Starting fall 2019, Highline College is changing the way Respiratory Care students earn their degree.
All new students in the program will begin working toward a Bachelor of Applied Science in Respiratory Care instead of the associate degree, which will no longer be available at Highline College.
“The decision to move to a bachelor-level program sets the bar high and it was the right decision for our students, our patients and our community,” said Nicki Bly, the Respiratory Care program’s departmental coordinator.
This change was, in large part, prompted by the evolving industry. According to the Respiratory Care program, there is a need for more complex clinical skills and knowledge in not only the hospital, but other care sites as well. The industry values students with stronger critical thinking skills and better communication and management skills, which a bachelor-level program will emphasize.
In fact, many respiratory therapists with associate degrees find themselves going back to school to complete a bachelor’s degree in order to advance at their hospitals. Highline College will still offer a “completer” bachelor’s degree for those already working in the profession.
“The Respiratory Care profession has experienced a growth in scope of practice over the years,” Bly said. “Across the nation, our profession has been moving to a bachelor’s degree as standard of practice.”
Between 2018 and 2028, it’s estimated respiratory therapy jobs will grow by 27 percent, an increase of 325 jobs in King and Pierce counties, according to Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.
The bachelor’s degree not only better prepares students entering the field, but will also help future patients take back their respiratory health.