Geriatric Social Workers

Social Worker Speaks with Older Woman

Geriatric social workers, also known as gerontology social workers, help elderly people adjust to the challenges of growing older. They develop programs and direct agencies that offer counseling, advocacy, and special services. They evaluate the needs of clients and help them arrange for such things as meal service, housing, transportation, and legal and medical assistance. Geriatric social workers also develop recreation and educational programs for the elderly.

Approximately 619,300 social workers are employed in the United States. About one-third of all social workers work with older people. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, and retirement communities; they have offices in human service agencies and senior centers. Geriatric social workers must have a genuine interest in the well-being of older people and must be sensitive to their concerns and problems.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Gerontology Social Workers
Duties Help elderly people adjust to the challenges of growing older; arrange for meal service, legal and medical assistance, and other services; develop recreation and educational programs
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide; most opportunities available in areas of the U.S.—such as the Southwest and Gulf Coast—with large numbers of senior citizens
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Health
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
Experience A field practicum and internships
Personality Traits
  • Helpful
  • Organized
  • Social
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Teaching
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Supervisor or Geriatric Care Director
  • Geriatric Social Worker
  • Intern