In a move expected to address workforce needs of adult workers and recent high school graduates, as well as to provide additional career pathways to current nursing students, the University of Maine at Fort Kent will offer an Associate of Science in Allied Health beginning in the fall of 2013.
The University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved the Allied Health degree program this week in Portland during its bi-monthly meeting.
The new degree program will address workforce needs in Maine’s healthcare industry – the state’s fastest-growing career field. A primary objective of the degree program is directly related to a primary strategic goal of UMFK, which is to meet the educational needs of the region and to help address the severe shortage of skilled allied health practitioners in Maine, and beyond. A secondary objective is to raise awareness and interest in the allied health care field.
UMFK proposed the new Allied Health degree program as a means to address the need for higher education opportunities in critical need areas in allied health, such as health information technology, respiratory therapy within its Division of Nursing, and allied health for undergraduate students interested in pursuing entry-level skilled professional training in the health industry.
According to the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, allied health is defined as “a cluster of health professions that cover as many as 100 occupational titles, exclusive of physicians, nurses, and a handful of others.” Approximately two million people are employed as allied health professions in the United States. Allied health care jobs include cardiovascular technologists and technicians, dental hygienists, medical lab technicians, diagnostic sonographers, opticians, radiologic technologists, radiation therapists, respiratory therapists, and speech therapists, to name a few.
UMFK plans to offer the Associate of Science in Allied Health, Health Information Technology, beginning with the fall semester of 2013.