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Gerontological Social Work Faculty


Gerontology certificate students with Dr. Scott Wilks at Spring 2013 Luncheon

Gerontological Social Work

It’s hard to predict the future, but one thing is certain. Thanks to medical and public health advances, people are living longer, and the number of older persons is growing. With the aging of the Baby Boom generation, people 65 and older will represent one out of every five Americans by 2030.

For many social workers, this older America is already here. Social workers in every practice area are delivering services to families across three, four, even five generations. Gerontological social workers (those trained to work with older adults) are already in high demand. In the years ahead, they will enjoy numerous possibilities for professional growth and innovation.

If you choose to specialize in social work with older adults, you can enjoy a rich, rewarding career—a career that will have an important and far-reaching impact on the lives of others and on society. Most importantly, you will have the chance to participate in, contribute to, and become expert in national and local issues that will define the next half-century.

Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

The National Institute on Aging estimates the need for 70,000 social workers in older adult services by 2020. Given these statistics, social work professionals require current knowledge about a broad range of fundamental issues that encompass the older adult experience. The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology Program (GCGP) in the LSU MSW Program, in cooperation with the LSU Life Course and Aging Center (LCAC), addresses the educational needs of full time and part time students who aspire to be engaged in planning, administration, and/or provision of services for older adults. Goals of the GCGP are the following:

  1. to prepare students to practice in the field of gerontological social work - to carry out professional roles and responsibilities consistent with the values and ethics of social work as they relate to practice with older adults;
  2. to prepare students to understand the biopsychosocial, economic, administrative, service delivery, and social policy contexts of aging within the parameters of social work practice in a health care setting;
  3. to provide students with an interdisciplinary, educational experience and raise awareness of perspective and skills from a health or human service discipline additional to social work; and
  4. to provide students with a gerontological field experience that enhances understanding of social work practice relationships based on empowerment and respect for the values of human dignity and worth, cultural diversity, self-determination, and social justice.

Rotational Field Internship
The GCGP presents the rotational, gerontological field internship in the advanced year. For a field agency to be considered gerontological in scope, at least 50% of its work must be dedicated to an older adult constituency. The LSU Field Education Office provides details on this placement, including a list of placements participating in the rotational internship

Interdisciplinary Curriculum
The GCGP presents a curriculum in interdisciplinary aging studies. This curriculum serves as elective courses and accommodates MSW students utilizing the thesis or non-thesis option.

For more information about the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology contact:
Dr. Scott Wilks, GCGP Coordinator

Download Full Gerontology Certificate Description