Demand for Respiratory Therapists is increasing. Part of the demand comes from the vacancies left by retiring baby boomers, another part from an increase in specially trained personnel in the newest medical technological advances to diagnose and treat pulmonary illnesses and conditions. Today more and more respiratory departments in South Florida are looking for respiratory therapists for critical care and management positions. Nationwide, the demand for respiratory therapists is also increasing. The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 12% job increase for respiratory therapists within the next 10 years.
Respiratory Therapists can work in a variety of settings: critical care, long term mechanical ventilation units, Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs), nursing homes, Durable Medical Equipment companies (DMEs), pulmonary rehabilitation facilities, and sleep studies units.
Florida National University (FNU) offers two degrees in Respiratory Therapy to help meet the demands of the current job market.
- The Associates or Science in Respiratory Therapy (ASRT); a two-year degree geared to help graduates take their first steps within the profession.
- The Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy Degree Advance option; for graduates of a Commission on Accreditation from Respiratory Care (CoARC) associates of science in respiratory therapy graduates to enhance their skills to include legal aspects of the profession, management of a respiratory therapy department, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep studies specialty, and home care. The Bachelor degree is the first of its kind in South Florida and can be completed on line.
The ASRT program requires 100% commitment from students. An experienced, passionate, and dedicated faculty treats students as individuals, not as numbers. Care of students continues past graduation to help them find their first job in field. ASRT graduate passing rate in the National Board for Respiratory Care exams has increased from 56% in 2011 to 92% in 2017. The faculty also encourages graduates from the ASRT program to further their studies in field by enrolling in the BSRT program and eventually going on to become Physician Assistants.
FNU Respiratory Therapy department has also created a bridge option for Certified Respiratory Therapists (CRTs) to complete their ASRT and become Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs). The option aims at helping graduates from one-year technical programs, now non-existent, to meet the current professional demands in the field, that is, become registered.
Lastly, it must be mentioned that the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) aims at making the BSRT the entry level into the profession degree by 2020 to increase the prestige and value of Respiratory Therapists nationwide. To meet that AARC goal, FNU has the BSRT Degree Advance option for all ASRTs graduated from a CoARC accredited program, and has recently begun the proceedings to offer an entry level Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care (BSRC). Completion of the latter will take approximately three and a half years and will offer a combination of face to face and distance learning courses.