Centralia College’s New Bachelor’s Degree Program Gets OK From State Board

Behavioral Health Care: If Implemented, It Will Be the College’s Fifth Baccalaureate Program


Centralia College’s newly-proposed baccalaureate program in behavioral health care received approval from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges this week.

If implemented, this new program would be the college’s fifth offering a bachelor’s of applied science degree (BAS). Amanda Haines, director of college relations, said the college will begin offering those classes starting either in the fall or winter quarter.

But the program will also need to receive final approval from the college’s regional accrediting body, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Haines said.

“The BAS-Behavioral Healthcare trains students in the treatment of mental illnesses, substance use disorders, poverty, and homelessness,” Haines wrote in an email to The Chronicle.

The degree would prepare students for jobs including addiction counselor, social worker, rehabilitation counselor and public health educator. Faculty at the college have developed course outlines for 15 upper-division courses that total 75 credits, according to an outline published by the state board.

A request for the degree was submitted to the state board in February by the college.

“Locally, there is huge demand for people with training and advanced degrees in behavioral healthcare,” Haines wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “We heard from countless employers and worked directly with them to develop a program that would meet the needs of our immediate community. We also have current students and graduates from our Substance Use Disorder Professional and Criminal Justice programs that want an advanced degree to further their careers, so this program is a good fit for those students, as well.”

Centralia currently has two other programs that fall within the specialization of health care and social services: an associate’s degree in technical arts in criminal justice and an associate’s of applied science in substance use disorder professional.

Students can begin taking prerequisite classes today, Haines said, but the college plans on recommending students complete a two-year associate’s degree in either of the two relevant programs currently offered. From there, they can transfer into the program.

The other four 90-credit bachelor programs offered by Centralia College, according to the college’s website, include:

• A bachelor’s of applied science in applied management. Students in this program learn the training needed to succeed in “management positions in a wide range of businesses and industries.” Careers include small business management, government agency supervisory roles and corporate management. Requirements include an associate’s degree and English 101 credits.

• A bachelor’s of applied science in diesel technology, which prepares students for careers in the field of diesel transportation. Positions relevant to this degree include entry-level technicians and managers, which may lead to other senior positions. Degree application material includes proof of an earned associate’s degree in diesel technology, mechanic or automotive; English 101; and 15 credits in relevant classes.

• A bachelor’s of applied science in information technology. This program is for students interested in careers in application development and IT management projects. The list of required courses is more comprehensive than other programs, and includes credit requirements in pre-calculus, natural science and social science. An associate’s degree is required for admission.

• A bachelor’s of applied science in teacher education (K-8), which prepares knowledgeable teachers in obtaining “initial teaching certification in grade K-8 in the state of Washington with a primary endorsement in elementary education. There is also an option of adding a special education endorsement.” An associate’s degree or higher, or junior standing is required for admission, as well as credit completion of a number of education classes.