Gerontology Certificate


Our 17-credit Gerontology Certificate Program focuses on understanding the aging process and the relationship between the aged and society. The certificate program will prepare students to work in the field of gerontology to improve the quality of life of the older adult. The Cedar Crest College program challenges cultural stereotypes of the elderly with a focus on this stage of life as a period of creativity, radiance, spirituality and wisdom. This certificate is valuable for students pursuing a career in nursing, psychology, pastoral care, social work, nutrition or business.

Program Highlights

  • LICENSED faculty with practice experience, national and international
  • ACCELERATED AND/OR EVENING scheduling available for some courses
  • FIELD EXPERIENCE at agencies and facilities providing services to the elderly
  • HIGHLY RESPECTED by local social work agencies who actively seek graduates of our program

Program Overview

For students with a special interest in serving the needs of older adults, Cedar Crest College offers this 17-credit certificate program. It has been designed to provide valuable insight and skills that will be valuable to those new to gerontology as well as those already working in the field. This program also provides a broad multidisciplinary core of knowledge that encompasses several areas of study, covering the biological, physiological, spiritual, psychological and sociological perspectives related to the natural and highly variable aging process.

This certificate program combines classroom content with practical experience. Upon completion of four core courses, students apply their knowledge through supervised field practice in selected agencies and facilities providing services to the elderly. A final seminar class is taken along with the field experience to integrate theory and practice.

Graduates of our certificate have gone on to work as nursing home administrators, medical care staff in home health care agencies, nursing homes, hospitals, geropsychology units, Alzheimer’s specialty units, senior centers, elderly high-rises, adult day care centers and assisted living facilities, health bureaus, mental health centers and at the local Area Office of Aging.

The Cedar Crest College Advantage

A fully accredited curriculum

Our social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is one of the oldest accredited BSW programs in the nation. Students who complete the social work major here will be prepared for beginning entry into a social work practice and are usually able to apply several of their undergraduate credits toward a graduate degree in social work.

Experienced faculty, individualized attention

All of our professors have terminal degrees and are licensed social workers with relevant professional experience. The social work faculty represent 35 years of practice, 70 years of teaching experience, and considerable international experience. Our faculty members closely monitor each student’s academic progress and participation in various field experiences.

Valuable field experiences

As a senior, you will work with a faculty member to select a local agency where you will participate in a field experience for one full year (450 hours). It is not uncommon for this experience to result in students receiving job offers prior to graduation.

Research opportunities

During Social Work Research Methods and Design (SWK 325), you will spend the fall semester learning research processes and develop research techniques applied to social policies. The following semester, you will take Evaluating Social Work Research (SWK 326), in which you conduct an original research project, which you will present at the annual Health and Wellness Conference.

Opportunities to specialize

As a social work major, you may dual-major in another field such as psychology or criminal justice. Or you may pursue an add-on certificate in gerontology or child welfare. These options enable you to explore a specialty during your bachelor’s studies to better prepare you for graduate school and/or future employment.

Alumni success

Our program is highly regarded by the social services community in the Lehigh Valley. Many Cedar Crest graduates of the social work program are currently caseworkers and supervisors at social service agencies throughout the greater Lehigh Valley area. The reputation of our students is so exceptional that many local agencies contact our program as soon as vacancies develop on their staff. Historically, up to one-third of the field instructors supervising our current students (during their practicum) are program alumni themselves.


At Cedar Crest College, all of our social work courses are taught by highly experienced and licensed professionals with experience and connections in social work—locally, nationally and internationally. Our faculty members have more than 35 years of experience in the social work field and 70 years of teaching experience.

» Read full profiles of faculty members.

Program Goals

The certificate program in gerontology is based on a broad multidisciplinary core of knowledge that encompasses several areas of study. As a student in this program, you will learn:

  • To understand the aging process, the relationship between the elderly and society, and to improve the quality of life within the elderly population
  • To understand the biological, spiritual, psychological and sociological perspectives related to the natural and highly variable aging process
  • To look beyond cultural stereotype of the elderly and view this stage of the life cycle as a period of creativity, radiance, spirituality and wisdom
  • To explore new paradigms and cultural ideals for the aging within a theoretical context

Program Requirements

The gerontology certificate program combines classroom learning with practical experience. Students take six courses. They then apply their knowledge in supervised field practice in agencies and facilities providing services to the elderly and integrate theory with practice in a seminar in applied gerontology.

Nursing and Social Work Majors may be able to be exempt from SOC 331 & 332 if their clinicals or field education are in a geriatric setting.

To earn a gerontology certificate, a student must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0.

Course Requirements
All of the gerontology courses are offered in the evening or online. Some of our gerontology certificate courses are offered in an accelerated format.

Course Descriptions

Read full descriptions of courses.

Social Work
Social Justice – A Global Perspective

Two-Year Degree Completion

Your SAGE adviser will assist you in developing a schedule of studies that works best for you. Typically, students take 2 or 3 courses during the fall and spring semesters if they want to complete the Certificate in 1 year. Students enrolled in this program part-time will typically finish their certificate in two years.

Career Opportunities

Students who have completed this certificate may apply their skills in professional positions such as administrators and medical staff in:

  • Home health care agencies
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospitals
  • Geropsychology units
  • Alzheimer’s specialty units
  • Senior centers
  • Elderly high-rise buildings
  • Adult daycare centers
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Health bureaus
  • Mental health centers
  • The Area Office of Aging

» Overview of the SAGE Social Work Program

Next Steps

Apply Now
Rolling admissions and a free online application make it easy.

Attend an Information Session
Program directors and faculty will meet with you to share details about our SAGE programs, admissions process, and flexible options.

Contact SAGE Admissions
Call 610-740-3770

Tuition and Fees
Valuable, competitive, affordable options for adults

 Posted by at 10:15 pm