Many students work toward earning a doctorate in gerontology with the intention of going into research or teaching. Although, some graduates do apply their training to work within public or private organizations. After you receive your Ph.D. in gerontology, you might go on for further training to pursue a career... as a geriatric physician, long-term care administrator, or elder law attorney.
To be accepted to an online doctoral program in gerontology, you will most likely need to have completed your master degree in a related major. Experience in the field will also be important. Once enrolled in the program, you will be expected to plan and conduct research, so having some experience with research techniques will help you to succeed.
An online doctoral-level study in gerontology is usually an interdisciplinary program. Many schools concentrate on three areas of study: the physiological issues connected with aging such as common ailments and disabilities, policies and programs for seniors, and social and cultural issues that influence the aging process. You will select an area of focus such as biology, psychology, or public policy. But, regardless of your concentration, you will likely take courses from various departments including nursing, sociology, law, pharmacy, economics, psychology, nutrition, and anthropology.
Beyond your classroom requirements, you will also learn research techniques and participate in rigorous analysis related to your area of interest. In fact, some schools require Ph.D. students to present original research at a national conference or meeting such as those sponsored by the Gerontological Society of America.
As you advance in your online doctoral studies, you will focus on completing course requirements while preparing for required examinations and working on a dissertation.
The purpose of Ph.D. programs in gerontology is to train you to be a leader. That may mean preparing you to take an executive level position within your specific profession or helping you be an accomplished scholar and researcher who can improve the way elderly everywhere are treated and cared for. You will do well in these positions if you are willing to address complications that often arise when caring for older adults, including managing end-of-life issues. The nature of your doctoral coursework and the requirements for most high-level careers in gerontology also require strong analytical skills. You should feel comfortable gathering data and using it to inform your decisions. Yet, at the heart of each job in this field are the people you work to help. To do well and enjoy your career, you must be committed to supporting the elderly and helping them have a good quality of life.