For the first time, the American Association for Respiratory Care is advocating an industry-wide shift to baccalaureate degrees in an effort to “ensure the workforce is adequately prepared to meet the challenges it will face in terms of protocol-driven care and disease management,” according to an AARC announcement1 accompanying a revised education position statement released on January 6.
Read the official AARC education position statement here.
In the revised statement, the AARC emphasized the need for formal academic preparation to meet the growing needs of modern healthcare. From the statement:
“Training and education for entry-to-practice as a respiratory therapist should be provided within programs awarding a bachelor’s or master’s degree in respiratory care (or equivalent degree titles) and all newly accredited respiratory care educational programs must award, as a minimum, the bachelor’s degree in respiratory care (or equivalent degree title).” 2
According to AARC president Frank Salvatore, “the time has come” for the respiratory therapy profession to advance it’s education level. “Respiratory therapists today need more clinical time in order to fully learn the advanced technologies we work with today…” Salvatore explained in the AARC announcement.1
The AARC noted that nursing profession, for one, has benefitted from an emphasis on advanced degrees, such as a bachelor’s.1
Salvatore urged current RT students to “begin thinking” about continuing their educations into a baccalaureate program, according to the AARC announcement.1
At the same time, the AARC assured “AS-degreed RTs who currently work in the profession will be able to maintain their roles, and students enrolled in AS programs will not be impeded from entering the profession,” according to the announcement.1
More from the education position statement:
“Associate degree respiratory care programs which are currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) should be allowed to continue in good standing as long as they remain in compliance with all other CoARC policies and standards. The AARC supports existing and future articulation agreements between associate and baccalaureate respiratory therapy programs.” 2
On the association’s LinkedIn page, the majority of comments seemed to be in favor of the bachelor’s emphasis but not without several contributors voicing concern over additional education costs.
- “AARC Calls for a Shift to RT Bachelor’s Degree Programs.” AARC. 6 Jan 2016. http://www.aarc.org/aarc-calls-for-a-shift-to-rt-bachelors-degree-programs/
- “Position Statement: Respiratory Therapist Education.” AARC. Revised Nov 2015. http://www.aarc.org//app/uploads/2014/10/respiratory-therapist-education.pdf
Maybe we should be paid more for our services, I think you should be focusing more on unions and higher wages to protect our current positions
An advanced degree is exactly the thing that will allow justification for higher wages in the future, unions can only do so much. Almost all other professions that we consider ourselves to be “equal” to are moving to BS or MS as a minimum. To have a place at the table with all other professions and be taken seriously we have to step up and have the education to back it up. Credentials and education do matter in today’s healthcare environment. It will also matter for reimbursement especially in the outpatient arena which is where the majority of healthcare will be delivered.
And who is going to pay for this, the patients? A bit unrealistic I think. Your students are spending too much as it is.
The questions I have …
How will the added 2 years of college increase the persons knowledge of the RT profession itself? How much more Respiratory Therapy Education will you get in that extra 2 years that is not already being gained by the original 2 year degree? Am I going to be taught extra ventilator theory or other job functions that I won’t get unless there is a BS degree involved? How will an extra two years of studies give me more clinical knowledge to perform my job as an RT? In my 23+ years of experience as an RT, having a BS behind the RT credential does not make that person any smarter in regards to being a more knowledgeable clinical therapist.
There is no reason for this. How much more can be learned with a Bachelors in Respiratory. I’ve been an RT for 30 years and I’m doing the same duties that I did when I started. It’s all about more money for everyone, Except Respiratory.
You will learn how to read research papers, more about management and RT education. RT with AS degree usually don’t know how to find and read research papers. This will help RTs to increase evidence based practice at their sites.
There is already a huge shortage of. RT beings to hey drove off most CRT. Understaffed, overworked and underpaid had been he norm for Respiratory Therapist since inception
What you are neglecting to see is that it isn’t only the clinical education that is needed to perform as a therapist in the competttive workforce we are experiencing currently. The therapist must also have a sense of business and the operational side of the hospital as well. These can be learned on the job as you gain experience but a formal background will make you more prepared. I have 35 years experience in the field and see the therapists that have their bachelors getting the better opportunities. Eventually, the clinical experience after about 5-7 years is considered par when being compared for positions and or promotions. It is the education and what else you have done such as teaching, writing, or mentoring in a clinical position that set you apart. However to get the opportunities to do some of these things you will need t the bachelors position to be considered.
The AARC is trying to keep us competitive with the other medical professions.
Thats bs . Respiratory Therapist dont need additional degrees,what they do need is better salaries.Iwish the aarc would devote more of their time trying to get us more money rather than trying to make us do more work.
How will this work for those RT’s that have a Bachelor’s degree in another area? I have a Bachelor of Science specializing in small business. Will I need another degree that’s a bachelors in Respiratory specifically?
I would like to see the pay increase more for our education cost. Pay equal to RN’s
In respiratory our responsibilities have gone through the roof and wages remain stagnant .
What increase in Respiratory knowledge will be gained by a BS degree? I come from a 2 year RRT program. I have been in the profession for >24 years, I am currently a Department Director, and from what I see, employees who are fresh out of a BS/RRT program are NOT any smarter in regards to Respiratory Therapy than those of us who do not have the BS in their credential. Is there extra education in regards to equipment or mechanical ventilation theory? What advantages are to be gained to pay for extra education, when the overall total amount of Respiratory knowledge does not increase because of a BS. I do not see the benefit for anyone other than the schools who teach the BS programs.
The bachelor degree is long overdue for RRTs. I have been an RT for 25years I completed a bachelor degree RRT program. I have had more opportunity to advance than coworkers without a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, if RRTs want equality we need more education requirements to obtain the RRT credential. The role of an RRT is ever expanding and we find ourselves getting involved in diverse areas so a broader, more comprehensive education in the sciences such chemistry, bio-chem, etc. is very beneficial and makes one more marketable. The attitude of “give us more money, not more work” is the problem and always has been. Let’s get serious as a profession and then we can expect wage and responsibility equality. This should have been done a long time ago and I am frustrated it has taken this long.
I’m an RRT working in three hospitals. The hospitals got rid of all of their CRTs. Those CRTs knew way more than the BSRRT and ASRRTs. Hands on experience is the best teacher. Some of the book smartest BSRRT couldn’t even take an ABG or manage a ventilator. They were left doing floor txs. The book is important but hands on is more important. That’s why we do clinical training when we are in school. Its all about Greed!!! The ones putting the rules aren’t at bedside like you and me. They count our hard earned money, laugh, play the music, and we dance….. Live simple and save your money!!!
I don’t think a BS is a bad idea, but not in respiratory. I for one will not be getting my BS because of the disillusionment I have faced in this career and I’ve only been in it for 7 years.
If I get phased out for not having a BSRT then it’ll give me an excuse to find a new profession.
this is not a good idea we do not have a big field as nurses do they can work anywhere they want so is ok for them to be required to get there BSN but as a respiratory therapist we are limited to hospital settings and some home cares not much so why would I invest more in a limited field?
In the future when you post statements concerning your displeasure about the advancement of formal education for our profession, please don’t hesitate to check your grammar.