The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

ATTITUDES OF RESPIRATORY THERAPY PROGRAM DIRECTORS TOWARD BACCALAUREATE AND HIGHER DEGREES FOR THE ADVANCED PRACTITIONER GRADUATES.

Arthur B. Marshak1, Robert L. Wilkins3, Helen H. Marshak2, Joyce W. Hopp2, W. G. Nelson4



Background: To meet the continuously evolving needs of the Respiratory Care profession for the 21st century, the AARC has been an active supporter of the movement toward the development of baccalaureate degree level education programs. This has been met with mixed support as most education programs currently reside in 2-year institutions.

Methods: An online survey posted on the Survey Monkey website queried program directors in 2- and non-2-year institutions in March 2008 concerning their attitudes toward baccalaureate and higher degrees in respiratory therapy education. All 325 accredited programs which graduate students who are eligible for Advanced Practitioner (AP) credentials were sent an invitational e-mail to participate.

Results: Of those who accessed the survey (n=192), 158 program director respondents met the criteria for inclusion in the analysis. Sixty-five percent were from 2-year public educational institutions; 85% of these were most likely to state that the Associate's degree plus certificate should be the level for the AP at present compared to 71% of those at non-2-year institutions who said it should be at the baccalaureate level. Program directors (71.4%), however, supported moving to the baccalaureate degree within 10 years, and would be likely to move if mandated to do so by CoARC. There was some support for movement to the Master's level but no support for a doctorate for entry at the AP level.

Conclusion: If respiratory therapy educators use the model set by physical therapist educators, they will expect their accrediting body to set the goal, then allow sufficient time and participation to achieve that desired degree change.