Four new programs in dynamic career fields – mechatronics, emergency management, applied technology and magnetic resonance imaging – will soon complement the list of more than 100 academic majors offered at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
This fall, Penn College, a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University, will offer a mechatronics engineering technology associate-degree major and two bachelor-degree majors: applied technology studies and emergency management technology. An online certificate program in magnetic resonance imaging rounds out the new offerings.
“Penn College continues to aggressively manage our curriculum portfolio to assure our programs are of the highest quality and on the leading edge of applied technology,” said Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost. “These four new programs will provide opportunities for both traditional and adult students to pursue studies that will lead to productive and rewarding careers. These programs, along with the more than 100 others already in existence, help us achieve our vision – ‘Pennsylvania College of Technology: A national leader in applied technology education.’”
Mechatronics Engineering Technology
Mechatronics Engineering Technology offers a multidisciplinary curriculum that provides students with the diverse skill set required to install, calibrate, modify, troubleshoot, repair and maintain automated systems.
Hands-on instruction develops skills in mechanical, electrical, electronic, fluid power, and automated control systems. Graduates are prepared for technical positions in a wide range of industries.
The Manufacturing Industrial Advisory Committee at the college requested the major in response to a shortage of qualified machine maintenance and repair technicians.
The skills, knowledge and abilities gained in the mechatronics major transfer directly to the gas extraction and processing industries. It integrates with a $15 million ShaleNET U.S. federal grant (for which Penn College plays a lead administrative role), and will be part of a tiered system of “stackable” credentials for working adults in the oil and gas industries.
“This major was developed, with strong industry input, to provide graduates with the skills to work in today’s technologically dynamic industries and with the foundational skills to serve in the changing industry of tomorrow,” said Bill Mack, dean of industrial and engineering technologies.
Emergency Management Technology
The emergency management technology Bachelor of Science major prepares students for rewarding careers in emergency management and public safety. The curriculum provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the phases of emergency management, levels of governmental responsibility, policies and procedures influencing coordinated/integrated efforts, and the appropriate roles and requisite skills of an effective emergency manager.
Graduates are expected to find employment in many areas directly and indirectly related to emergency management including emergency management specialists; environmental science and protection technicians; hazardous-materials removal workers; occupational health and safety specialists; emergency medical technicians and paramedics; and police, fire and ambulance dispatchers. The major will be solidly grounded in the social sciences that prepare students for leadership and administration in this type of work.
Students in the emergency medical services technology associate-degree major at Penn College may articulate to the emergency management technology baccalaureate major. Students transferring from community colleges with an appropriate associate degree in protective services-related majors may also wish to continue into the bachelor-degree offering.
“Emergency management technology is an emerging field in which both the public sector and private industry seek experienced, mature and comprehensively prepared technicians, managers and leaders,” said Clifford P. Coppersmith, dean of integrated studies. “This is a welcome addition to our portfolio of hands-on technical programs that anticipate vital needs and provide students with the essential skills and preparation to succeed in fields including emergency medical services, risk management, municipal emergency management, and disaster management and recovery, among others.”
Applied Technology Studies
The applied technology studies major is a flexible Bachelor of Science degree designed for students who wish to combine course work – for business, professional or personal reasons – in more than one discipline area.
A faculty adviser will work with each student to design a course sequence that best meets the student’s future plans. The major is ideal for a working professional completing a degree on a part-time basis or a transfer student seeking a bachelor’s degree in an area not directly aligned with his or her previous major. Online courses and internship opportunities are available.
Career opportunities will depend primarily on the individual student’s focus areas. The major will serve adult nontraditional students, veterans, transfer and traditional students. Students may use a stackable-credentials model to integrate with ShaleNET U.S. grant curriculum development.
“The applied technology studies major enables students from diverse work and academic backgrounds to pursue a technical baccalaureate degree in multiple fields of experience and interest,” Coppersmith said. “The degree provides nontraditional students with the opportunity to expand existing technical skills with a customized approach to learning.”
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
This magnetic resonance imaging certificate program is offered entirely through distance education. It’s designed to educate U.S.-registered radiographers to use MRI equipment, conduct image scans of cross-sections of the body and reconstruct those scans into 3-D images.
Students also gain an understanding of how an MRI uses a combination of powerful magnetic fields, pulsing radio-frequency radiation and a computer to produce images of almost any area of the body.
This professional certificate program can be completed in one year; working students can complete courses on a part‐time basis and graduate within two years. Graduates may also apply the earned credits toward the applied health studies bachelor’s degree at Penn College.
Career opportunities abound in diagnostic imaging centers, hospitals, physicians’ offices, medical and diagnostic labs and outpatient care centers.
“The School of Health Sciences plans to offer students a value-added credential, thus providing them the skills necessary to advance their careers in the medical imaging field,” said Sharon K. Waters, dean of health sciences. “A prior associate degree in radiography, coupled with this additional professional certificate, will position our students to be distinctly competitive in the marketplace. Employment opportunities in the field of radiography, including MRI technicians, is expected to grow in Pennsylvania, as well as nationwide.”