Gerontology Program

The Saddleback College Gerontology Program offers a multidisciplinary certificate focused on the study of aging, the aging population, the aging process, and society’s response to the increasing population of older individuals. Biological, sociological, and psychological aspects of aging are explored. The coursework provides students with information, as well as training to work in services and agencies that interact and assist older adults and their families.

Completion of the certificate can assist students in obtaining positions in the following fields* and/or enhance skills in a current position:

  • Healthcare Occupations (dietician, nutrition, home health aide, personal care aide, CNA, LVN, RN, physical therapy, occupational therapy)
  • Legal Occupations (attorneys, paralegals)
  • Research and Development
  • Business Administration
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Social Services
  • Mental Health
  • Government Agencies
  • Education
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Older Adult Organizations and Assisted Living Centers (home safety/environmental design expert, nutrition/meal coordinator, transportation coordinator, activity leadership, caregiver, adult education, administrator/director)

*The following occupations may require additional certification, bachelor degrees, or graduate degrees depending on the specific employer and profession. See below for specific certificate coursework and requirements.

Gerontology Program Coordinator: Nicole Major,

Gerontology Core Courses Offered in Fall 2015:
SOC 180 Introduction to Gerontology
PSYCH 125 Sociology of Aging
SOC 126 Death and Dying
PSYCH 125 Psychology of Aging

Gerontology Core Course Offered in Spring 2016:
SOC 180 Introduction to Gerontology
PSYC 125 Psychology of Aging

The Growing Field of Gerontology

Due to the increasing older adult population, there is a growing demand to train individuals for jobs in the field of aging. Today, those ages 65 years and older comprise roughly 13% of the total population in the United States. By the year 2030 this number is projected to be nearly 20% (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics). The field of gerontology provides numerous, rewarding job opportunities in a variety of settings depending on the student's interests and credentials.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate between 2012 and 2022 for personal care aides and home health aides is 49% and 48% respectively. Please click on the links below to view detailed information evidencing the growth in several gerontology occupations, along with wage data:

Average Wages for Sample Careers in Gerontology

Gerontology Industry Data for Orange County, California, and Nation (2014-2019)

Additional Information

Course Guide


Curriculum changes as industry standards transform. Please refer to the Saddleback College Catalog for course descriptions.

Students must complete a total of 18-21 units to earn the Gerontology Certificate.

*Students should complete 2-3 elective courses focused on their specific area of interest: Nutrition, Physical Fitness, or Health (working at a senior center, assisted living community, hospital, or rehabilitation center) OR Human Services (working in a senior center, senior community, adult day care, continuing care setting or in a social services setting to help both older adults and their families).

Core/Required Courses

Course ID Title Units
PSYC 125 Psychology of Aging 3
SOC 125 Sociology of Aging 3
SOC 126 Death and Dying 3
SOC 180 Introduction to Gerontology 3
Select from Restricted Electives 6-9
Total 18-21

Restricted Electives

Course ID Title Units
APSY 151 Human Relationships 3
ANTH 2 Cultural Anthropology 3
CCS 2 Multicultural Identities in the United States 3
FN 50 Fundamentals of Nutrition 3
FN 64 Nutrition Issues and Controversies 3
FN 161 Nutrition for Health Occupations 2
FN 171 Sanitation and Safety 3
GEOG 3 World Regional Geography 3
HLTH 1 Contemporary Health Issues 3
HS 100 Human Services in a Changing Society 3
HS 140 Group Leadership and Group Process 3
HS 285 Ethical Issues/Clients' Rights 3
KNES 28 Yoga 1, 1.5
KNES 29 Tai Chi Ch'uan 1, 1.5
SE 101 Introduction to Therapy and Rehabilitation 3
SOC 2 Social Problems 3
SOC 25 Social Stratification 3
SOC 10 Marriage and Family 3
SOC/HIST 20 Ethnic Cultures in the United States 3

Suggested coursework not required for the major: HLTH 2; SE 102


Gainful Employment Disclosure Statement

Federal regulations require higher education institutions to disclose information regarding the success of its students in certificate programs that lead to employment.

The information includes graduation rates, estimated education costs, median debt of students who completed programs, and other information designed to help students make better-informed choices about colleges and universities they select.