ASU Mid-South’s AAS Degrees providing solid job training

Spring 2016 semester begins Jan. 19

By Don Threm ASU Mid-South

Associate of Applied Science degrees continue to gain traction as the degree of choice for many people seeking high-demand job skills, and Arkansas State University Mid-South offers programs that can pay off handsomely. Graduates of health-related and technology-intensive programs like those available at ASU Mid-South are finding a promising job market in Arkansas and the surrounding region for their skills. According to information provided by the state to the U.S. Department of Labor, more employment opportunities are expected for people with associate degrees than for people with bachelor’s degrees over the next several years. Employment experts have projected that associate degree holders in specific fields will have 1,792 job opportunities through 2016. During the same time span, job openings in fields requiring four-year degrees are expected to be 1,241. The report cited allied health sciences as the field with the most demand. More than 850 registered nurses, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants will be needed in Arkansas. Welders, computer support specialists, and diesel engine specialists are also projected to be in high demand. ASU Mid-South offers several certificates of proficiently in welding and CPs and technical certificates in diesel maintenance. Based on recent information releases by the National Center for Education Statistics, associate degrees are gaining in popularity. The Virginia-based Center reported that more than 845,000 two-year degrees were awarded in 2009-2010, a 50 percent increase from 10 years earlier. The jump in degrees awarded in health and related fields skyrocketed by twice that percentage. “Community college programs help people prepare for more career-oriented fields, and that has generated a great deal of interest, especially in technology-intense areas,” said Pete Selden, ASU Mid-South Associate Vice Chancellor for Workforce Education. While it doesn’t occur in all employment areas, some two-year graduates earn higher salaries than four-year grads. Mark Schneider, president of, said a recent study of salaries in Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee showed that “an associate’s degree can have a payoff that exceeds that of a bachelor’s degree.” According to the Arkansas Research Center, students who complete two-year degrees earn an average of $29,807 per year, a significant step up from high school-only workers who earn just $12,499 annually. Applied science degrees can take as little as two years to complete (for a full-time student), cost considerably less than four-year or graduate degrees, and provide valuable, job-specific training. Associate of science degrees are designed to help students continue their education through a four-year institution. ASU Mid-South offers A.A.S. or A.S. degrees in Aviation Maintenance Technology, Business, Business Technology, Digital Media, Education, General Technology, Hospitality Management, Information Systems Technology, Medical Assistant, and Respiratory Care. For more information about educational enrichment/training programs at ASU Mid-South, please visit the college at 2000 West Broadway in West Memphis, call (870) 733-6728, email, or see the website at ASU Mid-South’s spring 2016 semester will begin Tuesday, Jan. 19, and open and regular registration continue through Jan. 11. “One-stop” registration will be held on Monday, Jan. 11, 10 a.m.-noon and 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Educational Excellence on the college’s South Campus. First-time students who have not already done so must take an assessment/placement exam (which measures reading, writing, and math skills) before enrolling in classes. COMPASS testing is available on ASU Mid-South’s South Campus, and the fee is $10 (payable at the cashier’s window in the Reynolds Center). Exam dates and times include Jan. 5-7 at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. each day. For additional testing information, please call (870) 733-6728. For more information about spring classes, visit the campus at 2000 West Broadway in West Memphis, call the Admissions Office at (870) 733-6728, email, or see the college’s website at Please note that the college will be closed through Jan. 3 for the holidays.


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