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Undergraduate Studies

Are you looking for a job that needs people with a wide variety of skills, is challenging, improves the lives of others, and works with or on behalf of the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population? Be a part of the growing field of people who specialize in gerontology within their chosen career path. The field of aging is diverse and offers many different employment options as well as the chance to develop creative ideas for new programs and services. Professionals in the field of aging work in a variety of settings. There are unlimited opportunities to work with older adults or create a new niche within the field of aging.

Quick Facts

Program TypeSecondary Major in Gerontology, interdisciplinary
OR
Secondary Major/Emphasis in Long Term Care Administration
Academic HomeCenter on Aging, College of Human Ecology
Requirements

Secondary Major -- 24 credit hours  (pdf document)

OR

Long term care administration -- 30 credit hours  (pdf document)  

Program meets requirements by the KS Dept of Aging & Disability Services to take the licensing exam for nursing home administrator in the state of Kansas

Additional information
  • Available to all undergraduate students enrolled in any primary major in any college at Kansas State University.
  • Gerontology classes may also apply to the students disciplinary degree as professional or unrestricted electives or K-State 8 requirements

Potential career opportunities

Just a few examples of how students may plan to use their gerontology training include but are not limited to:

  • Business + Gerontology: administration, accounting, management in long term care, for-profit or non-profit organizations geared toward seniors, local, state or federal agencies, medical/pharmaceutical sales, health insurance, medical practice management, socia/community service management
  • Art, Music or Theatre + Gerontology: Activities director in long term care, art or music therapy, working with community programs for seniors, drama therapy
  • Hospitality Management + Gerontology: Event planner, long term care dining manager, hotel management focusing on senior adult clients, city/county parks and recreation senior events coordinator
  • Kinesiology/Athletic Training + Gerontology: physical therapy, fitness programs in retirement communities, senior specialist in fitness center, teaching fitness classes at senior communities or at senior centers or other community centers
  • Interior Design/Architecture + Gerontology: specialize in design of retirement communities, nursing homes, hospitals or physician offices, work with construction companies on universal design concepts
  • Engineering + gerontology: develop or improve medical monitoring/biomedical systems, work with smart home technology for older adults and those with medical limitations
  • Psychology or Human Development + Gerontology: Counseling of older adults or families on issues of grief, elder abuse, substance abuse, traumatic life events, depression or health issues, dementia care
  • Social Work + Gerontology: rehab centers or long term care, discharge planner for hospital or nursing home, outpatient health services, adult protection services, dementia or hospice care, governmental agencies,
  • Nutrition or Dietetics + Gerontology: healthy aging programs, Extension, Senior Centers, long term care or retirement centers, hospitals
  • Medical + Gerontology: medicine/nursing, physical or occupational therapy, optometry, dentistry, podiatry, oncology, geriatric care, hospice
If you don't see your degree track listed here, ask us and we can help you determine a career path that meets your interests

Benefits to gerontology training

Whether or not your career is focused on older adults, everyone needs to learn about gerontological issues for either personal use or to assist family or friends. Many students find that adding this additional credential will give them an edge in their applications to graduate or medical school as well as the job market. Having a better understanding of the aging population and how they affect and interact with other age groups in our society may advance your career in ways you may not imagine or create additional employment opportunities specializing in older adults. Employers who have hired alumni of the gerontology program have been impressed by the foresight shown by students who add this program to their undergraduate degree.

Students who are interested in a career in retirement living may be interested in the Long Term Care Administration program. Students complete the requirements to apply for Kansas licensing as an Adult Care Home Administrator. Students can pursue a primary major in whatever they wish, or the Center on Aging advisor can provide some guidance to a major that will be a good fit with this career option. The Center on Aging can answer questions about licensing in Kansas and in other states.

Testimonial

Grace, Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Specialist for Quality Assurance, Medicaid/CHIP Division of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)

Grace Burghart

My Secondary Major was in Long-Term Care Administration, and my favorite gerontology-related course was Intro to Gerontology. In my current position, I help ensure that the managed care organizations (MCO) that provide Medicaid services to low-income individuals are continuously improving their LTSS. My work involves implementing nationally standardized LTSS measures to monitor the MCOs, creating performance measures to do the same, communicating with CMS for dual eligible individuals, and reviewing quality improvement projects that the MCOs implement to ensure statistical and meaningful improvement.

What I like about my current role is that it touches almost every department within Texas HHSC so I am continuously gaining both knowledge and experience. More importantly, my role allows me to work toward improving the quality of care for low-income older adults at a high level. I consciously remind myself every day of why I am in this career field and of my ability to enhance the lives of such a vulnerable population. 

Students should consider adding the secondary major for many reasons. The population of older adults is continuously rising. Especially because of this growing demographic, gerontology can be and should be intertwined in all fields. The obvious career paths that pair well are social work, nursing, nursing facility administration, and health policy. However, other fields such as architecture, engineering, fashion design, marketing, journalism, and communications, would benefit if individuals were better acquainted with and trained in gerontology. 

 

Course Schedule

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Student Learning Outcomes (pdf)

Assessment Summary 2017-2018 (pdf)

Course Alignment Matrix (pdf)

Research Opportunities