Entering online Master’s in Gerontology programs can help working adults of all ages mature their human services skills for greater career longevity protecting the well-being of older generations. According to the U.S. News & World Report, gerontology master’s blend biology with health and social sciences to understand issues affecting senior citizens. Demand for gerontological expertise is growing as the baby boomers born after World War II from 1946-64 reach later life. The Population Reference Bureau expects the number of elderly citizens will double to 98 million by 2060. America is ranked 26th worldwide for a life expectancy of 78.7 years, but seniors often face disease, neglect, financial instability, mobility difficulties, and more. For instance, the Alzheimer’s Association shows $277 billion spending to treat 5.7 million people with dementias yearly. Online gerontology master’s have affordable, 24/7 formats for studying the interdisciplinary field founded by Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov a century ago.
The Grad School Hub staff endeavored to find great bargains on master’s in gerontology online education. We used the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator to locate nonprofit universities offering gerontology advanced degrees only by distance learning. Our search results turned up 27 schools that were checked for high-quality regional accreditation via the U.S. Department of Education database. Though not required, extra kudos were given for Accreditation for Gerontology Education Council (AGEC) recognition. Next, our team arranged the initial pool based on published 2016-17 graduate in-state tuition data and nixed those above $13,000. In descending order, we’ve introduced the 10 most affordable gerontology master’s online where graduates can analyze the “age wave” with little debt below.
Ranking Low-cost Online Gerontology Master’s
10. Brenau University
M.S. in Applied Gerontology Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,730 per year
Launching the Wisdom Project in its Center for Lifetime Study, Brenau University is a private, nonsectarian Chronicle of Higher Education Honor Roll member established in 1878 that’s located on a 50-acre Blue Ridge Mountains campus and budgeting $143.8 million to grant 987 degrees annually. Brenau was chosen as America’s 187th most conservative university on Niche, 62nd best online graduate education school by the U.S. News & World Report, and 274th top college on the Social Mobility Index. The Ivester College of Health Sciences administered by Dr. Gale Hansen Starich created the M.S. in Applied Gerontology Online and Georgia’s first Sigma Phi Omega Chapter. Mandating minimum 2.75 averages, the 30-credit, self-designed curriculum takes just 12 months full-time to identify aging studies interest areas. Graduates build on psychology prerequisites with Canvas courses like Geriatric Pharmacotherapy and Elder Law before a fieldwork project. Brenau also delivers an Online MBA in Healthcare Management and Certificate in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nursing.
9. Kansas State University
Online Gerontology Master of Science
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,822 per year
Known for its PEAK 2.0 Initiative in the Center on Aging since 2012, Kansas State University is a public, land-grant Big 12 powerhouse with four Feed the Future Labs that’s budgeting $818 million annually to educate 4,100 post-grad Wildcats for 159 majors on Canvas or in Riley County with 97 percent job placement . KSU was ranked America’s 129th best value by the U.S. News & World Report, 166th top research university on Forbes, 37th best student life college on Niche, and seventh best-run school in The Princeton Review. The College of Human Ecology headed by Dr. John Buckwalter offers the Online Gerontology Master of Science for people-focused aging issue research. Open for admission until January 8th or August 1st yearly, the 36-credit degree expects 3.0 GPAs in courses adhering to AGHE standards. Funding like the Global Campus New Student Scholarship afford studying topics from Adult Development to Economic Impacts on Older Adults and Physical Health with practicum. Check out K-State’s Adult Education M.Ed., Community Services M.S., and Dietetics M.S. for Registered Dietitians too.
8. Eastern Illinois University
Master of Arts in Aging Studies Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,785 per year
Participating in the Annual Governor’s Conference on Aging and Disability every December, Eastern Illinois University is a selective public, teaching-oriented OVC member established in 1895 that’s endowed for $74.57 million to affordably teach 1,462 post-grad Panthers via D2L Brightspace or on-site in the Land of Lincoln’s Coles County. EIU is congratulated for America’s 49th best standout academics on Niche, 81st best opportunity by the Social Mobility Index, and 127th highest graduation rate in Washington Monthly. Home to two Illinois Professors of the Year, Eastern Illinois houses a Master of Arts in Aging Studies Online in the AGHE-accredited School of Family & Consumer Sciences. Chaired by Dr. Kathleen O’Rourke, the 33-credit, residency-free curriculum builds upon 30 years of excellence training post-grads with cumulative GPAs over 2.75 for gerontological leadership. Interdisciplinary online courses, including Neurobiology, Third Age Learning, and International Health, take 18 months with a thesis, internship, or written exam as a capstone. Somewhat similar online EIU offerings are the M.S. in Health Promotion, M.S. in Communication Disorders, and Certificate in Public Planning.
7. University of Louisiana at Monroe
Online Master of Arts in Gerontology (MA)
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,984 per year
Contributing 125,000 service hours annually to the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, the University of Louisiana at Monroe is a public, coeducational Sun Belt member developed under George T. Walker in 1958 that’s endowed for $23 million to train 9,038 Warhawks in 96 majors from its 238-acre Ouachita Parish campus or online. ULM was declared America’s 264th top public college on Niche, 218th best health sciences school by the U.S. News & World Report, and 290th best master’s institution in Washington Monthly. The AACSB-accredited College of Business and Social Sciences received National Institute on Aging grants in 1987 to launch a Master of Arts in Gerontology (MA). Advised by Dr. Anita Sharma from Strauss Hall, the 36-credit online program mandates an admission index score above 1,900 for two tracks: Program Administrator or Aging Studies. Moodle courses like Geriatric Counseling and Psychology of Aging take just 24 months full-time with a thesis or internship capstone. Also investigate Monroe’s Online Master of Science in Psychology, Master of Occupational Therapy, and Certificate in Gerontological Studies.
6. McDaniel College
M.S. in Gerontology Program Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,820 per year
Attracting speakers like Rona E. Kramer and Dr. Harry Moody to its State of Aging in Maryland Conference, McDaniel College is an independent, life-changing liberal arts hub opened in 1867 to “Tenebris in Lucem Voco” that’s offering 20 graduate degrees to 1,629 Green Terror at an 11:1 ratio in Westminster or on Blackboard. McDaniel was crowned America’s 157th best online graduate education school by the U.S. News & World Report, 97th top private value in Kiplinger’s, and 111th best university in Washington Monthly. First awarded the AGHE Program of Merit distinction, the School of Graduate & Professional Studies grants the M.S. in Gerontology Program Online with an optional 4+1 B.A./Master’s track. Managed by Dr. Diane Martin, the 36-credit, non-thesis curriculum capitalizes on Center for the Study of Aging resources in engaging courses like Senior Service Management. Social workers and counselors of the Mid-Atlantic qualify for CEUs while developing portfolios with internship sites, such as Franklin Square Hospital, LifeBridge Health, and MedStar Union Memorial. Also consider McDaniel’s Online Specialist in Aging Graduate Certificate or Masters in Human Services.
5. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Online Master of Science in Gerontology
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,047 per year
Offering 250+ clubs, including the Delta Gamma Chapter of Sigma Phi Omega, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a public, civic-engaged Triad liberal arts school established by Charles McIver in 1891 that’s budgeting $143 million to inspire 17,929 Spartans on its 231-acre “Tournament Town” campus and via Canvas. UNCG was deemed America’s 55th best nursing school on the U.S. News & World Report, 124th top value by WalletHub, and 28th best community service participator in Washington Monthly. Publishing GROWTH News, the School of Health & Human Services was authorized in 50 states and Puerto Rico for the Online Master of Science in Gerontology in Fall 2016. The 30-credit, non-thesis curriculum coordinated by Dr. Elise Eifert emphasizes applied learning for enriching senior citizens’ lives. Graduates applying by July 1st or October 1st enter seven-week, AGHE-accredited courses like Social Services for Aging with one three-credit internship. Online UNC Greensboro students may choose the MA in Applied Arts and Sciences or PBC in Nonprofit Management too.
4. University of Utah
Gerontology MS Online
Salt Lake City, UT
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,790 per year
Hosting the Center on Aging’s 12th Annual Research Retreat in April, the University of Utah is a public, space-grant Pac-12 “innovation nation” established in 1850 that’s budgeting $3.55 billion to welcome 7,757 post-grad Utes to its Canvas classroom online or 1,535 acres in Salt Lake, St. George, and Sandy. Utah is applauded for America’s fifth best health services on The Princeton Review, 98th best life sciences research by Times Higher Education, and 50th top master’s education in Washington Monthly. Accredited by the AGHE since 2000, the Colleges of Health and Nursing collaborate for an interdisciplinary Gerontology MS Online. The 36-credit program organized by Dr. Michael Caserta, the 2013 Utah Aging Alliance Pioneer Award recipient, selectively admits cohorts of 12-15 after a January 15th deadline. Post-grads holding minimum 3.0 GPAs blend group projects and peer reviews in courses like Geriatric Care Management with 150-hour practicum assignments, such as VistaCare Hospice and Silverado Senior Living, before the master’s thesis. Other UOnline offerings include a Caring for the Aging Population Micro-Certificate, Geriatric Nursing Leadership RN-BS, and Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD).
3. Texas Tech University
Online M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies, Emphasis on Gerontology
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,849 per year
Belonging to the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA), Texas Tech University is a Carnegie first-tier public, land-grant Big 12 colossal opened in 1923 that’s collecting $157.7 million for research and training 6,251 post-grad Raiders from Blackboard 9.1 to Lubbock, Waco, Fredericksburg, and Cleburne. TTU is proclaimed America’s 112th best psychology school by the U.S. News & World Report and 20th best public value in Kiplinger’s with the 25th most sought-after graduates in The Wall Street Journal. Offering the Come ‘N’ Go Grant, the College of Human Sciences has an Online M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with emphases in Youth Development or Gerontology. Led by Dr. Ann Mastergeorge, the latter 36-credit, inter-institutional program outlines older people’s needs through personalized courses like Aging Policy, Nutrition, Cognitive Health, and Gerontechnology before the professional seminar. RaiderLink $60 applications are accepted until December 1st or April 15th from bachelor’s grads with “B” averages. Also check out Tech’s Online Gerontology Graduate Certificate and Post-Master’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate.
2. Wichita State University
Master of Arts in Aging Studies Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,087 per year
Home to the Center for Physical Activity and Aging (CPAA) since 1996, Wichita State University is a selective public, municipal four-year college overseen by the Kansas Board of Regents that’s endowed for $247 million to instruct 14,474 Shockers from 110 nations on Blackboard or at North Fairmount, Derby, and Maize locations. WSU was judged America’s 194th best value on WalletHub, 35th top college by the Social Mobility Index, 178th best university in Washington Monthly, and 108th best public health school on the U.S. News & World Report. Directed by Dr. Stephen Arnold, the Department of Public Health Sciences awards an AGHE-accredited Master of Arts in Aging Studies Online for budding gerontologists with 2.75 GPAs or better. The 30-credit, 18-month curriculum always bills in-state tuition for three affordable concentrations: Public Health, Administration, or Social Sciences. Cohorts of 15-20 integrate online courses like Dying and Bereavement with thesis research or 12-week preceptorships, such as Glen Carr House and Home Instead Senior Care. Wichita’s other offerings include the Master of Public Administration and DNP in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Online.
1. University of Nebraska at Omaha
Online Master of Arts in Social Gerontology
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,458 per year
Linked to 60,530 LinkedIn alumni in 78 countries, including Chuck Hagel, Penny Sackett, and Peter Fonda, the University of Nebraska at Omaha stands on a 154-acre Scott campus in Niche’s 33rd best city with the Natan and Hannah Schwalb Center as a public, research-intensive CUMU member endowed for $71.6 million. Bestowed the 2014 Economic Opportunity Presidential Award, UNO is named America’s 28th best public affairs school by the U.S. News & World Report, #1 best for vets college in Military Times, and 157th top university on the CWUR. The NASPAA-accredited College of Public Affairs and Community Service switched to Canvas in 2018 for an Online Master of Arts in Social Gerontology. Headed by Dr. Julie Masters, the 36-credit program partnered with UNMC EngAGE Wellness shines a light on increasing aging population concerns. Designed for mid-career adults with an average GRE score of 297, the curriculum has thesis and non-thesis tracks ending in comprehensive exams after courses like Estate Planning and Elderly Services. Omaha also confers a Dual Master of Legal Studies, Gerontology Interior Design Certificate, and BMS Gerontology Concentration online.
Which Jobs Will Online Master’s in Gerontology Graduates Qualify For?
Finishing an online gerontology master’s makes altruistic post-grads eligible for most careers working with older adults, excluding geriatric physician, college professor, geropsychologist, and elder law attorney. Gerontology graduate schools train students for diverse settings from mental health facilities to assisted living centers and hospices. Knowledge of seniors’ unique problems aids careers in various disciplines, such as nursing, public policy, dietetics, public health, audiology, and even financial advising, especially when paired with industry credentials. For example, the Commission for Case Manager Certification has designated over 45,000 CCMs with 12+ months of full-time experience and passing three-hour test scores. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers the RN-BC in Gerontology title for individuals with 2,000+ clinical hours who pass the 175-question, $270 ANA exam. Let’s peruse five specific job descriptions where a master’s in gerontology online would be viewed favorably.
Gerontologist- Getting a cheap gerontology master’s could start a biomedical research career setting up empirical-based studies on the biological, social, psychological, and emotional aspects of aging for publications like the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Gerontologists pose investigative hypotheses, write research proposals, pursue IRB approval, collect data, draw sound conclusions, present findings at conferences, and inform clinical staff.
Nursing Home Administrator- Passing the Long Term Care Administrator NAB Exam after an online master’s in gerontology online would certify one’s ability to coordinate residential elderly care for 1.4 million patients nationwide. Nursing home administrators set operational policies, plan senior activities, supervise nurses, handle insurance claims, procure supplies, adhere to regulations, account expenditures, investigate grievances, and market services.
Geriatric Social Worker- Labeled Forbes’ #7 most meaningful job, geriatric social work focuses on helping clients cope with aging processes both clinical and non-clinical for long life expectancies. Adding a gerontology master’s online to BSW training would prepare for assessing senior needs, customizing interventions, referring social services like Meals on Wheels, signing clients to Medicare, nurturing good mental health, and giving grief counseling.
Rehabilitation Counselor- Online gerontology master’s study could lead to the 26th best healthcare job on the U.S. News & World Report getting injured or impaired older adults to recovery. The 103,030 rehabilitation counselors evaluate disabilities, consult clinicians for treatment plans, arrange therapeutic care, propose life changes, introduce assistive technology, teach caregiving skills, record progress, and advocate for accommodations.
Elder Care Advocate- Older Americans are victim to financial scams and abuses that cost $36.5 billion each year according to CNBC, so elder care advocates are needed to promote their best interests when cognition declines. Having an online gerontology master’s could help navigate Social Security laws, assist with medical decisions, find suitable housing, review health bills, secure proper services, supervise in-home aides, and check their welfare.
What is the Earnings ROI for Gerontology Master’s Online Programs?
Cheap gerontology master’s online training is suggested because gratifying human services jobs are usually low paid with a mid-range salary of $50,000 according to the Fiscal Policy Institute. That’s less than the median master’s pay of $69,732 and lifetime earnings of $2.98 million posted by SmartAsset. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that social science careers make overall average income of $63,340. Geriatric service managers can expect a median salary of $64,680. Elderly care social workers claim mean profits of $55,510 annually. Gerontology RNs snag average revenue of $68,450 per year. On Salary.com, nursing home administrators post a mean income of $109,692. Other higher averages include $75,708 for case managers, $104,733 for patient safety directors, $89,246 for adult daycare managers, $80,885 for hospice supervisors, and $127,552 for rehabilitation directors.
How are Employment Prospects for Master’s in Gerontology Online Degrees?
Job security is strong for gerontology master’s online graduates because the Census Bureau projects that adults aged 65+ will represent one in every five citizens by 2030. Health and human services is among America’s fastest-growing sectors worth a whopping $3 trillion with $618.7 billion Medicare spending. The Department of Labor expects a jump of 14 percent for 371,900 new community service jobs through 2026. Demand for gerontologists’ research will spike hiring by 13 percent. Geriatric social workers have favorable prospects with rapid 16 percent growth. Other 10-year outlooks include 13 percent for rehabilitation counselors, 18 percent for senior service directors, 20 percent for nursing home administrators, and 23 percent for family therapists. Bloomberg highlighted Utah, Iowa, South Carolina, Washington, and Nebraska as the most retiree-friendly states, so jobs abound here. Online master’s in gerontology programs have location flexibility to grow smarter on elderly care topics anywhere.