Health care, especially the care of the elderly, is one of the fastest growing career fields in the nation and Grayson College has a new program aimed at helping those already in the field increase their income and better serve the area’s older population.

“This is a historic milestone for our college as we offer our first Bachelor’s Degree,” GC President Dr. Jeremy McMillen said. “It speaks to the quality of the nursing program as we complete our 50th year. Our region has asked us to do this, and it’s been a multi-year

effort with many contributing to the ultimate arrival at this point today. I’m particularly proud of the GC team and area partnerships and their confidence in us to execute a quality program.”

The college’s new Bachelor’s Degree program is a first for the community college in Denison. The RN to BSN program will be offered to students who already have a registered nursing license.

Jamie McKinney, director of the School of Nursing at GCC, said there is a national push to have 80 percent of all nurses hold bachelor’s degrees, and the Grayson County area is only at about 35 percent so far. So they expect their program will see strong enrollment for the foreseeable future.

She said the program, much of which will be completed online, was designed with the working nurse in mind and will take about one year to complete if the students go full-time. Though Grayson College offers courses in nursing, students can apply to the RN to BSN program with a nursing degree from any accredited program.

“The majority of the course content will be online, but will require the student to be on campus for a specified number of hours each semester,” McKinney said. “The student can complete course work online around his/her work schedule and will be able to know in advance when to schedule required on-campus hours as well.”

McKinney said the BSN program will focus on enhancing the RN’s breadth of knowledge and focus on leadership and management skills as well as community health and gerontological services. The program is designed to help nurses become leaders in their field and advance their careers — and help them earn more.

According to PayScale, a registered nurse in North Texas can earn between $28 and $35 an hour, but a nurse with a BSN can earn up to $81,379 a year, according to bsn.org.

“As the North Texas region continues to grow, the need in all healthcare fields will continue to grow as well,” GC Dean of Health Science Joanna Barnes said. “This program will allow nurses in the Texoma region easier access to the education they are requesting, provided by a local, well established School of Nursing that has been providing excellence in education for 50 years, and at a much-reduced cost than compared to that provided by Universities and private online programs.”

For those who want to start working in less time than it takes to be a registered nurse, Grayson College also offers a License Vocational Nursing Program. Grayson also offers dental assisting certifications, an emergency medical technician certification, paramedics certificate, and many other health care related certifications or degree paths.