Imagine you have just graduated with your gerontology degree. To ensure you are prepared to enter the job market, for your final paper, you will develop a personal plan for professional growth. This w

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Imagine you have just graduated with your gerontology degree. To ensure you are prepared to enter the job market, for your final paper, you will develop a personal plan for professional growth. This will be a very personalized paper since it will be based on the real-life possibilities for your career.  Consider the changing demographics in the U.S. as you assess your career choices. It will be important to discuss the topics we have reviewed in class and integrate these choices within your paper. Your final paper must include the following sections: Each section should be addressed in separate paragraphs, with APA appropriate headings.

  1. Introduction:

    Explain your intent for the final paper in an introductory paragraph.

  2. Demographics of Aging

    : Select a current age-related issue specific to gerontology as it relates to the growing aging population. (as discussed in class)  Include a complete description and discussion of a specific type of organization that you would like to work with in the future.  Your interests may be influenced by a family member, work experience or specific life event.


    Some of you may not have chosen a career in gerontology, this is not an issue. Discuss the field you have chosen, while still addressing each required component of the final paper.

    1. Describe both the reason(s) you have chosen to address this type of age-related issue and include the motivation behind your selection.   (Examples include: Housing, Long term care, End of life care etc…)
    2. Summarize two to three scholarly articles that support the validity of this issue in aging for your selected population and explain how this research applies to your selected population and concern.  Provide an APA-style citation for each article.
    3. Fully discuss how the issue you have chosen will impact each of the following:

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      1. Age related biological changes
      2. Ageism
      3. Implications of population aging on family, society and individuals.
      4. Impact on gender, ethnicity, cohort and socioeconomic status
      5. Discuss any controversial topics related to aging.

  3. Setting:

    Identify the location where you plan to carry out your future work regarding the selected organization (e.g., the location could be within the community, within a non-profit organization, at a long term care facility, hospice, area agency on aging, adult protective services, state/federal agency, etc…).

    1. Describe the selected location in which you would like to work.  Whatever you select, be as specific as possible when you describe this setting (e.g., “I want to work for the are agency on aging of the XYZ non-profit organization based in Smalltown, Ohio.”).
    2. Identify the demographics of the setting that influenced your selection.  Give specific examples of why this location is the most effective place to reach the population you have selected.

  4. Organizations:

    Based on the information you have already presented, select one to three professional organizations that you should join to grow professionally in this area (e.g., the Gerontological Society of America, or an organization specific to your chosen field).

    1. In addition to providing the name and a brief overview of each organization, explain how each organization relates to the aging issue, population, and setting that you are most passionate about.
    2. Assess why the organizations would be valuable to you personally.   What advantage(s) would you gain by associating with them?

  5. Professionalism:

    Examine the traits of professionalism within the field of aging (or your chosen field), taking into consideration your target population and setting.  Identify the key elements that you will need in order to maintain professionalism among the people with whom you are intending to work.

  6. Job Posts or Job Descriptions:

    Review two to three job posts or job descriptions available in Gerontology (or your chosen field) that are most clearly associated with the type of work with seniors you are interested in. The websites (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

    , (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

    , (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

    , (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

    , specific organizations’ web pages, or other online search engines are all good resources for finding job posts or job descriptions.

    1. Briefly describe each of the jobs as well as the credentials that are listed as being required for these positions.  Provide a link to the URL of each job post or job description.
    2. Summarize the role of national credentialing programs (e.g. Adult Protective Services or Area Agency on Aging and their influence on job marketability.
    3. Discuss whether a credential would be appropriate or necessary to work with your intended population and/or setting.  Do you intend to seek a credential upon graduation?  Explain your answer.

  7. Gerontology Job Skills:

    Identify which skills in Gerontology (or your chosen field) would be the most critical in your role working within your selected location as well as with your specified aging issue and population (e.g., strategic planning, technology use, presentations, volunteer training, advocacy, or action plans).

    1. Analyze why these skills would have the most impact on your work.

  8. Gerontology Skills/Leadership Skills

    :  Describe the skills you would employ as part of your work in the field of aging (or your chosen field) (e.g., volunteers, paid staff, coalitions, support groups, etc…).

    1. Explain how you made your selections and provide evidence that these are the most appropriate for your line of work.
    2. Appraise and give examples of the leadership skills necessary to manage these human resources for the activities you would likely develop for your target population within your selected setting.

  9. Personal and Professional Needs:

    Identify your personal and professional needs regarding how you plan to achieve your personal plan for professional growth described above.

    1. What personal qualities and professional traits must you learn or possess to fulfill this plan?
    2. Identify and give examples of the actions and strategies that you must obtain or maintain in order to be successful.  Refer to your course materials to find information on professionalism.
    3. Additionally, include a statement (two to three sentences minimum) about how this plan will help you achieve excellence in the field of gerontology (or your chosen field).

Hooyman, Nancy, Kawamoto, Kevin, Kiyak, Asuman. (2015).

Aging Matters: An Introduction to Social Gerontology

(1st ed.). Retrieved from

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