Aging Studies

Aging is Popular, Everyone's Doing It!
Join the Next Generation of Aging Specialists


Program Description

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. See below (Curriculum) for details about each certificate.

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.


Please link to the current Saddleback College Catalog pages for information on the following certificates:

Aging Studies Certificate of Achievement (21-22 units)

Aging Studies Interdisciplinary Certificate of Achievement (12-13 units)

Course descriptions for all core classes and electives can be found in the online catalog.

 All core classes do not have any textbook costs (zero textbook cost courses), as well as some of the electives depending on the pathway you choose. Both certificates have zero textbook cost pathways, essentially eliminating any costs beyond tuition! Please contact the coordinator for more information and view the electives in the class schedule to find those with the ZTC icon and message under the course. In addition, the Introduction to Aging, Psychology of Aging, and Death and Dying courses have been approved as Quality Courses by the State CVC-OEI. You can also view this flyer for the Aging Studies Certificate ZTC options and the Aging Studies Interdisciplinary ZTC options.

Current Core Course Offerings

Aging Studies Core Classes Offered in Summer 2022:
PSYC 25 Psychology of Aging (formerly PSYC 125)
SOC 16 Death and Dying (formerly SOC 126)

Aging Studies Core Classes Offered in Fall 2022:
SOC 125 Sociology of Aging
SOC 16 Death and Dying (formerly SOC 126)
PSYC 25 Psychology of Aging (formerly PSYC 125)

Aging Studies Core Classes Offered in Spring 2023:
SOC 180 Introduction to Aging
SOC 16 Death and Dying (formerly SOC 126)
PSYC 25 Psychology of Aging (formerly PSYC 125)

Please view the online course schedule for elective offerings; some may also be available in the summer sessions.

Saddleback College Learning Pathways Program Mapper: Aging Studies Certificate & Aging Studies Interdisciplinary Certificate

Career Opportunities

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

  • Healthcare Occupations (e.g. dietitian, 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 (e.g. 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.

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 16% of the population, more than one in every seven Americans. 
  • By 2040, the 65 and older group is expected to make up 21.6% 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).
  • Over 450,000 older adults (aged 65 and older) account for 14.3% of Orange County’s population. By 2045, this number is projected to increase to 17.3%. Source: Orange County Healthy Aging Initiative. (2016). Orange County Older Adult Profile, 2016.

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!


Additional Information

Zero Textbook Cost

Zero Textbook Cost Classes

What is ZTC?

ZTC (Zero-Textbook-Cost) classes have no textbook-related costs, including access fees for online materials. Such classes often use Open Educational Resources (OER) created under a Creative Commons (a public copyright license) that give people the ability to share, use, and build upon a work that has been created. They may also use library e-books or other sources so there is no cost to the student. Saddleback College faculty have adopted and created OER to provide high-quality educational materials to you at no cost online, and low-cost print options. Click here for more information about our ZTC classes.