Poised for the future
New health and human services degrees meet student needs
By Bob Cunningham
Bowling Green State University will begin offering three new health and science degree programs in the fall to help meet the evolving needs of students and the healthcare industry.
A Bachelor of Science in Public Health with an environmental health concentration, a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health, and a Master of Science in Forensic Science with a specialization in forensic investigation are new degree programs in the College of Health and Human Services scheduled to launch in the 2016-17 academic year.
“We were strategic in determining which new programs we wanted to add to ensure that we are helping to meet the rising need in the workforce,” said Dr. Marie Huff, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “These are all unique programs that will ultimately draw new students to Bowling Green State University, contributing to overall enrollment. We are excited that our college is having a positive impact on student and community needs.”
BGSU’s applied health science bachelor’s degree program currently offers several different tracks including public health. The addition of the environmental health concentration to that degree program will prepare students for a career in the area of environmental health, safety, sanitation and hygiene. Professionals in those fields are responsible for the investigation and prevention of health-related problems within a community, such as air and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste disposal, food-borne illnesses in public eating establishments, water and wastewater treatment, and insect and rodent vectors of disease.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 15.6 million new healthcare positions by 2022, with employment of environmental scientists and specialists specifically expected to grow 11 percent during the same time period.
“People have been asking for this degree for a long time,” Huff said. “Making public health its own degree instead of a specialization is already generating more student interest.”
The allied health bachelor’s online degree program is being created to help individuals who have previously earned an associate’s degree in an allied health field, such as physical therapy assistants, dental hygiene, respiratory care or radiography, earn their Bachelor of Science degree while they continue working. Students with associate degrees in accredited allied health programs with the appropriate prerequisites will be able to complete their bachelor’s degree in one year via the BGSU eCampus.
The allied health field also is expected to add more jobs according to the BLS, with a projected growth of 19 percent by 2024. That equals about 2.3 million new jobs.
“BGSU offers an online program designed to provide a bachelor’s degree pathway to so many different disciplines in allied health,” Huff said.
The new master’s degree in forensic science has three major areas of concentration: forensic chemistry, forensic biology and forensic investigations. This approach recognizes the diversity of expertise and challenges in forensic science within the justice arena. The degree will emphasize developing advanced forensic expertise and leadership skills for individuals in agencies or organizations that provide forensic services in the criminal justice field.
“The number of freshmen showing interest in forensic investigations in our college, particularly criminal justice and forensics, is phenomenal,” Huff said. Students who decide to major in forensic science have a choice: select one of the science concentrations to gain the skills needed to analyze data in a crime lab, or select the investigations track and gain the skills needed to investigate actual crime scenes.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also is projecting growth in this area with employment of forensic science technicians increasing 27 percent in the next eight years. But because it is such a small occupational field, there will be much competition for those jobs. “Having a graduate degree from BGSU will give students an advantage over their competitors,” Huff said.
These new degree programs will have a positive impact on student enrollment at Bowling Green State University and serve vital needs for the community.