How to Become a Geriatric Consultant

Work opportunities for health care managers is slated to increase by 22 percent until 2020, according to the US Department of Labor Statistics. As the population ages, health care managers and consultants who work with aging services are likely to be in high demand because of their expertise. Geriatric consultants take on a variety of roles, but many people choose to consult with families and facilities about how best to manage the financial, medical, legal and psychological issues of aging. Geriatric or elder care consultants generally work independently or by contract; however, they may become geriatric managers if they choose. Geriatric managers run nursing homes, health agencies and other facilities for the elderly. Learn how to become a geriatric consultant.


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    Complete a bachelor's or associate's degree. In most cases, the best chance at working as a geriatric consultant is to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing, social work, psychology, counseling or pre-medicine. In some cases, people who have an associate's degree in nursing or geriatric care may qualify after many years of direct experience in elder care.
    • Consider pursing a minor degree or focus in gerontology. This is the study of the aging process and include the study of biology, psychology and sociology. It will help you to focus your career path toward working with the elderly.
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    Seek an internship at an assisted living facility, nursing home or other agency that works directly with seniors. Internships are an excellent way to research what areas of elder care you would like to pursue. For example, you can try internships in a clinical facility, like a hospital, a home care environment or an assisted living facility.
    • Depending upon your higher education focus, you may choose to intern in an administrative assistant role or a clinical role. If you are pursuing a degree as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), registered nurse (RN), psychologist or counselor, you will be required to do a practicum as part of your degree.
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    Gain work experience in the field. Before becoming a consultant, you should gain at least 4 years of experience working directly with the elderly. The length of the work required to teach you about all the practical aspects of working with seniors and their families will depend upon the position itself.
    • You may choose to dedicate this time to a single role or to seek jobs that broaden your expertise. For example, after working as an RN in a hospital, you may choose to work at a nursing home or try home health care.
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    Consider earning a master's degree. Many care managers pursue specialized degrees in order to improve their expertise, gain a higher salary and seek promotions. Applicable degrees include a master's degree as a gerontology nurse practitioner, care manager, nurse administrator, health care management, gerontology health care administration or geriatric nursing.
    • Degrees with a focus in gerontology or geriatrics are highly specialized and only available at certain universities. Choosing a program will require research and possible travel. You may be able to find a degree that will allow you to complete some of the classes online.
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    Apply for membership in professional organizations. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, the American Geriatrics Society and the National Alliance for Care Giving offer a chance to network, seek training and look for jobs. They can help you to get off to a good start in your consulting career.
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    Seek certification from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM). A professional certification will help to increase your knowledge and prove your expertise. There are a number of different levels of certification you can seek.
    • Visit to research your certification options.
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    Research your state's requirements for licensing. Each state has a different method for licensing and regulating health care providers. Search online for your state's licensing requirements through the Secretary of State office.
    • You may be required to undergo examinations, including observation, pay fees and reapply for licenses every few years. Licensing restrictions tend to be more strict for people working as independent consultants than for people who are employed by an organization.
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    Create a consulting business. You can ally yourself with an organization that requires the aid of a geriatric consultant, or you may work directly with families. Whichever path you choose, you will need to advertise your expertise, gain referrals from clients and maintain a high level of knowledge about the changing health care environment.
    • If you want to look for work with organizations, search the job listings on the American Geriatrics Society website.
    • If you want to work as a sole proprietor, or other independent business type, you should write a business plan that details your services, financing, marketing and management plans. You will need to start a website, create marketing materials and seek partnerships in the medical community, in order to earn steady income from geriatric consulting.


  • Being a successful geriatric consultant requires you to stay on top of the latest issues facing seniors. You may want to sign up for subscriptions to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and the Geriatrics Journal.

Things You'll Need

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Internship/practicum
  • Geriatric work experience
  • Master's degree
  • Certification
  • Geriatric journals
  • Professional memberships
  • Membership/certification fees
  • License

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Categories: Health Care