Biogerontologist - How to Become a Biogerontologist


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Biogerontologist Job Description


The work of a biogerontologist is to understand the secrets of the aging process by studying the transformation of cells, organs and systems with age.  Some focus on the influence of the environment on aging and search for factors that impact the longevity of human life. 

It is not uncommon for biogerontologists to focus on age related complications such as osteoporosis. This is done to unearth the reasons for which senior citizens are affected with certain illnesses. Some biogerontologists concentrate on genetics and the roles played by genetics in determining the longevity of human life.

According to the beliefs of some biogerontologists, aging is a medical condition that can be cured in the future. Bearing this in mind, they turn to stem cells, antioxidants, vitamins and other things that may be instrumental in reversing the process of aging.

They're well supported by pharmaceutical companies since drugs that promote greater lifespan have consistently increasing demand. 




Biogerontologists are concerned with aging and the ailments that come with it, including ailments such as arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and osteoporosis. They work to understand the factors involved in causes such medical conditions and research to reverse the processes and improve the lives of others. Some are required to manage dangerous chemicals while searching for answers. Most of the biogerontologist's time is occupied by research, education, and collaboration with the scientific community. 




Successful biogerontologists have a keen and deep understanding of science and mathematics. As with most research science positions, they also need to have strong critical thinking, problem solving skills, and the capability of working with a team of other professionals, or alone.

Written and oral communications skills are key for a successful career in biogerontology as they often work with professionals from a myraid of other fields, including engineering, physicists, physicians, geneticists, and mathematicians. 


Working Conditions


Biogerontologists are stationed in universities, pharmaceutical companies and research facilities that focus on aging. They are known to work with dangerous substances that are used in innovative research projects. The work of a biogerontologist is long, tiring and often futile. They are also under the pressure of reducing costs and finding alternate sources of funding for their research projects.



How to Become a Biogerontologist:


1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)


Aspiring biogerontologists must first obtain a bachelor's degree in a scientific field of study. These areas build the knowledge and skills necessary for a strong foundation in biogerontology and will be beneficial when applying to medical programs.

Common areas of study include:

  • Microbiology
  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics


The preparation timeline below outlines the suggested courses:


Grade Level Example Courses

Freshman Year


  • General Chemistry I & Lab
  • General Chemistry II & Lab
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biology
  • Calculus I
  • English 101
  • English 102
  • Humanities Requirement

Sophomore Year

  • Organic Chemistry I & Lab
  • Organic Chemistry II & Lab
  • Fundamentals of Microbiology & Lab
  • Genetics
  • Humanities Requirement
  • Electives

Junior Year


  • Cell Structure & Function
  • General Virology & Lab
  • Microbial Genetics & Lab
  • Biochemistry I
  • Biochemistry II
  • Physics
  • Electives

Senior Year

  • Immunology & Lab
  • Pathogenic Microbiology & Lab
  • Microbiology Seminar
  • Electives


2. Take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)


To be admitted into medical school, candidates must first take the MCAT, or Medical College Admission Test, a 7.5 hour, standardized, multiple choice exam used to assess the applicant's knowledge of science, reasoning, communication, and writing skills.


The MCAT is divided into four sections:


Section/Category  Section Breakdown
Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • 59 multiple-choice questions
  • 95 minutes
  • Tests biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry
Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • 59 multiple-choice questions
  • 95 minutes
  • Tests biochemistry, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics

Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior

  • 59 multiple-choice questions
  • 95 minutes
  • Tests introductory psychology, sociology, and biology
Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills
  • 53 multiple-choice questions
  • 90 minutes
  • Tests reading comprehension, humanities, and social sciences


You can find study materials, MCAT registration, and your test scores on the AAMC website here.


3a. Earn a Master's or Doctoral Degree (2 - 8 Years)


Some schools offer biogerontology degrees at the master's and PhD levels. If you're looking to conduct your own research, however, you'll want to opt for the PhD program.


3b. Earn a Medical Degree (4 Years)


Another option is to continue on to medical school, rather than a graduate program. Doing this leaves the student open to many different paths if someone doubtful of their decision to become a biogerontologist. 

A list of accredited medical education programs is available through the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). For more information and advice on successfully getting into medical school, you can check with the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Medical school consists of four years of studying the basics in science and participating in clinical “rotations.” These are hands-on clinical experiences in real health care settings. In most med schools, the first two years are taken up with classroom studies before students are assigned to do rotations. The current trend, however, finds a number of medical schools exposing students to early clinical experiences that continue throughout the four-year program.

Most medical schools base their curriculum on a system-based approach that focuses on one physiological system at a time, such as the respiratory system or the nervous system. Still others may use a case-based curriculum that teaches about the human body’s normal functioning and disease processes by assigning students to following individual patient cases from start to finish. Still other med schools use a combination of these approaches to educate their students.

The most common lines of coursework among medical schools consist of the following subjects:

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Ethics
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Psychology

During the last two years of schooling, students are required to obtain hands-on experience at hospitals and clinics, learning to diagnose and treat patients while working under the supervision of licensed physicians.

Upon completion of four years of med school, a student is awarded a medical degree, or M.D. Another popular trend is for schools to offer combination degree programs, such as MD/MPH, MD/PHD or MD/JD. The AAMC’s website on Medical School Admission Requirements offers more information on this option.


The preparation timeline below provides an example medical school curriculum:


Year Example Courses

Year 1


  • Cells and Tissues
  • Molecular Foundations of Medicine
  • Applied Biochemistry 
  • Genetics
  • Disease Mechanisms & Development
  • Cardiac Life Support
  • The Nervous System
  • Immunology
  • Gross Anatomy of Head & Neck
  • Microbiology
  • Pulmonary System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Microbiology

Year 2

  • Renal/Genitourinary System
  • Gastrointestinal System
  • Skin/Endocrine Systems
  • Reproduction & Women's Health
  • Microbiology
  • Behavior & the Brain
  • Hematology
  • Systemic Diseases
  • Microbiology
  • Clinical Clerkship

Year 3, 4, 5


  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Family Medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Critical Care
  • Ambulatory Med
  • Research, Reflections and Advances in Patient Care


Salary Outlook