Gerontology Certificate

Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care

Dominican University's Graduate School of Social Work is among the 16 accredited social work programs in the United States to be given a gerontology specialization grant by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) to implement the gerontology certificate program to prepare professionals needed to address the concerns, challenges, and complex needs of aging adults.

Gerontology is the multi-disciplinary study of the biological, physical, psychological, sociological, spiritual, and economic aspects of aging. The Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care program at Dominican University addresses the need for professionally trained social workers to meet the demands of the older adult population. This option is offered to current MSW students either at the foundation or concentration level. If you already have an MSW, you may be admitted to the program as an extern to the Gerontology Graduate Certificate Program.

The Need for Trained Gerontology Social Workers

At the beginning of 2006, the first of some 77 million baby boomers in the United States turned 60. By 2030, one out of every five persons will be an older adult. This increase in the older adult population group will bring unprecedented demand for social workers to be trained in working with a diverse, aging population. Gerontology competent social workers are needed to be skilled clinicians and advocates to work with micro, mezzo, and macro systems to bring about change that will improve the quality of life for older adults. The field of gerontology offers excellent career opportunities in many clinical and administrative settings: hospitals, nursing facilities, family social services, and retirement communities.

Completion Requirements

Current students

Four 3-credit courses:

  • SWK 611 & SWK 651 (taken concurrently with field placement)
  • 2 approved Electives. The list of approved electives eligible for the certificate program may vary from year to year. All assignments in non-aging related electives must focus on older adults.

Completion of 2-semester field placement
This should be with primarily older adults at the local, national, and/or international level.

Completion of all MSW degree courses, including relevant aging electives = 60 credit course

As soon as the student expresses intent to graduate with an MSW and a Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care, they should turn in an application form. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the relevant courses are taken with input from the adviser. Electives should be completed prior to graduation.

Extern Students

For students who already have an MSW degree from a CSWE accredited program the requirements are as follows:

Four 3-credit courses:

  • SWK 611 & SWK 651 (Field placement taken concurrently with SWK 611 and SWK 651)
  • Two approved electives. The list of approved electives eligible for the certificate program may vary from year to year.

Completion of 2-semester field placement (total = 600 hours)

  • This should be with primarily older adults at the local, national, and/or international level
  • Credit may be given to MSW students who already have taken aging-related classes and internships during their MSW program. They should write a petition to the Admissions Officer requesting credit for classes already taken. This letter should be written PRIOR to beginning the semester.
  • Dominican University alumni will be given a 50% tuition discount rate.

Application Process

Externs

Applicants must complete the required application materials to be admitted to the Gerontology Graduate Certificate Program. They should:

Incoming Students

Applicants to the Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care Program must follow and meet the admission requirements for the MSW program at Dominican. The applicant must indicate on the MSW admission application their interest in pursuing the Gerontology Certificate Program. In addition to meeting the general MSW admission requirements, applicants interested in the Gerontology Certificate program should disregard the general MSW personal statement questions and should instead answer the Gerontology personal statement questions.

Study Options

Students may complete the requirements of the Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care Program as a part-time or full-time student.

If you would like more information about the Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care, please contact a Graduate School of Social Work admissions representative at (708) 366-3463.