CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Representatives from the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and Bluefield State College (BSC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to solidify nursing career pathways for West Virginia students. The MOU outlines the necessary steps to be taken by Career Technical Education (CTE) students to launch their nursing and health science careers quickly with the skills needed by the industry.
Career Pathways focus on cost-saving, time-shortened plans to specific occupations through a partnership between CTE centers and higher education institutions throughout the state.
“I applaud Bluefield State College for becoming the first higher education institution to offer health science career pathways for our West Virginia students,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “The pathways will allow our students to enter the workforce more quickly and cost-effectively by giving credit for the completion of courses within our CTE centers.”
Students who complete the required courses within their health science CTE program are eligible to apply to BSC and receive eight college credits towards a Health Science Education Associate Degree. BSC is also offering an Associate of Nursing career pathway. Students who graduate from an accredited/approved school of practical nursing and obtain an active license as a Licensed Practical Nurse can complete required curriculum to obtain an associate of nursing degree in three semesters. Both pathways save students time and resources in entering the nursing field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2014-2024, Registered Nursing (RN) is listed among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2024. With many nurses in West Virginia nearing retirement age, there will be an increasing need for highly-skilled nurses in the region. Many area hospitals offer incentives, including signing bonuses, to attract nurses to the area, and encourage enrollment in nursing programs.
“Bluefield State understands the critical demand for nurses and other health care professionals throughout the state, and we are proud to partner with the West Virginia Department of Education to help meet this significant need,” observed BSC President Dr. Marsha Krotseng. “These Career Pathways programs represent a win-win for students and the state’s health care industry, preparing well-qualified West Virginia nurses to enter the workforce more rapidly.”
The Health Science Education Pathway and the Associate of Nursing Pathway both assist students in reaching their desired career in an expedited manner by outlining the exact courses, or paths, that the student will need to take to fulfill course requirements for the an A.S. in Nursing, B.S. in Nursing, an A.S. in Radiologic Technician, or a B.S. in Imaging Science.