New BC four-year degree

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As of Jan. 23, 2012, Bellevue College now has a new four-year degree program in Healthcare Technology and Management. This field needs more workers who are competent in ongoing computerization of medical records. Not many people are trained in this field, but job trends have shown explosive growth in this area. According to the American Medical Informatics Association, it will take as many as 200,000 workers to fulfill the projected job market demand, not to mention thousands of job opportunities in Washington State alone.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges gave their authorization for the new degree. This will be the third bachelor’s degree offered here; the others are a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Interior Design and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Radiation and Imaging Sciences.

The first classes for this program will begin in September of 2012. BC estimates it will have about 45 students in the first year and projects that it will have around 90 students by the fourth year. Graduates will have many diverse opportunities in Washington, from large hospitals like Evergreen to small physicians’ offices. They will be developing and managing computer systems in order to file health information about their patients.

“This new degree program is another example of how Bellevue College is educating people for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Dr. Kevin McCarthy, Dean of Bellevue College’s Health Sciences, Education and Wellness Institute. He believes that looking ahead at jobs that will be in demand and preparing for them is important for both our economy and individuals. “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.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare jobs will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, which is more than any other industry. This is largely in response to rapid growth in the elderly population. Ten of the 20 fastest growing occupations are healthcare related.

As of 2008, healthcare provided 14.3 million jobs for wage and salary workers. Forty percent of those jobs were in hospitals, 21 percent were in nursing or residential care facilities, and 16 percent were in physicians’ offices.