Students interested in health and wellness careers will benefit from a 2+2 program that culminates with a bachelor’s degree in a field with tremendous career growth potential.
A new partnership between Pima Community College and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona Health Sciences will provide a direct pathway for students in Pima’s Associate of Arts in Fitness and Wellness program to transfer to the Zuckerman College of Public Health’s Bachelor of Arts in Wellness and Health Promotion Practice program.
With a growing emphasis on health promotion and preventative care in health services and a rapidly aging population in need of those services from health educators and health coaches, new opportunities in wellness-related industries emerge every day. This new pathway to a Bachelor of Arts in Wellness and Health Promotion Practice – often called a “2+2” because students study for two years at Pima and two years at UArizona – prepares students for rewarding careers in this expanding field of health services and benefits diverse communities in need of skilled health care workers.
“We are very pleased to partner with Pima Community College for this 2+2 pathway. Pima does such a good job connecting with regional students who need more flexibility in their educational journey,” said Velia Leybas Nuño, PhD, MSW, director of the bachelor’s program at the Zuckerman College of Public Health. “There is so much career opportunity in the wellness field as our population ages, and many organizations need graduates from our BA in Wellness program, so this pathway benefits the students and our communities.”
The partnership also opens a pathway for high school students interested in a health and wellness career to embark on a path to a bachelor’s degree. Pima has partnered with Marana High School and Cholla High School to offer students introductory college-level wellness courses. This enables high school graduates to enter Pima Community College programs with some course credits already earned at no cost, then continue on to finish an associate’s degree at Pima and a bachelor’s from the Zuckerman College of Public Health.
This high school engagement raises awareness about fitness and wellness careers, where job growth is expected to double in the next 10 years. The educational pathway prepares students for careers as community health workers, health educators and fitness instructors. The degrees also lay the groundwork for more advanced education and careers in health care and health services.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Seth Schutte, director of Pima Community College’s associate degree in fitness and wellness. “When they leave Pima Community College as certified personal trainers or health coaches, they can further their education and grow in the health, wellness and fitness fields. It has been great working with the College of Public Health, and we look forward to building the program collaboratively.”
Gaby Valdez, PhD, director of global education for the Zuckerman College of Public Health, worked with Dr. Nuño, Schuttee and Nancy Gamboian, PhD, department head for Fitness and Sports Sciences at Pima Community College, to develop the program.
The Bachelor of Arts in Wellness and Health Promotion Practice gives students the knowledge, skills, ethics and cultural competencies needed to provide professional wellness services and interventions. Students learn to work with diverse populations in a range of communities and at all stages of life to promote a healthy lifestyle and overall wellness. This knowledge guides them to nurture optimal wellness within themselves and other and throughout families and communities.
“We are very pleased to partner with Pima Community College and provide a pathway for their students,” said Iman Hakim, PhD, Dean of the Zuckerman College of Public Health. “There is so much opportunity here for the students to go further in their education and for the communities they will be able to help with the knowledge and skills they gain. It benefits everyone and improves our collective health, our public health.”