Skyline College approved for baccalaureate

Although most Skyline students have plans to transfer to continue their education, prospective respiratory therapists may be able to complete their baccalaureate degrees here.

Skyline has received initial approval to be one of the 15 community colleges throughout the state to offer a four-year degree in a historic pilot program approved by Gov. Jerry brown last fall.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for some students to take advantage of,” Skyline student, Roman Ermolov, said. “They can save time and money by getting (a baccalaureate degree) locally instead of at a big university.”

“I’m tremendously excited that Skyline College is going to be able to provide this type of opportunity,” Skyline President Regina Stanback Stroud said. “Make no mistake, this opportunity to have access to a baccalaureate is about people being able to access jobs. Employers say that they want to hire people at that level. (…)This is a historic event for the college to be able to offer the baccalaureate.”
Currently, there is just one baccalaureate degree in respiratory therapy available in the state and none within the CSU or UC system. According to Dean of Science, Math and Technology, Raymond Hernandez, an associate degree has been the standard in the industry, but there is an increased demand for further training in the field.

“Like any of our healthcare professions…the responsibility levels increase, the tech expertise increases, and the abundance of knowledge and info has increased four-fold,” Hernandez said. “The requirements have increased in really any healthcare related field.”

Currently, Hernandez says that it takes about three years for many students to complete the respiratory therapy program at the Associate degree level and estimates that the baccalaureate degree will require up to 40 more units.
“We’re thinking, possibly, the major coursework will feed into the baccalaureate work,” Hernandez said.

Skyline plans to have the program available by the 2016 fall semester, allowing some current students in the program the possibility of continuing their education without transferring.

The selection process for the program is yet to be determined and will require a statewide discussion, but according to Hernandez, the main criteria for admission will be an Associate’s degree from an accredited respiratory therapy program.
“However the selection process happens, it’s going to still follow our same mission of providing access equitably,” Hernandez said.


Update: this article headline was changed to “Skyline College approved for baccalaureate” from “Skyline selected for four-year degree”.