By Jack Fink

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This April Carly Ellis is set to complete her classes at Dallas College’s Brookhaven Campus and become a paramedic.

Then, she hopes to attend nursing school.

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Ellis said Tuesday she likes the fact that the college has announced it’s developing a four-year bachelor’s degree program in nursing. “It’s very ideal to go straight through and continue in a bachelor’s rather than having that gap or having to jump around between program or schools.”

Dallas College has long offered an associate’s degree in nursing.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says Texas has a shortage of thousands of registered nurses across the state.

A study by the Health Resources and Services Administration, which is part of the U.S. Health and Human Services agency, shows that in ten years, there will be a shortage of most types of nurses in the state.

Dr. Juanita Zapata Flint, Vice Provost at the Dallas College School of Health Sciences, is in the process of building the new program and is preparing for the new classes to begin in the fall of 2023.

“There’s a lot of reasons why we need to provide more nurses for our area. We do have some of the premier medical facilities here in Dallas and we have to have nurses.”

The state legislature recently changed the law allowing community colleges to offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs.

It’s an affordable alternative.

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Dallas College estimates the total cost for nursing students over four years is just $18,000.

Dr. Flint said, “It’s extremely important. It makes us the most affordable educational product for anybody who wants to be a nurse. It now makes it within reach, and we have scholarships.”

Carly Ellis said affordability is vital. “Private colleges and even state-run specific colleges can be really expensive but through Dallas, it’s so much more affordable and realistic.”

This month, more than 200 nursing students will graduate from Dallas College with their associates degree.

Dr. Flint said to start, she hopes 60 students will graduate each year from the bachelor’s degree program.

It’s a small number she said because there is a shortage in nursing faculty as well.

A September, 2020 Fact Sheet by the American Association of College Nurses found one-third of the nursing faculty workforce in baccalaureate and graduate programs are expected to retire by 2025.

Follow Jack on Twitter & Facebook: @cbs11jack

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