5 Great Gerontology Organizations

5 Top Organizations for Gerontology

  • Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • National Council on Aging
  • Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
  • Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association

College students striving for careers aiding senior citizens would benefit greatly from being active in professional gerontology organizations. Learning the science of aging is best accomplished via hands-on experience with elderly individuals. Fortunately, the number of organizations serving one of the United States’ biggest populations is growing. The Institute on Aging reports that 40 million Americans are now at least 65. By 2030, it’s expected that baby boomers will constitute 20 percent of our national citizenry. Therefore, consider these five gerontology associations to learn the field’s latest news and practice essential caregiving skills.

1. Gerontological Society of America (GSA)

Located in Washington, DC, the Gerontological Society of America is the largest of gerontology organizations that has grown since 1945 to affiliate over 5,500 members from 50+ nations under its current CEO James Appleby. It is highly regarded for publishing peer-reviewed journals such as The Gerontologist and Innovation in Aging. Members can sign up for approximately 650 education sessions at its World Congress of Gerontology & Geriatrics in July. The GSA also conducts outreach, such as the Reframing Aging Initiative, and runs a one-year Ambassador Program for students applying by August 31st or January 31st.

2. National Council on Aging (NCOA)

Accredited by the BBB, the National Council on Aging is the United States’ biggest nonprofit based in Arlington that’s compiled over 14,000 members devoted to enhancing well-being after 65 years old since 1950. Generating $52 million yearly under President James Firman, EdD, it’s focused on aging policy advocacy with other gerontology organizations such as Medicare Matters. Each June, the Age+Action Conference sells 800+ tickets for events, such as the Trailblazer in Aging Award ceremony and Capitol Hill Day. The NCOA offers Aging Mastery Program starter kits and nursing home accreditations via the National Institute of Senior Centers too.

3. Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE)

Headed by President Judith Howe, PhD, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education has been among the leading academic gerontology organizations since 1974 connecting 135 U.S. and Canadian institutions with quality aging degrees. Current members include Baylor, Cornell, Duke, Marylhurst, Michigan State, Northern Kentucky, Syracuse, and Worcester State. Each year, the AGHE gives out honors including the Clark Tibbitts Award and Hiram Friedsam Award to the field’s best faculty. In March, there is the Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference scheduled to help prepare the next generation too.

4. Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA)

Started in 1981, the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association led by President Valerie Sabol, PhD brings together over 3,700 master’s trained RNs committed to promoting later life health. Headquartered in Pitman, New Jersey, the gerontology organization holds an Annual Conference each October for networking opportunities. Members access the latest resources across 110+ topics in its Clinical Research Corner. For $295, nurses with 2,500 hours of experience can also take the 175-question, four-hour computer exam to become a Certified Gerontological Specialist.

Related Resource: Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Gerontology Online

5. Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)

Given an “Exceptional” 4.0 star rating by Charity Navigator, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is a New York-based nonprofit opened in 2002 by Bert Brodsky that has nearly 3,000 members seeking to cure this elderly disease hurting 5.5 million. Round the clock, it runs the National Toll-Free Hotline to counsel families affected by Alzheimer’s. Currently, there are 332 sites nationally from Seattle to San Juan for its National Memory Screening Program. The AFA also awards the Milton & Berg Respite Care Grant, performs an Educating America tour, prints Care Quarterly, and offers a Teen Scholarship Essay Competition.

Overall, getting involved in several professional associations can add real-life experiences to new graduate résumés. Doing so will help break into a field Social Work Today expects will grow by 22 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted 2.4 million new healthcare jobs from registered nursing to audiology through 2026. Jumpstart a rewarding career by looking into other great gerontology organizations, including the National Institute on Aging, American Geriatrics Society, Alliance for Aging Research, and National Long-Term Care Network.