Respiratory therapy is a growing health care field and employers are increasing their requirements for educational levels and competencies for new respiratory therapists. That’s why Spokane Community College will be offering a bachelor of applied science (BAS) in respiratory care beginning fall quarter 2017.
This will be the first four-year degree offered at SCC. The BAS degree builds on an already strong associate degree respiratory care program at SCC. The BAS will replace the college’s AAS in respiratory care beginning this fall as the American Association for Respiratory Care is pushing for a bachelor’s degree to be the minimum education required to enter the profession by 2020. Washington’s State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (the regional accrediting agency) and the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care approved the new BAS.
“We are excited to add this degree option to help prepare our students for today’s workforce,” said SCC President Ryan Carstens. “Health care is our region’s largest and fastest growing industry, and finding new ways to meet this industry’s needs is a top priority for SCC. This program has a history of providing highly-qualified respiratory care professionals. Adding a BAS degree is the natural next step.” Employers are looking for higher level of competencies in this field, and the bachelor of applied science program will prepare students to become advanced level registered respiratory therapists. The respiratory program trains practitioners to work with patients who have heart and lung diseases.
Patients range from premature infants with undeveloped lungs to elderly patients who have diseased lungs. They also provide emergency care to patients suffering from trauma, heart and lung diseases.
The field is growing and demand for respiratory therapists is expected to increase by 21 percent in the state by 2022, according to Emsi data. The program also surveyed its students and found 82 percent are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in respiratory care, and 78 percent said they would likely enroll at SCC if it was an option.
SCC has had a respiratory care program for over 50 years. It started out at Deaconess Hospital in 1965, and in 1966 moved to SCC as the Inhalation Therapy Program for one-year graduates. In 1970, the program graduated its first inhalation therapist with an associate of applied science 2-year degree.
Applied bachelor’s degrees fill skill gaps in practical, market-driven fields in which job requirements have advanced beyond the associate degree level. SCC joins 25 other community and technical colleges in Washington State in offering applied bachelor degrees. This is the first BAS degree for SCC and the fourth for the Community Colleges of Spokane district.
To apply or find out more, please contact Gary White, SCC respiratory care instructor and program director at 509-533-7310 or Gary.White@scc.spokane.edu.