The allied health program, which is entering its fourth year, is an exclusively online degree that is designed to provide an opportunity to those working in the allied health field with an associate degree to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
“We have been very pleased with the response from the community colleges and students from around Louisiana in response to this program,” said Dr. Laura Aaron, director and professor in the School of Allied Health at Northwestern State. “The interest seems to be growing and we are excited to be working with so many different allied health professions. Since the program involves all the allied health professions it is really helping the various professionals understand other perspectives. This can only help in a healthcare situation where teamwork is so important.”
Admission is limited to students with an associate degree and certification in their allied health specialty. The program was developed based on conversations with representatives of the state’s community colleges who indicated there was a strong need for a bachelor’s level program in allied health to provide career advancement opportunities for those in the field.
Students in the program take junior and senior level courses allowing them to develop knowledge and skill sets that can be used in multiple clinical settings. Course offerings will include health informatics, microbiology, genetics, web page development, and other relevant classes.
“The program has been excellent,” said Bryan Sully of Baton Rouge, a senior in the program who is a diving superintendent and national registered paramedic for Aqueos Corporation in Broussard. “The instructors do a wonderful job of communicating with the students and engaging them. I get good responses to e-mail and they keep the discussion boards active.”
Sully earned an associate degree at South Louisiana Community College and found that Northwestern State’s allied health program best met his needs. According to Sully, his classes at Northwestern State have had a positive impact on he performs his job.
“My class in project management has helped me be a better manager of the personnel, said Sully, who will graduate this summer. “We used psychology and business management to develop teamwork. My direct study class was based on what I do at work. It helped me refine my skills in preparing the classes I teach. I was able to set up a structured learning environment that helps those I teach become better medics.”
The survey used statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System and The National Post-secondary Student Aid Study to track students through their educational experience. The rankings also considered accreditation of colleges and their quality of academic programs. instructor to student ratio and academic qualifications of instructors.