Portland Community College Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Gerontology Program

Careers in Gerontology

As the aging population changes the way of living, working, volunteering, and simply "being" in the later years, options for working with older adults are also changing. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 35 percent increase in gerontology-related jobs by 2014, the nature of the jobs themselves are 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.

Traditionally, careers in aging were concentrated in the healthcare service continuum. While demand in that field will continue to remain high, the nature of healthcare employment options will shift toward prevention, promotion of healthy behaviors, and self-management of chronic disease conditions. The long-term care field itself is undergoing a culture change emphasizing person-centered care that will in turn radically alter the employment environment for care workers.

In addition to healthcare, opportunities for working with older adults will flourish in industries related to business and financial services, fitness and wellness, consumer products (especially electronic and digital), housing and interior design (including new construction, adaptive remodeling to support aging in place, and planned communities), and travel (including transportation, hospitality, and leisure). Research, professional volunteer recruitment, and management are also among those fields projected to experience unprecedented growth.

This expansive and transformative vision of careers in aging presents a challenge to students as they prepare for changing jobs and uncharted career pathways.

To provide students the support they need as they embark on new directions in aging, the Gerontology Program has developed the Career Management Model which presents a three-part approach to academic and career success.

In depth self assessment and market research are the foundation for both academic and career success. Through critical evaluation of interests, preferred skills, values and other workplace considerations students can maximize their chances of selecting an appropriate course of study and/or choosing their next perfect work. The course Exploring the Field of Aging (GRN181) is full of activities that help students figure out not only who they are "in this moment," but also how through market research to identify specific career options in the field.
Intentional Internships
Based on in-depth personal assessment ant extensive market research students can zero in on and choose specific worksites to further explore their unique gerontology career interests.

In Gerontology Internships – Cooperative Education (GRN280A) students are coached to select Intentional Internships and are introduced to a variety of key community partners where they can test drive discreet job options.

In the Gerontology Internship Seminar (GRN280B) students explore ways to maximize their ongoing Intentional Internship opportunities.  They will learn how to expand their career development network and about the value of seeking out key mentors.

Targeted Job Search
Competitive job seekers energize their job search by personalizing their introductions and presentations to prospective employers. In Gerontology Professional Seminar (GRN282) students will become familiar with options for creating dynamic representations of their knowledge and skills, and learn about effective communications techniques before, during and after the interview.

Each stage of the process is supported by a network of community partners, program advisors, and peer mentors.

Gerontology Career Management Model