AVON PARK - The State Board of Education gave its approval Tuesday for two new four-year degree programs at South Florida State College - bachelor of science in elementary education and bachelor of science in nursing.
SFSC Vice President of Educational and Student Services Leana Revell was present at the meeting in Miami Lakes when the state board approved the programs.
During her drive back to Highlands County, Revell said it went very well and "it's a great day."
For the next step, the college will submit the two programs for approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, she said.
"We don't anticipate that we will have any difficulty with that," Revell said. "It's a formality that we have to go through."
Both programs will start August 2014, she said.
SFSC estimates 26 students will enroll during the first year of the elementary education program and 52 students during the next three years.
Enrollment of 30 students is projected for the first year of the nursing program and 60 students during the next three years of operation.
Details of the programs were documented in the college's proposals to the Florida Department of Education.
In noting the workforce demand for teachers, South Florida State College cited the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO), which reports there were 707 elementary school teachers employed in the college's service district of DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties in 2012. That total is projected to increase to 797 by 2020, which represents a 12.8 percent increase.
The college states employment data furnished by the local school boards suggest the hiring of elementary-level teachers will be higher than FDEO projections.
The 120-credit-hour Elementary Education program will be comprised 36 general education credits, 24 credits of lower-level specialized courses and 60 credits of upper-level specialized courses.
The 120-credit-hour Baccalaureate Nursing Degree Program will be comprised of 36 credits in general education, 42 credits of lower-division specialized nursing courses and 33 credits of upper-division coursework.
Citing the FDEO, the college reports there were 1,082 registered nurses within the college's service district in 2012. This total is projected to increase to 1,275 by 2020 with 43 projected annual openings.
The college cited the Florida Center for Nursing, stating that slightly over one-quarter of all RNs in the college's region have earned a bachelor of science in nursing.
SFSC's first baccalaureate program, a bachelor's in applied science in supervision and management, started in the fall of 2012 with about 40 students. Enrollment in the program doubled to about 80 students in the 2013 fall semester.