DENVER, Aug. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Dr. Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), announced that the Community College of Denver and Pueblo Community College has received approval from the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education to offer a four-year bachelor of applied science degree in dental hygiene.
"We are very excited to have Board approval to move forward with this program. This approval puts us on track to open even more rewarding career opportunities for our students," President McCallin stated.
CCCS colleges have long provided sought-after training for dental hygienists to work in a clinical environment through their two-year associate of applied science degree programs. The creation of a four-year bachelor of applied science program in dental hygiene will expand students' career opportunities, allowing them to enter fields that require a four-year degree, including public and community health, education, sales and research.
Recognizing a gap in Colorado's higher education system for career and technical students and an unmet business need, the CCCS asked for and obtained legislative approval to expand its offerings to include four-year career and technical bachelor of applied science degrees in 2014. Many specialized technical jobs require a four-year degree. However, most career and technical courses are not offered at and do not transfer to Colorado's four-year universities. In order to provide opportunities for career and technical students at an affordable cost, community colleges were allowed to offer four-year Bachelor of Applied Science degrees once certain requirements and approvals are met. The State Board approval is one of three approvals that are required.
This is the second four-year bachelor of applied sciences degree developed by CCCS since the General Assembly opened this path for students at Colorado's community colleges in 2014. Earlier this year, Red Rocks Community College received the necessary approvals from the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education to offer a four-year bachelor of applied science degree in water quality management. The dental hygiene bachelor of applied science degree program now moves to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education for approval. Once it receives that approval, both degrees will be ready for review by the colleges' accrediting agency.
"We look forward to being able to open both of these programs in the near future so that we can expand students' opportunities to earn relevant, career-oriented, four-year degrees at an affordable cost in the communities where they live," President McCallin said.
The Colorado Community College System comprises the state's largest system of higher education serving more than 151,000 students annually. It oversees career and academic programs in the 13 state community colleges and career and technical programs in more than 160 school districts and six other post-secondary institutions.
SOURCE Colorado Community College System