Austin Community College District (ACC) Trustees unanimously approved two new degrees, including the college’s third bachelor’s degree and a new associate degree at the board’s November 15 special meeting.

Bachelor of Applied Technology Degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology

The new bachelor’s degree will enhance ACC’s offerings in the rapidly growing manufacturing sector. The Bachelor of Applied Technology (BAT) degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology will be the college’s third bachelor’s degree. ACC launched the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in fall 2018 and the Bachelor in Applied Science in Software Development in spring 2020.  

“Our service area is experiencing rapid growth across the manufacturing sector, with Tesla recently announcing they are bringing 5,000 jobs to the region,” says Brandon Whatley, Design, Manufacturing & Applied Technologies dean. “We are confident that the addition of this bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology will provide Central Texans a complete and comprehensive educational pathway at ACC. It’s a game-changer for our students.”

Over the next 10 years, our region is expected to see a 20 percent growth in manufacturing engineering technologists. There are currently more than 13,000 annual job openings according to an analysis conducted by ACC’s Office of Institutional Research and Analytics (OIRA).

An advisory committee composed of representatives from Applied Materials, Samsung, Athena Manufacturing, Flextronics, Ultraclean Technologies, OVIVO USA, and Austin Regional Manufacturing Association (ARMA) and its member companies helped establish the degree program.

“All these companies are growing and coming into our community and the average wage for these jobs are $90,000 a year or better. This is a terrific pathway for young people to get a middle-class lifestyle and opportunity and Austin Community College is right on the forefront of that,” says Ed Latson, ARMA executive director.

The program will be housed at ACC Highland Campus with both full- and part-time cohorts. It will include hybrid and online course options and an internship component for all students. Eligible students will have an associate degree in a related field. 

The next step in the process is for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to approve the college’s application. Pending THECB and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) approvals, the first cohort of 40 students is expected to start in fall 2022.

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Conservation Science and Wildlife Management

Trustees also approved an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Conservation Science and Wildlife Management and two related certificates to prepare students for entry-level positions that protect, manage, and improve natural resources.

“We believe regionally there is a strong and growing demand for graduates of a program like this due to the substantial growth in the Austin region and the fact that much of the growth occurs in or near sensitive wildlife refuges and natural resource areas,” says Mike Midgley, ACC vice chancellor of Instruction. “The demand in the Austin region is about double the state and national demand.”

Students who get this degree could transfer to Texas State University, Texas A&M – Central Texas, Texas Tech University, and other universities. 

The certificate pathways include an entry-level, one-year certification program as well as an enhanced skills certification program. 

Pending accreditation approvals, the first cohorts are expected to begin in fall 2022.