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SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A technical school in Kansas will be offering a practical nursing program to help alleviate the state’s shortage of nurses.

The Salina Area Technical College will begin offering the program starting next fall for up to 40 students. College President Greg Nichols said the school has already received more than 50 applications for the program. The college got final approval to launch the program last week, the Salina Journal reported.

Program graduates will receive a practical nurse technical certificate that allows them to apply as a licensed practical nurse. Nichols said the certification takes three semesters including prerequisite classes.

Nichols said the college is trying to go one step further and is seeking approval to launch a registered nursing program in 2019.

“This program is the entry level to the nursing profession,” he said. “Our plan is for it to expand the following year to the registered nursing program. We are already in the process. We have designed the plan. We have to go through the approval process.”

The new program will be the only practical nursing program in Salina. The total cost is expected to be between $13,000 and $14,000 but the board of trustees hasn’t approved the tuition rate yet.

The Kansas Department of Labor projects that the state will need 90 new nurses a year for the next decade just to serve north-central Kansas.

“There is a huge tidal wave of retirements coming,” said Matt Thompson, president of Kansas Wesleyan University, which offers four-year degrees in nursing. “It’s what they refer to as the graying of the field.”

Salina Tech already offers programs for certified nurse’s aide, certified medication aide and emergency medical technician.


Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal,