A Chat with the Dean of the UMBC Erickson School of Aging – For those Considering a Career in Aging

School has started! So… if you are looking for a major for your undergraduate years or searching for something new and want to get a master’s in something practical and meaningful, I highly recommend you consider the Management of Aging Services (MAgS) program at the UMBC Erickson School of Aging.  Now let me tell you. I’ve taken individual courses with the school and have worked with them on a few occasions. This really is a top-of-the line program and what I really love is that the professors have much more than academics in their blood; they have REAL LIFE experience!!  ULTRA MEANINGFUL + AN EDGE to get a job after graduation??  Who could turn that down?!

To get the inside scoop on this awesome undergrad and grad program, I spoke with the Dean of the Erickson School of Aging, Dr. Judah Ronch, and asked him for the inside scoop. Thank you  Judah for your precious time!

1. What type of jobs would someone get by having a degree in MAgS?
The beauty of the MAgS program is that, as our society ages, virtually every professional discipline will be touched by Baby Boomers and those over the age of 65.  The MAgS program prepares students for careers in everything from seniors housing to health and fitness to finance to advocacy to psychology to social work to technology.  The sky is the limit. 


2. How would majoring in the Management of Aging Services (MAgS) program benefit a college student in the long run? 

The MAgS undergraduate program prepares students to lead the field of aging services by helping them to understand the needs and wants of an aging society, particularly as Baby Boomers approach retirement age.  It does so by integrating content in three key areas: the studies of human aging, business management, and public policy.
3. What’s the job market like for this group? 
The job market for this group is very good; the MAgS program is about preparing students for exciting careers, and we take our role in placing students in rewarding positions very seriously.
4. How is this program different from Gerontology?
The study of human aging is certainly a big part of the MAgS program.  In addition, the program includes classes in business management and public policy.  Our perspective is that, if you don’t understand business management and public policy, you won’t be as effective a leader as you can be if you do understand those disciplines.
5. There are a lot of young professionals who are now going back to grad school for MBAs.  Why is a Masters in MAGS something they should also consider?
MBAs are certainly valuable, but by definition they will not help you to understand the wants and needs of an aging society.  Every 7.9 seconds, someone turns 60 in America.  What products and services do they want?  How do we as a society meet their needs?  These are the questions that we’re preparing leaders to address.  And we’re placing them in great jobs, as well as helping them to launch their own businesses that help to make the lives of others a little better.
6. Does everyone in your program have previous experience in aging (both grad and undergrad)? What type of students have gone through your grad program? 
Many of our undergraduate and graduate program students are career-changers who have spent 10 or 20 years in other fields.  That adds to the richness of the program.  Students from varying backgrounds and with different life experiences work together to achieve solutions to problems in different ways.  That is just another unique aspect of the program — teaching students to approach problems from multiple perspectives.  We’re proud that we have undergraduate and graduate program alums in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.
7. What have past and current students said they like most about your program?  
The graduate program is a cohort program, and in addition to the unique content, students develop professional networks and close personal friendships with others that are in their class.  Those networks serve them well throughout their careers.
(Isabel: For all you readers, I’d encourage you to check out past and present undergrad and grad student profiles. Have a great week!)  

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