With the approval of a bachelor’s of science in health and wellness by the Board of Regents on Tuesday, Dalton State College now offers 24 degrees.
A degree in health and wellness is a broad degree that will help graduates fill roles in many different areas, including the pharmaceutical industry, medical centers, clinics, community health centers, government health departments, fitness and wellness centers, and the health insurance industry. Students can enroll in the program beginning with the fall semester.
“We want to provide this program on our campus in order to keep up with the trends, the needs and demand that is specific to our area,” said Gina Kertulis-Tartar, dean of the School of Health Professions. “Employers in our area are increasingly implementing health and wellness programs for their employers. Similarly, public facilities are increasing their health and wellness programming. The majority of employers who responded to our needs survey stated they would hire graduates with this degree. A few of the respondents stated they have advertised positions and have not received applicants.”
The degree also fulfills all the introductory requirements to Dalton State’s highly competitive nursing program. Students who consider themselves to be pre-nursing will now be placed in the health and wellness program until they are accepted into the nursing program. Students who are not accepted to the nursing program will be able to stay in the health and wellness major without losing any credits.
The health and wellness program will provide strong foundational knowledge for students with an interest in health professions. While some will progress into the nursing program, others may choose to pursue other clinical disciplines for which there is also high demand, Kertulis-Tartar said.
“Dalton State continues to respond to the workforce needs of our region,” said Margaret Venable, president of the college. “We understand that health care professionals are in high demand here as they are everywhere. This newest degree program will allow us to produce more graduates who can help fill some of the employment needs of the area hospitals and doctors' offices as well as other newer positions related to healthier lifestyles.”
Courses offered through the program include community health, substance abuse, responding to emergencies and coaching and leadership.
The School of Health Professions currently offers five other bachelor’s degrees: health information management, organizational leadership (which is an online degree), respiratory therapy, RN-BSN (registered nurse-bachelor of science in nursing) and social work, as well as a two-year registered nursing degree, and associate degrees in respiratory therapy, radiological technology and medical laboratory technology.