Sailors interested in studying health science may now submit their application with the U.S. Naval Community College.

The U.S. Naval Community College, known as USNCC, reached initial operating capability last fall after it got underway in 2019 as part of a broader effort aimed at enhancing the service’s enlisted educational offerings.

Now, USNCC is partnering with Western Governors University to provide sailors with an associate degree in health science that covers health science management, planning, coordination, processes, and protocols.

“Medical roles are the backbone of the fleet, from those serving stateside at hospitals to those abroad on warships and other sea vehicles,” U.S. Naval Community College President Randi Cosentino said in a statement. “This key expertise covers a wide span of military specialties and needs from emergency operations to medical science and investigation as well as the most important humanitarian missions in the world.”

Sailors may complete the degree fully online, and sets them up to complete a four year degree from the institution as well — just like other USNCC programs.

Once sailors earn their associate degree through USNCC, they may transfer to a four-year institution to receive their bachelor’s degree using their tuition assistance or GI Bill credits.

“It will be of great value to those pursuing healthcare careers such as Hospital Corpsmen or Health Services Technicians,” WGU’s Director of Military Engagement Julia Gage said in a statement about the health science degree. “WGU offers the most flexible means of attaining a degree, and students progress as fast as they are able.”

Former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s “Education for Seapower” campaign in 2019 first planted the seeds for the USNCC to improve the Navy’s intellectual advancement.

The community college kicked off its first pilot program in January 2021 with a cohort of roughly 600 students to study the nuclear field, cyber security, data analytics, English, math, and naval ethics.

The community college is currently slated for full operating capability in 2028, and plans to offer associate degrees in up to 25 different areas at that point.

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