By Adam Wardolf – Staff Writer
This spring, the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents approved a change of status for GPC from a two-year college to a state college. While GPC will continue to offer two-year associate degrees, now they will also be allowed to offer a limited number of four-year baccalaureate programs.
Plans are in the works to offer the first four-year degrees in GPC’s history. The two bachelor’s programs to be offered are in the growing fields of sign language interpreting and health informatics.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the sign language interpreting field will grow rapidly due to the increasing use of video relay services. These services allow video calls to be conducted using a sign language interpreter over an Internet connection.
A recent change in certification requirements for sign language interpreters by The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf made the change from an associate program to a bachelor program necessary.
The health informatics degree will allow students to become qualified as registered health information administrators, who are responsible for the varied demands of keeping health records for individual patients. By 2018, employment for health information administrators is expected to increase 20 percent from 2008 levels, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As of now there are no official plans to add more baccalaureate degrees, but GPC President, Dr. Anthony Tricoli, did not rule it out. “We want to see how we do with our first two degrees; but our faculty members have already suggested several ideas,” he explained. Tricoli also recently told ReporterNewspapers.net, “We are a two-year institution morphing into offering baccalaureate degrees. We are going to focus on areas that are non-traditional. … We intend to build baccalaureate degrees that really fill a niche need.”