CI Launches Groundbreaking Online Health Science Degree Program

CI Launches Groundbreaking Online Health Science Degree Program

By Miriam Packard

CI is breaking new ground in the California State University (CSU) system with the introduction of its online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Science degree program. Aimed primarily at working professionals seeking to complete their undergraduate education, the program offers flexibility and accessibility to individuals looking to advance their careers in the thriving healthcare industry. 

“It could be a working health aide, or a surgical tech looking to advance skills and opportunities toward a health management position,” said Health Science Lecturer Ashley Parks. “Someone earning $18 to $24 dollars an hour today doing manual labor can double or triple their salary to, perhaps, $54 an hour with a degree. They can move into research or management roles.” 

The inspiration for the program’s development stems from the pressing demand for skilled healthcare professionals nationwide. Projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate a surge in job opportunities within the healthcare and assistance sector, with an estimated addition of nearly 4 million jobs by 2026. Moreover, the BLS forecasts a notable 28.4% increase in demand for medical and health service managers between 2022 and 2032. 

“The critical need for health care professionals across the nation is what launched CSUCI’s efforts to design an online Health Sciences degree,” added Parks. “The COVID pandemic dealt a one-two punch to the health care industry with one in five health care workers quitting their job during the pandemic because of burnout. That was followed by an increased need for upgraded health protocols in industries that never had them before, thus requiring more health care consultants.” 

Funding for the program’s development was made possible through a $50,000 accelerator grant awarded by The CSU Commission on Professional and Continuing Education in 2023. Subsequently, the program was launched on March 1, with classes scheduled to commence in the Fall of 2024 under CSUCI’s Extended University (EU) umbrella. 

“This completion degree program is unique in that it is designed with the working adult in mind, a busy individual juggling the demanding realities of work and care for family,” said Dr. Sonsoles de Lacalle, Chair of CSUCI’s Health Science program. “For this reason, the program will combine rigorous academics and a simplified schedule that allows for a sustainable pace.” 

Military families stationed at Naval Base Ventura County stand to benefit significantly from the program’s flexibility, allowing for degree completion despite potential deployment transfers. Juan Betancourt, a Health Science Lecturer instrumental in the program’s development, recognizes the importance of accommodating the unique circumstances of military personnel and their families. 

Joining Parks and Betancourt in spearheading the program are Assistant Professor of Health Science Thomas Clobes and Associate Dean of Extended University Jaime Hannans, whose collaborative efforts have been pivotal in bringing this innovative initiative to fruition. 

Prospective students eager to embark on a journey in health sciences are encouraged to visit CI’s Health Science program webpage for additional information and to register for upcoming information sessions. The launch of this groundbreaking program signals a significant step forward in empowering individuals to thrive in the dynamic landscape of health care. 

As students, we are fortunate to have a university that is constantly adapting and offering new and relevant opportunities. CI has a commitment to innovation and accessibility that underscores its dedication to our success. With the introduction of the online Health Science degree program, CI continues to pave the way for students to pursue their academic and professional aspirations with unparalleled convenience and support.