What to expect from a Gerontology career

Canada’s population is aging – baby boomers are reaching the age of retirement and are beginning to need specialized services and support. Because of this trend, the demand for gerontology professionals is only going to increase as these people live through their older adult life. Gerontology programs at Ontario colleges prepare students to work in this expanding and rewarding field, with practical courses focused on the most needed services.

If you’re compassionate, patient and want to work with the elderly in challenging but rewarding situations, here’s what you need to know.

Gerontology Courses

Ontario college gerontology programs provide students with theoretical and practical training in the care and well-being of elderly people. Programs are typically offered with one of two of the following focus areas:

  • Social Service. Students learn various types of social service work to prepare them for a wide range of careers in the field. Courses include case management, dealing with grief, interviewing skills, therapeutic program planning and more.
  • Activation. In these programs, students examine the effects of aging on the mind and body, and learn the steps that can be taken to ensure healthy aging for each individual. Students learn how to create therapeutic programs, such as restorative care, fitness and recreation.

In both focus areas, mental health disorders and other common physical and mental diseases will be covered.

All gerontology programs use field placements as an integral part of the learning process. Students will be expected to complete these placements in order to graduate.

General Gerontology Program Requirements

Gerontology programs at Ontario colleges require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, including a grade 12 English credit. Since students will be working with an at-risk population, Police Record Checks and immunizations are also typically required for field placements.

Gerontology Jobs and Salaries

Graduates of gerontology programs will find opportunities in a variety of settings, from retirement homes and community centres to long term care facilities and hospitals. There are a number of positions within these social service organizations, including (but not limited to):

  • Supportive Housing Case Worker
  • Senior Program / Recreation Assistant
  • Family Resource Worker
  • Community Outreach Worker
  • Senior Mental Health Assistant

The booming travel, recreation and leisure industry, which is now targeting seniors, will also be an option for graduates.

The average starting salary for a career in gerontology is around $30,000 per year. Your level of experience and the type of organization you work for could result in a higher salary.

Note: Graduates of social service worker gerontology programs are eligible to register with Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

Ontario Colleges Offering Gerontology Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of gerontology programs at Ontario colleges. 

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