A&M-Commerce Launches Competency-Based Safety and Health Degree Program

The College of Innovation and Design at Texas A&M University-Commerce is launching a new competency-based program. The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Safety and Health is designed for working professionals across a wide range of safety and health-related industries who are seeking to grow their career.

Occupational safety and health specialists ensure safety in the workplace by working to prevent injuries and illness at their organizations. These professionals are particularly in demand in industries such as construction and manufacturing, where workers are at higher risk due to the nature of their job and the machinery they work with.

Adrian Loera, M.S., an instructor in the program, has worked in the safety and health industry for more than 25 years as a professional and an educator.

“Providing education in safety and health—an area that is often misunderstood—is about more than just saving a life. It's about protecting the livelihood of what matters most, our families,” Loera said. “I'm proud to be part of this exciting new program at A&M-Commerce.”

Yvonne Villanueva-Russell, Ph.D., is dean of the College of Innovation and Design. She said the college is excited to launch its third competency-based degree program.

“We have built the safety and health program with employers' needs in mind by addressing gaps in the skills of current employees that will enable graduates to obtain promotion and advancement upon graduation,” Villanueva-Russell said. “While some of our students may be working professionals who are entering college for the first time, a number of students who have attended community college or received prior training in technical fields may find that they can supplement their knowledge to become future leaders at all organizational levels to improve awareness, education and overall safety.”

Competency-based programs in the College of Innovation and Design are aimed at working professionals who cannot attend traditional face-to-face classes. Instead, students can plan schoolwork around their busy schedules.

Courses are offered through two seven-week terms per semester at an affordable cost of $750 per term. Students can transfer up to 90 student credit hours to be applied toward their degree plan. Additionally, the fully online, competency-based format allows students to accelerate through coursework by leveraging their current knowledge, which helps to speed up the time it takes to complete their degree.

Students who have earned their Certified Safety and Health Official certificate through the Texas Engineering and Extension Service can earn up to 19 hours of transfer credit toward their graduation requirements.

Faculty member Irene Thrower, M.A., joined the College of Innovation and Design at A&M-Commerce to help research, develop and implement new competency-based degree programs.

“I am honored and thrilled to be part of the team that works on developing programs like the BAAS in Safety and Health so that adult learners with career experience or previous college credit have a viable path toward advancing their career,” Thrower said.

Development of the undergraduate safety and health degree program is supported by a grant from the Greater Texas Foundation. The next term begins on November 1, and tuition assistance may be available through Project Complete. Interested candidates may contact [email protected] or [email protected].

Learn more about the BAAS in Safety and Health degree program at A&M-Commerce.