LITTLE ROCK — North Arkansas College has signed an agreement with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences that allows Northark Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) graduates to transfer to a corresponding online Bachelor of Science degree program through UAMS without leaving their hometowns.

This is the first 2+2 partnership between the two institutions and the first MLT online bachelor’s degree option offered in the state. The 2+2 means students attend Northark for two years and then transfer to UAMS for two more years to earn the bachelors’ degree.

In addition to providing an online degree that is convenient and accessible, both institutions desire to provide seamless transfers, thereby affording students the opportunity to earn a high-quality degree from both institutions in the most efficient manner possible.

Signing the agreement at UAMS was Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., UAMS provost and chief strategy officer, and Dr. Randy Esters, president of North Arkansas College.

Under the terms of the agreement, any student transferring from Northark to UAMS who has completed courses identified in the MLT 2+2 Degree Plan Checklist, completed required transfer procedures and gained admission to UAMS will receive full transfer credit for previously earned hours in his or her major field of study. The medical laboratory sciences program is in the UAMS College of Health Professions.

“This transfer agreement builds a direct path to a bachelor’s degree at Arkansas’ only health sciences university,” Northark president Dr. Randy Esters said. “It’s paramount for us to guide our students on their educational pathways with ease and guaranteed transfer credits, and this agreement allows them to complete their next degree without leaving home.”

“Our ability to address the state’s health care workforce needs now and in the future is strengthened when UAMS can join with great partners like North Arkansas College,” Gardner said. “This partnership benefits those students we hope will become much-needed medical laboratory scientists going to work in community hospitals and clinics in Arkansas.”

Northark’s MLT program has experienced a 100% job placement rate for several years, with most students receiving job offers before graduation. This agreement will increase the number of skilled workers to meet the increasing demand.

Founded in 1974, Northark is a public two-year college offering transfer and technical degree programs, one-year technical certificates, certificates of proficiency, customized business and industry training, adult basic education (GED) classes and non-credit community education courses. In addition, partnerships with area universities provide the opportunity to achieve a bachelor’s degree in Harrison. Northark partners with local business and industry to provide customized workforce training. Paid internships with PACE Industries, FedEx Freight and Tyson Foods enable students to get hands-on experience in a real-world environment while they pursue their education. Consumer website WalletHub ranked Northark as the 45th Best Community College in the country and the 8th Best Community College in Arkansas. Northark’s RN program was named the Best Value in Arkansas, and ranked the LPN program as the 2nd Best Value in Arkansas.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health.

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