Gerontological social work matters more than ever before. The United States is currently undergoing an unprecedented population shift. The 65+ population is expected to increase 147% between 2000 and 2050 (Census, 2007). By 2050 approximately 109,000 social workers will be needed in long-term care, twice the number needed in 2012 (DHHS, 2006). Despite these figures, few social work graduates have been adequately prepared to work with older adults. The CSWE Annual Survey noted that too few graduating social work students are specializing in aging. In 2009–2010 only 2.8% of BSW graduates and 6.7% of MSW graduates completed a specialization in aging, or an average of 5% across all social work graduates (CSWE, 2011). The CSWE Gero-Ed Center’s Programs address this gap between need and supply by enhancing social work students’ gero competencies at the generalist and advanced levels.
For more information about the state of the gerontological social work, view our Workforce Needs (MS Word) fact sheet. Download the NASW 2012 Aging Toolkit for talking points, trends, legislation and policy, and more.