How to Become a Gerontologist in Alaska - AK
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in Gerontology in Alaska, you should first decide what sort of career you intend to have. Gerontology is a very broad field, and Alaskan gerontologists do everything from counseling dementia patients on an elderly ward at a place like Alaska Regional Hospital, to ensuring the health and wellbeing of the residents of an old folk’s home in Sitka.
The most common, and straightforward way, for people to begin gerontology careers is by attending a gerontology degree program, going for either an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s, depending on the level of education required. Because of the transportation issues specific to Alaska, the most common way to earn this degree is online.
There are other ways to get into gerontology, however. Many allied health professionals, likes nurses, physical therapists, and healthcare managers, frequently specialize in gerontology. They may take a curriculum that combines both the studies specific to their education, and combines it with gerontology, or they may need to wait until they’ve become established in their career before going back to school to specialize.
As you pick a school, you might consider going to one accredited by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. Such accreditation isn’t necessary in Alaska, as there are very few laws and rules regulating gerontology professionals, but it ensures a high quality program that will be recognized in the rest of the United States.
Similarly, as you near graduation, you might consider applying for accreditation from the Gerontological Society of America. That accreditation isn’t necessary to begin working, but it looks great on a resume and clearly indicates to potential employers your commitment to your profession.
Though most traditional gerontologists don’t need to apply for licensure, any allied health professionals has to get licensed or certified for their own profession will still have too, even if they’ve chosen to specialize in gerontology. Geriatric Nurse Practitioners, for example, will still need to be satisfy the requirements expected of a normal nurse, and in most states, though not Alaska, have to complete a secondary Gerontological certification given by the state. These tests range from career to career, but generally cost no more than a hundred, to a few hundred bucks, and take maybe a solid chunk of an afternoon.
Once it’s all completed, you’re eligible to begin working as a full-fledged Gerontologist in the state of Alaska!