“My course is accredited by the British Psychological Society”
“My course is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council”
“My course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development”
“My course is accredited by…”
Gerontology is lacking the formal accreditation structure of many of the other professional qualifications. Some would ask whether this is an issue worth addressing. I would argue, YES. Without the formal backing of an overarching association or governing body, gerontology programmes in the UK lack the quality mark that so many other fields can proudly boast. Without this, each institution can essentially teach whatever it is they wish to and badge it as a gerontology qualification. I am by no means suggesting that any of these programmes are substandard but what does any prospective employer use as a benchmark for quality? Without this ‘gold standard’ assuring quality, gerontology programmes are fighting for the recognition within an ever competitive field in the UK. I do not think that accreditation is the magic bullet to increase student numbers nor do I think that it will solve all of the quality issues which have been brought to light in the media but I do think it will provide a point of reference for employers and the wider public. Gerontology is a profession that does not have a distinct career path in the same way as nursing or engineering but it does have an importance that equally matches these. Adding a clear externally validated ‘stamp’ will go some way to increasing the externally perceived professionalism of the discipline and could further improve the prospects of its graduates. As already mentioned, there is no clear cut path in becoming a ‘Gerontologist’ but with an ageing population and the need for gerontological principles to be incorporated across the gamete of society, it is a distinct possibility with increased visibility and recognition that in future there could be….