HELENA — Carroll College launched their Health Professions Initiative this year, an effort to broaden students to new fields related to healthcare. Carroll College announced the latest addition to the initiative.
Carroll College announced a news Master’s Program in Social Work as part of their Health Professions Initiative. The program will be in a hybrid setting, meaning both online and on-campus. Carrol says they chose a hybrid program because they want to reach students all across the state to meet the high demand of social workers and mental health workers during this pandemic.
"The need for employees who are prepared at the masters level, with a masters degree in social work focused on clinical licensure, is absolutely critical,” says John Cech, Carroll College President. “The demand is going to continue."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that social work career options will increase by 16% through 2026 with employment opportunities in behavioral health, health care, and more.
Carroll says Montana has a consistent need for social workers. They’ve received support from healthcare organizations.
The CEO of St. Peter’s Health, Wade Johnson, said in a press release, “the pandemic has created monumental stress on the healthcare industry and this program can help address our challenges.”
Shodair Childrens Hospital and Benefis Health System also vouched for Carroll College’s Health Professions Initiative.
Carroll College has hired Dr. James Petrovich as the Director of the Master’s in Social Work. Since the 1990s, Petrovich has served in the social work industry as a social worker and carries academia experience. He says he does feel pressure, but is confident about starting the new program.
"I tend to put pressure on myself, but I'm also feeling external pressure too, because I think this program is needed so much,” says Dr. Petrovich. “Organizations in the community and the broader community are actually, they're yearning for it. And so, as much as possible, I want to do a good job."
Dr. Petrovich comes to us from Texas Christian University where he served as the Department Chair and Associate Professor in their Department of Social Work. Petrovich obtained his Bachelor of Social Work from Mississippi College in 2000, his master’s from New York University in 2003, and his Ph.D. in Social Work in 2009.
Petrovich also served as a social worker for over 20 years but wanted to move to academia to help train other social workers.
Dr. Petrovich is no stranger to Montana. In the 1990s, he lived in Wilsall as a Wilderness Guide at the Wilderness Treatment Center. He’s excited to be back in Montana.
Carroll College has begun implementing their Health Professions Initiative. Fall 2020 began a certificate program in Healthcare Administration. Their accelerated nursing program begins in May 2021 before the Master’s in Social Work begins Fall 2021.
Carroll College says they are also exploring the idea of adding another masters program, this time in Public Health. A Doctorate Nurse Practitioner degree is also a possibility.