Macon State College's Bachelor's Degree Programs
Continue Strong Growth
Kim Brown, who is pursuing a bachelor's
degree at Macon State in order to enhance her career, works
at Robins Air Force Base. (Photo:
By Deborah Barnes and Sheron Smith
Macon State College's new bachelor's degree in early childhood
education will join a strong lineup of baccalaureate programs that
are paying huge dividends in Central Georgia.
Enrollment in the
College's seven other four-year programs is booming with students
who know that earning bachelor's degrees boosts their lifetime odds
for steady employment, career advancement and good incomes. Now
firmly established as a baccalaureate institution, Macon State will
have graduated more than 800 students with bachelor's degrees by the
end of the year.
Since most Macon State graduates remain in Central Georgia,
bachelor's programs are key elements in the College's mission as a
focused baccalaureate institution dedicated to the advancement of a
“A bachelor's degree is now the gold standard in the professional
workforce,” said Macon State President David A. Bell. “Nothing's a
guarantee, of course, but the statistics clearly show that a
bachelor's degree significantly increases chances of career
Besides the education program, to be launched this fall, Macon
State offers bachelor's degrees in business, communications, health
information management, health services administration, information
technology, nursing and public service.
Business and IT are the two most popular majors, although all the
programs have grown since their inceptions.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the typical college graduate
earns about 75 percent more over the course of a lifetime than
somebody with only a high school diploma. College graduates also
tend to have lower levels of unemployment and are more likely to
participate in the civic and cultural lives of their communities.
Macon State students pursuing bachelor's degrees are motivated by
a variety of factors, but career enhancement is high on the list.
Take Kim Brown. A career civil service worker, she is now
inventory management specialist of the propeller components used on
the C-130 aircraft at Robins Air Force Base. When she completes her
bachelor's degree in business next year, Brown expects to be in
prime position to move into program management.
“Working for the federal government, I get more points toward
future promotions with a bachelor's degree,” Brown said. “Just as
importantly, working on this degree is helping me expand my
knowledge and understanding of how to better serve my customers and
support the operation of the aircraft directorate.”
Brian Tucker, an IT major who, like Brown, takes classes at the
Warner Robins Campus, remained in Houston County after leaving the
Air Force and his last assignment at Robins. He hopes to begin a
master's in business after completing his bachelor's degree.
Macon State “was one of the major factors for me leaving the
military and staying in this area,” said Tucker, now working as a
technical publications specialist at Northrop Grumman. “I love
school and I love to learn. It helps me think critically and
hopefully make better decisions in life.”
Macon State's bachelor of science in nursing, or the RN-BSN
completion program, is less than a year old and will produce some 15
graduates from its charter class this summer. Among them is Dana
Branchetti, a Registered Nurse for nearly 20 years who is interested
in getting into management.
“The qualifications for management have expanded in the past 10
years and a BSN degree is almost mandatory for those positions,” she
For Jessica Kelly, a 24-year-old communications major, a
bachelor's degree has been a self-imposed mandate since she began
“I won't be as well-prepared for a job without a four-year
degree,” said Kelly, who graduates this spring. “The greatest value
is in being well-rounded. Working on my bachelor's has helped me
grow a lot, personally and professionally. It's given me a lot more
Kelly is still weighing what kind of career she wants, but she is
thinking about professional writing or going to graduate school as a
step toward someday becoming a college professor.
Jodie Fleming, a senior in the health services administration
program, knows exactly what kind of career she wants: pharmaceutical
sales. Fleming has worked in advertising and sales for several
years, but she said the message she has gotten when applying for
pharmaceutical sales positions has always been the same: come back
when you have a bachelor's degree.
“Earning a bachelor's degree is important for that sense of
self-accomplishment,” she said, “but it's also important as an
advantage in the job market. There are a lot of people interested in
working in pharmaceutical sales who already have their degrees, so
there was no question of me going for a bachelor's if I expect to
Jeanette Jackson, a junior in the health information management
program, is enhancing her marketability in the medical field, in
which she started out as a licensed practical nurse. She hopes to
become a department director in the HIM field, then later start a
Ironically, Jackson took her first health information management
class only as an elective. She enjoyed the class and learned more
about HIM's hot job market.
“You just have a lot more options with a bachelor's degree,” said
Jackson, who already holds an associate of science from Macon State.
Chiquita Jackson (no relation) agrees. A former corrections
officer who now works as a dental assistant, Jackson thinks it makes
economic sense for her to get a four-year degree. She already holds
an associate of science degree.
“I'd like to work at DFACS (Department of Family and Children
Services) or in a school system in an administrative capacity,”
Jackson said. “With more education I'll be in a position to get a
job where I can effect change and set policies to better take care
of the well-being of children. I plan to get a master's degree, and
eventually my doctorate.”
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