Georgia Perimeter College has been reclassified as a state college from a two-year college, a change that will allow Perimeter to offer two bachelor's degree programs.
Perimeter will offer bachelor's programs in sign language interpreting and health informatics, after approval was granted on Tuesday by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
The sign language interpreting program will be offered at the Clarkston campus, and the health informatics program will be offered mostly online.
A recent change in certification requirements for sign language interpreters by The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf made the change to a bachelor's program necessary.
"It's much needed because of the way that the field has shifted," said Damita Boyd, Perimeter's department chair for its sign language interpreting program. "There's been recognition that at a minimum the educational basis ought to sit at the bachelor's level."
The health informatics program will allow students to become qualified as registered health information administrators, who are responsible for the varied demands of keeping health records for individual patients. Health informatics is a growing field due to the increasing conversion to electronic health records.
Students are excited about the prospect of Perimeter offering four-year programs.
"I think it's good. That way somebody can get more than an associate's degree; they can actually get a bigger degree," said engineering major Shaun Banks.
There's no timetable to put the programs in place and no official plans to add more bachelor's degree programs at Perimeter at this time.
"We want to see how we do with our first two degrees; but our faculty members have already suggested several ideas," Perimeter President Anthony Tricoli said.