Fisk University is growing its online education footprint. The institution will soon debut its newest online program that will focus on administrative jobs in the medical field. The seven-tiered program will become the eighth online program being offered by Fisk. The university currently offers online education in economy, managerial economics, business information systems, child adolescent development and others in the psychology and sociology departments.
“Fisk has been doing medical professions for decades. This is not new. The element of online is not new and we have developed our faculty to deliver online courses,” said Arnold Burger, professor and vice provost for Academic Initiatives.
Unlike Fisk’s other online courses and programs, the medical certificate program will only be open to spouses of military personnel. The program will offer training in maintaining hard and electronic medical files, billing, coding, pharmacy technician training and more.
Students enrolled in the courses can receive their certificate anywhere from three to six months, depending on which concentration they enroll in. Cost for the training is $4,000. Burger said Fisk is offering this program in partnership with the Department of Defense which offers the MICAA (Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts) scholarship of $4,000 which means that eligible students could matriculate through the program for free.
“With Fisk being located in Nashville, TN and Nashville being a capital for hospitals and not just the Music City with hospitals and hospital management centers, we think that we are very well situated in this position to work in collaboration with the Depart of Defense and in partnership with MedCerts, the company that will outsource the delivery,” said Burger.
The program has a few more approval hurdles to jump before being green-lighted. They could begin offering the program as soon as late spring or early summer. Burger said they anticipate the program producing up to 2,000 certificates a year. That means more money for the university, something its newest president says will be a big help in getting the university back in the black.
“That program is going to help us serve military spouses and it’s going to help us generate revenues as a result. We’re going to extend our mission and help a much-needed segment of our society. Our soldiers go into harm’s way and have spouses at home that need to have with them portable training that can go with them wherever they are deployed,” said President H. James Williams.
Burger said they did much research before deciding to offer the medical program. In addition to considering the strong presence of medical companies in Nashville as a reason to offer the program, Burger said they also looked at the viability of obtaining medical training. Education and certification in the medical disciplines that Fisk will offer could mean an annual salary ranging from $30,000 – $46,000, said Burger.
But this isn’t going to be the last certificate program that Fisk will offer. Williams said he has a meeting set up with faculty this month to discuss additional online programs to offer in the future. Eventually, the goal is to move from offering certificate online programs to degree and for-credit online programs.
In 2006, Fisk joined thousands of other universities across the country offering online courses and programs to their students. Last year, 62.4 percent of colleges and universities offered online programs, compared to only 34.5 percent of schools 10 years ago, according to an online education report issued in January by the Babson Survey Research Group.
To make sure they are competitive and capable, Fisk invested money into upgrading its internet system and training faculty. The university’s courses are offered primarily in the summer to allow students to continue their learning while at home with family.