by jamesc 7/14/2014 2:35:10 PM --
NORFOLK – Criminal Justice and Early Childhood Education have been mainstay programs at Northeast Community College. But beginning this fall, additional degree options in the programs will be added to the curriculum.
In the past, Northeast has offered an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in Criminal Justice with separate concentrations in corrections and law enforcement. Students can apply their education directly on the job or continue to study toward a four-year degree. In addition to the AA degree, Northeast will begin a new Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Criminal Justice degree in the 2014-15 academic year.
Faye Kilday, dean of humanities, arts, and social sciences, said the new AAS degree will provide students the opportunity to earn a degree and immediately enter the workforce, as well as provide an avenue for practicing criminal justice (CJ) professionals to continue their education for professional development and career advancement/promotion.
“As criminal justice careers are becoming more competitive and agencies are placing more emphasis on continuing education, post-secondary education is becoming increasingly important for CJ professionals. The AAS will also give practicing professionals the opportunity to capitalize off of their years of job-related training and experience through credit for prior learning. Northeast’s Criminal Justice AAS is designed to meet the unique needs of practicing professionals by providing affordable education through a variety of delivery modes such as on-line, traditional daytime lectures, and night classes.
The Troop B commander of the Nebraska State Patrol in Northeast Nebraska is pleased Northeast Community College will offer the new degree. “The new AAS degree program in criminal justice will provide a unique opportunity for current law enforcement professionals interested in enhancing their education and those students who are currently pursuing a degree in CJ,” said Captain Paul Hattan. “Northeast Community College plays a vital role in our area to provide educational opportunities to the community of Northeast Nebraska.”
Matt McCarthy is director of Northeast’s Criminal Justice program and serves as a faculty member with Colleen Barnes, criminal justice/sociology instructor.
AA degrees have been the only option for students in Northeast’s Early Childhood Education program, but they will soon have an additional AAS degree option starting in August. The AAS degree was implemented at Northeast in fall 2013 and replaced a diploma.
Sharyn Thomas, early childhood education instructor, said the new AAS option will prepare students to directly enter the workforce as nannies, family home providers, pre-school teachers, paraprofessionals, or child care providers in a day care center or home. This degree allows for advancement to leadership positions in child care centers or Head Start programs,” she said.
“The Associate of Applied Science degree also prepares graduates for employment opportunities that allow for advancement to leadership positions in child care centers or enables them to start their own home day care.”
The degree is highly concentrated in course work that addresses the development of children, family and school relationships, health, safety and nutrition for children and guidance methods. In addition to lecture classes, students gain experience by working in child care centers in Norfolk.
“We added this degree to give students a second option to their education,“ Thomas said. “This program of study is a great opportunity for any student who has a love for children.”