What Can You Do with a Gerontology Degree?

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By Published On: June 13, 2021

While exploring a major in gerontology, one of the biggest questions you might have is, ‘What can I do with this degree?” While there is no one career path laid out for a gerontology graduate, below are several career pathways, outlined by the Gerontological Society of America, that a gerontologist can take. 

Teaching or Research

Gerontologists can work in a university setting, either teaching or completing research. In order to teach, typically you’ll need a doctoral degree, but you can teach undergraduate degrees with just a master’s degree. In order to become a researcher, you’ll typically need your doctoral degree, but to be a research assistant, you’ll only need a bachelor’s or master’s in the field. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for university professors is $80,790. The median salary for research assistants is $49,210, and the median salary for a research scientist is around $76,000.

Elder Care

As a gerontologist, you may choose to work directly with elderly clients. You could work in a variety of social service, rehabilitation, or hospice care settings, and do work in programming for the elderly or service as an advisor. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for health educators and community health workers is $48,140, and the median salary for social workers is $51,760. While you may require additional certification to become a social worker, a background in gerontology will provide you with the necessary knowledge for working in geriatric social work. 

Nonprofit Work

In the nonprofit field, there are a variety of opportunities for gerontologists. A number of nonprofits focus on programing, community care, and advocacy for the elderly, including national elderly-focused nonprofits such as AARP or the National Council on Aging

The average salary for nonprofit professionals, according to Payscale, is $58,114, and the median pay for social and community service managers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is $69,600.

Government or Business Settings

The Administration for Community Living has a list of governmental agencies that provide services for seniors across the United States. Working through a government agency allows you to help enact change on the local, state, or national level and better the lives of the aging across the country.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for administrative positions for the federal government is $85,343, and the median salary for white collar positions is $55,844. The mean salary for a state government career, excluding schools and hospitals, is $61,580, with a mean salary for management occupations of $97,110. 


While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of all you can do with a gerontology degree, these are several career avenues you can explore that fall within the gerontology field. Interested in earning your master’s or doctorate in gerontology? Learn more about our programs here, and speak to an enrollment expert today!

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