerontology?

Last Updated September 24, 2018

For many professionals in gerontology, a bachelor’s degree proves to be insufficient for achieving their career goals. A return to school for a master’s degree often times becomes more necessity than choice.

There are a wide range of career options and specializations available for gerontologists, but a graduate education can elevate their career prospects to a new level. Many professionals find that a master’s degree paves the way for greater flexibility, career advancement and salary potential.


The significant rise in the elderly population due to a retiring baby-boomer generation has opened up a number of potential careers for gerontologists with a master’s degree. Gerontology is a diverse, multidisciplinary field, with many students specializing in a particular area of interest, though those with graduate-level training will have a number of options ahead of them.

For example, geriatric social workers work with elderly individuals whose changing physical and mental condition may create risk in their communities and personal lives. They propose steps that can be taken to minimize that risk and create a healthy living environment for those individuals and their families.

Whether your interest is in social sciences, research or in clinical work, a master’s degree will likely take you where you want to go.

Job Outlook

With the large increase in the elderly population due to aging baby boomers on the horizon, most any career choice within the overall field of gerontology should see significant growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has noted an expected growth rate of 38% for home health aides in the period of 2014 to 2024—much faster than the national average across occupations. Gerontology social workers should also see significant growth, as growth in gerontology and geriatrics are expected to go hand-in-hand.

Salary Expectations

Like with job outlook, salary expectations can vary depending on the chosen career path within the field of gerontology. For example, the BLS has reported a median annual salary for healthcare social workers of approximately $52,380 in May 2015. This number is roughly in line with figures for geriatric social workers noted on PayScale.com, which reported an average salary for the bulk of working professionals of up to $47,488.

Employment opportunities and salary range often varies based on a person’s work history and educational qualifications.