By Stan Friedman
SOLDOTNA, AK (August 27, 2013)—Alaska Christian College (ACC) is offering its first-ever associate’s degrees starting this semester.
Students can choose between a degree in Christian ministry or paraprofessional education. Each two-year degree requires students to complete 31 credits of general education, 15 credits of biblical core, and 15 credits of content in the degree emphasis. Students must also complete two required seminars as well as a ministry practicum component.
Credits are transferable to four-year institutions so that students can continue on to earn bachelor’s degrees, said President Keith Hamilton.
Hamilton said the school decided to offer the Christian ministry degree because “the majority of our curriculum is in Christian ministry so it made sense to offer this degree.” He added, “It is the only degree like it that focuses on Alaska Natives.”
The education paraprofessional degree will enable to students to work in public school classrooms as aids, Hamilton said. “Because of the high unemployment rates in our villages, one of the best degrees is in education because schools often are among the largest employers.”
“I just really want to thank all the families that have helped us to reach this milestone after 13 years in service to Alaska Natives,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton emphasized that although the primary focus of the school has been to help Alaska Natives, it offers education to everyone. He noted that one current student is from St. Petersburg, Florida.
The college was able to offer the associate’s degrees after it received accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education at its meeting in 2012.
The school was founded in 2001. The college received accreditation more quickly than is normally granted because of the work it has done in pursuing the status and in continually enhancing its program.
ACC has long been recognized for its excellence. During a celebration of the college’s five-year anniversary in 2006, Lt. Governor Loren Leman told the gathering, “Alaska Christian College is one of the best things happening in education in Alaska.”
The school also offers a one-year certificate of biblical studies. Student must pass 30 required credit hours and attempt no fewer than 15 credit hours per semester.