The Best Online Master’s in Gerontology Programs

by TBS Staff

Updated October 10, 2022

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When you pursue an online master’s degree in gerontology, you will study aging and its effects on society. This degree prepares you for a variety of careers, such as social and community service manager, medical or health services manager, social worker, researcher, or adult care specialist.

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Due to the aging baby boomer generation, combined with the fact that people typically live longer now than in previous generations, the senior citizen population is on the rise. Consequently, the job market in gerontology is also performing quite well; the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2026, job opportunities for medical and health services managers will increase 20% and job opportunities for social and community service managers will grow 16%.

Online Master’s in Gerontology Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

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We selected these accredited master’ in gerontology programs based on the quality of the program, types of courses provided, faculty strength, school awards, rankings and reputation, including the reputation for providing online degree programs.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

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The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

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The Best Online Master's in Gerontology Programs

#1 The Best Online Master’s in Gerontology Programs

Webster University

  • Saint Louis, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Webster University, located in Saint Louis, offers a flexible online master's in gerontology. The MA in gerontology program builds specialized skills for leadership roles in the gerontology field and related industries. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives to gerontology. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. The master's program recommends individuals have a background in gerontology before applying to the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local community. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Webster University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 57%

Total Online Master's Programs: 31

Program Name: MA in gerontology

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,500

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,500

Average Tuition
In-state
$28,500
Out-of-state
$28,500
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
57%
Students Enrolled
9,860
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The Best Online Master’s in Gerontology Programs

Kansas State University

  • Manhattan, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in gerontology at Kansas State University, located in Manhattan, offers high academic quality. The master's in gerontology program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants without a degree in gerontology or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their area. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

Kansas State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 95%

Total Online Master's Programs: 26

Program Name: Master's in gerontology

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,212

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $23,050

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,735
Out-of-state
$25,251
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
21,719
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 The Best Online Master’s in Gerontology Programs

University of Indianapolis

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Indianapolis offers an online master's in gerontology. The master of science in aging studies program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to gerontology. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. Applicants without a background in gerontology may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

University of Indianapolis at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 93%

Total Online Master's Programs: 2

Program Name: Master of science in aging studies

Graduate Tuition In State: $37,514

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $37,514

Average Tuition
In-state
$29,844
Out-of-state
$29,844
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
5,801
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Online Master’s in Gerontology Programs

University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Omaha, NE
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers an online master's in gerontology. The master of arts in gerontology program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, candidates often advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. The program encourages learners to gain experience in gerontology before applying.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

University of Nebraska at Omaha at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 83%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master of arts in gerontology

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,558

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,440

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,224
Out-of-state
$19,488
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
15,153
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 The Best Online Master’s in Gerontology Programs

McDaniel College

  • Westminster, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Westminster, Maryland, McDaniel College offers an online master's in gerontology. The MS in gerontology program builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. With a master's degree, candidates may also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in gerontology. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. Applicants without a degree in gerontology or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees add to their resume by pursuing internship opportunities at approved locations in their area. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

McDaniel College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 92%

Total Online Master's Programs: 4

Program Name: Gerontology, MS

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,180

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,180

Average Tuition
In-state
$44,540
Out-of-state
$44,540
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
2,851
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

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Choosing a Program

All the best online master’s in gerontology programs cover similar subject matter, with coursework focusing on the social and psychological ramifications of aging rather than delving deeply into medical topics (which are typically covered in geriatrics programs). Foundational courses for gerontology include the physiology and psychology of aging, economic issues affecting senior adults, management of programs for seniors, and ethics. These subjects prepare students for future career paths in the field, particularly in management or other leadership positions.

Some schools offer a concentration such as management of aging services or geriatric psychology as part of their online gerontology master’s degree. Others offer a graduate certificate in gerontology. You may even have a choice between an online master’s degree in gerontology and an MBA with a concentration in gerontology. Consider which type of program best suits your career aspirations. It’s also important to closely examine the requirements of each program to make sure you can fulfill them. One program may include a master’s thesis or capstone project, while another may have a research requirement, an internship, or a practicum.

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What Will I Learn in an Online Gerontology Master’s Program?

While the exact curriculum offered by an online gerontology master’s degree program will vary from school to school, certain classes will be found in just about any such program. The precise titles may differ slightly, but some of the most common courses you can expect to see in the best online master’s in gerontology programs are detailed below.

Physiology of Aging
This course covers the physical effects of aging on the human body, including the special needs which often arise as an individual ages. This subject matter informs virtually every aspect of gerontology, so it is crucial that anyone pursuing a career related to gerontology gain a good foundation in this area.
Psychology of Aging
This course explores the psychological effects aging has on an individual and their relationships with other people, including how they cope with new physical limitations, grief, and other major life changes. Anyone who plans to work in this field must understand these common concerns in order to achieve positive outcomes for the senior adults in their care.
Aging Policy and Services
This course covers the types of services that are available for aging adults, as well as ethical considerations and public policy that affect this population. This is especially relevant to careers in the management of social or community programs or medical and health–related services for the elderly.
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Online Master’s in Gerontology Careers

Graduates of an online gerontology master’s degree have a variety of career paths available to them. If you prefer to work directly with senior citizens, you might consider a career as a social worker or employee of another type of community service organization. If leadership roles appeal to you, you may prefer to seek a management position in a community service or healthcare organization which deals with elderly clients. Below are a few examples of these career opportunities.

Social and Community Service Managers
These managers oversee programs or community organizations which provide various services for the elderly. These professionals are responsible for recruiting, hiring, training, and managing the employees who staff these programs and organizations. A master's degree is often preferred among candidates for these management positions, and some master's programs offer concentrations related specifically to this area.
  • Median Annual Salary: $64,680
  • Projected Growth Rate: 16%
Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health services managers oversee healthcare facilities which serve the elderly, including clinics, hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes. These professionals may manage the entire facility, or a department and its staff. If you are considering pursuing this leadership position, you'll typically need several years of professional experience and a master's degree.
  • Median Annual Salary: $96,540
  • Projected Growth Rate: 20%
Social Workers
Social workers help people, including the elderly and their caretakers, cope with various issues in their lives. They are often employed in government agencies, healthcare facilities, and community organizations. Clinical social workers also help treat mental and emotional issues in their clients, and must have a master's degree and state licensure.
  • Median Annual Salary: $46,890
  • Projected Growth Rate: 15%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Featured Image Credit: Kiwis | iStock | Getty Images Plus


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