Gerontology graduate certificate offered to address aging population needs

The introduction of a gerontology health certificate at SUNY Oswego will address a growing issue in today’s older population.

“There’s a real need for this,” said Mike LeBlanc, chair of the Counseling and Psychological Services department at SUNY Oswego. “Obviously this is an aging population and there’s a real need for mental health services for older adults.”

Addressing industry needs

According to, the number of Americans over 65 will account for one-fifth of the population by 2030. As the “Baby Boomer” generation ages, there will be an increased need for geriatric services.

The gerontology health certificate, set to begin in Spring 2013, was created to help students seeking careers in this growing job field. SUNY Oswego is the only SUNY college with a gerontology certificate in central New York.

“There’s a real need for this. Obviously this is an aging population and there’s a need for mental health services for older adults”
Mike LeBlanc
Chair, Counseling and Psychological Services

“It’d be helpful if you were a counselor in the older population, it would give you a leg up if you were certified and you were familiar with issues surrounding older adults,” LeBlanc said.

Diverse delivery methods

The certificate was designed to benefit students and already working professionals, with courses offered online and at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in downtown Syracuse.

“It’s a real attractive certificate for people working in the field,” LeBlanc said. “People working at nursing homes and care facilities might want their staff to have this kind of certification.”

It's also getting attention from current mental health counseling students. Current students can earn both their master’s degree and the graduate certificate over the course of one program..

“There’s a certain number of electives you need to take as part of the mental health counseling program,” LeBlanc said. “The five or six gerontology courses meet those requirements and you could graduate with your master’s in mental health counseling and get the certificate in gerontology.”

This means mental health counseling students can earn the gerontology certificate simply through fulfilling the requirements for their graduate program.

The gerontology graduate certificate program has rolling admission and is set to begin in Spring 2013. For more information on the program, visit the gerontology program page.