Sponsor spotlight: A bachelor’s degree is within reach at Edmonds College

Rubye Hayes (left) was forced into early retirement in 2015 and is now pursuing her BAS in Child, Youth, and Family Studies. She is pictured with Edmonds College Foundation Executive Director Tom Bull during the 2022 INSPIRE benefit. (Photo by Arutyun Sargsyan)

Did you know students can earn four-year Bachelor’s of Applied Science (BAS) degrees at Edmonds College? If your answer is no, you are not alone.

Edmonds College is no longer just a place to provide students a means to earn professional training certificates or act as a two-year stop for those seeking an associate’s degree before transferring to a four-year university. While the college still serves the community in those manners, it is simultaneously evolving and wants nearby residents to rethink their options for earning a bachelor’s degree.

Edmonds College launched its first bachelor’s degree program in Child, Youth, and Family Studies (BAS-CYFS) in 2017. A second program, Information Technology – Application Development (BAS-ITAD) was set to launch in 2021 but had its start date pushed to 2022. The college recently announced two new programs that will also commence in the fall of 2022. Edmonds College now has four diverse, visionary programs to help students meet their higher education dreams.

“Edmonds College strives to be innovative with an eye towards the future,” said Edmonds College President Dr. Amit B. Singh. “By offering four BAS degree programs, with a fifth coming in 2023, the college is positioned to provide the community an alternative way of earning a bachelor’s degree that prepares its graduates to be competitive in the workforce.”

The latest BAS degree programs added to the lineup at Edmonds College are Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Engineering Technology (BAS-AMMET) and Integrated Healthcare Management (BAS-IHCM). A fifth program – Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (BAS-ROBAI) – will launch in the fall of 2023.

A Bachelor of Applied Science is an advanced technical degree that builds on two-year technical pathways that used to be considered terminal degrees. Students in these fields now have options to continue their education that they would not be able to do at most four-year universities in the same way.

Organized in a 2+2 model, students first earn their Associate in Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) or equivalent degree before applying to a BAS program. After acceptance into a BAS program, students will spend two years in a cohort, learning collaboratively with classmates in classes with a low student-to-faculty ratio. In addition, each program has a dedicated manager to guide them through their two years. Graduates who earn BAS degrees can also apply to various graduate school programs.

For employers, the BAS programs fill an unmet need in a changing labor and industry workforce landscape and provide access to a pipeline of workers with advanced degrees in technical fields.

“These programs have been developed based on industry need and labor market projections, with strong feedback from local employers,” said Edmonds College Dean of Health and Human Services Karen Townsend. “The coursework emphasizes the practical skills and knowledge employees need to succeed in these careers.”

From the healthcare and high-tech industries to social services, the BAS programs at Edmonds College will prepare graduates to compete for a wide swath of careers in the Pacific Northwest and outside the region. A list of sample jobs is compiled online at edmonds.edu/programs/bas on each program’s home page.

There are many advantages to earning a BAS at Edmonds College versus a traditional bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution. First and foremost, for many participants, a four-year education at Edmonds College is more affordable than a conventional institution. Additionally, BAS classes are a hybrid of in-person and online learning designed for adults who need flexibility in their busy schedules. Most courses are held during the evening or on weekends, making them ideal for students who work or are primary caregivers to their families.

“Edmonds College prioritizes educational access,” said Dr. Carey Schroyer, dean of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. “The BAS degrees increase the accessibility and affordability of four-year programs in high-demand fields such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and robotics for all community members. These programs utilize state-of-the-art equipment, small class size, and innovative educational programming to prepare students for professional success in high-paying industry sectors without the hefty tuition of traditional four-year universities. Edmonds BAS degrees are an excellent investment for you and your children.”

Townsend, dean of the newly introduced IHCM-BAS program, is particularly excited about the convenience that the program offers professionals to work and attend school.

“One of my favorite parts is that with the addition of our Integrated Healthcare Management BAS degree, students will be able to start as a certified nursing assistant or even a home health aide,” she said. “They can work their way along the path to an AAS-T in Allied Health Education and then directly into a bachelor’s degree program, all right here on our campus.”

While developed for working adults, people from all walks of life enroll in BAS programs. From recent high school graduates just starting on their professional journeys to retirees looking for a new career, the doors to earning a BAS degree at Edmonds College are open to anyone.

Rubye Hayden worked for over two decades in the Everett School District before suffering a heart attack in 2015, leading her to early retirement. With a helping hand from her daughter and encouragement from her family, Hayden enrolled at Edmonds College and completed her AAS-T degree in 2021. She is now a year away from earning her BAS in Child, Youth, and Family Studies. After graduating, Hayden aspires to work for a non-profit or start a program that enables underserved populations to send their children to after-school daycare.

Hayden vividly recalls her first impressions when she first returned to school. “I was surprised to find so many people my age in school. I’ve made friends with fellow students, and they have the same ideas and goals as me.

“I thought my life and career were over, but now I am starting to pursue a new ideal career.”

If you are ready for a career change or just starting your journey, all you have to do is reach out and meet with an Edmonds College advisor to see how to get started on the path to earning a BAS degree. Learn more by visiting: www.edmonds.edu/programs/bas/.

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