Community colleges could soon offer baccalaureate degrees

Imperial Valley

Community colleges could soon offer baccalaureate degrees

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IMPERIAL, CALIF. (13 On Your Side) - Chief Executive Officers with the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association are proposing to offer baccalaureate degrees for selected majors in high demand.

Carmen Fitzsimmons has been a registered nurse for more than 24 years. She also trains aspiring nurses at Imperial Valley College.

IVC is her alma mater, but she received her bachelors degree from San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus.

Fitzsimmon says, there's a better way to fill this void.

"it would make it much easier for the nurses there at IVC. They already know the program so they can just jump over to the BSN."

She also says it's a good idea. Hospitals are looking for qualified nurses but...

"They probably wont consider you I you don't have a BSN. So the BSN's have a higher chance of getting hired."

Just recently, San Diego and Imperial County community college leaders voted to support offering a four-year degree. @

If the state give the go-ahead, the four-year program would only be offered for majors with high workforce demands.

"Just certain career-tech fields where If the Cal State systems doesn't have the capacity or if there isn't a program in that area, then it would make sense that the community colleges would be able to offer a baccalaureate degree," says Dr. Susan Carreon, associated dean at IVC.

Carreon says there's a good chance the nursing program will be the one.

"there is a need for more baccalaureate degree-prepared nurses. There's been a push at the national level and at the state level for more nurses to have a baccalaureate degree."

She says, a four-year program would encourage the nursing students to continue with their education.

"the baccalaureate degree gives them a little more depth. They have more research, they have more public health, more leadership, so it strengthens the nurse to have that background."

But until community colleges can offer a four-year degree, Fitzsimmons has a word of advice for aspiring nurses. @

"I encourage them to continue with their schooling and get their Bachelors."

Before such a program can go into effect at community colleges, it will have to go to state legislation early next year.