PITTSFIELD -- Two accrediting agencies have given the Mildred Elley career school the green light to start a new practical nursing certificate program in Pittsfield.

"We are extremely excited to bring this program to our Pittsfield campus," said Mildred Elley President Faith Takes on the new LPN program. The program received approval this week from the state education department and ACICS, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

"Health care is one of the fastest growing career fields in the nation and with an aging baby boomer population there is going to be an increased need for practical nurses and other health care workers. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment for licensed practical nurses is expected to grow 22 percent by 2020," Takes said in a written statement.

The 16-month Mildred Elley LPN program is a credit-bearing, college-level program that aims to prepare its graduates for Massachusetts licensure upon passing the requisite exams.

Certified nurse educator Patricia Duckworth (RN, MSN) will chair the program, which will be open for enrollment in early 2014.

A spokeswoman for Mildred Elley said the school anticipates recruiting no more than 15 students per cohort and is planning to offer two cohorts during the next school year.

The program will be launched at Mildred Elley's Pittsfield campus, currently located at 505 East St.

Mildred Elley announced last fall plans to move into the four-story, 70,000-square-foot former KB Toys headquarters on West Street in early 2013.

Maria Neal, vice president of marketing and communications for Mildred Elley, said "there's been technical challenges of the move," and that classes will continue to be taught at the school's East Street campus, including the new LPN program.

No further information was available regarding the move.

Neal said Mildred Elley will focus on developing the new nurse training program and faculty while maintaining its other current certificate programs in clinical medical assisting, medical office assistant, administrative assistant, accounting systems specialist, cosmetology, massage therapy, paralegal studies and early childhood education.

To learn more about the new LPN program and how to enroll, call the Mildred Elley admissions office at the Pittsfield campus at (413) 442-0333.