TJC offers new Bachelor’s Degree

Feb 14, 2017 by

For the first time in its 90-year history, TJC offers a Bachelor of Science degree that will provide dental hygiene graduates with new opportunities for professional growth, ranging from education and administration to research and public health.

In December, TJC advanced from a Level I institution of higher education to Level II. The designation was made by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges, which provides accreditation for institutions of higher learning.

Level II status means TJC has the same level of staff and procedures required of four-year institutions.

“Our professors, library services and financial standards all meet the same criteria required of colleges that award baccalaureate degrees,” TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said.

dental hygiene“So, you can come to TJC and receive the same high quality education you’d get at a four-year college, but you’ll pay community college prices. That’s a win for everyone.”

Metke said the process for Level II designation was due to the Texas Legislature’s approval of a baccalaureate degree for TJC in dental hygiene. The required degree for this field, a bachelor’s degree in science, means TJC is the first and only community or junior college in Texas authorized to offer a Bachelor of Science degree.

Currently, only three other community colleges in Texas have Level II status: Brazosport College (located 254 miles from Tyler), Midland College (428 miles) and South Texas College (539 miles).

TJC began offering the degree in the fall 2016 semester, with an inaugural class of 15 students.

Students choose a one- or two-year track, depending on how far along they are in their studies and how quickly they want to move through the program.

“The degree opens opportunities for those in the field to advance themselves professionally,” said Carrie Hobbs, TJC dental studies department chair. “More research is being performed in dentistry, and researchers must have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Also, educators are required to have at least a four-year degree to teach at the college level.”

Ultimately, the new degree is a win for the students, for TJC and for the dental health of East Texans, said Tyler dentist Dr. Paul Latta.

“TJC has always produced extremely competent and qualified dental hygienists, and now this program will give their graduates the opportunity to enter academia or other health-related fields,” Latta said. “This program will attract the best and brightest candidates to Tyler for their dental hygiene education.”

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Features, Winter 2017

About the author

Elise Mullinix is Tyler Junior College's Editorial Manager. She can be reached at 903-510-2370 or at