NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Society is aging and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s population of those who are 65 years old and older will nearly double in the next 20 years. To help prepare for this population shift, Stephen F. Austin State University will offer a certificate in aging studies and become the only university in Northeast Texas to provide this option.

“This increase presents exciting opportunities and urgent challenges to society. This aging population will be the major social and business issue of the 21st century,” said Dr. Hyunsook Kang, associate professor in SFA’s School of Human Sciences. “It is important to prepare health providers and societies to meet the specific needs of older populations.”

The 18-hour certificate will help prepare students for careers in planning, administering, coordinating and delivering services to older adults. Career opportunities include working as a case manager, consultant, older adult educator, legal aid assistant, program activities director or senior community outreach personnel. Nurses and social workers also can specialize in working with geriatric clients.

With this certificate, students also could pursue employment with entities such as the Department of Health Services, Department of Social Services, senior retirement and adult care centers, and area agencies on aging.

The certificate involves courses from human sciences, sociology and health science disciplines. Course topics include heath issues and aging, family relations, nutrition, independent living, and consumer issues.

The certificate is open to those who successfully complete six elective courses and who meet general admission requirements.

For more information, contact Kang at, or visit