Gerontology Program

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


Program Description

The Gerontology Program offers two certificates for those interested in the field of aging. The Gerontology 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 gerontology and then choose from a pathway of interest. This is the comprehensive, higher unit gerontology certificate offered. The Gerontology 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 Gerontology, 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 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:

Gerontology Certificate of Achievement (21-22 units)

Gerontology Interdisciplinary Certificate of Achievement (12-13 units) NEW!

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

Currently, 2 of the 4 classes do not require any textbook fees (zero textbook cost courses), as well as some of the electives depending on the pathway you choose. Please contact Coordinator for more information.

Current Core Course Offerings

Gerontology Core Classes Offered in Summer 2019:
PSYC 125 Psychology of Aging

Gerontology Core Classes Offered in Fall 2019:
SOC 125 Sociology of Aging
SOC 126 Death and Dying
PSYC 125 Psychology of Aging

Gerontology Core Classes Offered in Spring 2020:
SOC 180 Introduction to Gerontology
SOC 126 Death and Dying
PSYC 125 Psychology of Aging

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

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. Today, those ages 65 years and older comprise roughly 15% 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 65 and older population in Orange County is projected to double in the next 20 years, from 400,000 to 800,000 (OC SSA). By 2050, 1 in 4 Orange County residents will be age 65 and older (OC Connect Special Report). The field of gerontology provides numerous, rewarding job opportunities in a variety of settings depending on the student's interests and degrees.

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

  • Resources for Gerontology Students
  • Saddleback College is an Institutional Member of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education
  • Full-time Faculty Gerontology/Sociology and Program Coordinator: Nicole Major,
  • Gerontology Part-time Faculty: Michelle Worley
  • Students interested in pursuing a minor in Gerontology at Cal State Fullerton can now petition 9-12 units of lower division coursework to count toward the minor