New master’s programs create more opportunities for careers

With the economy still in a recession, more and more students are looking to continue their education instead of jumping into the workplace right after graduation.

To keep up with this trend, UMHB has added two new master’s programs: Master of Science, Family Nurse Practitioner and Master of Education in Administration of Intervention Programs.

This is the College of Nursing’s third master’s program and the College of Education’s sixth.

Both are expecting a receptive response from current students as well as people looking to receive their master’s from the university.

Professor and Master of Science in Nursing Program Director Dr. Margaret Prydun, credits the location of the campus with the need for the new program.

“We are in a unique position because we are the only provider of higher education in our area,” she said. “There are other nursing programs that have bachelor’s or associate degrees, but to go to a graduate school, you would have to travel north or south on I-35.”

The College of Nursing decided to add the new program after receiving numerous calls from nurses in the community who were looking to advance their education and more specifically as a family nurse practitioner.

As a licensed FNP, they will perform many of the same duties as a physician and will be able to serve a much higher population.

“They can work in the physician’s office and work independently in clinics,” she said. “They can counsel, teach patient education, be a patient advocate, receive prescriptive authority and be involved in research. There is a great amount of care a FNP can give.”

The two-year program will be a hybrid of 2/3 online work and 1/3 in a classroom.  Currently 14 students fill the 20 spots, and enrollment is still open until June.

Dean of the College of Nursing Dr. Sharon Souter is excited about the possibilities the program has to offer students.

“It gives them the opportunity for advances in employment,” she said. “We believe that the more education one gets, the better prepared they are. We believe in lifelong learning.”

The Master of Education in Administration of Intervention Programs is aimed at preparing teachers to address the changing needs in school districts and provide professional assistance to at-risk students ages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Professor and director of the new program Dr. Karen Estes said, “In order to effectively work with students, who need additional support, whether as an interventionist or an administrator of intervention programs, individuals with specific training are more likely to be successful in assisting these students.”

The program is designed to accommodate the hectic schedule of a graduate student by meeting for one week each month of the summer for an intense 8 a.m.-5 p.m. class.

Students will also have pre- and post- work for each class, and in the fall and spring students are required to attend half-day Saturday classes once a month as well as one night session per month.

The Cohort One program for the master’s can be completed in as few as 15 months.

Although the College of Education offers  an M. Ed. in educational psychology, the new master’s degree is more specific.

“This program has updated the former, bringing into alignment with contemporary expectations and needs, while maintaining the coursework for the educational diagnostician,” Estes said.

Both the College of Education and College of Nursing are currently accepting applications for their new master’s programs. Requirements, detailed course description and applications are available online.

Author: Lindsay Schaefer

Lindsay Schaefer is a junior Mass Communication, Public Relations major at UMHB. She is the Entertainment Page editor for The Bells Newspaper. Growing up in the small town of Nacogdoches, Texas taught her to enjoy the simple things in life such as local cuisine, an afternoon at grandma’s house, and getting to know her “neighbors”. If she’s not hunting for the latest pair of shoes, she can most likely be found eating chocolate cake with her closest friends. She enjoys making copies for the Bells newspaper and taking on many other random assignments!

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