By Leslie James, Student Editor

Pikes Peak Community College is one of three two-year colleges to offer four-year programs in Colorado, but stands alone as the only community college to offer a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Emergency Services Administration (ESA).

PPCC celebrated not only its 50th anniversary, but also a celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to initiate the first semester of the new Bachelor’s degree on August 27.

After passing a Senate Bill in 2014, Colorado community colleges were able to introduce four-year Bachelor’s programs. The bill gave the opportunity for local students to stay close to home while earning a higher degree.

The ESA degree offers training to a new generation of leaders in law enforcement, medical and fire services. This degree will be a superb resume builder for students who strive for careers in forest service, homeland security, police forces, hospitals, city and state governments or other organizations that require emergency management.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony, PPCC’s president, Lance Bolton, said the new four-year program “is going to serve well” for students who previously completed Associate’s degrees in criminal justice, emergency medical services, public security management, emergency management and planning, fire science technology, and wild-land fire service.

Tiffany Bohl is the first of 18 students to enroll in PPCC’s new degree for this year’s fall semester. She currently holds an Associate’s degree in criminal justice. After hearing word of the ESA degree taking its first steps, Bohl was eager to further her education. “My end goal is to be an investigator,” Bohl said.

President Bolton wishes to keep the core of the college centered on offering Associate’s degrees and certificates, but with offering the Bachelor’s programs, it will “put a four-year degree within reach of so many more people.” PPCC offers nearly 200 degrees and certificates in career and technical education programs.

Courses are in the works through fire science, emergency medical service and criminal justice department faculty. PPCC online classes for this degree will start fall 2018, and in-class courses will begin spring 2019.