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Venango College of Clarion University graduate realizes exciting change in career path made possible by degree ladder approach to education 

OIL CITY, PA—When Aaron Rosen graduated from Keystone High School he found himself spending his time as a volunteer minister and caring for handicapped individuals through his employment with United Community Independence Programs but unsure of his direction in life.  In discussions with his family he knew he needed to go to college but was not sure what he wanted to do.  It was happenstance that he decided to enter the Respiratory Care program at Venango College in the fall of 2007.  He loved the campus and the program and found himself excelling in his studies.  Aaron attributed his passion for respiratory care to his clinical experience at UPMC Horizon, UPMC Presbyterian and the extra experiences that he gained from helping at Rainbow Babies, a children’s hospital in Cleveland.  Rosen graduated in August 2009 and found employment immediately upon graduation.

“I loved being able to work at the bedside, loved my patients and loved the fact that I was able to help many people in the years that I worked as a respiratory therapist,” said Aaron.

Even though he loved the patient care, he found himself wanting to learn more and decided to return to college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in fall 2012.  He knew that he could return to his Alma Mater and seamlessly transfer all of his respiratory care program credits into the new Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Leadership program and would be half-way to earning the degree.  It also greatly appealed to Rosen that the program was 100 percent online.  What he did not expect when he entered the program was that taking a few courses would change his career path and direction in life. 

“In taking micro- and macroeconomics and a few business classes I realized that I really loved the business side of health care,” said Aaron.  “I kept thinking that it would be great if I could use all the knowledge that I gained from these courses.”

   In a twist of fate, UPMC Northwest, for whom he was working as the lead staff member in respiratory care, had an opening for a Human Resources Generalist.  This position is responsible for orientations of new employees and students, handles performance improvement plans, unemployment, disability and workers compensation processes and claims.  In addition, the position coordinates the Award for Commitment and Excellence in Service process and employee audits for satisfaction. 

“After discussing the idea with my wife, I took a leap of faith and applied.  I was not sure how I would feel leaving bedside care to move into human resources, but have found that in my new position, I am still doing patient care – I am just taking care of them in a different way,” said Aaron. 

"Aaron is a perfect example of how Venango College’s 'stackable' degrees work.  Graduates can realize significant career advancement and salary increases by systematically progressing from an associate degree or diploma to bachelor's, graduate, and terminal degrees, many through online programs allowing students to pursue degrees around work and family obligations,” said Dr. Chris Reber, Venango College’s executive dean.

Aaron has only been in his new position for a month, but when asked if he will continue on for his master’s degree in business administration, he replied “not at this time, but maybe some day.  I know that the coursework in the allied health leadership degree completion program has prepared me to go on if I decide to.”

Professor Renee Bloom, chair of the Department of Allied Health added that “Aaron’s realization of a new position is a testament to the value of the degree completion program for our respiratory graduates.  It's very affirming to know that Venango College played a supporting role.”

Venango College of Clarion University, located in Oil City, is the oldest regional campus in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. The college provides high-quality educational programs and personalized services to help students succeed. Students can begin any of Clarion University’s 90 plus degrees, earn an associate degree, a bachelor's or master's degree in select areas, obtain a one-year certificate or participate in a variety of professional development and personal enrichment courses. The college is home to Clarion University's School of Nursing and Allied Health, and School of Humanities, Sciences and Technology. Venango College is committed to serving the needs of the community.

7/21/2014 8:00 AM

Venango College of Clarion University graduate realizes exciting change in career path made possible by degree ladder approach to education