Today the Texarkana College Board of Trustees approved the addition of Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees in auto body technology and electrical technology, giving workforce students more opportunities to advance in those professions. Until today, students could earn a certificate in either program.

 “Transitioning workforce education certificate programs to AAS degree programs requires adding academic core courses to the existing curriculum,” said Donna McDaniel, Vice President of Instruction. “The successful completion of this curriculum by a student provides assurance to an employer that the potential employee is well-rounded and competent in skills required in today’s competitive workforce.”

To earn an AAS in a workforce program, students must successfully complete 18 semester credit hours of college-level course work in addition to specific courses required in their choice field of study. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has approved the following courses as part of Texarkana College’s core curriculum: college-level English composition, math or science, business computer applications, public speaking, the student’s choice of a visual/performing arts or music course, and an elective in social science.

 “With a lot of industries today, an AAS degree is required by a potential employee to be eligible for hire,” said Ronda Dozier, Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education. “We are hearing from a lot of industries that an AAS degree is now the new equivalent to a high school diploma in today’s competitive workforce. The addition of the degree program in electrical technology and auto body technology brings TC closer to its goal of providing career advancement pathways for all workforce students and a way for them to earn transferrable stackable credentials for completion of a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree.”

Dozier also said TC workforce programs have strengthened community ties across all fields of study. Each workforce program has its own advisory board composed of business and industry leaders, human resource directors and company owners. The addition of AAS degree programs is a direct response to needs identified by advisory board members.

“TC’s highly qualified and credentialed faculty is key to providing a skilled workforce for our region,” Dozier said. “TC aligns curriculum in all workforce programs to respond to business and industry needs which gives our graduates the competitive edge they need to succeed. We are working closely with human resources directors to develop programs that benefit both the student and the economic stability within our region.”