Geriatricians can find employment in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and managed-care offices. Some are self-employed in their own or group practices.
Geriatricians interested in teaching work at medical schools or university hospitals. There are also positions available in government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Pharmaceutical companies and chemical companies are also potential employers. They may hire geriatricians to help research and develop new drugs, instruments, and procedures.
There are no shortcuts to entering the medical profession. You will need to complete all the required schooling and training and become licensed before you are ready to enter practice. When starting out, some doctors choose to open a private practice or join an established practice. Others take jobs with hospitals and managed-care facilities. Positions are also available with government agencies, such as the National Institute on Aging. Because the education period for physicians is so long, they have the time and opportunities to make many contacts in the field. These contacts are often useful when a doctor looks for employment. Doctors may also use the services of specialized job placement agencies that work only with physicians or that work only with health care professionals of all types.
Advancement will depend to a large extent on a geriatrician's personal interests and goals. Some with experience may become medical directors of long-term care facilities or the heads of geriatrics divisions of HMOs. Those who are interested in teaching can advance through the ranks to hold full professorships. Geriatricians in private practice can advance with time and experience by building up their client base and creating a large practice. Other possibilities include moving into administration to direct nursing homes, home care programs, or chronic care facilities.
Tips for Entry
To learn more about the field, read:
- The Gerontologist: https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist
- Aging Today and GENERATIONS: both available at http://www.asaging.org/publications
- American Society on Aging Blog: http://asaging.org/blog
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Join the American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Be willing to relocate. It may open more job opportunities. There is currently a shortage of geriatricians in rural areas.