Gerontology

Graduate Certificate

smiling elderly woman and young woman

Program details

Credits required: 15

Location(s) offered
Program type(s)

Industry highlights

The age group growing fastest in our society and in many other countries is the “very old,” people aged 85 and older.Association for Gerontology in Higher Education

Earn your graduate certificate in gerontology

As Baby Boomers age, the number of older adults requiring special services is on the rise. Across the country, long-term care providers are experiencing a shortage of qualified and committed direct-care workers to address the needs of America's aging population. The Center for Gerontology at Western Michigan University was initiated to address that need.

With support from University and community stakeholders, the center serves as a catalyst for health-related research in aging and provides educational programs and service-learning activities that offer lifelong learning for professionals, older adults and their families.

Why gerontology at Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University was one of the first in the nation to have a gerontology program. The Center for Gerontology in our College of Health and Human Services specializes in research, education and community service, and was developed with a focus on global and cultural variations. The graduate certificate in gerontology enhances your knowledge on a wide range of issues related to the aging population.

Flexibility is key

The classes are all offered online, but there are face-to-face opportunities available near our main campus in Kalamazoo, Mich. That kind of flexibility allows you to create a schedule that fits with your career and still finish the certificate in one year.

Who should apply?

The graduate certificate is ideal for anyone who wants to enhance their knowledge about older adult populations. Topics covered are natural complements to many of WMU’s academic programs – sociology, psychology, public administration, social work, etc. If you’re already working with this population, you may find this certificate beneficial just for the depth of knowledge that it covers. Of course, it may also help advance your career.

Career opportunities

Professionals in the field of aging work in a variety of settings. Whether working directly with older adults or working as advocates, educators and researchers, the number of careers in this field is growing. According to the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, career opportunities exist in many different areas:

  • Community, human service and religious organizations
  • Health care and long-term care institutions
  • Government agencies
  • Schools
  • Retirement communities
  • Professional organizations

Employer tuition reimbursement

If your employer has a tuition reimbursement program, find out about WMU’s deferment program for employer paid tuition.

"Best bang for the buck"

Washington Monthly placed WMU on a list of national universities that offer "the best bang for the buck." WMU came in at No. 50 based on the economic value students receive per dollar.