Members of the Missouri State University Board of Governors Thursday approved new academic programs for Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) during their regular board meeting in Springfield.
They approved a new Associate of Science (AS) in Computer Science degree for students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
They also approved a new Human Resources option for the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Business degree and a new Advanced Fabrication Technology option for the AAS in Technology.
These options also provide the required training for certifications in these specific fields.
“Positions requiring the training provided by these programs are among the most in-demand in our region, state and nation, and also among the higher paying positions in the workforce,” said Cathy Proffitt-Boys, division chair of applied technology, business and public service. “They also fit in line with academic programs we already offer.”
Computer Science degree
Developed as a transfer degree, the AS in Computer Science is designed to give students a broad overview of the field, from the basic structure of a computer to artificial intelligence, which will help them successfully complete degrees such as the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at Missouri State in Springfield, Boys said.
“A bachelor’s degree in computer science prepares students for careers in software development and programming, web development, information technology, computer programming and computer management, among many other options,” Boys said.
Computer science graduates are among the highest paid nationwide, she added. In Missouri, average salaries range from $81,000 to $83,000, depending on position and location, she said.
Demand for these positions also is high, and job growths of 8 to 19%, depending on the position, can be expected over the next few years, Boys said.
Although designed as a transfer degree, the AS in Computer Science also will provide students the training they need to fill positions that require just an associate’s degree, such as a computer support specialist, a career that has an anticipated job growth of 10% nationwide over the next 10 years, Boys said.
“The AS in Computer Science fills an educational gap in our computer-related degree offerings. We have other degrees, such as computer graphics and programming and information technology options in both the business and technology areas. The computer science degree is unique in that it has greater emphasis on calculus and physics, as well as the computer science classes,” Boys explained.
Human Resources option
The Human Resources option of the AAS in Business prepares students for careers as certified human resources professionals. The skills they learn in benefits administration, payroll accounting, computer applications and human resources will help them fill positions at large or small businesses whose duties range from employee recruitment to benefits management.
These positions have good job growth and earning potential, Boys said. The number of open positions is expected to significantly increase over the next five to six years due to attrition and new employment opportunities, she said. Salaries average $46,620 statewide.
“The human resources professionals in our area have indicated a need for more human resources jobs in our area,” she said.
The Associate Professional in Human Resources (BUS 180) class is a new course that is a key part of the program.
“MSU-WP has partnered with the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) to offer the course to prepare students for the Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) certification exam. The aPHR certification will help fast track career growth and provide students with an excellent start to the human resources profession,” Boys said.
Advanced Fabrication Technology option
The Advanced Fabrication Technology option of the AAS in Technology will prepare students for careers in advanced fabrication and welding by focusing on such skills as structural design and fabrication, automated systems and robotic arc welding, all of which are in high demand.
Students will gain experience in the four processes of welding technology: advanced shielded metal arc welding, advanced gas metal arc welding, flux-cored arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding.
“These concepts and processes are applied with automated and robotic arc welding by combining automated systems and robotics in digital fabrication with metals,” Boys said.
Students completing the degree option or certificate will receive industry-recognized standards from the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) for Lincoln Electric’s LEEPs program in:
- Principles of Welding and Welding Safety
- Introduction to Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Flux-Cored Arc Welding and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
- Advanced Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Flux-Cored Arc Welding and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
They also will receive certification from the NC3 in Festo Introduction to Mechatronics and Advanced Manufacturing Fundamentals of Robotics.
In addition, training through this program will prepare students to seek American Welding Society (AWS) certification, although certification is not a part of the program nor will be a direct result of enrollment in the program.
Welding positions, which have an average salary of $39,730, are expected to increase around 5% over the next 10 years in Missouri. Local employers continue to report difficulty in filling all jobs available, Boys said.
“This program is intended to help build a local and regional pipeline of qualified and certified welders for our local employers,” Boys said.
The programs will now be presented to the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) for approval in late summer or early fall, she added.
For more information about these new programs and how to apply and register, visit the university’s website or call 417-255-7955.