LIMA — Rhodes State College is getting ready to launch new associate’s degrees in agriculture technology, surgical technology and laboratory science, as well as a slate of new certificates that can be earned in one year or less to meet industry demand for medical assistants, surgical technicians and other in-demand jobs.
Dr. Antoinette Baldin, the interim vice president of academic affairs for Rhodes State, on Tuesday told the college’s board of trustees that the proposed degrees are in high demand in Allen County and will offer the college an opportunity to retain more students looking to study at home for two years before transferring into a four-year program.
The agricultural technology program, for example, would introduce students to precision mapping, GIS, drone technology, robotics and artificial intelligence now being used in the agricultural world. The program syncs with the college’s non-credit pre-apprenticeship offered to students enrolled in high school agricultural programs.
The surgical technology degree, meanwhile, is a program that both Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center and Lima Memorial Health System have said is needed locally, Baldin said.
The laboratory science concentration, which would require courses in organic chemistry, biology and related subjects, is designed for students interested in scientific careers outside of healthcare the opportunity to complete their first two years at Rhodes before transferring to a four-year program.
The new associate’s degrees were approved by the Rhodes State College Board of Trustees on Tuesday alongside a slate of certifications that can be earned in one year or less, pending further approval from the Higher Learning Commission and other accrediting agencies.
The 30-hour or more certificates are intended to complement existing degree programs, while the less-than-one-year certifications can be earned in as little as 10 credit hours and are more industry-driven, focusing on skills such as technology literacy or credentials for adults already in the workforce.