As a result, the NIU College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) has announced new undergraduate and graduate certificate programs: Leadership in Aging Services. These programs are intended to prepare students for leadership and management positions in the rapidly growing senior housing and healthcare industry, as well as long term care administration.
Beverly Henry, associate dean of CHHS, said that the new programs will create increased career opportunities for NIU students.
“We are excited to promote opportunities for students to expand their awareness of the opportunities to work with older adults and to help serve societal needs,” Henry said.
The certificate includes coursework in administrative, financial, laws and regulations for long term care and the aging process. With satisfactory completion of the certificate, students can meet the requirements for the examination required to be licensed as a Nursing Home Administration in Illinois.
John Stolte, director of the Gerontology Program at NIU, said the new certificate offers solid, practical preparation for people who may have a degree and work experience but also want to pursue a highly promising, growing alternative career path.
Additionally, Stolte said the new certificate programs can enhance the job-readiness of students pursuing such health fields as rehabilitation services, counseling, speech-language pathology, physical therapy, audiology, medical laboratory sciences, public health or nursing.
According to the federal government’s Administration on Aging, Americans who are ages 65 and older now constitute about 13 percent of the population, and that figure is expected to increase to 19 percent, or roughly 72 million people, by 2030. This demographic transition will result in a shortage of people trained to meet the unique needs of older adults.
“There is no doubt that this industry needs an infusion of young professionals committed to leading the care of older adults, with a belief that our society has an obligation to ensure high quality care and services across the aging services continuum,” said Julie Boggess, CEO of Bethesda Home and Retirement Center of Chicago.
Efforts to increase research in this field are expanding too. NIU graduate students in the Master of Public Health program are invited to apply for a $1,000 scholarship from the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Association will provide scholarship opportunities to support projects toward a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation on a topic related to cognitive health, cognitive decline and or Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other dementias as a public health issue.
The applicant’s public health school or program must be accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, and the project must relate directly to The Healthy Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013-2018.
Students pursuing business or a variety of liberal arts specialties might also benefit by completing this program.