First Breath: Respiratory Therapy Program Begins This Fall

First Breath: Respiratory Therapy Program Begins This Fall

Joan Kreiger is coordinating a new bachelor's degree program in respiratory therapy for individuals already in the field. Classes have begun this fall.

In an effort to meet the advancing healthcare needs of the 21st century, Southern is launching a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy degree program this fall for those who already have an associate degree in the field.

The A.S.-to-B.S.R.T. program includes 36 credits and can be completed either on a full-time or part-time basis. Students also must complete the university’s Liberal Education Program requirements, but most of these can be met via an associate degree at one of Connecticut’s community colleges. The curriculum is intended to be flexible with courses offered both online and in traditional classrooms, as well as via a hybrid format (combination of the two). Accelerated classes (eight weeks in duration) also are being offered.

“The program is ideal for individuals who are respiratory therapy professionals and who want to pursue a leadership role in clinical practice, research, education, marketing or management,” said Joan Kreiger, SCSU assistant professor of exercise science and B.S.R.T. program coordinator. “The profession is steadily moving in a direction where a bachelor’s degree will eventually become the norm.”

Kreiger said SCSU is the only public institution in New England to offer an A.S.-to-B.S.R.T. program. “We are providing an affordable, accessible, high quality option,” she said.

Two pathways will be available to students – a leadership track that can be completed through online coursework, and a clinical track (which includes a six-credit clinical component.)

Required courses include: Case Studies in Medical Ethics; Principles of Care Coordination in Respiratory Disease Management; Evidenced-Based Practice and Research in Respiratory Care; Neonatal/Pediatric Care of the Pulmonary Patient; Respiratory Care Education and Respiratory Care Seminar. It also includes two courses in exercise science – Pathophysiology and General Medical Perspectives.

The program includes a wide variety of electives in respiratory therapy, public health, medical anthropology, medical sociology, and recreation and leisure studies.

Acceptance into the program requires students to have an associate degree in respiratory therapy, a valid registered respiratory therapy credential (RRT) and completing all prerequisite courses with at least a 2.5 GPA. Applications are made initially to the university through the Admissions Office, followed by an application to the respiratory therapy program.

In addition to programs in public health, exercise science, and recreation and leisure studies, the SCSU School of Health and Human Services also offers degrees in nursing, social work, communication disorders, and marriage and family therapy. The university added an Ed.D. in nursing education two years ago as part of a collaborative effort with Western Connecticut State University.

For further information, contact Joan Kreiger at (203) 392-6963 or at kreigerj1@southernct.edu.