The Aging Studies Program (formerly Gerontology) offers two certificates for those interested in the field of aging. The Aging Studies Certificate of Achievement is a multidisciplinary approach to the study of aging, the aging process, society’s response to the increasing population of older individuals, and working with older adults and their families. Students take coursework focused on aging and then choose from a pathway of interest. This is the comprehensive, higher unit gerontology certificate offered. The Aging Studies Interdisciplinary Certificate of Achievement aims to educate individuals about the field of aging, while also allowing them to complete coursework in other associated areas of interest. The goal of this certificate is to primarily equip students who are working toward completing (or have completed) related certificates, degrees, or programs, and/or work in the aging profession with foundational knowledge in gerontology. The interdisciplinary certificate allows students to choose elective courses that match pathways that fit within their current area of study.

Overall, the program aims to educate individuals seeking a career in the aging field, those pursuing advancement in their careers, those who are planning to work or already work in other fields associated with the field of aging, and/or those who desire to expand their knowledge for personal growth. The certificate program allows students to choose elective courses and provides suggested pathways and career objectives. In addition, the core classes and some restricted electives are taught online, which caters to working professionals and non-traditional students.

Degrees and Certificates


  • Healthcare Occupations (e.g. dietician, nutrition, home health aide, personal care aide, CNA, LVN, RN, nursing assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy)
  • Legal Occupations
  • Research and Development
  • Business
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Social/Human Services
  • Foods/Nutrition
  • Mental Health
  • Government Agencies
  • Education
  • Fitness, Recreation, and Wellness
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Older Adult Organizations and Assisted Living Centers

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. Let's take a look at some data from the Profile of Older Americans:

  • In the U.S. today, those age 65 and older represent 17% of the population, more than one in every six Americans.
  • By 2040, the 65 and older group is expected to make up 22% of the population. 
  • The 85 and older population is projected to more than double from 6.6 million in 2019 to 14.4 million in 2040 (a 118% increase).
  • The 2021-22 Orange County Community Indicator Report projects that the 65+ population in OC will grow from 17% to 27% by 2060. Largely due to decades of declining birthrates, this age group is the only demographic expected to grow between 2021-2060. The population change by age cohort in Orange County demonstrates that Orange County is getting older, faster than the rest of California, particularly with regard to the 65+ age groups. Orange County Report on Aging 2022 (OC Strategic Plan for Aging).

The most recent industry report indicates that the projected increase from 2014 to 2019 is: 19% increase in Home Health Care Services, 41% increase in Continuing Care Retirement Communities, 21% increase in Homes for the Elderly, and 17% increase in Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities. The most recent occupations report indicates that the projected increase from 2014 to 2019 of job openings is 20% for Personal Care Aides and 16% increase in Home Health Aides (source: Centers for Excellence custom reports, 2010, 2014). In addition, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Fasting Growing Occupations, the growth rate between 2014 and 2024 for home health aides is 38%. Furthermore, in Orange County the projected job growth in gerontology and related occupations is expected to increase by 28% from 2016-2025 (Emsi data). Careers in gerontology/aging are diverse and can be found within multiple professions and job sectors!


Contact the Aging Studies Department