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How do I Become a Geriatric Specialist?

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  • Written By: Jessica F. Black
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2016
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In order to become a geriatric specialist, potential applicants must first decide what type of specialist he or she would like to become because there are various professions in the geriatric field. The most common of these specialists are physicians, nurses, and consultants. Different levels of education and training are required, and experience is almost always preferred. Numerous degree and certification programs are offered on the Internet and at most universities that can help students to become a geriatric specialist.

Geriatric physicians require extensive schooling, and students must research universities that have well-developed programs for geriatricians. The first step is to complete a four year undergraduate program and obtain a bachelor's of science (B.S.) degree before applying to an accredited medical school. Medical degree programs for geriatrics usually take four to six years, followed by a five year residency. The length of schooling is required to prepare for necessary board exams and certification processes needed to become a geriatric specialist. After all steps are completed, graduates should apply at various hospitals or offices that have a advanced geriatrician department.

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Students who are interested in geriatric nursing must apply to a four year nursing degree program at an accredited university. After successfully completing the program, graduates should apply for appropriate licenses administered by a local board. There are different types of geriatric nurses, and some require an additional degree, extended training, and a designated number of hours in geriatrics. Those who would like to become a geriatric specialist in this field should research the degree requirements for certified and registered nursing professionals before deciding on a program.

Potential candidates for geriatric consultant positions require a bachelor's degree in human or health services. Additional courses in human development, elderly care, and aging are also required to become a geriatric specialist in this field. Aside from an education, students should seek employment in health services for the elderly to enhance his or her knowledge on the intricacies of taking care of aging patients. Some companies prefer employees to have certification in the field, which can be obtained by applying to a local geriatric care association.

Training, education, and certification can greatly increase an applicants chance to become a geriatric specialist. Specialists should have excellent interpersonal skills, a caring personality, and charisma, because most geriatric fields involve constant interaction with patients and their family and friends. Although salaries may vary, this can be an emotionally rewarding profession.

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