BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)–A new opportunity is helping Raleigh County High School students earn up to a semester of college credits while still in high school – but how?

Officials with Bluefield State College and the Raleigh County Academy of Careers and Technology signed an articulation agreement on Monday, May 9, 2022. This agreement helps qualifying high school students fast track their Criminal Justice careers.

David Price, Raleigh County Superintendent, Charles Pack, Principal of ACT, and Ted Lewis, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs all signed the agreement at a press conference.

James Quesenberry, a visiting instructor with the college said the law enforcement sector is facing a shortage.

“We need more educated officers, I believe. I think it’s very important that when we put people out here in these jobs they have as much education as possible,” Quesenberry said.

Students who complete the two-year course with a satisfactory grade will have the option to transfer 14 credit hours to Bluefield State College’s Criminal Justice degree program. That equates to almost a full semester of college classes.

Charles Pack detailed how students can join in on this rare opportunity.

“All four of the high schools in Raleigh County have the opportunity to take the law and public safety class here at ACT by applying at their school and then we do an interview process and we accept students that way. If we have room in our program, we also allow adults to take the program as well,” Pack said.