Ozarks Technical Community College will debut new programs and restructure others for the 2021-22 school year. The changes include a new Center for Public Safety, new programs in emergency management and cybersecurity, and changing the name of Industrial Systems Technology to Mechatronics.
“Part of OTC’s mission is to strengthen the communities we serve, and these changes work toward that end,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, OTC chancellor. “Placing our first responder programs under one education center, adding high-demand areas of study, and changing the name of a program to reflect industry norms all serve our students and the employers who will hire them.”
Center for Public Safety
The OTC Center for Public Safety will bring programs from across the college system under one umbrella. The college will add an Associate of Arts in Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness, an entirely online degree. Programs included in the Center for Public Safety are:
- Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness (new program)
- Fire Science Technology
- Center of Excellence for Medical Simulation
- Criminal Justice
Currently, these various programs are located within general education (criminal justice), technical education (fire science) and health sciences (simulation center, paramedicine). Centralizing resources and efforts will better support students interested in careers in public safety and help support working professionals with career advancement and continuing education opportunities. Public safety agencies hope the center can promote interagency coordination for improved response and recovery efforts.
Initially, the programs will not be housed in one physical location, but long-term plans call for all of the programs to be located together.
Cybersecurity professionals manage data and the tools that keep digital information safe from criminals and hackers. Students in the two-year program will earn an Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity. Students can then enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for a cybersecurity professional in Missouri is $91,770. The cybersecurity program will eventually be located in the Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing, scheduled to open for the fall semester in 2022.
In anticipation of the opening of the Plaster Manufacturing Center, the college is changing the name of Industrial Systems Technology to Mechatronics. The term “Mechatronics” is emerging as the industry standard for the disciplines that encompass automation, robotics, and the design, installation and maintenance of logic control systems.
All of these changes officially take effect on July 1, 2021. Registration is currently open for all of the programs, including the new cybersecurity and emergency management fields of study.