How to Become a Geriatric Counselor
Geriatric Counseling (also known as gerontological) assist individuals and families with issues that relate to the aging process. The aging process is not always easy and there are times when a trained geriatric counselor is needed. The types of issues could include one or more of the following: the retirement years; interpersonal discord; money concerns; memory loss; and illness. One of the major concerns among the elderly is losing so many friends and family.
The issues of illness and death become much more common as individuals enter their older years.
Some other challenges that can present to the elderly are the following: impairments in hearing, vision, or mobility, and worsening of overall health. Nobody looks forward to the possibility of loss of independence and/or dignity.
Geriatric counselors often assist the elderly with issues that are separate from, but accompanying, the aging process. Some elderly individuals have had lifelong struggles with mental illness, for instance. Often, the aging process can exacerbate mental illness. Geriatric counselors are there to help.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that jobs for Geriatric Counselors will grow 37% through 2020.
According to The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, general counselors make an annual average salary between $26,110 and $72,810.
Geriatric Counselor Education and Certification
If you feel that you want to pursue the career of geriatric counselor, you can begin the process by securing a Bachelor’s degree in a field such as counseling, social work, or psychology. Gain experience in the field! Your degree and experience will provide you an excellent foundation needed to effectively apply to a quality Master’s program. The admissions teams at the schools of your choice will know that you are serious.
Many professionals choose to add to their repertoire by gaining knowledge of the geriatric population. If you already have a license in a related field, you can develop graduate certification in gerontological counseling.
Continuing education is often a great idea. If your state requires continuing education for your license renewal, you might be allowed to select courses that pertain to the geriatric population, such as: depression in older adults, and clinical neuropathology and health assessments.
Career Outlook and Salary for Geriatric Counselors
Geriatric counseling is a growing field. Two factors have led to this:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted 37% growth of counseling positions between 2010 and 2020.
- The number of individuals 65 and over is growing, and Baby Boomers seem to be more and more open-minded to the benefits of counseling.
Cost considerations lead many insurance companies to prefer counselors over other mental health providers. There is currently a push from the American Counseling Association, and others, to allow for Medicare coverage of professional counseling.