Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Gerontology instructor leading students through the horticulture therapy garden

Join our newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the PCC Gerontology program! Sign up for our email newsletter, The Rocket, by emailing gero@pcc.edu.

As our aging population changes their way of living, working, and simply being, options for working with older persons are also changing. Gerontology today has moved beyond the geriatric model to embrace a life course perspective and to celebrate the diversity of ways in which the world grows old. The focus has shifted from illness and loss to enabling people to stay active and engaged.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts job growth in gerontology-related professions to grow between 15 and 40%  through 2028.

Why choose Gerontology at PCC?

Salary

Salaries range based on experience and role.

Portland Community College’s Gerontology program is designed for those who are:

  • Ready to develop meaningful careers in the field of aging
  • Already employed or active in age-related fields who want to enhance their career paths
  • Ready to make career changes that can seize new opportunities being created for tomorrow’s aging society
Our program offers unique student supports for Encore Learners

Two-thirds of our Gerontology majors are 40-plus years of age and half of them are 50-plus, so we offer the following  to help them succeed:

  • Open enrollment and flexible scheduling to fit complex lives
  • Enhanced, interactive online courses, with optional on-campus and virtual meetings that are live-streamed and on-demand video-recorded
  • Empowering advising and mentoring
  • Presentations and panels on state-of-the-art practice in the field
  • Job skills workshops, networking, and job-shadowing opportunities

Degrees and certificates

PCC offers many options to meet your goals: short-term certificates, two-year degrees, and university transfer options.

Awards with a icon can be earned completely online, or you can choose a mix of online and on-campus classes.

Degrees and certificates by number of terms to complete
Award Length Financial aid eligible Currently accepting students?
Associate Degree: Gerontology2 years
Career Pathway Certificate: Activity ProfessionalLess than 1 year
Career Pathway Certificate: Advanced Behavioral and Cognition CareLess than 1 year
Career Pathway Certificate: End of Life Care and SupportLess than 1 year
Career Pathway Certificate: Gerontology AdvocacyLess than 1 year
Career Pathway Certificate: Therapeutic Horticulture Activity SpecialistLess than 1 year

Locations

What will you learn?

Graduates will develop essential gerontological skills with solid interdisciplinary core courses enhanced by targeted electives. Our intentional internships, nationally-recognized mentorships, and career coaching can prepare you to create your individualized career path.

What will you do?

Traditionally, careers in aging were concentrated in healthcare that was viewed through the geriatric medicine lense of “diagnose and treat.” While demand in that field will continue to remain high, the nature of healthcare employment options has made the exciting, irreversible shift toward prevention, promotion of healthy behaviors, and active self and team-management of chronic disease conditions. The long-term care field itself is undergoing a culture change emphasizing person-centered, person-directed care that in turn is radically altering the employment environment for care workers.

In addition to healthcare, opportunities for working with older adults will flourish in industries related to:

  • Business, financial, and legal services
  • Consumer products
  • Fitness and wellness
  • Housing and interior design
  • Management (for-profit and not-for-profit)
  • Research
  • Education and lifelong learning
  • Human services and social work
  • Professional volunteer recruitment
  • Recreation, travel, and nature immersion

Next steps

Applying to PCC is free and only takes a few minutes.Apply now

Not quite ready to apply?

We can help you get the info you need.

Related programs

PCC offers more than 90 programs.