After nearly eight months of work, submissions and research into what students want and employer demand, Bellevue College will have a new four-year degree opportunity starting as early as this fall and potentially a second next fall.
On Feb. 5, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges approved the college’s application to offer a bachelor of applied science in applied accounting.
According to the college’s application, the degree “will prepare graduates who have a strong understanding of operational and financial accounting and can work in a wide range of accounting capacities in private, government and nonprofit organizations.”
The board also approved an application for the college to offer a molecular bioscience degree, which could be available in fall 2016.
Both applications are still pending approval from the regional accreditation agency, the Northwest Commission for Colleges and Universities, but Bellevue College officials are hopeful each will be accepted in the next few months.
“We anticipate approval by the NWCCU sometime in spring for both programs,” said Evan Epstein, a spokeswoman for Bellevue College.
Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, local job postings as well as student and employer surveys showed a growing need to offer additional four-year degrees, she said.
“It is clear that for many positions the bachelor degree is now the minimum level of education necessary,” she said. “The degrees serve the community by providing graduates who are well trained in applied skills and knowledge that transfer to the work place immediately. These students are equally trained in the so called ‘soft skills’ – such as communications skills and team cooperating project management skills.”
Each of the applied baccalaureate degrees is setup in a two by two model, where students spend their first two years earning an associates degree in a related field to the degree, then the latter two years in “upper level courses,” she said.
The baccalaureate degree will be an ideal path for any Bellevue College graduates of the two-year technical degrees in accounting, transfer students from other state community and technical colleges with accounting-related associate degrees and people currently in the field needing to add advanced skills, Epstein said.
The college is also working on its application to offer a bachelor of applied science degree in health promotion and management.