COD Offers Stronger Options in Human Services Program
The Human Services program at College of DuPage has repackaged its degrees and certificates to better reflect the needs of both students and employers.
Beginning this fall, the program will reduce its Associate in Applied Science degree offerings to two: the Human Services Generalist and Addictions Counseling. However, students pursuing the Generalist degree can also complete one of four certificates – Applied Gerontology, Corrections Counseling, Residential Child Care and Domestic/Family Violence – with a few additional requirements. The program will continue offering Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Veterans Counseling as stand-alone certificates.
While the offerings are not new, the changes allow for greater flexibility, said Maryann Krieglstein, professor and program coordinator.
"College of DuPage is known for its strong Human Services program, and we are determined to keep it that way," she said. "Our students have people's lives in their hands. So we are always monitoring the field, and these updates give our students the best options."
The changes are the result of a two-year process that included meetings with the program's advisory board, employers and faculty. Previously, the program offered seven degrees and six certificates. However, many of the degrees and certificates required the same basic core courses found in the Generalist degree, which provides the general training and essential skills to help a broad patient population. Students now can gain this training and add on a specialized certificate that requires an internship and, for most certificates, an additional one to two classes.
The Addictions Counseling degree has field-specific courses that require it to stand on its own, Krieglstein said. One change to this degree is the addition of more domestic violence training, which is based upon feedback from professionals asking for its inclusion.
"Most of our students were choosing either the Generalist or Addictions Counseling degree," she said. "But it was important for us to keep the specializations as certificates. They draw people into the program."
The Veterans Counseling certificate, the first of its kind in Illinois, meets a growing demand for professionals trained to handle the unique issues faced by veterans. COD is also the first school nationally to offer this certificate completely online.
Jason Florin, Human Services instructor at COD, said the field is ever-changing.
"Our program is always in evolution, because we want our students to be well-prepared when they start their internships," he said. "These changes allow our students to finish their A.A.S. degrees and either find jobs or pursue bachelor's degrees."
Students who began their Human Services degrees or certificates prior to fall 2012 may finish them by completing the previous requirements. For more information about the Human Services program, call (630) 942-2103 or (630) 942-2043, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cod.edu/programs/human_services.
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