Geropsychology

Geropsychologists help the elderly cope with physical infirmity through counseling and conduct research on the diseases of aging. To pursue this career, an individual must typically complete a graduate degree program. Read on to find out about education and career options in geropsychology.

Inside Geropsychology

Geropsychology is a subdiscipline within psychology that focuses on the psychological and neurological aspects of aging. Psychologists who work in this area may provide counseling to help the elderly cope with anxiety, depression and physical debilities. Geropsychologists also research diseases often associated with aging, such as Alzheimer's and vascular dementia.

Apart from having knowledge of gerontology issues, geropsychology specialists require the same capabilities as other types of psychologists. These include observational and listening skills, emotional stability, interpersonal communication skills, sensitivity and creative problem-solving skills. Geropsychology researchers need analytical ability and training in neurophysiology.

If you think that a career in geropsychology may be for you, Study.com has articles that can assist you in your education and career decisions.

Education Information

Many programs in geropsychology are offered at the master's degree and doctoral levels. There are also clinical psychology internships and job placements that include working with older adults. Coursework in these graduate degree programs may cover topics such as mental health assessments for older individuals, psychological issues associated with aging, the psychological functioning of older adults, intervention strategies, and research methods.

While some graduate programs may not offer a specific concentration in geropsychology, you may be able to intern at nursing homes to gain experience. To learn more about relevant degree options in this field, take a look at the following articles.

Distance Learning Options

The American Psychological Association (APA) does not accredit fully-online programs (www.apa.org). Nonetheless, many colleges and universities offer online degree programs in psychology, particularly at the graduate level.

Licensure Information

Psychologists, particularly those in independent practice, must obtain licensure in their state. Requirements vary, but typically include completion of an approved education program, internship, some professional experience, and an examination. Those working as clinical or counseling psychologists must have a doctoral degree and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

Career Options

Check out the articles below to learn more about becoming a psychologist.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment of psychologists was expected to increase 12% in the 2012-2022 decade, which is considered average. Demand for clinical and counseling psychologists is expected to be partly attributable to the need for mental health services among the large aging population in the United States. Psychologists are also needed in healthcare settings. BLS data from May 2012 reveals that clinical and counseling psychologists earned a mean annual wage of $72,220.

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