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Gerontology Certificate

The Gerontology Certificate Program is an interdepartmental program at Utah State University that is sponsored by the department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development, in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. The certificate is designed to prepare students for professional careers in the field of aging. It is not a separate degree; rather any student seeking any degree at Utah State University may apply to the program. The certificate is awarded in addition to the student's bachelors, masters, or doctorate, and a record of the certificate is available on the student's official transcript.

A currently enrolled student of any USU degree or discipline, with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher, is eligible to apply. This includes "on-campus" students, as well as students enrolled in distance education and online degree programs.


What can a Gerontology Certificate do for me?

Some agencies and organizations require a gerontology certificate for certain positions within their organization. Therefore, without a certificate, you may not be able to apply for the job. Other companies and organizations may prefer you to have a certificate for certain positions. That is, you may be given preference in hiring over someone else that does not have a certificate, or you may be eligible for a higher salary, as compared to what you would be paid without certification. As more universities start offering gerontology certificate programs, more agencies and organizations desire or require gerontology certification for their employees.

What careers are available in the area of aging?

The gerontology certificate can help you be more competitive in any position that works with older adults directly, for example providing health services, or in any position that works on behalf of older adults, for example in advocacy positions. The following kinds of positions all may work with older adults:

  • Program planning and evaluation
  • Management and administration
  • Housing
  • Legal services
  • Marketing and product development
  • Advocacy
  • Education and training
  • Research

Health care services

  • Hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, skilled care facilities, rehabilitation
  • Hospice and Home Health care
  • Community-based care

Mental health services and resources

  • Geropsychiatry, and family, marriage, or individual counseling
  • Social work
  • Music therapy

Leisure and recreation

  • Senior centers
  • Exercise therapy
  • Activities coordinators

Coursework for Certificate

All Gerontology coursework must carry a letter grade. Gerontology courses may not be taken pass/fail. A grade of C or better is required in all Gerontology Certificate coursework to count towards the certificate. In addition, the GPA for Gerontology Certificate coursework must be 3.0 or higher.

Required courses (6 credits):

  1. FCHD 3540: Adult Development and Aging (3 credits; Prerequisites: FCHD 1500 and Junior Standing)
  2. FCHD 4240: Social and Family Gerontology (3 credits; Prerequisites: FCHD 2400 and Junior Standing)
    OR NFS 4480: Community Nutrition (3 credits; Prerequisite: NFS 1020)

Elective courses (6 credits):

Students pick six additional credits from a list of approved courses across various majors and departments. Students are encouraged to choose electives that will be most applicable to their chosen field of study. CLICK HERE FOR THE CURRENT LIST OF ELECTIVES

 

In elective courses, if a student is given an option to choose a topic for a paper or project, the student is encouraged to choose a topic related to adulthood and aging.

Other courses not listed are subject to approval by Gerontology Certificate Coordinator, who will need to see the syllabus, and may ask to see assignments and a writing sample from the course.

Practical Experience

FCHD 4970: Gerontology Practicum (3 credits; Prerequisite or concurrent enrollment with FCHD 4240 or NFS 4480)

This course is taught by Grant Bartholomew in the department of FCHD. Judy Hendrickson (Administrative Assistant in FCHD) processes practicum materials. The course requires you to commit 150 hours working (volunteer or for pay) in a setting with/on behalf of older adults. This course is only open to currently enrolled certificate students. You choose the facility, and it does not have to be in Logan, Utah. Some common practicum sites:

  • Assisted Living or Nursing Homes
  • Senior Centers
  • Agency on Aging Offices
  • Hospice
  • Rehabilitation Centers

Practicum Handbook

The information on this web page is meant to be a quick summary. Detailed instructions for requirements for the gerontology practicum, the application process and so on, are provided in the Practicum Student Handbook (see link on the right).

Deadlines for Practicum

FCHD majors: You must abide by the same practicum application deadlines for the Gerontology Practicum as you do for the FCHD Practicum.

Other majors: You must have your background check and other materials approved by the start of the semester you wish to take the practicum. As there are often lengthy delays on background checks, please aim to get all materials submitted at least 6 weeks before the start of the semester. If possible, aim to follow the same deadlines as the FCHD majors.

Practicum Application:

The application for the Gerontology practicum is SEPARATE from the application to the gerontology certificate. Being accepted into the gerontology certificate program does NOT get you accepted into the practicum. Review the handbook for application instructions.

Integrative Paper

FCHD 4940: Gerontology Integration (1 credit; Prerequisites: FCHD 3540, FCHD 4240/NFS 4480; FCHD 4970) As students near the end of their certificate requirements, they write an 8-10 page paper on an approved topic of their choice, in which they integrate their academic knowledge and their practical experiences within their chosen field of study. In this course you will work one-on-one with the gerontology certificate coordinator. Course registrations is only open for current Gerontology Certificate students, and these students will need permission to register for this course. Please send an e-mail to the Gerontology Certificate coordinator (yin.liu@usu.edu) during the registration period, and the coordinator and academic advisor will allow for registration.

Service and Professional Development: Student Gerontology Association

Logan campus students participate in USU's Student Gerontology Association (SGA) for a minimum of ten hours to meet the requirements of the Gerontology Certificate. Most students elect to participate for at least two semesters (5 hours of club-related activity each semester). SGA is a club that meets regularly and conducts service projects with older adults in the community. The club also arranges activities which foster career development, such as inviting speakers to campus to talk about jobs in aging, or touring facilities or organizations that work with older adults.

Students who are not located at USU's Logan campus can meet this requirement by participating in 10 hours of volunteer service within their own community.

All certificate students in SGA must track their own hours and submit their hours in their certificate graduation materials Students should record each Activity/Meeting, Date, Hours, as this information will be added to their certificate graduation application.

A student is automatically added to the SGA membership and list serve when they are accepted into the Gerontology Certificate Program.

Any USU student, regardless of whether they are seeking the Gerontology Certificate or not, can participate as a club member. To be added to club membership, please e-mail yin.liu@usu.edu.

Graduation with the Certificate:

The semester you are graduating: Complete the Graduation Form for Certificate at the beginning of this semester.

Include the description of your SGA volunteer hours (Activity/Meeting, Date, Hours).

Calculate your Gerontology GPA: Please use USU's unofficial GPA Calculator. After graduation, check your transcript. You will look for SPECIAL CERTIFICATE IN GERONTOLOGY (currently this appears in the notes section at the bottom of the electronic transcript)

1. Apply to the Gerontology Certificate Program

You must apply to the Gerontology Program by applying. Click on the application button on the right to fill out the application. The data is sent to Yin Liu, Gerontology Certificate Coordinator.

You should receive an e-mail reply within two weeks of your application, letting you know if you have been accepted into the program.

2. Core Coursework, Electives, and SGA club participation:

Work on required and elective coursework as described in your application.

You will essentially be working on your required and elective courses, as well as participating in the SGA club on your own. When it comes time to prepare for gerontology practicum you will need to plan ahead and contact Grant Bartholomew or Judy Hendrickson (see contact boxes on right). You can contact me (Yin Liu) prior to registering for the Integration paper and for other reasons as needed.

3. Gerontology Practicum (FCHD 4970)

This course is taught by Grant Bartholomew in the department of FCHD. Judy Hendrickson (Administrative Assistant in FCHD) processes practicum materials. The course requires you to commit 150 hours working (volunteer or for pay) in a setting with/on behalf of older adults. You choose the facility, and it does not have to be in Logan, Utah. Some common practicum sites:

  • Assisted Living or Nursing Homes
  • Senior Centers
  • Agency on Aging Offices
  • Hospice
  • Rehabilitation Centers

Handbook

The information on this web page is meant to be a quick summary. Detailed instructions for requirements for the gerontology practicum, the application process and so on, are provided in the FCHD 4970 Student handbook (see link on the right).

Deadlines

FCHD majors: You must abide by the same practicum application deadlines for the Gerontology Practicum as you do for the FCHD Practicum.

Other majors: You must have your background check and other materials approved by the start of the semester you wish to take the practicum. As there are often lengthy delays on background checks, please aim to get all materials submitted at least 6 weeks before the start of the semester. If possible, aim to follow the same deadlines as the FCHD majors.

Application:

The application for the Gerontology practicum is SEPARATE from the application to the gerontology certificate. Being accepted into the gerontology certificate program does NOT get you accepted into the practicum. Review the handbook for application instructions. The electronic Gerontology Practicum Application is available here. If you complete a paper copy (from the handbook), have it signed by Yin Liu (Gerontology Certificate Coordinator) prior to submitting to Judy Hendrickson or Grant Bartholomew.

4. Gerontology Integration paper (FCHD 4940) course

You will need to email Yin Liu when you are ready to register for the Gerontology Integration paper (FCHD 4940) course. Send an email stating that you wish to register for the course. Yin will forward the email to the Academic Advisor who can open the course for you to register. This course must be taken concurrently or after the FCHD 4240 and Gerontology Practicum (not before).

5. Graduation:

The semester you are graduating: Complete the Graduation Form for Certificate at the beginning of this semester.

After graduation, check your transcript. You will look for SPECIAL CERTIFICATE IN GERONTOLOGY (currently this appears in the notes section at the bottom of the electronic transcript)

Yin Liu

Yin Liu, PhD

Assistant Professor
Gerontology Certificate Coordinator


Practicum Coordinator: Grant Bartholomew
Practicum Advisor: Judy Hendrickson