Gerontology Program

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


Program Description

The Gerontology Certificate Program provides 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. The program aims to educate individuals seeking a career in Gerontology, pursuing advancement in their careers, and 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, a portion of the classes is intended to be taught online, which caters to working professionals and non-traditional students.
Upon successful completion of the certificate program, depending on the area of focus chosen, students will be prepared to enter occupations in fields such as business, marketing, environmental design, nutrition, health, wellness, recreation, fitness, food services/preparation, social/human services, senior communities, home health care, caregiving, and travel.

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
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Social Services
  • Mental Health
  • Government Agencies
  • Education
  • Fitness, Recreation, and Wellness
  • 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 2017 and Spring 2018:
SOC 180 Introduction to Gerontology
PSYCH 125 Sociology of Aging
SOC 126 Death and Dying
PSYCH 125 Psychology of Aging
(see online course schedule for elective offerings)

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 14.5% 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 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


The certificate curriculum revision was approved for Spring 2017. The significant changes are the electives (the core classes remain the same).  We now offer "pathways" of study for specific interests, along with an expanded and relevant list of electives! If you are finishing your certificate under the previous curriculum, please refer to this information sheet for the prior courses.

Students must complete a total of 21-22 units to earn the Gerontology Certificate.

Requirements Course ID Course Title Units
Required Core (12 Units)
  SOC 180 Introduction to Gerontology
  SOC 126 Death and Dying
  PSYC 125* Psychology of Aging 3
  SOC 125 Sociology of Aging 3
Restricted Electives (9-10 Units)
Pathways are suggested areas of focus, but completion of any of the courses on the restricted electives list can be used to complete the elective unit requirement.
Suggested Pathways:
Pathway 1 - Business
  ACCT 120 Introduction to Financial Planning 3
  BUS 16 Personal Law, Street Law 3
  BUS 135 Marketing 3
  HS 131 Multicultural and Diverse Populations in the United States 3
Pathway 2 - Environmental Design
  ARCH 124A Architectural Drawing I 4
  ARCH 219* Residential and Commercial Space Planning 4
  ARCH 163 International Building Code Inspection 4
  ID 214* Bath Design 3
  ID 215* Kitchen Design 3
  HS 131 Multicultural and Diverse Populations in the United States 3
Pathway 3 - Foods/Nutrition
  FN 50 Fundamentals of Nutrition 3
  FN 110* Food Preparation Essentials 3
  FN 161* Nutrition for Health Occupations 2
  FN 169* Lifecycle Nutrition 3
  FN 210 ServSafe in Food Production 1
  FN 232* Techniques of Healthy Cooking 2
  HS 131 Multicultural and Diverse Populations in the United States 3
Pathway 4 - Health
  HLTH 1 Contemporary Health Issues 3
  HLTH 2 First AID, CPR, and Automated External Defibrillator 1.5
  HSC 233 Legal and Ethical Aspects of Health Information 3
  HSC 291 Management of Aggressive Behavior in Healthcare Settings 0.5
  HIT 203 Alternative Healthcare Delivery Systems 2
  MA 206 Introduction to Medical Assisting 3
  HS 131 Multicultural and Diverse Populations in the United States 3
Pathway 5 - Recreation/Fitness
  HSC/KNEA 151 Intro to Therapy and Career Exploration of Rehabilitation 3
  KNES 51 Introduction to Kinesiology 3
  KNES 52 Fundamentals of Human Movement 3
  HS 131 Multicultural and Diverse Populations in the United States 3
Pathway 6 - Human Services
  HS 100* Introduction to Human Services 3
  HS 140 Group Leadership and Group Process 3
  HS 174 Case Administration, Crisis Intervention and Referral 3
  HS 220 Benefits and Entitlement 3
  HS 285 Ethical Issues and Client's Rights 3
  SOC 10 Introduction to Marriage and
The Family
  HS 131 Multicultural and Diverse Populations in the United States 3
Total Required Core: 12
Electives: 9-10
Total Certificate Units: 21-22

*Course has a prerequisite, co-requisite, limitation, or recommended preparation; see course description

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

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.