Bellevue College to offer new bachelor’s degree in health care

Bellevue College is set to offer a new bachelor’s degree program in Healthcare Technology and Management, following approval by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

This is the third four-year degree program to be established at BC that is not associated with other four-year state colleges.

The first classes are set to begin fall quarter, September 2012. The college expects to enroll 45 students in the first year, with annual enrollments growing to 90 students by year four.

Graduates of the program can expect to find positions in anything from large hospitals to small physicians’ offices, developing and managing systems to record the vast amounts of electronic health information.

College officials say there has been large job growth related to the ongoing computerization of medical records, with the American Medical Informatics Association estimating it will take as many as 200,000 workers to satisfy the projected job market demand.

“We did a lot of homework to identify a field that is going to be in-demand for many years to come. Our efforts are helping residents of our state gain access to affordable education so they can get jobs and progress in their fields, enabling them to better support themselves and their families,” said Dr. Kevin McCarthy, dean of Bellevue College’s Health Sciences, Education & Wellness Institute.

The program completed the approval process on Jan. 23 when the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) gave its authorization. It joins two other four-year degrees currently offered at BC: a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Interior Design, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Radiation and Imaging Sciences.

Community colleges like BC have typically offered only two-year degrees and certificates. However, a study by the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board in 2008 concluded that existing universities could not provide enough graduates with bachelor’s degrees to meet the employment needs of companies and organizations here in Washington.

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