The state of Kansas is expected to need 200 new nurses per year for the next 10 years, and starting next fall the Salina Area Technical College will be offering a practical nursing program for up to 40 students to help meet that need.

Salina Tech President Greg Nichols said more than 50 applications have already been received for the program, which the college received final approval to launch last week. On Wednesday, the Kansas State Board of Nursing approved the plan, and on Friday approval was received from the Higher Learning Commission. The program had been approved by the Board of Regents Nov. 15.

Nichols said the college intends to take that entry level program one step further and is currently seeking approval to launch a registered nursing program in 2019.