Purpose & Student Learning Outcomes | Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

Purpose of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology for the Healthcare Professional

Pacific’s first graduate health certificate program is designed for the working adult. The Graduate Certificate Program in Gerontology for the Healthcare Professional prepares students to become leaders in the challenging and rapidly evolving field of aging. With classes offered online, working professionals can apply their experience to the classroom, and the design of the curriculum makes it applicable and relevant to the student.

Healthcare providers will benefit from this program as it will boost their credibility and resume. It will prepare them for better patient/client care and therefore improve job satisfaction. The program prepares graduates for leadership positions in healthcare, human services, health education, and entrepreneurial endeavors geared to the growing population of older consumers. The program is designed to expand students' marketability and skills in their chosen profession by providing a broad educational base concerning factors related to the aging of individuals and society.

The program was developed on the premise that students and professionals in a variety of disciplines and professions have the greatest potential to meet the pressing needs of the aged and our changing society, provided they are given the requisite training in the application of gerontological knowledge. It is our ultimate goal to improve the quality of life for older adults by having them receive optimum healthcare and services.

Student Learning Outcomes for the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology for the Healthcare Professional

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology for Healthcare Professionals (GERO) program has adopted principles from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.  These competencies are integrated into the learning objectives of the GERO curriculum.  Competencies include:  theories of aging; biological, psychological, social aspects of aging; diseases of aging including types of dementia; and research and critical thinking.  GERO faculty’s goal is to prepare students to become leaders in the field of healthcare and aging with an understanding that greater education is needed to provide best practice healthcare for older adults.   With this goal, graduates will be able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Interprofessional communication and understanding demonstrated by the ability to recognize and appreciate what other professionals’ contribute to the well-being of older adults.
  • Information-seeking skills demonstrated by an underlying curiosity about older people and issues, including the desire for knowledge and staying current on new research regarding aging.  This includes utilizing best practice research when evaluating and providing interventions to older adults seen in healthcare.
  • Innovative thinking demonstrated by the ability to apply complex concepts, develop creative solutions or use previous solutions in creative and adaptive ways for breakthrough thinking in the workplace or field of aging.
  • Health literacy awareness demonstrated by examining written and verbal communications with clients.  Being able to write healthcare educational materials for a fifth grade literacy level that will better educate caregivers and older clients. 
  • Program development demonstrated by the ability to plan a project involving resources, personnel, and organizational impact that will positively contribute to the well-being of older adults. 
  • Knowledge-based approach from learning and using theories of aging; biological, psychological, and social aspects of aging; and diseases of aging including types of dementia.