Frostburg State’s Graduate Programs Meet Advanced Workforce Needs

Mar 1, 2020 12:00 PM

Reprinted from the Cumberland Times-News

Frostburg State University provides much to the Western Maryland region — quality undergraduate academics and collaborative, inclusive, cultural experiences for our students and the larger community. One key area not to be overlooked is ensuring that regional businesses and industries have an employment pool with the advanced knowledge and training they require, specifically through its graduate programs.

“We are known for our commitment – through our distinctive academic programs – to help the region and the state move forward,” said FSU President Ronald Nowaczyk. “Our faculty are meeting the challenge of developing programs that are timely and provide opportunities for students at different stages in their lives to succeed.”

Heath care is one of the largest segments of Allegany County’s economy, starting with UPMC Western Maryland and its related operations, but also including the region’s nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and primary care and specialist medical offices. FSU’s relatively new master’s in nursing program serves these most directly, educating nurses for health-care administration and teaching, in direct care, as nurse practitioners in family practice and psychiatric and mental health care. These are joined by licensed professionals who have graduated from the master’s in counseling psychology program, prepared to provide both family counseling and addictions counseling.

And soon, graduates of one of FSU’s newest programs, the master of medical science in physician assistant studies, will be graduating and ready to join the regional work force in direct care.

The nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs were designed with the needs of addressing rural health care as a focus.

Yet the MBA program has also added a health-care management concentration, and graduates in the master’s in applied computer sciences database administration concentration have found employment homes as data analysts.

Businesses large and small have benefitted from the advanced management knowledge of FSU’s MBA program, which transitioned from a master’s in management in 1988. In addition to adding the health-care management concentration, the MBA now offers a concentration in business analytics to serve the growing need for businesses to manage and use data in their decision-making. Likewise, the need for advanced computer science professionals, served by the master’s in applied computer science continues to grow at a rate above the average for most positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. IBM, Willetts Tech and UMPC Western Maryland are a few of the local industries employing these graduates.

Frostburg State began as a teacher education institution, and that commitment has not changed. Current teachers are able to advance their careers and knowledge through the concentrations in the master of science in education: curriculum and instruction, literacy education, special education, interdisciplinary, school counseling and educational leadership, serving those seeking administrative or supervisory roles in education. The post-master’s certificate and doctor of education programs in educational leadership further build on this knowledge.

For those who want to transition to a career in teaching, FSU’s master of arts in teaching allows those with a bachelor’s degree to build on this knowledge and become a teacher in 12 months, at either the elementary and secondary level. A particular need exists for teachers in the STEM subjects in science, technology and mathematics. FSU’s secondary program is a good fit for those with bachelor’s degrees in these areas who may be looking for a career change. 

According to a February 2019 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, advanced degrees on average lead to higher earnings and a lower unemployment rate. The median weekly earnings for a master’s degree holder of $1,434 was more than $200 higher each week than someone with a bachelor’s degree, and more than $700 higher than a person with only a high school diploma. Higher salaries not only provide a better standard of living, but also create a stronger tax base.