Youngstown State University is launching a new associates degree nursing program this fall to provide more candidates to a field that's seeing local and nationwide shortages.

"We recently had a career fair and every hospital was here recruiting our graduates," Dr. Nancy Wagner said, director of YSU's Centofanti School of Nursing.

Enrollment for the two-year associates degree program closes on July 15, 2022. Wagner expects the class size to be around 30 to 35 students to start. She says program is starting off small, but has plans to expand in the near future.

"We have an aging population, we need more nurses and we're hoping that we will contribute," she said.

The associates degree program was recently approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing. Wagner says she is expecting strong interest in enrollment for the program.

The associate's program is 65 credit hours, which is mandated by the state. Students will focus for two years on nursing, science and social science courses.

The school of nursing has students work on clinical at local hospitals and they access to a high-level simulation lab for training.

The associates and bachelor's degree programs both train students for the RN licensing process to become a registered nurse.

The difference between the two and four year programs comes down to additional courses that focus on potential outcomes and working with people.

"The bachelor's student takes humanities to learn about people, society and cultures," Wagner explained. "They take nursing research to learn about outcomes, they learn about community health, individuals and populations and mostly they take leadership courses."


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an average of 194,500 nursing jobs need filled each year. Employment is expected to grow by 9-percent by 2030.

YSU's previous associates degree track in nursing was discontinued in 1989, when the bachelor's program increased in enrollment.

The local need for more candidates and the recent announcement that Mercy College will close its campus in 2023 is part of reason YSU is positioning itself to take over the demand for a shorter program.

Applications are being accepted through July 15, 2022, for admission for the Fall 2022 semester.