Until recently, the Associate of Science (AS) degree from a two-year institution was thought of as a technical, terminal degree designed to prepare students for entry level employment after graduation in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, health sciences, or technology. Once completed, college education for these students was finished and they immediately entered the workforce.
But students in the Sarasota/Manatee area don’t have to think of their AS degree as terminal. The Bachelor of Science in Applied Science (BSAS) degree at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee allows opportunities for AS degree holders to pursue and acquire a distinctive USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) Bachelor’s degree without having to start all over again as they do with most AS Degrees.
Kathy Henri, a former student at USFSM and school teacher in North Florida, considers the program highly beneficial to students in the region. Henri never planned to go back to college after her AS degree in information technology (IT), but after receiving the degree, she found herself wishing she could get a bachelor’s degree and teach IT at the community college level.
“I quickly found out that transferring to a university would not be easy,” she said. “I found I would have to make up 18 credit hours of General Education courses. I would also lose the majority of credits I had received if I transferred into a traditional Bachelor’s program. Then I found USF Sarasota-Manatee. They had a new online AS to BSAS program with an IT concentration and the majority of my credits would transfer. It was a perfect match.”
Henri was able to get a general bachelor’s degree with an IT concentration, which enabled her to have more options when it came to specialization.
If USF Sarasota-Manatee had not had the BSAS program or the information technology concentration, or if they had not offered it completely online, I would not have had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream,” Henri said. “USF Sarasota-Manatee created a program to reach out to individuals who hold AS degrees and afford them the opportunity to better their life through educational means.”
To pursue a BSAS with a concentration in an area of IT at USFSM, students must have a Florida AS degree, with an overall GPA of 2.0 or better in an IT-related discipline. The program supplements the related technical skills learned in study for the AS degree and provides the remainder of the general education needed to obtain a bachelor’s degree. The IT concentration options consist of 23 credits and include concentrations in Information Security, Web Design and Development, Enterprise Applications Development, Technology Management, and System’s Administration.
According to Dr. Sunita Lodwig, instructor of Information Technology at USFSM, the degree has been updated to make graduates more competitively employable in today’s work force.
“The rapid change of pace in the IT field, competitive job market, and opportunities for advancement have increased the need for a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology,” Lodwig said. “Our economy is moving toward a more service-oriented, information exchange-based model as we become more dependent on high tech solutions. This degree option provides students with the skills and knowledge to analyze and solve information technology related problems at a much higher level.”
Students with an AS degree who want to increase their employability without pursuing a full degree have another option at USFSM as well. Certificate programs in specialized areas such as Web Design and Development, Enterprise Application Development, Information Security, Information Technology Management, and Systems Administration are available and require 15 credit hours (5 courses) of online coursework. USF Sarasota-Manatee also provides a full bachelor’s of science degree in Information Technology.
For more information about the Information Technology program at USFSM, please call Bethery von Dassow at (941) 359-4542 or visit www.sarasota.usf.edu.