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Leadership for an Aging Society

Graduate Certificate


Certificate Overview

The online Graduate Certificate in Leadership for an Aging Society is designed to teach students the fundamentals of the aging process and the leadership skills needed to manage an organization that serves older adults both ethically and effectively. Students will learn how to develop, implement, and assess organizational policy and lead teams that provide support services for older adults. 


The online program also covers a variety of topics related to serving in a leadership role in the elder care industry, such as the biological, psychological, and sociological impact of aging; ethical issues surrounding older adults and their families living in community or facility settings, including those of for-profit, nonprofit, and government organizations; and public policy development and approval processes at the local, state, and national levels.

This online certificate will principally serve two broad audiences:

  • Current professionals whose organizations specialize in assisting/caring for older adults in public or private settings; and
  • Graduate students enrolled in a degree program related to aging (such as sociology, engineering, agriculture, nutrition, public administration, or human development).

Certificate recipients will be well prepared to lead and manage organizations that serve older adults in range of settings and levels.

Why Choose This Online Program?

  • The Graduate Certificate in Leadership for an Aging Society is a university-approved program of advanced study offered by the Virginia Tech Center for Gerontology. 
  • The Graduate Certificate in Leadership for an Aging Society distinguishes you as a knowledgeable, skilled, and committed professional in the field of aging. Numerous employment opportunities in teaching, service, administration, and research that focus on older adults’ needs and interests can be found in government programs and agencies; public and private institutions that provide health, education, and social services; research centers; special interest groups and associations; colleges and universities; and corporate human resources divisions.
  • Our online program enables students to get individualized attention with award-winning and research-active faculty. 
  • The Center for Gerontology is designated a Collaborating Centre by the International Association for Gerontology and Geriatrics, signifying that the center meets the association’s criteria for excellence, including being a sustainable university-level research center, offering a gerontology training program, engaging in research resulting in peer-reviewed publications, and having multiple research affiliates.

What You’ll Study

The certificate in leadership for an aging soceity requires total 12 core credit hours.

Core Courses – 12 credits

LAHS 5004: Organizational Leadership for an Aging Society (3 credits)
LAHS 5014: Ethics for an Aging Society (3 credits)
LAHS 5024: Public Policy for an Aging Society (3 credits)
LAHS 5034: Gerontology Leadership Capstone Project (3 credits)

Students will be required to complete coursework to develop knowledge and skills related to organizational leadership, ethical principles, and public policy for the aging services industry. Students will also be required to apply organizational leadership skills in a capstone project to develop, execute, and/or assess an elder care policy or program. Students will gain an understanding of the fundamental competencies needed to lead aging services organizations and manage teams that develop and implement policies and practices that address the care needs of older adults and their families.

Students may enroll in the certificate program either full-time or part-time. Degree-seeking students may take courses in conjunction with their regular course load. Those attending full-time can complete the certificate in a minimum of one academic year and a maximum of four academic years; those attending part-time can complete the certificate in approximately two academic years and a maximum of four academic years.

Non-degree seeking, full-time students can complete the certificate in a minimum of one academic year (two semesters). Non-degree-seeking, part-time students taking one course per semester can complete the certificate in two academic years (four semesters).

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale)
  • TOEFL/IELTS score (if applicable)

Learn more 

Tuition and Fee Rates
Bursar's Office - Tuition and Fees: Current and Upcoming Terms
For Online Certificate Look Under Graduate Program-Specific Tuition Section
- Online Graduate Certificate in Leadership for an Aging Society (ASCC) 

Loans and other funding opportunities are available to graduate students; visit Virginia Tech’s Financial Aid website to learn more.
Limited amount of small scholarships are available directly through the Center. Contact our Program Specialist for more information on how to apply. 

New to Virginia Tech (Certificate Applicants Only):

Domestic Application Deadlines:

  • Fall: August 1st
  • Spring: January 1st

International Application Deadlines:

  • Fall: April 1st
  • Spring: September 1st

Pamela Teaster
Program Director
Center for Gerontology
203 Grove Lane
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Carlisle Shealy
Assistant Director 
Center for Gerontology
230 Grove Lane
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Faculty in Gerontology

Featured Faculty Member

Robert Blancato, MPA

Robert Blancato, executive director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs, will teach “Public Policy for an Aging Society” (LAHS 5024), the inaugural course of the Graduate Certificate in Leadership for an Aging Society. The course will focus on public policy development at local, state, and national levels.

With more than 20 years of service in the congressional and executive branches of the federal government, Blancato is a past senior staff member of the U.S. House Select Committee on Aging, and he served as executive director of the 1995 White House Conference on Aging. He serves on both the National Board of AARP and the Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As president of Matz, Blancato and Associates, he also directs several national coalitions, including the Elder Justice Coalition and Defeat Malnutrition Today.

Blancato earned his bachelor’s degree at Georgetown University and his master’s of public administration from American University. He has won numerous advocacy awards and honors, including being knighted by the Italian Republic in 2011.

Robert Blancato
Robert Blancato