As the population ages in Canada and across the globe, there are growing opportunities for career development in the fields of aging and gerontology. With older adults representing an increasing percentage of the population, more professionals are working with older adults across a diverse spectrum of disciplines and professions.
Equip yourself with the skills to meet the unique needs of this growing demographic through the application of gerontology theory, practice, and policy change. Learn how you can contribute innovative critical thinking and problem-solving to the opportunities and challenges of Canada’s aging population.
The Certificate in Aging and Gerontology may be completed entirely online through a variety of courses featuring interactive content and experiential learning.
Learn directly from professionals with extensive community experience in gerontology across a vast array of fields, including social work, health sciences, law, nursing, adult education, and psychology. Expand your hands-on experience, apply your professional knowledge, and make a difference in your field and community.
This program is geared towards practitioners in the public and nonprofit sectors from a variety of fields, disciplines, and positions that develop and deliver services which reach older adults. The program will serve undergraduate students from fields offering specialized options geared to older adults, such as real estate, technology, travel, health, public administration, architecture, human resources, and advertising.
This certificate is eligible for OSAP.
What Will You Learn?
The Certificate in Aging and Gerontology has been developed around three key learning goals:
- Empowerment: to empower students with practical knowledge and understanding of the unique needs, opportunities, and challenges of an aging population across diverse sectors.
- Capacity-building: to equip students with the skills and opportunities to respond effectively to the needs of an aging population across diverse sectors, using creativity and innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
- Mobilization: to develop skills to apply knowledge of theory, methods, and substantive content in gerontology to real life applications, including practice and policy change.
After completing this certificate, you will able to:
- examine the implications of aging and evaluate the services available for aging populations – in Canada and around the world – from the following perspectives:
- social, political, and demographic
- biological, psychological, and sociological
- health and well-being, disease, and disability
- social structure roles (healthcare, education, family)
- law and advocacy
- retirement and economics
- environmental design, leisure pursuits, and cognitive and physical activities
- death and dying at individual and societal levels
- influence practice and policy change in the field of aging
- identify how technological innovation influences health and social engagement within aging populations
- practice leadership, conflict management, and customer service skills
Who Should Take This Certificate?
This certificate is designed for all professionals who work with older adults, such as health and medical personnel, nutritionists, occupational therapists, social workers, family counsellors, recreation specialists, and community workers, as well as those in other fields like financial services, insurance, real estate, technology, travel and hospitality, and more.
Primary audiences include:
- undergraduate students of health, social work, counseling, sociology, biology, and psychology
- educational administrators designing programs for older students
- public administrators developing policies
- accountants and financial planners
- retirement housing managers and personnel
- architects, interior designers, and product designers focusing on older adults
- recreational consultants and health or athletic trainers focused on adult wellness
- dietitians, nutritionists, and caterers specializing in the needs of the aging population
- human resources or job placement consultants working with older adults
- advertisers and marketers needing to evaluate the spending and entertainment trends of the older population
- leisure and travel specialists wanting to offer specialized options geared to the needs and interests of the older population
Who Teaches the Courses?
Our instructors are drawn from a diverse group, representing the interdisciplinary approach to curriculum delivery.
Current faculty expertise is drawn from a variety of disciplines, including:
- social work
- health sciences
- adult education
In addition to master’s and doctoral-level training, our instructors have extensive community experience within the field of gerontology, which supports their teaching and promotes the delivery of current and relevant curriculum.
Industry and Careers
In 2016, older adults outnumbered children in Canada for the first time in history. It is expected that by 2031, older adults will represent a quarter of the Canadian population.1 This demographic shift will present unprecedented opportunities for those serving our aging population. The demographic shift also means that most professionals will work with older adults.
Aging and gerontology education is valuable to those working in a wide variety of fields, including:
- health services
- social services
- real estate
- financial services
- educational programs
- volunteer activities
- adult day care
- job placement
Possible job titles include:
- occupational therapist
- social worker
- family counsellor
- recreation specialist
- community worker
- capacity assessor
- urban planner
- interior designer
- human resources specialist
- travel specialist
- ultrasound technician
- wellness consultant
- program director
- research and community engagement coordinator
- life enrichment manager/coordinator
- residential support worker
- program instructor
- psychogeriatric case manager
- community relations manager
- legal advocate
- 4 required courses
- 2 electives
- Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+
- Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
- With 6 Grade 12 U or M credits
- Mature student status
Experiential learning offers a valuable opportunity to apply the concepts and knowledge gained through your studies in a professional workplace environment. The required capstone course included in this certificate provides a project-based experiential learning opportunity through which you will gain professional contacts, practical skills, and hands-on experience.
CINT 950 - Practicum/Project in Gerontology
For more information on experiential learning opportunities in Community Services at The Chang School, contact Farheen Hasan, Experiential Learning Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-979-5000, ext. 7491.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is gerontology?
Gerontology, the scientific study of aging, is a field of inquiry that draws from many disciplines including biology, psychology, sociology, political science, history, health policy, ethics, anthropology, and economics.
Is there an admissions interview?
No. There is no formal admission interview. You should contact the academic coordinator if you are concerned that you do not meet the admission criteria.
How much time will I have to spend each week on course work?
It’s usual to spend between four and six hours per week for each course.
Even though I live in the Toronto area, can I still take online courses?
Yes. Students from Toronto, all across Canada, and from around the world enrol in our flexible, high-quality online courses. You might consider taking a combination of online and on-campus courses.
Can I complete the entire Certificate in Aging and Gerontology online?
Yes. All of the courses you need to complete the program are available online. Our online courses will help you to fit your studies into your personal and work commitments while still giving you access to a high-quality education. In addition, by enrolling in an online course, you’ll join a dynamic, interactive community of like-minded learners.
Will the Certificate in Aging and Gerontology qualify me to work in a long-term care facility?
No. This program will not be able to provide you with the training to directly care for seniors. However, combined with other educational credentials, it has been used to help individuals transition into a long- term care setting.
What’s the relationship between students and instructors in gerontology courses?
A combination of lectures, discussion, and group work creates opportunities for shared leadership that promote mutual learning. Whether on campus or online, our students and instructors come together in a true learning partnership. This partnership is modeled on the kinds of healthy relationships that exist between volunteers, board members, staff, and clients in community-based programs.
“I wanted a meaningful way to contribute to the care of a rapidly growing elderly population. In 2016, at 46, I was visiting Canada when I learned about Ryerson University’s distance education Aging and Gerontology Certificate Program. I enrolled. The theoretical course taught me how to critically appraise evidence to effect societal change, and the capstone course, a project-based experiential learning opportunity, allowed me to apply the knowledge gained in previous courses to real-life practical experiences. I worked directly with the elderly and helped various aging cohorts manage their fears and challenges about growing older. This program, through theory and practical teaching, established the foundation I need to continue to pursue a career and a passion.”
“I was a professional musician in the community for years, where I met several older people and heard their stories. I became interested in aging, and eventually came up with an idea to open the first retirement residence for LGBT people in Toronto. I enrolled in The Chang School’s Certificate in Gerontology while wrapping up my college degree. My instructors urged me to think critically about the broad nature of aging, and the small course sizes introduced me to contacts from several backgrounds and fostered rich class discussions. Now I have a deep understanding of the breadth of healthcare to carry me forward.”
Winner, LIFE Institute Jack Brown Award for Continuing Education Students, 2010
Awards and Financial Aid
Questions? Contact Anthony Lombardo, Academic Coordinator.