A career in gerontology is a career path that deals with the study of ageing and its impacts on the human body.  Gerontology is still a developing field. As scientists develop new wonder medications and therapies, an increasing number of people live in old age. This indicates that gerontological professionals will be in more demand. Starting a career in gerontology allows you to comprehend issues about ageing and enable you to care for elderly people.


Gerontologists are experts in the field of ageing and the related factors of evolution across a person’s life. These professionals research how to manage aspects such as wrinkling, hair loss and bone deterioration.  Additionally, gerontologist examines the physical, cognitive, social, emotional, psychological and societal impacts of ageing on the human body. This career path requires one with passion and the ability to care for elderly people. Therefore, you need to acquire the right education and develop the skills needed to thrive as a gerontologist.


In this piece, I will discuss the details of this career path and the processes to take to pursue a successful career in gerontology.


Steps to Pursue a Career in Gerontology

  1. Obtain an O’level Certificate

    You need to obtain an O’level certificate to pursue a career in gerontology. Additionally, you should have a minimum of credits in your subjects, especially English and Mathematics. You might also need biology, and chemistry depending on the specialisation you choose to pursue.

  2. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

    A bachelor’s degree is important as it gives you the qualification to work as a gerontologist. You should apply to an accredited university and study to obtain a bachelor’s degree in gerontology. A bachelor’s degree will give you the foundational knowledge you need to thrive in your career. Additionally, you will gain the skills required to give you a successful career.

  3. Get Practical Experience

    You can apply for internships or entry-level roles in nursing homes or healthcare facilities. This experience is important as it can add to your knowledge and skills. Additionally, you can have access to experts in the field who can help you in your career advancement.

  4. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    Gerontology is a broad field. You must narrow your knowledge to a particular niche. This will help you stay focused and gain expertise in that field. You can create a niche in areas such as a researcher, practitioner or administrator. You can choose a niche depending on your area of interest and skills.

  5. Pursue a Master’s Degree

    After your bachelor’s degree, you can consider pursuing a master’s degree. A master’s degree will give you a greater insight into the field and access to greater career growth and opportunities. Furthermore, a master’s degree can enable you to get an education in your choice of specialisation.

  6. Develop Relevant Skills

    Apart from your education, you must build the relevant skills needed in this field. You should develop skills such as research, communication, patience and interpersonal skills.

  7. Pursue a Doctorate Degree

    A doctorate is required if you wish to attain senior academic or research positions. Additionally, it provides you with an advantage when applying for administrative roles.


 Areas of Specialisation in Gerontology

  1. Practitioner: These gerontologists provide direct care to the elderly. They may also support their customers with daily living tasks or ailments associated with ageing. Additionally, they aid patients with movement, meal preparation, rehabilitation and hygiene.
  2. Administrator: Administrators are in charge of overseeing and leading various gerontology facilities. The facilities could be for study, healthcare or advocacy.
  3. Researcher: The responsibility of a researcher is to collect, collate and analyse data on ageing and its effects on humans. However, researchers rarely work with the elderly and may only interact with them as research subjects.
  4. Grief Counsellor: A grief counsellor is a mental health specialist who assists elderly people in recovering after experiencing a loss in their lives.
  5. Home Health Aide: These professionals assist elderly clients with personal care activities and offer them basic medical treatments. Furthermore, they frequently collaborate with other specialists such as therapists.
  6. Psychologists: They work with elderly people to design treatment strategies for neurological illnesses such as those affecting physical mobility as well as mental health issues. Additionally, they provide treatment and resources to help elderly people get better.


Important Skills for Gerontologists

  1. Attention to Detail
  2. Patience
  3. Interpersonal Skills
  4. Research Skills
  5. Legal and Ethical Knowledge
  6. First Aid Knowledge


Universities in Africa to study Gerontology

  1. Cairo University, Egypt
  2. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  3. North-West University, South Africa
  4. University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  5. Alexandria University, Egypt
  6. University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  7. Mansoura University, Egypt
  8. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  9. Assiut University, Egypt
  10. University of Botswana, Botswana
  11. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  12. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  13. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  14. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  15. Moi University, Kenya
  16. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  17. University of Ghana, Ghana
  18. Makerere University, Uganda
  19. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria
  20. University of Maiduguri, Nigeria
  21. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
  22. University of Calabar, Nigeria
  23. Bayero University, Nigeria
  24. University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana


Starting a career in gerontology can be a great career choice and an opportunity to impact the lives of elderly people. This career path demands a good level of education as well as having the right skills. Therefore, you should dedicate your time to acquiring these skills and education. This will enable you to have a successful career in gerontology.


Good luck!


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