Best Online Graduate Certificates in Geropsychology
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines geropsychology as a field of study focusing on the needs of older adults and their families. People with training in geropsychology work with seniors and their family members in a variety of settings, including private homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care centers.
An online graduate certificate in geropsychology equips students with the specialized knowledge they need to understand the unique dynamics of adult development and aging. Below are just some of the issues aging adults and their family members may receive help with from a skilled geropsychologist.
- Adjusting to the physical, emotional, and cognitive changes brought on by aging
- Behavioral concerns
- Caregiver responsibilities and concerns
- End-of-life care
- Grief and loss
- Living with dementia and the challenges it presents
- Managing anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders
- Managing chronic illness
The usual route to starting a career as a geropsychologist is to earn a master’s degree in general psychology and then complete an online certificate program in this specialty.
Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona offers a 16-credit graduate certificate in geropsychology that takes approximately 32 weeks to complete online The certificate consists of the following four-credit courses, which run for eight weeks each:
- Death and Dying
- Psychological, Spiritual, and Emotional Aspects of Aging
- Physical Health and the Biology of Aging
- Sociology of Aging
As a school with one of the top geropsychology graduate certificate programs, Grand Canyon University also indicates core competencies for students who earn this certificate. These core competencies include:
- The ability to examine case studies, research, and theories regarding the sociocultural aspects of death and dying
- The ability to explore the process of aging while considering normal and dysfunctional biological processes
- The ability to examine the systems and social policies that directly impact an aging population
- The ability to take a positive approach towards aging and promote the well-being of clients
Having this credential on top of a master's degree in psychology gives students the opportunity to focus on a specialty area and stand out amongst their peers when it comes time to apply for work in the field. The employment website ZipRecruiter.com indicates that geropsychologists at the midpoint of their career earn an average annual salary of $54,537, while those with the most experience can earn $128,000 annually or more.
The University of Southern California is another school that offers an online graduate certificate program in geropsychology. The program takes less than one year to complete for full-time students and up to 18 months for part-time students. Below are the school's admissions requirements, which are similar to what students would find at most other colleges and universities offering a graduate certificate in geropsychology.
- Minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in previous college coursework
- Completed application and payment of fee, if required
- Resume outlining previous education and work experience, especially as they relate to the field of psychology
- Official transcripts from all previous institutes of higher learning attended
- Two letters of recommendation from a previous academic advisor, professor, employer, spiritual leader, or another person who would have a good understanding of the student's work habits, motivations, and character.
Due to the short, intense nature of graduate certificate programs, most schools opt to offer them entirely online. Students should ensure that they feel comfortable with that format before committing to six to 18 months of study.
Find an online or campus-based graduate certificate program in geropsychology today – our state-by-state listings make it easy to find a great program near you.
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